Discovering you have a bed bug infestation can be a nightmare. Once you discover them, they’ve likely been there for a while, and they can be difficult to get rid of. It’s always better to try to prevent infestations in the first place rather than deal with the aftermath.
So how can you ward off bed bugs, and what attracts bed bugs? Read on to learn more.
When it comes to what attracts bed bugs, our bodies are the number one culprit. Bed bugs are always seeking their next food source. They are attracted to the body heat we give off because they know it gets them closer to their next meal.
Bed bugs can detect warmth and moisture from our bodies up to three feet away. Once they detect body heat and a place to hide, like our beds, they tend to stick around.
Body Oils and Scents
Similar to body heat, our body oils and scent signal to bed bugs that we are a host they can feed off of. We may not think we smell like anything, but bed bugs can pick up our scent even if we’ve just showered and are wearing clean clothes.
Bed bugs also travel once they pick up our scent. In some studies that examined what attracts bed bugs, bugs have traveled up to 60 feet to find a food source once they detect a scent.
Since bed bugs like to be warm and cozy, they often seek out the crevices of a mattress, bed frame, or box spring. They find small nooks and openings wherever they can. You can find bed bugs hiding in a variety of spaces, not just the bed, including:
- Wooden flooring
- Behind wallpaper
- In window treatments
- In furniture cushions
- In drawer joints
Their narrow bodies allow them to slip into even the smallest crevice and stay there for months.
Dirty clothes and bedding hold our sweat and oils. Bed bugs pick up this scent and flock to what they think is the food source. Dirty laundry not only smells like a meal but also offers a place for bed bugs to hide.
If you have piles of laundry lying around, it’s best to clean them up. In addition, it’s a good idea to clean your sheets once a week or once every other week. If you use a laundry facility to wash your clothes, consider using a plastic bag to transport them, and don’t leave clean clothes out at the laundromat before taking them home.
Bed bugs feed on warm-blooded animals, so they know that where there is warm carbon dioxide, there is probably a warm-blooded animal they can feed on, including humans. When we are asleep, we are emitting carbon dioxide for hours, and a carbon dioxide cloud is swirling around our heads.
This is the main reason why bed bug bites are generally found on the neck or head. If you are checking your bed for bugs, the number one place to start is at the top of your bed, where you lay your head at night.
Bed bugs, just like any other insect or animal, have a survival instinct. They know that they are more vulnerable in brightly lit areas where they can be discovered.
Bed bugs seek out dark environments where they feel like they are well-hidden. That’s why you’ll find them under your mattress or in cracks and crevices as opposed to crawling around out in the open during the day.
While no colors keep bed bugs away, some studies have shown that they are attracted to certain colors more than others. It seems that they gravitate more towards the colors black and dark red.
One theory is they perceive a safer environment in dark sheets. Another is that black and dark red appear to be more like blood, so the bugs think they are closer to their next meal.
What Can You Do to Keep Bed Bugs Away?
You’ve probably noticed by now that the main elements that attract bed bugs are difficult to eliminate. When looking at what attracts bed bugs, the top culprits are things that we can’t do anything about.
Unfortunately, you’ll always exude body heat and carbon dioxide, and you’ll always have blood running through your body, so bed bugs will always be attracted to you.
The best thing you can do to prevent bed bugs is to keep clean. The more you can minimize excess body oils and scents on your bed and in your clothes, the better. Keeping clean will also minimize the spaces where bed bugs can hide and multiply.
You can also invest in furniture that doesn’t offer extra spaces for bed bugs to live – like the bed bug-resistant furniture from ESS Universal.
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.