What Attracts Bed Bugs?

  • Are bed bugs attracted by dirt and grime? Do they hide when we switch the light on? Are there any certain blood types that bed bugs love? There are many myths concerning bed bugs’ preferences and just as many correct answers.
  • Everyone deserves a good night’s rest without the bed bug bites, so let’s tackle the habits of these tiny, home-bound creatures.
  • In the guide below, we discover what attracts bed bugs. This knowledge will help you to avoid to unconsciously lure bed bugs into your bedding.

Where do we get bed bugs from?

It’s an open secret that we usually bring bed bugs to our houses from travels.

A bed bug infestation often starts when an unconscious voyager takes a couple of these parasites home as “hitchhikers” on people, clothing, luggage, or other personal belongings.

That’s why one of the reasons to steer away from bed bugs infestation is treating your dirty after-travel laundry diligently. Also, you should always wash guest bedding.

Tip: Store your dirty clothes in a sealed bag or plastic after you’ve brought them from travel. It will prevent bringing bed bugs into your home after the holidays.

They can take a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces—not necessarily when traveling far. 

They know how to cruise between rooms in multi-unit buildings, like hotels.

Another way bed bugs get into our homes is with second-hand furniture. 

Bed bugs lack wings, so they aren’t able to fly. 

What attracts bed bugs?

These irritating pests can easily go unnoticed by humans initially, but since bed bugs live feeding on our blood, we’ll inevitably notice them around sooner or later. 

The good news is, if we learn what attracts bed bugs, we can discover how to protect our bed from them!

These flat, reddish-brown bugs resembling apple seeds have a few Achilles’ heels in our households.

Let’s see the factors that bed bugs are attracted to the most.

Bed bugs love humans and other warm-blooded creatures.

These irritating pests are drawn to carbon dioxide and warmth, and we have both of them!  

Also, bed bugs need blood to survive, so there’s no better supply for them than humans.

We’ll find bed bugs where there is body heat, so in

  • theaters, 
  • public transportation, 
  • airports, 
  • hotels,
  • clothing stores, 
  • libraries, and so on; 

While bed bugs are excellent at hiding during the day, it doesn’t mean that there is no chance they will come out in the daytime. 

All they need is an inactive human host, so if you sit without moving, they are likely to show up and start biting you. 

They can feed at any time but will typically become active at night when we sleep, and we don’t disturb their meal.

Do pets attract bed bugs? 

A dog can attract bed bugs—as can all other warm-blooded creatures—but not more than a human host can. 

Bed bugs are the most attracted to blood and histamine. Blood can be found both in humans and animals. 

The whole idea is simple: bed bugs seek out living creatures to feed.

When bed bugs sense the carbon dioxide that your dog breaths out, it will get attracted to it.

What attracts bed bugs is the scent of skin, warmth, and carbon dioxide—and an average human may appear to be a more tasty bit for these tiny pests. 

Are there any blood types that bed bugs fancy more than others?

To resolve one myth bed bugs:

There is no specific type of blood that bed bugs prefer—they can feed and thrive on any type of blood. 

However, these pesky insects tend to prefer blood that they’ve been accustomed to. 

What does it mean exactly?

For instance, if bed bugs grow up drinking O+ blood, they will feed on O+ blood in the future. Otherwise, if they grew up feeding on AB+ blood, they would prefer this one. 

So, bed bugs prefer a certain blood type and try to get it where it’s available. 

It explains, for example, why bed bugs will bite you but leave your partner alone.

What about a dirty home? Mainly because it provides hiding spots. 

Another thing that bed bugs find useful to thrive is dirty laundry. 

Dirty laundry scents attract bed bugs because worn clothing and slept-on sheets hold our:

  • sweat, 
  • oils, and 
  • scent;

Dirty laundry serves a dual purpose for bed bugs. 

It not only smells like a human blood meal but also provides a hiding place for bed bugs. 

Even without any human around at that moment, bed bugs find it satisfying to live in the dirty laundry until they can feed on human blood.

