When tucking our loved ones to sleep, we often say, “Good night, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Didn’t you ever wonder where that saying came from? But more importantly, what are bed bugs, where do they come from, and what myths are associated with them? Here are some things you need to know about bed bugs.

What’s a bed bug?

Bed bugs are insects that are small, flat, wingless, reddish-brown, and are as big as small apple seeds. During the day, they love lurking in your bed, including its mattress seams and frames, and also in wall cracks and floor crevices and furniture innings. At night, they come out of hiding to feed on your blood when you’re asleep, but they also feast on other warm-blooded animals like your pet cats and dogs. Bed bugs can’t fly like cockroaches do or jump like lizards, but they can crawl at a fast speed. 

You will know that bed bugs are present in your home when you find skin they’ve shed, their fecal droppings, bloodstains on your bed as a result of you squashing them when you roll over, and well, bed bugs themselves. They are often mistaken as ticks, small cockroaches, and carpet beetles. 

The average lifespan of a bed bug is approximately 10 months, and in their entire lifetime, they molt more than five times. A female bed bug can lay a hundred eggs while she is alive. Nymphs, or baby bed bugs, mature quickly under favorable conditions and with a constant supply of blood. Bed bugs are very resilient and adaptable.

Bed bugs used to be bat bugs before.

Cimex lecturlarius is the scientific name for bed bugs, with cimex being Roman for the word, bug, and lectularius pertaining to couch or bed. They are believed to have been around as early as 400 BC in Greece and Aristotle even mentioned their existence in one of his works as much as Egyptian literature has. 

On the other hand, bed bugs are also considered that bed bugs originated in the Middle East where they lived in bat-inhabited caves. In connection to that, scientists hypothesize that bats are the “ancestral hosts” of bed bugs. Additional studies suggest that as time passed, bed bugs were parasites to bats first and then moved on to humans since they cohabited. Because ancient civilizations acknowledged the benefits that bed bugs could bring, they were used for curing ailments and thus spread to other nations such as Asia and Europe. As old as bed bugs are, they lived comfortable lives not just among middle-class homeowners, but even lived with rich people in mansions and castles. 

Myths about Bed Bugs

Listed below are some common myths about bed bugs, and whether or not they are real.

Bed bugs only feed at night. False. Yes, bed bugs are nocturnal and more active in the dark, but they won’t hesitate to eat when they are hungry. Whether there’s sunlight or even lights on, you can’t keep bed bugs away as they will bite anytime. 

Bed bugs only ever live in your bed. False. Stephen Kells, a bedbug researcher at the University of Minnesota says about bedbugs, “(The word) ‘Bedbug’ is such a misnomer. They should also be called pet bugs and suitcase bugs and train bugs and movie theater bugs.” This emphasizes how bed bugs can survive in the majority of surfaces, living spaces, and frequented pieces of furniture, not just exclusively in your sleeping quarters. 

Bed bugs prefer dirty beds. False. An entomologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh by the name of Coby Shal remarks about bed bugs, “Bedbugs are terribly nondiscriminatory”, which simply means bed bugs aren’t choosy about whether they live in a clean or in a messy room. A tidy room will make finding bed bugs definitely easier, but a sanitized area doesn’t automatically guarantee a bedbug-free situation. 

Bed bugs don’t spread disease. True. Scientific research has not proven that bed bugs are disease carriers similar to their pest counterparts, rats. Though bed bug bites will still cause itchiness and worse, irritation to some individuals. Nobody wants bed bug infestations, but if you have, by any chance, some bed bug guests, you don’t have to worry so much about contracting diseases from them.  

The more you know about what bed bugs are, where they come from, and how they can affect us—the more you will understand how to deal with them. But the best thing to do if ever you experience a bed bug infestation is to call and ask for help from your pest control experts

Through the advances of heat treatment technology, bed bugs and all of its life stages will die at a certain room temperature. With the help of technology today, you can get rid of bed bugs without throwing away your stuff or moving into the next cave if we may put ourselves in bats and paleolithic humans’ shoes when bed bugs first existed. That way, you can make peace with a good uninterrupted bedtime.