What Attracts Bed Bugs? | Essential Tips to Avoid Infestation

Written by Thomas Matthews

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 in the seemingly never-ending fight against them.

So, what exactly attracts bed bugs? Warm-blooded animals’ carbon dioxide and body heat attract bed bugs. Bed bugs are drawn to you naturally since they feed on warm-blooded animals. They are nocturnal which means that they are most active at night. Since we produce a lot of carbon dioxide while we sleep, bed bugs prefer the night to feed.

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.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bug infestations can occur in even the most pristine houses. They can be acquired from any location, including:

  • Offices
  • Airports
  • Residential homes
  • Libraries
  • Educational institutions
  • Police and fire stations
  • Retail stores

Due to the opportunistic nature of bed bugs, they can also be found in taxis, trains, automobiles, buses, and cruise ships. They roam about in search of a food source if they are unable to discover one.

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 | Effective Methods and Prevention Tips

Other Common Things Bed Bugs Are Attracted To

In addition to this, the following factors can make your home more appealing to bed bugs:

  • Dirty Laundry: It smells like a possible host, which attracts bed bugs.
  • Heat Source: Bed bugs sense the heat that is produced by our bodies and interpret this heat as the presence of a host. Even if it may be cooler in your room, your body temperature will reveal you.
  • Dark Bed Sheets: Dark bed sheets are especially attractive to bed bugs because they enable them to conceal themselves from predators. This is further supported by a study, which shows that bed bugs tend to congregate near objects that are red and black in hue.

Do Bed Bugs Prefer Dirty or Clean Areas?

Do Bed Bugs Prefer Dirty or Clean Areas

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 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.

Do Bed Bugs Have a Blood Type Preference?

Do Bed Bugs Have a Blood Type Preference

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.

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.

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 statuses. They are discussed in the following section.

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

List of Sources

Koehler PG, Pereira RM, Pfiester M, Hertz J. (July 2011). Bed bugs and blood-sucking conenose. EDIS. (26 April 2017)
Pesticides: Controlling Pests. (2010). EPA.
Cimex lectularius Linnaeus (Bed Bugs), University of Florida

Thomas Matthews
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