14 Surprising Bed Bug Facts You May Not Know

Bed bugs, while gross, are actually very sophisticated little insects.   As a result, there are a number of interesting facts about them, that may just surprise you.  

Not only are these facts interesting, they may also be incredibly helpful to you as well, as you work to get rid of bed bugs in your home, or if you're simply just trying to keep them out of your house!

Here are our 14 Bed Bug Surprising Bed Bug Facts!

Surprising Facts about Bed Bugs

#1 - Withstand Large Tempterature Ranges

Bed bugs can live just fine in temperatures from just a few degrees, up to 119 degrees.  Adult bed bugs will die in any temperature outside of this range.

At lower temperatures, like 5F degrees, bed bugs enter a hibernation state, where they can live for a long time.  At temperatures from 113 - 119F, they can live, but not for long.  When exposed to 113F degrees, they can only live for up to an hour.

What's really important to note here, is that freezing bed bugs out is tough, and your house has to get REALLY hot in order to kill them.  In fact, many people make the mistake of thinking they can just leave their house in the winter without heat, the bed bugs will die - Not true.

#2 - live a VERY long time without food or water

Bed bugs are hardy ... real hardy.  They can live for months without feeding, and for even longer in colder temperatures.

Starving them out is very difficult.  In a home where there is no food source, it takes months.  But be aware, while they prefer human blood, they can live on rodents and pets.

#3 - Bed bugs reproduce faster than rabbits

The average female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime, and they average 1-5 per day.   As a result, your home can very quickly have thousands of bed bugs actively living in it, within a month or two.

Two important lessons out of this fact:

  1. Treatment needs to begin as soon as possible.  Even waiting a day can make a huge difference
  2. You MUST kill off the eggs, otherwise, they hatch, reproduce, and your troubles start all over again. 

By the way, bed bug eggs require at least 119 degrees to kill them.  Steaming is a fantastic option for killing bed bugs AND their eggs.

#4 - While small, you can still squish THEM

While bed bugs are very thin, similar to ticks, bed bugs are still thick enough, and soft enough to squish like larger bugs.   But here's the catch, you can kill them that way, but for each one you see, there are most likely 100s more in hiding.  

Bed bugs generally aren't out in the open where you can see them.   If you're seeing bed bugs crawling around in your room, that is generally a sign that you have a very bad bed bug infestation.

#5 - primarily nocturnal - But not always

Bed bugs are nocturnal.  They generally hide and rest during the day, and come out at night to feed.  Why?  Because that is when you are sleeping, and accessible to feed on.

But, you can't count on this.  Bed bugs will be active and feed whenever a food source is available.  This means that if you work nights, and sleep during the day, you can still get bit.

#6 - CANNOT spread disease ... yet

In theory, bed bugs can carry disease, however, there is no evidence of that currently.   Assuming they can carry disease, there is very little evidence that bed bugs can spread disease, like mosquitos either.

That does not mean it couldn't happen, but just that the chance is very low, and there haven't been any recorded cases yet, where bed bugs have been proven to spread disease.

#7 - could care less how dirty your house is

There is a common myth, that bed bugs only infest dirty, and messy homes.  Not true.  Bed bugs don't care how dirty (or clean) your home is.  They are after one thing, and that is human blood.  A food source and comfortable surroundings are all that is important to them.

Be aware though, that if your home is cluttered, you're providing more places for bed bugs to hide, making your job of removing them, if you get an infestation, far more difficult.

#8 - Rich people can't get bed bugs

Another common myth is that bed bugs only infest poor people's homes.  

This is kind of silly really ... I mean bed bugs don't really care how much money you have in your bank account, nor can they check.

Rich people, living in big fancy homes are just as susceptible to bed bugs as anyone else.  In fact, some of the nicest hotels in the world, have had reported bed bug infestations.

#9 - are actually pretty smart

I'm sure this surprises you, but bed bugs are pretty smart.  We're using smart a little loosely of course, as bed bugs are actually more instinctual than intelligent, but the end result is the same.

Bed bugs have very strong survival instincts - They are incredibly good at hiding during the day, when you could easily see them.   They only come out at night when it's dark to feed.  They are not only good at hiding but know how to hide in difficult to reach areas as well.

#10 - are insect anesthesiologists

Bed bugs have a unique mouth or beak.  It looks like a needle and is even hollow (shown in purple below).  

To feed, bed bugs push their beak into your skin and draw out blood.   While doing so, they also inject their saliva.

Bed bug saliva has a numbing agent, that keeps you from feeling the "bite".  This is why most people don't wake up while being bitten numerous times while sleeping.

Unfortunately, most people are allergic to their saliva and break out with itching bumps the next day.  Bed bug bites can be very uncomfortable, and you can even get serious infections.

#11 - Enjoy travel

Not only are bed bugs really good at hiding, they almost seem to enjoy travel.   No, they don't actually pack up their bags, and head to the Carribean.

What they do is use your luggage, clothing, and bags to hide, and travel along with you.  Then when you arrive at your destination, they move into the place and begin reproducing.  

This is how bed bugs have spread so quickly.

#12 - eat 3 meals - Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Often called "Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner", bed bugs seem to feed 3 times, each time they do feed.

These 3 meals are often seen on people as 3 "bites" in a row.   The bed bug will feed 3 separate times, then go and hide to digest the food.  Not feeding again for another 10 days or so.

#13 - really good at playing hide and seek

As mentioned already, bed bugs are really good at hiding.  In fact, that is one of the most difficult aspects of killing bed bugs, is finding them.  When you treat them, if you don't get them all, the infestation will just come right back.

When not feeding, bed bugs can often be found in mattress seams, between the mattress and box spring, between the bed frame and mattress, behind headboards, in nightstands, and even behind wallpaper, and wall hangings.

Another common hiding spot is in electrical outlets.  See our Bed Bug Detection Guide for more information on finding and detecting bed bugs.

#14 - ARE becomING immune to treatments

A recent new study has proven that bed bugs are becoming immune to common treatment chemicals.  

These new resistant bugs are called super bedbugs by professionals.  These new bugs are very immune to the chemicals and difficult to kill using traditional methods, including heat treatment.

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