Fact or Fiction: Do bed bugs bite?


Heidi Lara-Flores | HAWKEYE

By Michelle Schomer

Heidi Lara-Flores | HAWKEYE

Bed bugs have long been questioned whether or not they are real, and if they are, do these bed bugs bite. In fact, bed bugs are real and are currently inhabiting beds as well as other places in homes.

Complaints of bed bugs are up 70 percent in the Seattle area this year. As many as one in five New Yorkers are currently, or have been struggling with bed bugs.

Bed bugs are wingless blood-sucking insects who feed on the blood of humans and animals. Bed bugs are reddish brown in color and have a flattened oval shape.

Juveniles, called nymphs, are as small as one and a half millimeters. According to the National Pest Association, calls for bed bugs have risen 81 percent since 2000.

Adult bed bugs range from four to seven millimeters. Bed bugs can come into your home with guests’ clothes, used furniture and old books.

They are found along the seams of mattresses and pillow cases. Bed bugs hide in carpets and cracks in the walls.

There is a fear of staying in hotels because people believe that they are infected with bed bugs. When hotels get bed bugs, it usually isn’t because a lack of sanitation, but from travelers who have been exposed to bed bugs.

The most common place for bed bug bites are the face, neck, arms and hands.

Bed bug bites can be itchy and have the potential to become infected.

Bed bug bites don’t affect everyone the same way. When a bed bug bites it injects a chemical into your skin to keep the blood from clotting and the host from feeling it.

Effective ways to get rid of bed bugs are to use pesticides, vacuum regularly, wrap mattresses or heat treat them, steam cleaning, wash clothes and bedding in hot water or call in the professionals.