Do Bed Bugs Only Feed on Human Blood?

Do Bed Bugs Only Feed on Human Blood?

Bed bugs subsist only on the blood of warm-blooded creatures. There is speculation as to whether bed bugs prefer humans to other warm-blooded creatures and why this would be the case. Bed bugs may seem to target humans because they are an easy meal while asleep. The exposed skin makes for quick and easy access to a blood meal.

Bed bugs will, however, feed on pets and other animals if a human host is not readily available. The may sometimes even prefer the pets and create nests in areas where the pets live.

Bed Bug Feeding Behavior

Bed bugs are referred to as a nesting parasite which means that they do not live on the host the same way that ticks or fleas do. Instead, the critters live and hide in nests near the host, usually close to the bed hence the name ‘bed bug’. The insects will, however, hide anywhere with a deep or dark crevice such as behind wallpapers, inside picture frames and in joints on furniture.

These pests typically live within an 8-foot radius of the host although the distance may widen as the infestation continues to spread. They are mostly active at night although they will venture out for a blood meal during the day if they are hungry. People who work the night shift will are still a target while they sleep during the day.

The feeding time takes anywhere between 3 to 10 minutes. The insect has a long beak that it uses to pierce the skin. The bed bug also injects an anesthetic agent that numbs the contact area during feeding which is why most people don’t discover the bites until they wake.

Bed bugs feed every three or four days and can stay anywhere from 80 to 550 days without a meal depending on age and environmental conditions. Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide, moisture and heat given off by the human or animal host. There is no evidence that bed bugs transmit any diseases to humans. Their exoskeletons and fecal matter may, however, trigger allergic reactions and asthma among other respiratory issues.

How to Keep Bed Bugs from Biting

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to keep bed bugs from biting you (learn more about bed bug bites here) if your home is infested with them. A few preventive measures may help.

You can install a bed bug proof mattress encasement that traps live bed bugs which eventually die from starvation or suffocation. This may save you buying a new mattress but won’t help to fend off any new bed bugs that might be lurking nearby.

Treated mattress covers don’t work effectively enough to keep bed bugs from biting. These covers are treated with a chemical that is supposed to kill the pests on contact. Bed bugs, however, require up to days of direct contact with pesticides to exterminate.

Other tips include avoiding introducing used furniture, books and fabrics until you are sure that they do not contain bed bugs.

Hire the Exterminators to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Homeowners who attempt to exterminate bed bugs on their own eventually have to call experts after they make the problem worse. The pests are immune to common pesticides which disperse them rather than kill them. This increases their range and causes more problems for the home’s occupants.

The critters also prefer to hide deep inside crevices so even with lethal active ingredients (not available to non-professionals) it would be difficult to tell which areas to treat and when.

Hire The Bed Bug Exterminator Toronto to get rid of bed bugs efficiently and permanently. Our technicians use low-toxicity but lethal chemicals to exterminate bed bugs and other pests.

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Joe The Exterminator
Joe The Exterminator

Joe is a professional pest control exterminator with over 15 years of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge about different pests and how you can deal with them.