How to Use What Bed Bugs Are Attracted To Against Them
Chances are, you’re not an expert on bed bugs. If you have suffered from a bed bug infestation and experienced itchy bites and ruined sleep, the little that you know about them is that they suck (literally and figuratively) and are little demons that must be stopped. If you’ve never experienced bed bugs up close and personal (lucky you), you might know even less about these tiny parasites.
The fact of the matter is that bed bugs are rising in prominence and infestations in homes and business are becoming increasingly common. More people, especially those living in big cities, are calling pest control companies to complain about bed bugs and looking for treatment options but unfortunately little is known by the general public about this pests other than they like to bite and hang around beds.
If you are someone that is dealing with a bed bug problem, your best ally against this pest and putting a stop to their rapid reproduction is knowledge. The more you know about bed bugs, how they operate, what attracts them and what their tendencies are, the more likely you can overcome an invasion and eliminate them from the premises.
In this article, we will cover the basics of bed bugs, particularly what attracts them to us humans, how they come to infest a home or building, what their habits are and how you can use all this information to put a stop to them once and for all.
Bed Bugs 101
Bed Bugs have been around for as long as us humans have existed. Bed Bugs original habitat used to be in caves where they would feed on the blood of bats and other animals that decided to inhabit the cave. When humans became cave dwellers, they would feed on us. Apparently, they liked feeding on our blood so much that when humans evolved out of caves and began to build homes, they followed along, selecting us as their ideal parasitic host.
Bed Bugs spend the majority of their day in hiding, using the darkness as a cover as they rest and wait patiently for their opportunity to feed on a blood meal, usually in an area where their target host is at rest. For most of us, this happens to be in our bedrooms where we lay our head at night. Thus, bed bugs earned their name, hiding within the folds of our mattress, in our pillowcases, in bed frames and other areas adjacent to a bed. They set up camp in these spots, all for the sake for remaining close to us and feeding upon us when our guard is down in deep sleep.
When bed bugs get their fill of blood, which happens to be once every 6 to 10 days, they are provided with the fuel needed to mate and breed. A full stomach of blood for a female bed bug means a lot of bed bug eggs that will be pumped out. A female bed bug is capable of laying as many as 12 eggs a day and as many as 200 to 250 eggs in their entire lifespan. This means that you can go from having a few bed bugs to a few blown infestation of bed bugs in a matter of months!
Where Do The Bed Bugs Come From?
A person, household or building doesn’t just get bed bugs by accident. In some way, shape or form, bed bugs are brought in by their victim! Aside from being excellent hiders, bed bugs are skilled at sneakily hitchhiking onto people and their belongings unnoticed.
Recommended Read: 4 Easy Steps to Eliminate Bed Bugs
As mentioned earlier, bed bugs are wherever lots of people are so just imagine some places where people from all different walks of life, from different backgrounds and locales congregate? That’s where they lie in waiting the most. This means that heavily populated areas where people come and go like airports, hotels, buses, theaters, tourist attractions and other items that really gets around. It’s because of this reason–the rise of international travel–that bed bugs saw a resurgence around the world.
If you happened to be in transit in any one of these places or taken a recent vacation or even if you happened to host some friends or family that visited from out of town, chances are they or you unknowingly brought along bed bugs that snuck their way into your luggage, clothing or other personal item. This is how you can be bed bug free one day, and riddled with bed bugs the next.
What Attracts Bed Bugs
So what is it about us and where we live that attracts bed bugs so much? Well the obvious reason is of course our blood, but what specifically attracts them? Some people erroneously believe that bed bugs are attracted to clutter, filth and sloppy living. The truth is that bed bugs do not discriminate when it comes to living conditions. Whether you live in a dumpy, unkempt home or live in an immaculate living space where things are kept neat and tidy, if bed bugs found a way there, they will stay.
What lures bed bugs the most are a combination of chemicals and environmental traits that make it easy for them to carry out their purpose of feeding and hiding. They are the following.
