Goodnight, sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite. This rhyme is cute, but it would be a lot more useful if it actually taught you something about bed bugs and how to keep them from biting.
Granted, bed bugs are much more of a problem now than they were a few decades ago when your mother may have spoken that rhyme when putting you to bed. As such, it's important to arm yourself with as much knowledge about bed bugs as possible so you can keep them away and take action quickly if they do appear. To that end, here are several weird and wondrous facts about these pesky parasites.
75 Species of Bed Bugs Exist
Bed bugs belong to the family Cimicidae, which contains 75 species of insects. One thing all of these bugs have in common is that they all feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. None of them have wings, and they all reproduce quickly.
Luckily, you really only need to worry about one species of these bed bugs: Cimex lectularius. It's the most common species in the U.S. that regularly feeds on human blood. Several other species may bother humans occasionally, but they far prefer animals like bats, pigs, and birds. Cimex hemipterus feeds on humans in the tropics, but Utah is far from tropical.
Bed Bugs Can Live for Months Without Feeding
Sometimes humans think that they can starve bed bugs out by spending a week or two at a friend's house or in a hotel. Here's the problem with that logic: bed bugs can live up to 11 months without feeding. If you go away for less time than this, they'll be ravenous upon your return and may bite even more excessively. Fleeing your home is simply not an effective way to deal with bed bugs.
Bed Bugs Have Evolved to Be Resistant to Pesticides
Conventional insecticide sprays that work against cockroaches, ants, and many other insects are far less effective against bed bugs, and scientists know why.
These insecticides work by attaching themselves to certain nerve cells. Bed bugs, over time, have evolved thicker epidermal tissues (i.e. hard, waxy shells) that prevent the toxins in the pesticides from reaching the nerve cells. Bed bugs’ bodies may also deactivate certain toxins before they have a chance to take effect.
Attempting to fight a bed bug infestation with pesticides may simply give the bugs more time to reproduce, making the infestation worse. Your best bet is to use a heat treatment; bed bugs have not yet evolved a way to resist the damage heat does to their bodies and it isn't likely they will evolve with this resistance anytime soon.
Bed Bugs Can Travel Up to 100 Feet Per Night
If bed bugs are bothering you in one bedroom, you may be tempted to just move to another bedroom. Unfortunately, the bugs will probably follow you. Even though they do not have wings, they can travel up to 100 feet per night. This is one reason why you must treat an infestation quickly before the bugs have time to spread to other rooms or apartments.
Bed Bugs May Smell
Sometimes, the first indication that your problem is bed bugs rather than fleas or some other insect is a strange odor. When you disturb bed bugs, they release chemicals called pheromones. Some people have described the scent of pheromones as sweet and musty. It may remind you of the scent of coriander. Others describe it smelling like a locker room.
Now that you know a bit more about bed bugs, you can really sleep tight. If you suspect bed bugs may be disturbing your rest, contact No Bull Bed Bug Control. We are happy to provide a free inspection and, if you need a bed bug treatment, we use powerful heat treatment to eradicate the bugs as safely and effectively as possible.