How Dangerous Bed Bugs Are
Bed Bugs FAQs
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
- the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
- a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.
Bedbug Bites: Not Dangerous but Painful
If you’ve seen bedbug bites in person or a photo, they can be scary—with the worst cases looking like a series of angry rashes from head to toe. Those sleeping in the same room with bedbugs will quickly find that they can add more bites to your collection every night.
Bedbug bites are itchy, ugly, and frustrating. But are they dangerous?
When bedbugs bite a person, they inject a chemical that acts as an anesthesia in the area of the bedbug’s bites; as a result, you likely won’t feel a thing while the bugs are feasting on blood, which explains why you can have multiple, even hundreds of bedbug bites and not wake up.
However, unlike mosquitos, bedbugs do not carry and spread diseases through their bites, so there is not the risk of getting a serious illness from being bitten. Of course, these bites are beyond annoying, and an infestation should be taken care of as soon as possible.
Varying Chemical Sensitivity
People vary in sensitivity to the chemical injected when bedbugs bite, and the amount you suffer is unique depending on your body’s reaction.
Some people are very allergic to the chemical, and break out in a rash. The rash—and possibly raised welts that might appear in each spot that received bites—may last as long as a few weeks before completely clearing up.
Most people will only get the raised welts that disappear after a few days. It’s important not to scratch these bites, which can expose your skin to infection and, in turn, lead to complications like scarring.
Treat the bedbug bites by washing with soap and water and then applying ice, or use a topical cream or oral antihistamine to relieve the itching. If symptoms appear like tender skin, the bite feels hot or starts oozing yellow, white or greenish goo then see a doctor for something prescription-strength.
Bedbug bites and the accompanying rash are not contagious, although you may get a lot of strange looks from people. Victims of bedbug bites report the reaction from friends and family to their appearance and their subsequent paranoia about bedbugs is the worst part of the ordeal.
Bedbugs do not spread disease by their bites, and you can also be assured that a bedbug infestation, whether in your house or a hotel, is not caused by dirt. Bedbugs can live in perfectly clean environments, as long as they have a live host to bite.
Bedbug bites usually happen in groups of three, and you’ll rarely find a single bite. However, since bites look different on everyone, it’s generally hard to pinpoint a bug bite as from a bedbug unless you see groups of bites.
If you’re staying in a hotel or concerned that there might be a bedbug in your house because you’ve woken up with several bites on your body, check your bites against some images online then check your bedding for small, red bugs.
The bugs may be found in a bed—look for reddish or black streaks on sheets—but they can also live in carpets, floorboards, wallpaper, and within the tiny cracks and crevices throughout a room.
If found when traveling, change rooms immediately. At home, it is best to call in a professional exterminator.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous: Possible Health Risks
While bed bugs may be a nuisance, they’re usually not considered dangerous. Learn more about bed bugs and the possible health risks they carry.
Humans have lived withbed bugssince the earliest days of our existence, or more correctly stated, bed bugs have lived with humans. Since bed bugs are human parasites, our survival is critical to theirs. This may be one of the reasons bed bugs have not been known to transmit diseases to humans. It would not be in the best interest of the bed bug to carry or introduce anything into the food supply that could cause the supply to disappear.
However, while they have not yet been shown to transmit diseases through feeding activities, there may still be health risks associated with bed bugs. They can be responsible for health issues that range from mild to very serious.
The most common health issue is related to the itching that often comes along with bed bug bites. Many people experience red bumps or welts on their skin within a couple of days of a bed bug attack. In some cases, the reaction may take up to a week or two, and some people do not react at all. The bumps or welts look very similar to a mosquito bite but tend to stay with the afflicted person much longer, often two weeks or more. These bites can itch incessantly, and scratching is inevitable. That is where the danger comes in.
Excessive scratching can cause damage to the skin that may allow the introduction of organisms of infection, some of them very dangerous. Taking reasonable care and controlling the urge to scratch can prevent more serious reactions, but if there is any indication of infection – such as persistent redness or other common indicators – you should consult a doctor for an evaluation.
Beyond some of the health risks associated with bed bugs, the question still remains: "Are bed bugs dangerous?" They can certainly cause disruption in your life. Loss of sleep, taking care of bites, treatment costs and other distractive issues related to bed bugs can take a toll on anyone. Some of these issues are just inconvenient while others can become very dangerous, especially if they affect your job performance, driving safety or other things in life that require alertness and your full attention.
