Myths About Bed Bugs

January 3, 2011

There's no doubt that you've heard a story (or ten) about a friend or coworker fighting bed bugs. But storytelling, of course, can sometimes be paired with misconception spreading or exaggeration. Here, some commonly discussed bed bug myths are set straight:

Bed Bugs Are Only Found in Beds
Despite their name, these critters don't just relegate themselves to your sleeping quarters. They are also found in couches and curtains throughout the house, and even in public places, like movie theaters.

You Can't See Bed Bugs
Baby bed bugs are quite small and light in color, which can make them easy to miss, but their adult counterparts are about 1/4 to 3/8 inches long. They have brown, flat, oval-shaped bodies.

Bed Bugs Must Feed Regularly to Live
While they will go hunting for blood around once a week, these critters can go more than a year on an empty stomach.

You'd Know a Bed Bug Bite When You See One
Unfortunately, there's no telltale bite mark. Bites may result in small, pimple-like bumps, large marks with a red dot in the center, or something in between. Some people may be victim to "breakfast, lunch and dinner" bites (three bites in a row), while others may get nibbled on here and there.

If you think you may have been bitten, see your doctor. While he likely won't be able to confirm that bed bugs are to blame for sure, he can at least tell you if they're a possibility and direct you to take steps to protect your home.

If I'm in a Hotel With Bed Bugs, There’s No Way I'm Not Bringing Them Home With Me
What a nice souvenir! Yes, the chance that they'll hitch a ride back to your place is high. But you can mitigate your risk by keeping your luggage off the floor and on a dresser or luggage rack—though bed bugs can fall from drapes or walls, they cannot jump or fly.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 03 Jan 2011

Last Modified: 03 Nov 2014