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Bizarre Bed Bug Facts

At Mattress Firm, we know a thing or two about sweet dreams, but our friends at Orkin Pest Control are the experts on real-life nightmares – bed bugs. Mattress Firm used the expertise of entomologists from Orkin to bring you a three-part series on bed bugs. The following post, the third in our series, is brought to you by Entomologist and Technical Director of Orkin’s Midwest Region, John Kane.

While it may feel like ignorance is bliss when it comes to these creepy crawleys, the best way to protect yourself is education. Learn all the bizarre facts about these pests.

In Mattress Firm’s series of posts on the dirty secrets about bed bugs, we’ve learned what bed bugs look like, where they’re hiding and when they bite. We’ve learned why you may find them on vacation  and how to prevent them from coming home with you. But do you think you know all there is to know about the unpleasant creatures we call bed bugs? Not yet!

There’s more than meets the eye to these peculiar pests, and today we’re looking at everything from bed bug diets to classical complaints. Mattress Firm and Orkin are going beyond the surface (literally) to explore the most bizarre bed bug facts. How’s that for a bedtime story?

1. Bed bugs have wings  but don’t worry, they can’t fly.

Their wings have evolved over time to become non-functioning pads. Because bed bugs have no hind wings and their front wings are not large enough to support them, they’re unable to take flight. Think of them as the penguins of the insect world.

2. They’re surprisingly fast for their small size.

In fact, bed bugs have been recorded traveling about a meter per minute. Although that may not sound like a lot, keep in mind that bed bugs are only four to five millimeters long. That translates to a person running the length of a football field four and a half times in one minute. That’s fast!

3. They stink.

Even though you can recognize bed bug signs by sight, by looking for the rust-colored stains or yellow skins, you may also be able to detect them by smell. Some say that bed bugs give off a distinctively sweet odor, comparable to rotting raspberries.

4. They know when you’re sleeping.

Humans emit a different level of CO2 while they’re sleeping versus while they’re awake. This means that bed bugs can detect when you’re sound asleep in bed  and therefore know when they should begin their feeding.

5. They can eat A LOT.

Think you’re stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner? Think again. Bed bugs can ingest more than seven times their body weight in one sitting. That’s the equivalent of a 150-pound adult drinking 125 gallons of water.

6. They don’t live THAT long.

The good news? The average bed bug only lives an average of four to six months. The bad news? Bed bug populations can double about once every 16 days.

7. Bats could be to blame.

Bed bugs didn’t always feed on humans. In fact, bats were the original hosts of these blood-sucking insects. Unfortunately, at some point over the last 245,000 years, bed bugs expanded their appetite from bats to humans.

8. Plato probably knew about them.

Although bed bugs have experienced a recent surge over the last two decades, they’ve been around for far longer than you think. Bed bugs made appearances in everything from Greek writings during the time of Aristotle to medieval European texts. How’s that for old age?

9. Man’s best friend helps us out.

Sometimes even The Orkin Man needs a hand to fight off a major bed bug infestation. That’s why elite teams of bed bug-sniffing dogs are used to locate even the sneakiest of pests. A top-performing dog can sniff up to 50 rooms in a single bed bug inspection.

10. They aren’t just in bedrooms.

Although bed bugs are a real pest for the hospitality industry, including hotels and apartment complexes, they’re not the only businesses to feel their wrath. In fact, movie theaters, airplanes, government buildings, public transportation services, health care facilities and college campuses can also be affected.


Is your skin crawling yet?

As Mattress Firm customers, we want you to always sleep tight – and never experience a bed bug bite. To learn more about how to prevent these pests, whether you’re at home or traveling, be sure to check out the first and second posts in our bed bug series.

About The Author

The Daily Dozers The Daily Dozers are the mattress experts behind The Daily Doze, pooling their knowledge to bring you all that you need to know about what’s right under your head (literally). The Daily Dozers are team members who have been embedded in the mattress industry for years, whether that’s at one of our more than 3,000 neighborhood stores, or in our hometown of Houston at BedQuarters. These product experts can answer any question you might have about your bed. From ‘what size mattress do I need for my room?’ to ‘how do I know if I need an adjustable base?’ – there’s no topic too tired for The Daily Dozers. Even better? The Daily Dozers work together with The Savvy Savers to make sure you’re getting the bed you want, at a price you can’t find anywhere else.

One thought on “Bizarre Bed Bug Facts

  1. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to keeping bed-bugs away. Look out for signs of bed bugs in hotels or restaurants, trains or buses. Examine clothes, bags, luggage after a trip. Make sure furniture and crates or cartons arriving home don’t bring bedbugs in with them. Look out for signs of bedbugs, whenever you travel, upon reaching home.Here are some tips for bedbug identification: they don’t spread diseases by their bites…however bedbugs’ bites will cause mild to severe itching, irritability, poor sleep (though you won’t wake up). Some people do get tiny red welts or allergies.

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