Helping Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation
There are several things you can do to avoid a bed bug infestation in your home:
An overnight stay almost anywhere outside of your home may present an opportunity for bed bugs to relocate, so be careful to check your sleeping area and make sure your luggage doesn’t get infested, even if you are staying with a friend or relative.
Carefully inspect anything that comes into your home for the first time. Furniture, appliances, new clothing, even stuffed animals for the kids, could all be infested with bed bugs.
Inspect your bed thoroughly each time you change the bedding. Bed bugs can feed and go undetected for months in some cases. Some people do not react to the bites, so physical sighting of the bed bugs or their evidence may be the only way to know they are active in your home.
When you return from overnight trips, leave your suitcase in the garage or any other area away from the places you spend most of your time, especially the bed. For an extra level of protection, wash travel clothes immediately when you get home. Items that cannot be washed can usually be run through the clothes dryer for 20 to 30 minutes on the highest heat setting. The clothes dryer alone gets hot enough to kill all stages of bed bugs and their eggs.
While there may be some comfort in knowing that bed bugs do not transmit diseases as they feed, nobody likes the thought of being the food supply for any type of insect, especially sneaky ones like bed bugs that feed while you are sleeping, and without your permission.
Are bed bugs dangerous enough to kill you? Probably not, but if you suspect bed bugs may be trying to establish themselves in your home, get a pest control specialist to inspect your home. They will help you develop a plan to avoid bed bugs if they have not already found their way in, and to get rid of them if they have.
Do Earwigs Bite?
If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?
The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives
Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.
The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.
What are Earwigs?
Most people have probably heard of earwigs at some point or another. These creepy-looking insects are associated with some urban myths. Learn the truth about earwigs, including what attracts them and how to help get rid of them.
ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?
The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.
ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?
Are Bed Bugs Contagious?
Bed bugs are not too picky about where and when they catch a ride and don’t necessarily have a preferred mode of transportation, so it’s no surprise how many people wonder, are bed bugs contagious?
Do Earwigs Bite?
Cluster Flies In Your Home
If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve dealt with annoying flies ruining your summer barbecues and outdoor dinner parties. You may have even become accustomed to whipping out the flypaper and heavy-duty bug zappers the minute you hear the familiar buzz of a fly. These annoying pests are likely house flies, which can pose significant health risks to you and your family. But have you ever seen large, sluggish flies loitering inside your home in the autumn and winter? They may be cluster flies.
Tips to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Your House
Now that it’s fall, it’s officially indoor stink bug season. Before it becomes winter, brown marmorated stink bugs are looking for comfortable overwintering sites to spend the cold months—and that can often mean that they may find a way to sneak into your house. While the odor that a stink bug releases is not dangerous, they are definitely a nuisance. Luckily, there are steps you can take to get rid of stink bugs in your house—without having to deal with the unpleasant smell.
What are Sand Fleas?
Many people love going to the beach to spend time in the sun, sand, and water. But they might not love some of the nuisances that live at the beach or in the ocean, such as gnats or jellyfish. But, what about the sand flea, a small critter that can be found in moist areas such as under rocks or debris. Keep reading to learn exactly what sand fleas are and if you need to worry about them.
The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives
The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
What causes bed bugs?
When you have a bed bug infestation, after trying to find some remedies for it you just ask this question to yourself:What causes bed bugs?How did they come into your house? Was it my fault to bring them in?
Bed bugs at home
You can simply have a bed bug infestation in 3 places: Your home, your car or your workplace. These are places where you spend more time than others and easily feel the consequences of sharing your habitat with bed bugs.
So, let’s look at the reasons those bring bed bugs into our places.
What causes bed bugs to come in your house?
When there are bed bugs in your house, there are two options around: They were already there, or they just came into your house from anywhere else.
Bed bugs can live for a long time, even for more then a year in some cases, and because of this, they can keep living in an empty house for months or years: bedbugdetected.com/how-long-can-bed-bugs-live-without-feeding
This means that if there were bed bugs in that house before you move there, you already got them without doing anything but moving into that house.
What you must do is to check any house that you will buy or rent before you move there and make sure there are no bed bugs around.
Second way to see bed bugs in your house is to bring them inside by any way. Here are some reasons those bring bed bugs into your house:
- Buying secondhand stuff such as furniture, clothes or other used things
- Buying used books
- Having some bed bugs after a travel and carrying them with you without realizing
- To accommodate a guest who already has bed bugs with him or her
- Having bed bugs in your workplace and carrying them in to your house without realizing
Why do bed bugs come into your home?
