Common misconceptions about bed bugs
The bloodsucking insect has become notorious in the past two decades, causing people to fear sleeping in their own beds, throwing furniture away or stripping down the carpets. Just the thought of having bed bugs at home can make you feel distressed and worried. The reason for this article is the increased anxiety of bed bugs we hear from customers, and listening to the detrimental impact even the thought of having bed bugs causes individuals and their close ones.
From experience we know that there are many scenarios when it comes to an infestation, although there are some patterns about bed bugs’ behaviour that do not change. Sometimes it’s a flatmate or a family member that has unknowingly introduced the insect, suddenly affecting the other people living in the property. Would you want to call them out and tell them they brought unwanted visitors to your property, or would you beat yourself up for why the bed bugs chose your property in the first place? Neither of these actually matter because everyone is a candidate for hosting bed bugs within their property regardless of the postcode or the size of the property. Truth of the matter is, bed bugs don’t discriminate.
One thing is for sure – bed bugs have nothing to do with cleanliness, although this is a common misconception. Bed bugs do not discriminate, and they would take any chance to get a bite or free transport to a desired destination. It’s actually true that bed bugs do not choose their hosts when ‘hitchhiking’ luggage, clothes or furniture, hence nobody should be ashamed or feel embarrassed if they find bed bugs in their property.
The most common misconceptions about bed bug infestation are:
- Bed bugs like dirty environments and infest dirty houses
- Bed bugs carry disease
- Bed bug bites always cause a reaction/spot
- Bed bugs can jump or fly from one location to another
- Bed bugs only like warm places and hatch very quickly
With over 10 years in service, Bed Bug Hunters have seen cases where we attend an inspection for suspected bed bugs and don’t find any trace or sign of infestation. After speaking to the residents we find they either have had a previous experience with bed bugs, or have a generalised misconception about insects causing signs of emotional and physical distress. Bed bugs are actually very intelligent when it comes to detecting areas to settle in, detecting residue in an attempt to hide or move to untreated areas for survival, and knowing when to come out for a bite due to exposed skin and less movement, such as when we are sleeping or cosied up on the sofa and watching a movie.
Bed bugs are just insects.
Understanding your emotional reactions and fears
Fear of contamination
Fear of contamination can take over daily life and make the simplest tasks unbearable. Constantly thinking about the ‘what if’ where one can start having recurring thoughts and repetitive behaviours that cannot be controlled. Having fear of contamination includes fear of germs, disease and dirt and can be characterised with 2 components; obsessions and compulsions.
- Obsessions: fear of catching a bed bug, bed bug infestation without encountering one in the property, feeling unclean
- Compulsions: excessive cleaning rituals, avoiding areas of the house that is thought to be infested, disinfecting regularly
It can be a very paralysing and an exhausting experience which can also create the feeling of helplessness and question or blaming oneself. In its extreme form, it can lead to isolation due to feeling guilt and shame.
We have seen cases of people replacing their furniture, emptying out their closets and throwing away all their clothes. It’s true that bed bugs are great at finding comfortable harbourage sites such as headboards, wooden bed frames, fitting or soft furnishings like a mattress seam. They do not however go through fabric and will not be able to enter inside your mattress, unless there is a rip, or into your clothes. Remember, bed bugs crawl, and cannot jump or fly.
Everyone is a candidate for hosting bed bugs within their property.
Fear of being judged
Bed bugs like a free ride from person to person or personal belongings like a suitcase. Take a look at our article Why bed bugs spread around with such ease for more information on bed bug behaviour.
Our technicians’ experience and knowledge on bed bugs behaviour is shared in our Bed bug FAQs. Please reach out to our trustworthy team with any questions via the contact us form (add link to the online form).
Bed Bug Hunters & Prime Pest Control team