Bed bugs might make your skin crawl, but they are extraordinary examples of evolution and survival. Here are 17 surprising facts about bed bugs that sound like they came straight out of a horror movie.
Bed Bugs are Constantly Evolving
The bed bug’s genetics have evolved in only a few decades to withstand some of the most potent pesticides in the world. Very few other insects, reptiles, or mammals have shown such an ability to adapt in such a short span of time, managing to stay one step ahead of exterminators and ensure their survival.
Facts About Bed BugsHere are just a few interesting things about bed bugs that might keep you up late at night but will also amaze you.
- Intelligent: Bed bugs are intelligent. Many people mistakenly believe that bed bugs are nocturnal because they hide during the day and feed on you at night, but the bed bug simply knows when it is safe to come out of hiding to feed. If you work nights and sleep during the day, the bed bugs will emerge from their hiding places to dine on your blood in the daylight as soon as you are asleep, knowing that it is safe.
- Numb Their Victims: The bed bug has a needle for a mouth that is hollow like a straw. The bed bug pushes its needle-like mouth deep into your skin to feed. At the same time, the bug’s saliva numbs the area, containing a mild anesthetic agent so that you never feel the bed bug feeding on you. It’s also the saliva that causes the itchy inflammatory reaction at the site of the bite.
- Tolerates Changes in Temperature: Many believe that bed bugs are a tropical insect, but that is not the case. The bed bug thrives in the cold Northeastern regions of the US and can also be found to the south in tropical Miami or west to the deserts of Arizona.
- Feed Three Times: Many people joke that bed bugs enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner because a single bed bug will feed three times on a human which is why the bites are usually in a perfect line.
- Eats Every Ten Days: A bed bug will feast on your blood and then head back to their hiding spot and wait up to ten days before feeding again.
- Doesn’t Mind Climate Change: The tiny insects can withstand temperature shifts that dip to below freezing and then increase to 119 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for the creepy crawlies ranges from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Females Lay Eggs Every Day: A female can lay one to seven eggs every day during her adult life.
- Smell Carbon Dioxide: A bed bug can smell carbon dioxide which alerts them to potential food in the room and gives them clues that you are awake or asleep based off your respiration.
- Lengthy Periods Without Food: In an ideal climate, a bed bug can go up to 100 days without food. If the temperature is cold, then the bed bug enters a state of hibernation and can last for up to a year without eating.
- Gets Full in Minutes: A bed bug will suck the blood of its victim for three to 10 minutes before it reaches its fill. When full, the bed bug will have ingested seven times its body weight in blood.
- World Travelers: Bed bugs live in all parts of the world. They can hitch a ride on clothing and suitcases, so they are also jet setters.
- Can Set Up Residence Anywhere: If there is a fresh blood, then the bed bug can easily live in apartments, hospitals, retirement homes, hotels, and dorm rooms. They also don’t care if their home is clean or dirty.
- Opportunistic: The bed bug’s meal of choice is human blood but if there isn’t any available the bug will resort to dog, cat, or rodent blood.
- Brutal Breeding Habits: The male bed bug savagely stabs the female’s belly to inseminate her. There is nothing romantic about their lovemaking.
- Bed Bugs Stink: The bugs secrete a very unpleasant odor that smells musky. Many people have compared the smell to that of a ferret. When living with bed bugs some humans become immune to the smell, but canines seem extremely sensitive to the odor which is why bed bug sniffing dogs are often used to zero in on a colony’s hiding spot.
- Freezing Temperatures Don’t Kill Them: You can freeze a bed bug at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for four days and the bug will still thaw out and survive.
- Excrement Looks Like Blood: When perusing your sheets, it's hard to tell if there are flecks of blood or fecal matter because the bed bug’s excrement is laden with the digested blood that they consume and looks the same.