Bed bugs are small, flat insects with an oval shape and brownish color that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. These sneaky hitchhikers hide during the day and come out at night, so they can be tough to spot — and even tougher to treat.
If you don't know much about them, it's easy to confuse their bites with those of other insects or even skin conditions. You should always consult with a medical doctor if you have markings or discolorations on your skin. Brush up on your bed bug knowledge by checking out these commonly asked questions.
Q: Do bed bugs have wings? Can bed bugs fly?
A: Bed bugs are passive travelers that can move around via our belongings. They aren't able to fly and do not have wings.
Q: How do bed bugs travel?
A: Since bed bugs don't have wings and can't jump, they have to rely on their six legs - how's that for a workout? Bed bugs are often known as "hitchhikers" because they hitch rides on luggage or clothing to travel more rapidly. This is why bed bug activity peaks in the summer, when many people are traveling.
Q: Why are they called bed bugs?
A: Bed bugs have flat bodies that allow them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Since they don't live in nests, they have to look for hiding places like mattresses, box springs, bedside tables, bedding, bed frames and headboards. This gives them easy access to sleeping or resting humans.
Q: How do bed bugs find hosts while they are asleep?
A: Body heat, the carbon dioxide from exhaled breath and other biological signatures help focus the bed bugs on unsuspecting, snoozing hosts.
Related: Signs Your Room Has Bed Bugs
Q: Do bed bug bites hurt?
A: Bed bugs can bite exposed skin, but the bites may be painless at the time of contact. They can eventually become itchy welts, similar to a mosquito bite.
Related: Bed Bug Bites vs Mosquito Bites
Q: What do bed bugs do during the daytime?
A: The bed bug feeds, then retreats back to its resting place for days or even weeks before coming back out, often making detection of infestations difficult until they are well established.
Q: Where do bed bugs hide?
A: They live in small crevices mostly undetected. They don't need much space — it is possible to find eight or 10 bed bugs in a single screw hole in furniture or electronics.
Related: Learn More About Bed Bug Hiding Places
Q: How do I know if I have bed bugs?
A: If you wake up with itchy skin and you didn't have it before going to bed, it could be a sign of recent bed bug activity. However, not all people respond to bed bug bites. Other red flags include blood stains or fecal spots on your bedding and empty bed bug exoskeletons.
If you think you have been in contact with bed bugs, check personal belongings carefully. You should also call the professionals at Terminix® for a thorough inspection. And don't wait, because the infestation can grow and spread quickly if you have one.