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How Bed Bugs Drink Your Blood and How to Stop Them
April 21, 2023

How Bed Bugs Drink Your Blood and How to Stop Them

As the WIMP Family Friendly site suggests, “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite” is a good wish to give. Bed bugs live on human blood, making them, for all intents and purposes, the perfect vampire insect. While you won’t feel a bed bug bite (much) they leave nasty, itchy welts that can be so maddening that some people with bed bug infestations have resorted to desperate measures to get rid of them, sometimes with disastrous results.

adult bed bug getting ready to feed

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs average about 3/16 inches in length and are reddish brown in color. They do not fly nor jump, but rather crawl rapidly across any surface. Female bed bugs lay up to three eggs a day and hundreds in a lifetime, usually in secluded places in a home or other building. They usually reside in clothing and furniture, especially beds, which is where the source of their meals sleeps. Bed bugs are dormant during the day when humans are awake. They come out at night to feed, biting humans though sometimes they will attack other mammals such as family pets.

Are bed bugs dangerous to humans?

When bed bugs bite, they secrete an anticoagulant chemical that allows for the free flow of blood from its victim. The body’s immune system reacts to this chemical, which causes welts and the maddening itching sensation. The effects can be worse if you have an allergy to bed bug secretion.

What is bed bug PTSD?

A bed bug infestation may create psychological effects as well. According to a recent story in the Atlantic, “Bed Bug PTSD” may be a real phenomenon. According to some preliminary studies, people who have or have had bed bug infestations report heightened feelings of paranoia, anxiety, and depression. People who have experiences infestations can sometimes have trouble sleeping at night, and some even feel phantom sensations of bed bugs crawling and feasting on them. People will cover everything with clear garbage bags in an attempt to shake off the infestation. Indeed, the psychological effects of a bed bug infestation can be more severe than the actual physical manifestation.

Can alcohol kill bed bugs?

No, alcohol does not effectively kill bed bugs. Trying to use alcohol is not only messy, but can be very dangerous in some cases.

Using alcohol to kill bed bugs gone wrong.

The Detroit Free Press reported on a man who started a fire in an attempt to deal with a bed bug infestation that had overtaken his apartment. First, he doused himself and the couch he was sitting on with alcohol. Then he lit a cigarette in an attempt to burn one of the bed bugs. He succeeded in setting the couch and himself on fire. The attempt to set a bed bug on fire resulted in the man being sent to the hospital with severe burns and four units in the apartment complex being destroyed before firefighters extinguished the blaze.

The incident was just the second to occur in the Detroit area in recent months. Previously, a woman poured alcohol over herself and the floor of her apartment. The resulting fire destroyed the 48 unit apartment complex.

Do DIY bed bug treatments work?

Bed bugs are a particularly hard pest to get rid of with just DIY treatments. Not to say some don't help mitigate an infestation, however, the only proven way to fully get rid of bed bugs is with professional assistance. 

Are there any green bed bug removal treatments?

Miller Pest & Termite uses a green bed bug treatment that is so superior to the heat and chemical method that the company can offer a one year warranty. The treatment, using a protein from soybeans, kills bed bugs by slicing through their protective layers like razor blades, killing the insect instantly. The great advantage of this method is that you won’t have to throw away furnishing and clothing after it is done.

What is the best treatment for subterranean termites?

Due to their sheer destructiveness, when you’re dealing with subterranean termites, it’s best to call in a professional. Working with a qualified termite exterminator can be the difference between eliminating a colony completely or suffering massive damage to your home and savings. 

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