Bed bugs are the bane of Britain at the moment.

The avid fans of human blood have instilled fear as they infiltrate our private spaces, feeding on us when we are the most vulnerable.

This has hence given rise to a plethora of rumours surrounding these apple-seed-sized vampires.  

To alleviate the escalating anxiety, Kevin Klingler, a pest control expert at Pest Wisdom, is determined to dispel these myths once and for all.

5 bed bug myths

MYTH: You attract more bed bugs by killing them 

Many people wonder if killing off a bed bug infestation will bring new bugs into their space. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Other bed bugs are not interested in deceased members of their species, and it is unlikely that different types of insects will enter your home due to previous bed bug activity. 

While killing bed bugs might potentially draw the attention of other insects such as spiders, ants, and centipedes, this is only likely to occur if those insects already exist in your home. 

MYTH: Bed bug bites spread when scratched 

It's a common belief that scratching bed bug bites can cause them to spread. However, this isn't true. The itchiness associated with bed bug bites is not due to a virus but is caused by the anticoagulant that they inject into our skin to make our blood flow more freely. 

Bed bug bites themselves aren't contagious, what makes scratching a bad idea is that it can create tears in your skin, which might lead to infection or scarring. Hence, despite the temptation, it’s best to resist the urge to scratch.  

MYTH: Bed bugs can smell blood  

Bed bugs do NOT possess the ability to smell blood. Instead, they are attracted by the CO2 and heat emitted by our bodies - which they can detect as long as they are within three feet of their target - and will begin to bite until they find a vein. This is why they tend to inhabit areas close to where you sleep. 

Since bed bugs cannot detect blood, there is no correlation between their biting frequency and menstrual cycles or blood type. Some individuals may experience more bites simply because bed bugs prefer feeding on smooth, exposed skin, which is easier for them to access. Additionally, bed bugs don’t like movement, so a person who stays relatively still is favoured.  

MYTH: Bed bugs only live in beds  

As misleading as their name may be, bed bugs don’t only live in beds. Hence, dumping your mattress will not eliminate bed bugs as these critters often nest in various other places. They can be found in crevices of bed frames, both inside and on box springs, drawers and closets, among items stored under the bed, in curtains, stuffed animals, and even on carpets and rugs.

Consequently, discarding your mattress is unlikely to completely resolve your bed bug problem, and you may inadvertently spread bed bugs throughout your home as you transport the infested mattress. 

MYTH: DIY bed bug home remedies are effective 

People will often have a go at quick internet remedies to salvage their bed-bug-infested homes before seeking professional help. Baking soda and rubbing alcohol are among the most commonly used, however, there is no scientific backing for their effectiveness.

Research by Rutgers University shows that even after being sprayed with rubbing alcohol, half of the bed bugs still survive after four days.