Bed Bug Preferences: What Attracts Bed Bugs?

In your fight against bed bugs, it is wise to arm yourself with information on everything there is to know about these pests. Knowing how they get into your home, what they feed on, where they reside, how to get rid of them, etc., gives you an upper hand at the seemingly never-ending fight against them.

Bed bugs feed on blood and so warm-blooded animals are food for them. They reside in small cracks and crevices which is suitable because of their miniature size and their need to reside in cool dry areas. A factor that makes them incredibly hard to eliminate.

So, what exactly attracts bed bugs? Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide emitted by a sleeping mammal. Bed bugs are nocturnal which means that they are most active at night. This coupled with the fact that most of us are not active at night and while we sleep, we are emitting a lot of carbon dioxide which makes night time bed bug’s time to feast.

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Bed bugs may prefer to hide in cool small cracks away from their warm-blooded hosts, but the warmth emitted by a sleeping mammal is also another way they know where to find you. There are a lot of myths out there about why bed bugs invade our homes. In fact, these myths have some people so afraid to admit to the presence of bed bugs in their homes that they end up suffering in silence.

The truth is that bed bugs are everywhere and they are resilient. They do not discriminate and they wreak havoc all over the world. This article gives an in-depth understanding of the kind of places that are more likely to harbor bed bugs and why.

What Attracts Bed Bugs to the Bed?

What Attracts Bed Bugs to the Bed

Just as their name states, bed bugs are mainly found around the bed. However, this doesn’t mean that they cannot be found anywhere else.

Bed bugs like to hang around the bed because this is closer to their main source of food. As it is stated above, bed bugs are attracted by the carbon dioxide emitted by mammals. Your sleeping form produces warmth and carbon dioxide which alerts bed bugs exactly where to find you.

Once they have fed, bed bugs retreat to a hidden little crack around or in your bed. A safe distance from you where they are able to lay their eggs but also close enough to you where they can feed while you are at your most vulnerable.

Related: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress – Easy Instructions

Why Are Hotel and Motel Rooms the Biggest Culprits at Harboring Bed Bugs?

Why Are Hotel and Motel Rooms the Biggest Culprits at Harboring Bed Bugs

Motels seem to be the ideal hangout for bed bugs because they provide the proper conditions in which bed bugs need to survive; sleeping travelers and beds! While bed bugs can crawl from place to place, their best chance of survival is by hitching a ride on unsuspecting travelers.

They hide in the luggage and get transported from infested homes to motels where other travelers will, unfortunately, provide a meal and means of transport to the tiny bed bugs.

Most motel rooms have low maintenance cleaning and this only helps further the rampart bed bug problem.  Having said that, it is wise to clarify that bed bugs do not discriminate according to class, as long as you have blood flowing through your veins you are fair game to these bugs.

However, there are a few factors that seem to affect the intensity of bed bugs in different economical status. They are discussed in the following section.

Do Bed Bugs Prefer Dirty or Clean Areas?

Do Bed Bugs Prefer Dirty or Clean Areas

As stated above the only thing that matters to bed bugs is the blood flowing through our veins. The cleanliness of any place does not matter since bed bugs do not feed on filth. However, cleanliness may not keep the bed bugs out of your home but it certainly can reduce the intensity of their reproduction.

If you clean your sheets often, flip your mattress regularly and clean your house thoroughly, you are likely to spot the bed bugs in their early stage and take the right precaution required for eliminating them, therefore, reducing the chance of an infestation.

This is the exact opposite of someone whose house isn’t cleaned regularly, bed sheets aren’t changed often and the mattress hardly gets flipped over. In this case, your chance of spotting a bed bug only comes after you have an infestation in your home. While bed bugs aren’t as a result of filth, their reproduction is certainly encouraged since they go unnoticed for so long.

Do Bed Bugs Prefer Cluttered or Well-Organized Areas?

The same problem applies when one is dealing with major clutter. Bed bugs are not interested in the clutter but they are certainly at an advantage there because they have multiple places to hide and multiply.

If you keep your home clutter-free, bed bugs will still invade because they are only looking for your blood. However, they will have fewer hiding places and will make your fight against them easier compared to the one whose house is laden with clutter.

Why are Bed Bugs Very Common in Impoverished Areas?

Bed bugs may not be attracted to clutter, filth or your money but they certainly tend to thrive in homes of lower economic status, homeless shelters, etc. This is only because bed bugs are incredibly challenging to eliminate and expensive. Therefore, some people may not be able to meet the financial needs that come with the fight against bed bugs.

This makes bed bugs a continuous problem in some areas while others are able to fight the problem as soon as it arises.

Do Bed Bugs Have a Blood Type Preference?

Do Bed Bugs Have a Blood Type Preference

This may seem like a fact especially when you hear of two people sleeping in the same bed and only one ever shows bed bug bites on their skin in the morning. Bed bugs do not care about the blood type in your veins, they have no preferences, as long as it is red and warm, it is good enough. The reason why some people seem to be prone to bed bug bites is the after-effect reaction. Some people react more to the bites while others seem unaffected.

It doesn’t mean that bed bugs don’t like their blood, it just means that those people do not react to bed bug bites. They are getting fed on just as much as the next person but they don’t react to the anesthetic that is pierced into their skin during the feeding.

Myths About the Things that Attract Bed Bugs

The following is a list of false myths about the things that attract bed bugs. There is a vast overload of information out there and it should be used to curb some of these outdated beliefs. Society has led people to believe that if you have bed bugs:

  • You must be dirty
  • Your home is cluttered
  • You are poor
  • You must be of a particular blood group


Bed bugs are unapologetically indiscriminative! Having bed bugs does not place you in a certain category of the less privileged and you shouldn’t feel stigmatized because you have bed bugs in your home. The reason as to why you have them is because you have something they need to survive!

After figuring out that you have a bed bug problem, do an extensive search of your home and locate where they may have set up the camp. Next, explore the various ways in which you can eliminate them. Use our guides to fully eradicate them from your house!

List of Sources

Koehler PG, Pereira RM, Pfiester M, Hertz J. (July 2011). Bed bugs and blood-sucking conenose. EDIS. (26 April 2017)

EPA. (May 2010). Controlling Bed Bugs. Pesticides: Controlling Pests. (26 April 2017)

Ghauri MSK. 1973. Hemiptera (bugs), pp. 373-393. In K.G.V. Smith [ed], Insects and Other Arthropods of Medical Importance. British Museum, London, England.

Cimex lectularius Linnaeus (Bed Bugs), University of Florida

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