A popular question we get is “where do bed bugs come from.” Many people feel embarrassed having bed bugs as if their hygiene or cleanliness was the culprit of their infestation. This may be true with cockroaches, but not with bed bugs. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs have nothing to do with how clean a person is as their diet consists solely on their host’s blood. This means that leftover dinner plates left in the sink overnight will not attract or even interest a bed bug.
Bed bugs do like us however. They are attracted to pets and humans through the body heat and CO2 we naturally emit. These attractants are irresistible to bed bugs and are how they ultimately find their next blood meal. Bed bugs feed about every 5-7 days and do not normally remain on their host often seeking refuge in dark cracks where they can remain undisturbed until their next meal.
Now that we better understand what attracts bed bugs, let’s now discuss where they come from. Bed bugs have been documented for thousands of years and are nothing new. They were almost eradicated in the USA back in the 40’s and 50’s with the usage of DDT insecticide, but have slowly increased in numbers since the ban of DDT in the 1970’s. Bed bugs can be found in almost every part of the world with new cases having increased more than 500% over the past few years.
Bed bugs are often picked up during stays in hotels or cruise ships, which are also areas where people come and go often making exposure very high if one travels frequently. Other high turnover areas include hospitals, nursing homes, airplanes, buses, trains, movie theaters and even restaurants.
Bed bugs are picked up normally in a bag or suitcase left where bed bugs are present allowing a stowaway bed bug to easily crawl inside where they are difficult to notice. Once they arrive back at your home, they begin to feed and multiply leading to an infestation. Bed bugs often spread from room to room or apartment to apartment through cracks or openings in electrical outlets. This easy method of passage is what is causing major issues in hotels, condos, town-homes and apartment complexes across the country.
We never suggest changing your lifestyle because of bed bugs, but we do encourage travelers to be careful while traveling to reduce exposure to bed bugs. Items that can help include the PackTite Bed Bug Heater for bags and carry on suitcases, luggage liners, suitcase sprays, Climbup Insect Interceptors and mattress encasements.