An infestation of bed bugs in the home often means that everyone living in the household is likely going to be suffering from bed bug bites. After all, bed bugs require blood for their survival and to be able to reproduce. However, there may be some homes suffering from an invasion of bed bugs where only a certain few are going through misery from itchy welts all over their body while others may be resting easy.
It is believed that bed bugs do not discriminate when it comes to the places they infest and the people they select to feed on and receive a blood meal, so if only one person is getting bitten in a home and others aren’t, this raises questions of whether bed bugs have a certain particular preference over people. Why are bed bugs only biting a certain person and sparing others? Do bed bugs have an affinity of certain traits that people have over others?
In this article, we will cover why bed bugs may be biting certain individuals and not affecting others and getting to the bottom of what you can do to stop their itchy intrusion into your home.
America’s Bed Bug Problem
In recent years, Americans have dealt with an enormous spike in bed bug outbreaks after seemingly being totally eradicated from the country in the 50’s when DDT was invented and readily used to kill these pests. According to statistics, 1 in 5 Americans have had or know someone who has suffered from a bed bug invasion.
Bed bugs outbreaks and reports have risen likely due to the increase of international travel over the years since the 70s up to now. People are using mass transportation more than ever, tourism is at an all time high and vacationing abroad is also on the upswing. They are especially a problem in hotel rooms where people from all over the world from all walks of life gather together.
This concerning rapid rise is because bed bugs use the movement of people and things to their advantage to get around. They are skilled hitchhikers, crawling onto people’s belongings, secondhand furniture, boxes, clothing and other times that get moved around and eventually they wind up in peoples homes.
Bed bugs are also especially a problem in the summertime when the temperatures are warmer. Warm weather is a prime active time that makes bed bugs want to feed and breed more often because in hot temperatures, their reproductive process moves more quickly as opposed to colder weather where activity and reproduction slows down.
The worst thing about the presence of bed bugs are the itchy bites they deliver. When you are fast asleep, bed bugs activate and crawl up beds and sleeping areas to move in onto your skin to feed on blood. While doing so, they inject the victim with saliva that contains a numbing substance where they won’t be able to feel the bloodsucking temporarily. By the time a person realizes they have been bitten, bed bugs will have already moved to a hiding spot where it almost seems like they disappeared. This is what makes bed bug control so frustrating for most.
While we all wish we could avoid these irritating insects all together, unfortunately the reason why are in the home is because you (or someone you know or live with) unknowingly brought the bed bug into the home and often people don’t realize they have an infestation until they’ve been suffering from regular biting and the itchy red bumps that result from them.
Why Are Bed Bugs Singling Me Out?
You may notice when you are suffering from an infestation of bed bugs that the bloodsucking pests may be preferring to feed on you over other family members in the home or even the significant other that your share your bed with. You’re the one with the lost hours of sleep and the itchy welts, while others in the house are intact and unbothered by bites.
You may be asking yourself how can this be? What is making your blood so much more appetizing than the others? It would be important to know what is attracting you to bed bugs in the first place because if it is because of some trait or attribute, you may want to make a modification so you can lessen your appeal. We laid out some potential reasons of why bed bugs may prefer one person over another here:
Bed Bugs Like Your Body Heat
In some cases, the level of attractiveness your body is to a hungry and blood-thirsty bed bug depends largely upon your body heat and how. Bed Bugs like to hide in cool areas in the home, but they are drawn to human body heat.
Unfortunately, your bed happens to be a prime heat generator since you are laying there for a long period of time. This is usually why they seek out beds and the nooks and crannies of mattresses to hide in so they can stay close to you and feed on your warm blood.
While this doesn’t answer why bed bugs would feed on one person over another, it shows that bed bugs are attracted to us from things that we have no control over.
Your Sweat and Body Odor
Did you finish up a grueling workout? A big congratulations is in order for you burning some calories and getting some cardio in but you may have also made yourself a bed bug magnet. The more sweaty and smelly you are, especially after exercise, the more appealing you become to a bed bug.
