How Dangerous are Bed Bugs, Really?

Bed bugs: They’re nasty creatures no doubt, but in the world of pests, how dangerous are they, actually? Can their itchy bites spread disease? Can they do anything to cause home destruction? We have the answers. 

So, are Bed Bugs Dangerous? 

First things first: how dangerous is a bed bug infestation? To put it very simply: no, bed bugs are not considered a dangerous insect to have in your home. However, anyone who has dealt with a bed bug infestation in the past can testify to the fact that the answer is a little more complicated than a simple “no”. True, bed bugs don’t spread disease, and their bites are not considered dangerous, but bed bugs can have complex effects on people, ranging from allergic reactions to psychological impacts. 

While a bed bug bite can be imperceptible to some, for others it can cause allergic reactions severe enough to require medical attention. Allergies aside, bed bugs can also have impacts on mental health: the paranoia attached to the idea of little bugs munching on you while you sleep can damage your sleep cycles and make relaxing on any fabric surface in your home mentally uncomfortable, if not physically. So the bottom line is this: bed bugs are not dangerous in the same way that rodents or termites can be, but having them in your home can be damaging. 

The Signs of Bed Bugs 

Although other bugs are sometimes misidentified as bed bugs, signs of actual bed bugs are pretty straightforward: 

  • Visible bed bug exoskeletons: these are tan or “straw-colored”, approximately 1-5mm in size, and will be found in the areas bed bugs tend to live – like the seams of a mattress or the cracks and crevices in a headboard.
  • Actual bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets.
  • Rust–colored blood spots on the mattress or on other furniture in the house – this is their poop. 
  • A sweet musty odor.

Where do Bed Bugs Come From? 

Bed bugs don’t jump or fly, but they are proficient at very quickly crawling across and onto things. However, they can’t really crawl across large distances, so how do they actually get into homes? As you have probably heard, bed bugs are expert hitchhikers: they latch onto any fabric and want to be as close to a blood host as possible. Typically they are picked up during travel: they will crawl onto a suitcase or travel bag and travel right back home with you from their family vacation; alternatively, bed bugs will also often get into homes via used furniture. 

If you are traveling, there are a few things that you can do to mitigate the risk of an uninvited bed bug guest getting into your home: 

  • Do a Room Inspection

    Whether you are staying in a hotel, motel, or rental, before you flop down or toss your suitcase, bags, or clothing on the bed, do a quick room inspection. Naturally, you should start with the bed: pull off the sheets and check the seams of the bed. If you see any stains or spots, you should notify the staff or owner immediately.

    If the bed is in good shape, start looking around the rest of the room. Make sure to focus most carefully on other pieces of furniture in the space (couches, chairs, etc.) as well as the headboard of the bed to make sure there are no signs of bed bugs.
  • Consider Using a Bed Bug Luggage Protector

    Even with a thorough room inspection, bed bugs can be sneaky – and one could really make its way onto your luggage almost anywhere. Using a bed bug luggage protector (of which there are many that you can find online) will greatly reduce the chances that a bed bug will be able to hitch a ride on your luggage and into your home.
  • Do a Deep Clean After Travel

    Even if you are careful when it comes to keeping bed bugs out of your home after travel, it doesn’t hurt to be EXTRA cautious. Checking your luggage and vacuuming it before you bring it into your house can suck up any bed bugs and/or bed bug eggs – and you can even steam clean your luggage if you are feeling extra ambitious.

    Also, be sure to wash all the clothes that you brought with you on your trip in hot water when you get home. The heat from the washer and dryer will kill any bed bugs or bed bug eggs that might have tagged along with you on your trip home.

Preventing Bed Bugs 

If bringing secondhand furniture into your home, do a careful bed bug inspection first. For pointers on doing a proper bed bug furniture inspection, check out the video below

Additionally, inspect your sleeping area and your pet’s sleeping area (if you have one) if you suspect that you might be dealing with bed bug activity in your home – bed bugs will often target pets as well as humans, and signs of their presence can show up where pets sleep. Keeping an eye on where your pets sleep can act as an early warning signal, especially after a trip or when some new furniture comes into the home. 

Getting Professional Bed Bug Exterminators 

If you find yourself in a position where you do have bed bugs- and yes, it can happen to anyone- a professional bed bug exterminator is often the only route to go if you want the problem gone for good. Bed bugs are very good at hiding in unconventional places (like inside electrical sockets), and DIY extermination methods are very often not effective at solving the problem. 

That’s where Interstate Pest Management can help. We offer comprehensive bed bug treatments that will make your bed bug problem nothing more than an unpleasant memory. Here’s an overview of some of our treatment options:

  • Steam machines: The most recommended method for bed bug elimination, steam can kill bed bugs at all stages without the use of chemicals.
  • Insecticides: For advanced infestations, chemical applications may be necessary because they can target hard-to-reach areas.
  • Bite-proof mattress encasements: These are helpful for protection against entry and escape of bed bugs on all sides of a mattress.

To learn more about our bed bug treatment options, visit this page.

If you are dealing with a bed bug problem RIGHT NOW, contact us here or call us at (503) 832-4997 ASAP and we can help you take care of your problem quickly, efficiently, and discreetly!