In recent years, bed bugs have become a major problem in the U.S. Although they’ve lived with humans since ancient times, bed bugs were largely unheard of in the U.S. after World War II, thanks to pesticide use. Here are five of the most common myths about bed bugs.
Myth No. 1: Bad hygiene triggers bed bug infestations
Bed bugs don’t care if a place is messy or clean. They live on blood, and have been found everywhere from apartments to five-star hotels. If you’ve had bed bugs, don’t be embarrassed; it’s not a reflection on your personal hygiene.
Myth No. 2: Bed bugs spread disease
Although this is theoretically possible, bed bugs have not yet been shown to spread disease, according to the CDC. However, their bites can cause severe allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, and the bites often become red and inflamed several days after contact.
Myth No. 3: Bed bugs are only found in beds
Bed bugs do tend to prefer beds, since that’s where their food source is regularly found. However, they can be found on other furniture and surfaces. They’re even being found in libraries — and you thought silverfish were annoying!
Myth No. 4: Bed bugs live on human bodies
Bed bugs aren’t like lice or ticks. They actually don’t like to stay on human skin, which is too warm for their taste. They prefer residing on objects held away from the body, such as suitcases. You won’t “catch” bed bugs from another human being, though you may get them from secondhand furniture that’s been exposed to them.
Myth No. 5: Bed bugs can fly
Bed bugs can’t fly. To get where they’re going, they use their six legs and hitchhike as much as possible.
Undoubtedly, bed bugs are a major pain to deal with, but they are treatable. If you suspect that you have bed bugs in your home, purchase only U.S. EPA-registered products to apply yourself or consult a licensed pest-control professional.