There was even a recent study where researchers put a bin of clean clothes and a bing of sweaty used clothing in a room and released bed bugs into the room. The experiment showed that way more bed bugs migrated over to the bin of sweaty socks and clothing over the area where the clean clothes were laid.
When people sweat, we produce something called lactic acid which comes out of us through our sweat glands. Some of us produce more lactic acid than others and perhaps as a result, bed bugs are flocking over to you over others in the household.
Also, the more you sweat and the more time passes without you taking a shower, the more lactic acid becomes built up making you the meal of the day. The solution? If you’ve returned from the gym, don’t delay taking a shower! Showering and washing off all that lactic acid after a shower can make a huge difference in reducing your meal appeal to bed bugs, though it may not keep them away from feeding on you entirely.
Bed Bugs Prefer Your Blood Type
We are pretty positive that bed bugs are negative but did you know that your blood type being positive or negative can be a factor in bed bugs preferring you over other people with different blood types?
Blood type actually make a big difference when it comes to your chances of being targeted by blood-thirsty bed bugs. Bed bugs often prefer the blood type of what they grew up on early in their development. So if for example, you happened to have A negative blood type and some bed bugs fed on you and your partner you share your bed with has O positive blood, they may feed on you more often because that’s what they are used to. Good news for your bedmate, but unfortunately, that’s bad news for you.
You Are Getting Reactions to Bed Bug Bites, but others are not
As mentioned earlier, bed bugs don’t really have a true preference for blood. As long as you’re a human and you’re in close proximity, they are going to feed on you. But what is surprising to discover for most bed bug bite sufferers is that some people that get bitten by bed bugs don’t feel itchy or even get welts that develop on them and feel as if nothing had happened while they were sleeping.
Our bodies actually recover pretty well from bed bug bites, but the itchy skin irritations occur due to an allergic body reaction to the saliva that the bed bugs leave behind during the feeding process that the body reacts to with a histamine that results in swelling. So the truth may be that others in the home are getting bitten just as much as you, it’s just that their body is not reacting in the same way that yours is, making you the one that is itchy, miserable and paranoid when bed time arrives.
Recommended Read: How to Eliminate Bed Bugs
How Do You Stop The Bed Bug Bites?
Whether you are someone that suffers from itchy welts from bed bug bites, or gets no reaction from them, bed bugs being in the home is something you don’t want to have and you should move quickly to get rid of an infestation before it grows and gets worse. Here are a few things you can do to remove bed bugs from your home and prevent them from infesting.
- Vacuum your home thoroughly. Your vacuum can remove most bed bug adults, nymphs and their eggs if you do a detailed job and cover most of the common areas they like to hide in like your mattress, furniture, rugs and carpeting. Use a crevice attachment to really attack those nooks and crannies where they like to hide like under sofa cushions. In the joints of a bed frame and between the seams of mattresses.
- Treat the bed bugs with heat. Strip your bed of all the sheets and pillowcases and take any other infested items and fabrics and run them through a laundry cycle on high heat. This will kill the bed bugs in the items because they are not able to withstand high temperatures.
- Utilize high quality bed bug control products like bed bug aerosol sprays that you can spray on beds and furniture and Insect Growth Regulators that can halt the development process of bed bugs so they are not able to multiply rapidly. Combining multiple bed bug problems will attack the entire bed bug life cycle so eventually the entire population is wiped out.
- Use bed bug encasements after you have treated your home to prevent future bed bug invasions. These can be wrapped around your box spring and mattress and will take away the prime hiding spaces bed bugs like to crawl into, making an infestation less likely to establish.
- Be careful when traveling. If you are staying at a hotel, inspect the beds for bed bugs. Examine your luggage upon return and treat the items in the laundry or with heat treatment or pesticides before bringing them safely back into the home.