Carbon Dioxide: As warm-blooded humans, we take in and release carbon dioxide naturally, which happens to be what attracts bed bugs the most and keeps them residing very close to where we frequent.
When are asleep, breathing and snoring and doing what we do when we are in our slumber, that is when we release the most carbon dioxide. It is during this time that the cloud of CO2 that forms around us sends a signal to the bed bug that we are in an inactive state and it is the perfect time to feed.
Body Heat. Body heat almost goes hand in hand with carbon dioxide as a major attractant to bed bugs. The average human body temperature is nearly 100 degrees and bed bugs love that warmth. As long as you are breathing and giving off body heat, you are signaling to bed bugs that you are a meal they need to sink their jaws into.
Dark Colors. As we have mentioned, bed bugs love to hide and stay out of sight in dark, secluded areas where they will be hard to detect. If you have dark bed sheets, drapes or curtains, it is very likely that if bed bugs are present, they will seek out these dark colors to cloak themselves and lie in wait. They hate light, cream colors because they stick out like a sore thumb on such tones.
Bed bugs are especially fond of deep red colors or even black. If you have a dark colored couch or comforter, bed bugs may be all over it. This is because these colors resemble their true love, blood.
Unwashed Clothing. Have a hamper full of soiled laundry? You should run them through a cycle sooner rather than later because if you have an infestation, bed bugs may be concentrated there. Since bed bugs love the carbon dioxide we give off, it’s no surprise they will like to be where our scent is in our clothing. While we can’t stand the stench of dirty laundry, bed bugs absolutely love it!
Turning The Tables On The Bed Bugs
The saying goes, “knowledge is power” and it is definitely the case when it comes to bed bugs. By learning what we have shared about bed bugs, you know their tendencies, you know what attracts them, you know how they might have found their way into your home and you know where they may be hiding. Now is the time to use the information acquired to seal the bed bugs fate.
Trap The Bed Bugs. You’ve learned Bed Bugs are attracted to CO2 (carbon dioxide). Thankfully there are bed bug traps available that have CO2 attractants which lure the bed bug towards the trap and they get stuck on an adhesive. Placing these traps strategically in areas where they frequent can help you to trap some and gauge just how big of an infestation you have on your hands. These shouldn’t be relied as a sole means of bed bug control, however.
Use Extreme Heat. Bed Bugs may love our body heat, but they cannot stand high temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a steam cleaner, it is highly recommended that you heat treat your home carpeting, your mattress, and furniture as the heat will instantly kill bed bugs.
For any dirty laundry you happen to have, the same goes. Run your clothes through your washer and dryer, putting both on the highest heat setting and for the longest amount of time, this will kill any bed bugs that may be hiding out in your clothing. You should also strip your bed off all the bedding materials, your drapes, curtains and others to wash and dry as well and kill any bed bugs lingering upon them.
When the cycle is complete, go ahead and place all the clothing items in a sealed plastic bag until you have performed a thorough bed bug control treatment.
Vaccuming Them Up. Bed Bugs are no match for the suction power of a vacuum. Vacuum your carpets, your mattress, box spring, any adjacent nightstands and dressers to suck up any bed bugs and their eggs they may have laid.
Vacuuming should not be a one and done thing but something you do daily until the bed bug threat is gone. Whenever you complete a vacuuming, take the bag and toss it sealed outside of the home in a trash can or dumpster.
Bed Bug Pesticides. The final nail in the coffin after you have performed vacuuming, exposed them to heat and taken away their hiding spots is bed bug pesticides. Use a combination of pesticides (aerosol sprays, bed bug powders etc.) rather than just one item to get the best possible results. Bed bug aerosols kill bed bugs on contact and deliver a residual effect so bed bugs that aren’t killed directly by it will die after crawling over a treated area days or even weeks after application. You should apply powders in voids and tight spaces bed bugs like to hide or travel such as behind electrical outlet face plates.
Repeat your applications as needed for at least a couple months in two week intervals to address hatched eggs and you should be bed bug free when all is said and done.