Bed bugs are tiny and nocturnal pests, so you almost never notice them. They also feed on human and animal blood like mini-vampires. Usually, they hide inside mattresses and come out to feast at night when you’re asleep and can’t feel their bites.
These insects have become quite popular in the last few years. So much so that there are numerous false rumours about them. Naturally, when people are afraid of something, they make up stories to feel better. To tell the truth from gossip apart, here are seven debunked myths about bed bugs to help you understand them better and protect yourself more effectively.
Myth #1: Bed bug sniffing dogs are the best way to get rid of bed bugs
There’s a general belief that specially trained bed bug sniffing dogs are the best way to detect these pests on a property. Many companies even acquire such dogs and charge more money for an inspection and extermination. As a result, more and more people feel confident that this is the best solution for their pest problem.
However, recent studies have shown that the 90% success rate of this method has been possible only in controlled environments. When the experiment was repeated, the success rate barely reached 43%. There are still some controversies over the training the dogs received for the second study, but the truth is that this method is questionable.
Myth #2: Turning up the heating kills bed bugs
There’s some truth to this myth. It’s actually proven that treating bed bugs with heat really kills them. However, simply turning the thermostat up won’t solve such a pest problem because it doesn’t count as heat treatment. Your house should be heated up to at least 50 degrees Celsius for at least an hour for the bed bugs to die. Besides that, every surface in your house will need to be heated equally for this method to work, which is practically impossible.
If you want a complete heat treatment, try steam cleaning, doing your laundry at high temperatures, and ironing your fabric items after you wash them.
Myth #3: Turning the temperatures down kills bed bugs
This myth is also only partially true. Cold temperatures kill bed bugs, but you won’t be able to accomplish that by simply turning the thermostat down.
Because they are cold-blooded, their metabolism will only slow down in lower temperatures, and they may even live up to a year without feeding. For this method to work, you’ll have to freeze your entire house for at least a month to kill every single bed bug that might be hiding somewhere inside.
Myth #4: Bed bugs will die out if you move out
Vacating your home because of an infestation is a bad idea. It won’t affect the bed bugs at all. In reality, they’ll likely be even hungrier and more aggressive when you come back.
Bed bugs actually come out to eat only around once a week. You could wait for them to die out for years, and it still isn’t certain that they will. There are many different objects in a person’s home, and bed bugs will likely find something else to feed on until you return.
Myth #5: Mattress covers prevent bed bugs
Mattress covers are indeed a useful and hygienic item, but they won’t help in the case of bed bug infestations. They only protect the mattress from damage and dirt. The bed bugs can easily crawl around the covers and get to you since these pests are attracted to the carbon dioxide we produce.
Myth #6: Only pesticides can kill bed bugs
It’s true that bed bugs are durable and sneaky pests. However, the assumption that only pesticides can kill them is a myth. Pesticides are poisonous and very dangerous to humans and pets, and it’s recommended to limit their use to a minimum. It’s better if they are your last resort when you’ve already tried everything else without success.
Besides that, bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to overused pesticides. Because home sprays or foggers don’t work on bed bugs, pest control companies are constantly working to develop new ways to treat these pests.
Before you go for pesticides, try setting bed bug traps or steam cleaning. If these methods don’t work and the infestation is too severe, call a professional bed bug control service, with whom you can discuss more alternatives and make a safer decision.
Myth #7: Bed bugs only live in low-income neighbourhoods
Bed bugs aren’t a pest associated with living conditions. Assuming someone has a bed bug infestation because of a dirty property is false. Many luxurious hotels have been invaded by these insects, and the issue has nothing to do with the level of cleanliness. You’re as likely to find them in immaculately maintained homes and hotels as you’re in filthy ones.
Bed bugs are an exposure pest, which means they travel on people’s clothes or suitcases to transfer from one place to another. It’s very common for people who travel frequently to be exposed to them in hotel rooms or on public transport and bring them back home.
Generally, bed bugs aren’t known to transmit diseases, but if you don’t deal with an infestation on time, you can become allergic to the insects’ saliva. It’s important to identify bed bug bites so you can deal with their presence on time. Many people don’t actually realise they have a bedbug infestation and attribute the bite symptoms to other sources, such as mosquitoes.
People have been coming up with theories and myths about bed bugs since 100 A.D. when they first started running rampant through Italy. Back then, people even thought that they could be used as medicine to treat ear infections and mental disorders.
Bed bug infestations can be frightening, but don’t believe rumours and conspiracies. Throughout the years, experts have learned more about these pests and developed many safe and efficient methods to treat them.