BED BUGS – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

All your questions about bed bugs answered by a REAL pest control professional.

I get asked a lot of questions about bed bugs when treating infestations, so I’ve listed and answered the most common ones below. Get in touch if you have a question that isn’t answered.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, wingless, nocturnal parasitic insects that feed on the blood of people and animals.

Learn all about bed bugs here.

What does a bed bug look like?

Bed bugs are small, flat, oval, wingless insects with 6 legs. They are similar in length and shape to an apple pip and are rusty-reddish brown in color.

The adult grows to around 5mm (3/16 of an inch) in length but elongates and swells after a blood meal.

bed bug placed alongside ruler for actual size measurement

Want to see more pictures of bed bugs so you can accurately identify them? Click the link as we have the most comprehensive images on the internet with lots taken at actual infestations.

What do bed bugs eat?

Bed bugs feed solely on blood to live. Although this pest prefers to dine on humans, it will also feed on other warm-blooded animals, such as dogs, cats, and birds.

Read more here about what do bed bugs feed on.

How did I get bed bugs?

How did bed bugs get into my home? This question is often asked, and the answer is usually one of the following:

  • From used furniture that is infested.
  • They have crawled into luggage, backpacks, or other items placed on upholstered surfaces or beds in hotels and other overnight providers.
Luggage in bathtub in hotel room
Place all luggage in bathtub in the hotel room when you arrive to prevent bringing bed bugs back home.
  • They have crawled between rooms in apartment buildings and hotels.

Read about the 3 main ways you bring bed bugs into your home.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs are found where humans are and they like to stay close to us as we are their primary food source. They have many hiding spots near to where we sleep, so, this obviously is the mattress, box spring, and bed frame.

Read about the many places bed bugs are found hiding in your room.

But they are also found hiding in other areas usually within 3-6 feet of the bed, and this can include:

  • cabinets
  • underneath wallpaper
  • in carpets and upholstered furniture
  • behind baseboards
  • behind electrical switch plates, as well as many other places.

Can you just have a few bed bugs?

Unfortunately not! If you think you’ve spotted only a few bed bugs, then you’re on the way to an infestation problem. Bed bugs will reproduce with their offspring, so the ‘few’ will soon turn into many.

Learn more about if you only find one bed bug and what to do.

Can you sleep in a bed with bed bugs?

Yes, you can, and you should sleep in your bed if it has bed bugs. Moving to another room to sleep will spread the bed bugs to that room. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide you breathe out, so they will soon follow you.

Sleeping elsewhere will only spread the infestation, making it harder to eliminate. Even if you move out of your home for a while, you risk taking them with you and starting an infestation there. But they will certainly be waiting for your return.

Mattress and box spring encasements are a good idea to put on your bed as these prevent the bed bugs from escaping so they eventually die. It also prevents bed bugs that crawl from other parts of the room from being able to hide on the bed.

So as uncomfortable as it sounds, it is best to continue sleeping in the bed until the bed bugs are eradicated.

What are the first signs of bed bugs?

How do you know if you have bed bugs? Well, there are several early signs to look for, and the best place to start looking is on the bed itself.

These are some of the first signs to look out for:

  • Small dark brown/black fecal stains on the sheets, pillowcases, and the mattress.
  • Red, itchy bites, live bed bugs, shed skins, and eggs.
  • bloodstains on your PJs and sheets.
  • Cast/shed bed bug skins and shells.  
  • Tiny, flat, reddish-brown bed bugs.

Click on the link above for more in-depth information that you need to know about which details what exactly to look for and where.

Can bed bugs crawl out of vacuums

Bed bugs are masters at survival and can survive being sucked up by a vacuum. It is so important to remove the vacuum bag straight after use and seal it with tape so no bed bugs can crawl out. Place the sealed bag into a plastic bag and seal and take out for the trash immediately.

If your vacuum is bagless then empty the contents into a plastic bag, seal it and dispose of in the trash outside immediately.

The removable container, filter, hose, and any attachments that were used need washing in hot soapy water to remove and kill any surviving bed bugs.

If not, these pests can crawl out and will go in search of a blood meal, and potentially spread to other rooms. Something you definitely want to avoid!

I go into this in a lot more detail in how to get rid of bed bugs, which you’ll find useful.

Do bed bugs jump?

No, bed bugs cannot jump, hop, or fly. They don’t have wings and they do not have long powerful back legs as fleas do to be able to jump.

They get around by crawling, and can crawl quickly over surfaces to get to a host for a meal.

There are other pests that are often mistaken for bed bugs, so it’s a good idea to take a look at this page so you can be sure it’s bed bugs you’ve got or another pest.