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Common Myths About Bed Bugs

Questions & Answers

  1. Myth: You can't see a bed bug
  2. Reality: You can see adult bed bugs, nymphs(immature bed bugs) and eggs with or without a magnifying glass or microscope. An adult bed bug is about the size of an apple seed and a nymph is about the size of a sesame seed.
  3. Myth: Bed bugs only live in dirty places.
  4. Reality: Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. However, houses and rooms full of clutter offer bed bugs more hiding places.
  5. Myth: Bed bugs can transmit diseases to humans.
  6. Reality: Bed bugs do not transmit diseases to humans. Lab tests have shown that it is unlikely that the insect is capable of infecting its host.
  7. Myth: Bed bugs won't come out if the room is brightly lit.
  8. Reality: While bed bugs prefer darkness, keeping the light on at night won't deter these pests from biting you.
  9. Myth: Pesticide applications alone will easily kill and get rid of bed bug infestations.
  10. Reality: Bed bug control is difficult and is most effective when a complete treatment approach that uses a variety of methods and constant monitoring are used. The proper use of pesticides is likely one big component of the treatment approach, but will not get rid of the problem alone.
  11. Myth: If I throw my bed and other bed bug infested furniture out, I will no longer have a bed bug problem.
  12. Reality: They may be called bed bugs but they don't just infest a bed or other furniture in the bed room. Bed bugs can hide in any dark crack or crevice in a room. Getting rid of furniture before it has been inspected and treated by an experienced pest control professional can be a costly mistake and will not solve the problem. Almost everything can be treated to remove bed bugs but if not properly handled the removal of furniture can simple spread an infestation to other areas of a home.
  13. Myth: I couldn't possibly have bed bugs because I have not been anywhere that has bed bugs.
  14. Reality: Unfortunately travel, whether outside of the country or within the U.S., is not the only possible source of bed bugs. Bed bugs can be found in a variety of locations such as in hotels, motels, hostels, movie theaters, public transportation, residential housing complexes, private residences, workplaces, etc. Bed bugs are great hitchhikers and can easily be brought into your home if you have visited a bed bug infested location or have brought bed bug infested items into your home such as second-hand furniture or luggage.
  15. Myth: It can't be bed bugs because I get bitten and nobody else in my house does.
  16. Reality:Not everyone will have a reaction to a bed bug bite. In fact, it is possible that two people that sleep in the same bed are both bitten by bed bugs and one will breakout with welts or sores as a result of the bed bug bites and other person will not. Some people will react immediately to bed bugs bites, while for others it may take a few days.
  17. Myth:Bed bugs can be killed by cold temperatures.
  18. Reality: It is true that temperatures below freezing will kill bed bugs, but the exposure to the freezing temperatures must be for an extended period of time. It is unlikely that temperatures in Utah will be cold enough outside (except for certain times during the winter months) to kill bed bugs.
  19. Myth: You can feel when a bed bug is biting you.
  20. Reality: You usually will not feel it when a bed bug is biting you, because while biting you and feeding, a bed bug injects a saliva that contains an anesthetic (a numbing chemical) and an anti-clotting agent so your blood with flow freely. You likely won't feel a thing.

Contact

Utah Department of Health
Bureau of Epidemiology
801-538-6191
Fax: 801-538-9913
Email: epi@utah.gov
288 North 1460 West
PO Box 142104
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2104

24-Hour Urgent Event & Disease Reporting

1-888-EPI-UTAH (374-8824)
 

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