Eliminating clutter in the house reduces the potential hiding places for bed bugs.

Tip: Washing in hot water and drying on the highest dryer setting will help kill bed bugs, larvae, and eggs. Isn’t it the best motivator to clean up and wash your dirty clothes and bedding more regularly? 

Besides humans, blood, and human waste, bed bugs enjoy warm temperatures. 

The crevices of mattresses or box springs provide the perfect place to stay for them, which is also close to their meal as soon as you fall asleep.

Bed bugs congregate in warm areas around the bed, small nooks in a mattress or box springs, or folds in bedding (they love staying around black or red fabric!) or an upholstered bed frame. 

Let’s not forget that we also give off warmth while sleeping. So not only are we attractive to bed bugs because of our heat, but we’re also their favorite food source. 

Common myths

It’s a myth that bed bugs are attracted to period blood.

It’s body heat and carbon dioxide that draw them to you. 

Bed bugs don’t have any biological mechanism to detect whether somebody is on their period.

Period blood doesn’t contain proteins which bed bugs suck directly from our flesh when they bite us.

What food attracts bed bugs? 

Is there any human food that bed bugs will like to eat?

Luckily (or unluckily), bed bugs feed on nothing except blood. Blood is the food of bed bugs. 

This is why they are attracted to living creatures like humans, dogs, and cats. 

No human food will draw these pests into a home.

They can’t process food crumbs or the dead skin of humans.

They’re not designed to feed on human hair or clothing and can’t chew through wood or paper.

Getting rid of bed bugs

Getting rid of bed bug infestations isn’t easy, but there are ways to prevent them from appearing in our houses in the first place. 

As with any other parasites, also in bed bugs, prevention is a lot easier than eliminating the existing infestation.

But if you’re here, asking how to get rid of bed bugs, you’ve probably already experienced firsthand what it means to be a human host.

Whether you 

  • have already taken steps to get rid of bed bugs and don’t want them back, or 
  • are simply intrigued by the ways of prevention never to meet these creatures in your household, 

we have a few tips for you below:

1. If you suspect bed bugs can already live in your bed frames, cover your skin exposed with a quilt or a blanket when you sleep. It saves you from becoming an instant target for bed bugs—they don’t have easy access to you if you cover.

2. Have a well-ventilated home, and don’t keep plants in the entire room where you sleep. Plants affect the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

3. To keep bed bugs less attracted to your bed frame, use light bed sheets like white, green, yellow. They’ll visually freshen up the room and help minimize bed bugs’ appetite. On the contrary, dark bed sheets will help them hide better, so avoid it at all costs if the bed bug problem appears in your household. If they’re present, it’s easier to see the bed bugs on the lighter bedding.

4. Introduce regular washing and drying of bed sheets, pillowcases, and blankets at high temperatures to your house cleaning routine. 

Another way to keep bed bugs away is by using a scent that bed bugs find repelling. 

Bed bugs hate the smell of 

  • lavender oil,
  • mint, 
  • cinnamon, 
  • basil,  
  • citrus,

and other substances that contain linalool.

Sprinkling lavender oil or spraying lavender scent in areas where bed bugs are hiding is beneficial. Still, it isn’t a very effective way to eliminate bed bugs.

To save your skin, it’s worth considering getting professional treatment (like cleaning chemicals or heat treatments) for pest problems for large infestations. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Bed bug eggs are tiny, barrel-shaped, and usually white to pearl-white. Being about the size of a pinhead, they may recall tiny grains of pepper or salt. One needs to use a microscope to recognize eggs or other parts of their body. Bed bugs lay their eggs in dark, dry areas—like the seams along your mattress or insides of the pieces of furniture.
Both bed bugs and their eggs die at high temperature—122°F (50°C), so using the steam 212°F (100°C) will kill bed bugs immediately. Then, all you have to do is apply steam where bed bugs may be hiding, i.e., in the folds and tufts of mattresses, along with sofa seams, bed frames, and corners or edges.
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