You can be curious about why bed bugs prefer to come into your house and what causes them to choose yours.
But you must forget about thinking this! Bed bugs are not picky creatures which have specific criteria about hosting. They just need blood to fed on and every place with human or other food sources are ideal for them.
It’s not important for bed bugs that how clean is your house or how dirty are your clothes. They usually do not move from one place to another, but they are transmitted by human in most cases.
Where do bed bugs come from?
As I told you above, they can come by a friend of you or an old stuff you bought or you can bring bed bugs on you from your office to home.
There is no certain answer to this question. What you must do is to focus on how to get rid of bed bugs instead of where they came from!
What causes bed bugs to come back?
This is another useless question. It’s useless because, the answer is the same as how they came at first time.
If you believe that you got rid of bed bugs permanently and you just saw one after a few months from treatment, there are 2 options:
- You never got rid of them permanently and they just kept hiding around in your house
- You got bed bugs again by any way such as carrying them form your travel or buying used stuff or other reasons
What causes bed bugs to come into your house?There may be several reasons for this. First, you can have one from any public areas or buildings like those below:
- Federal buildings or police stations
- Libraries or theaters
- Travel options like buses, trains, taxi cabs or planes
Secondly you can have bed bugs from anyone in your social environment. You can carry one on you to your house after you visit e friend of you who already has bed bugs in his or her home. Or a friend of you can bring bed bugs together with him to you house when he or she visits you.
One common reason to cause bed bugs is to buy used stuff and bring them inside your house without checking them well for bed bugs.
Especially used furniture, cabinets, carpets, pictures, clothes and books may carry bed bugs with it and you must be careful before placing them into your house.
Remember that there is no certain reason that cause bed bugs. Having bed bugs at home is not about how dirty or messy your house is.
Bed bugs just come to your house with a friend or stuff or a family member and you can’t do anything about this.
Just be careful with used stuff before getting them into your house and check yourself and suitcases after a travel.
You can also check these posts to see how to get rid of bed bugs:
Monitor the health of your community here
What Are the Dangers of Bed Bugs?
Until recent years, bed bugs were no longer considered much of a problem in the U.S. — and the saying "Don’t let the bed bugs bite" was just an old-fashioned phrase whose meaning was almost forgotten — but then bed bugs made a comeback.The bed bug, or Cimex lectularius, gets its nickname from the fact that it often makes its home in people’s beds. Although bed bugs bite and feed on human blood, according to research published in JAMA in 2009, they are not known transmit blood-borne diseases, including HIV or the hepatitis B virus. However, they do pose other dangers to people. If you suspect you have bed bugs, see your doctor for advice and treatment.
The Michigan Department of Community Health notes that the physical manifestations of bed bug bites can vary widely 2.You may not even notice bed bug bites at all. If you do notice bites, you may dismiss them as mosquito bites because the localized redness and swelling may look much like that the mosquito leaves behind.However, if you are sensitive to insect bites of any kind, you may experience an allergic reaction to bed bug bites.This allergic reaction can be mild, only causing itching, skin reddening and irritation.More severe allergic reactions are possible and may require you to treat them with anti-itch ointments or oral corticosteroids and antihistamines.
Bedbug bites alone do not cause infection. However, if you are unable to avoid scratching the bites, infection may result. Scratching bedbug bites can cause openings or breaks in the skin. Bacteria can enter through these breaks and begin to multiply, leading to infection. Your doctor can prescribe creams to apply directly to the bites to prevent infection or advise you to use over-the-counter antiseptic ointments instead.
If you or a member of your household suffers from respiratory problems, the presence of bedbugs can worsen these conditions. Bed bugs shed their outer skins, or casings, as they grow.These casings, along with the bed bugs’ feces, can dry out and become airborne.The Rhode Island Department of Health warns that breathing the cast-off material from bed bugs can aggravate asthma and other respiratory ailments 2.
A case study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2009 describes the case of a 60-year-old man who presented to his doctor with symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia 1. The patient had no physical causes of this anemia but upon examination of his home, the patient’s doctor found an infestation of thousands of bed bugs. Although most people with bed bug bites are unlikely to suffer anemia as a result, it could occur in extreme cases, especially if you have other risk factors for anemia.