Although the Internet can be a great resources for finding out about a subject it lacks enough control to be certain that everything you read is technically correct.

The following myths have been collected from various information, blog, product, trade association and companies websites as illustrations of some of the common myths and misconceptions about bedbugs.

If you encounter any of these myths on a website please backtrack and stick to places that are accurate and reliable as some of what we read out there is frankly dangerous to the health of you and your family while some the advice will actually make the problem worse.

1. You can't see bedbugs

This is clearly not true, adult bed bugs are easily spotted as they are 5mm - 7mm in size and a reddish brown colour. The recently hatched babies are much harder to see as they are 1mm - 2mm in size but someone who knows what they are looking for will often detect them. This myth started when people got confused between bedbugs and dust mites. They are different species and are handled in completely different ways, what works for dust mites will not necessarily remove bedbugs.

2. If I throw out the bed I will no longer have bedbugs

They may be called bedbugs but they don't just live in bed and they can occupy almost any dark crack or crevice in a room. Disposing of ANY furniture prior to it being inspected and treated by an experienced and competent pest controller can be a costly mistake and certainly a false economy. Almost everything can be treated to remove bedbugs but if not properly handled the removal of furniture can simple spread an infestation to other areas of the property. We have recently been alarmed to hear that several companies in the London area have been recommending that furniture is removed via the window, this is clearly and obviously not a professional way to mange a problem and we would advise anyone told to do this to think extremely carefully about the consequences of such actions. Bedbugs will survive outside of the property and may enter again at the first opportunity.

3. You only get bedbugs if you are dirty

This is the greatest of all inaccuracies!  You get bedbugs by exposure and coming into contact with a source of them. We treat more properties that are immaculately clean and of the highest standards than we do houses and flats that would benefit from a good deep clean. Increasingly people who extensively travel internationally are becoming more exposed to bedbugs as the global epidemic intensifies. In an ideal world people would understand that there is no more social stigma associated with bedbugs than head lice. They are an exposure pest and not associated with living conditions.

4. You need to wash all of your clothes for a bedbug treatment to be effective

We are increasingly hearing this from people who call other companies. The simple fact is that without inspecting the property there is no way of telling if this is needed, our experience tells us that it is only needed in 2% — 5% of cases and is most commonly used as an excuse by an organisation which does not actually want to work on an infestation. There are also a lot of other decontamination methods available that are more effective than washing.

5. There are no bedbugs in <insert country>

We are often told by people that there are no such things as bedbugs in our country.  The simple fact is that bedbugs can occur in almost every country and region on this planet, some areas have always been worse than others but they are a global pest. The resurgence in activity has caught many countries unaware but they do exist everywhere.

6. My neighbour has bedbugs will I get them as well

Transmission from a neighbour is a lot more common than people would believe and the likelihood of you getting infested depends on how they handle the problem. In flats and apartments the risk is greater if the building does not have a sturdy party wall. A few years ago this method of transmission was widely discounted by pest professionals but is now recognised by most people who have experience of dealing with infestations. In worst case scenarios we have seen 10-20 adjoined properties infested by this method in the same street and several floors in apartment buildings and blocks of flats. If you think your neighbour has an issue with bedbugs you should check your bed and living area on a weekly basis to make sure that you detect any bedbug signs at the earliest possible stages, ideally using a passive monitor.

7. I can't have bedbugs because I have not been anywhere

 Unfortunately travel, whether overseas or in the UK, is not the only possible source of bedbugs.  In an increasing number of cases people are finding it hard to pin down a case of bedbugs to a obvious source such as a trip abroad or the acquisition of a piece of second hand furniture.   We are increasingly finding that bedbugs may be spread on the public transport network, via the workplace, from an adjoining property or even from a house guest who has unwittingly brought the problem with them.  We have treated many people who have not travelled in the last 4 years and have had bedbugs for as long as 6 - 12 months before realising it.

8. It can't be bedbugs because I get bitten but my partner does not

The simple fact is that two people sleeping in the same bed may both be bitten by bedbugs but respond in a different way. Some people immediately have a reaction to the bites while others show little or no sign -  it all depends on how much you respond to different types of insect bites, the environment you live in and your immune response. There is also some anecdotal evidence that, like most blood feeding insects, bedbugs do not feed from people with certain blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia.

9. Bed bugs can be killed by the cold

Yes they can be killed by extremes of cold and hot but it is unlikely in the UK that outside temperatures will rise or fall enough to effectively kill them. In the USA where heating houses has been attempted, 3 hours at 70°C will only kill about 78% of bed bugs and needs to be an incredibly rapid otherwise they simply adapt. The same goes for extremes of cold - unless you ship your whole house to the Arctic or Siberia it will not get cold enough to kill bedbugs.

10. Bedbugs are resistant to all pesticides

This is not true but they are becoming increasingly resistant to over used pesticides which unfortunately means the ones that are readily available over the Internet. Libel laws do not permit us to name and shame the worst offenders but you should be particularly careful of products sold via the USA which may not be approved for use in the UK and electronic devices that claim to repel bedbugs. The most common group of chemicals that bedbugs are resistant to are simple Pyrethrins, organic Pyrethrins, Bendiocarb (Ficam products) and simple cypermethrin compounds. If they were such miracle cures we would use them ourselves but they just don't work efficiently enough.

11. Bug bombs like they use in other countries are the only solution

 We don't use smoke bomb products for a variety of reasons. They are best summarised by some research we read while looking at techniques. Limitations of Home Insect Foggers (“Bug Bombs”) University of Kentucky Department of Entomology, EntFacts Information Sheets. If they were of benefit to dealing with infestations we would use them or make them available via the web site.

12. The bedbugs have been exterminated but I still itch and get occasional bites

 Although rare, we are seeing more cases of chitin hypersensitivity which is a temporary condition that can be brought on by contact with bedbugs. Effectively you become sensitive to the compounds in insects shells which can if present cause an itch and in some cases what appears to be a bite. We have even witnessed someone showing a bite response to a dead insect when it was placed on their skin. The only solution is deep cleaning to a hypoallergenic level to remove all the traces of insect casings from the property and your possessions this can be time consuming and is best done by a cleaning team as it reduces your exposure to the irritants.

13. There was a website claiming to get rid of bed bugs quickly but there was little detail on it

Like all industries there will naturally be people who jump on the band wagon writing simple web sites and well presented pages. Some even claim to be copyright for longer than the domain has been registered. We can only suggest that you do a little homework to see who these people are - a little cleaning and application of a domestic grade product or smoke bomb is not going to clear an infestation. With Bed Bugs Limited you have the peace of mind of dealing with an established UK registered Limited company that has grown steadily since 2005 and not just registered a domain in 2009 to jump on a bandwagon.

14. Bedbugs don't like metal beds -

Although it is true that metal beds are less hospitable to bedbugs simply replacing all beds with metal ones will not cure a bedbug problem.  In some cases because there are not as many obvious hiding places for bedbugs in metal beds they can make the matter worse.

15. You cant bring bedbugs back from holiday because they will not survive the temperatures of the planes cargo hold

Bedbugs are a lot more resilient that many people give them credit for, they will survive at low temperatures even below freezing for significant lengths of time.  Unless you are planning on staying in the air for several days don't rely upon this as a method of decontaminating, isolate your bags before they re-enter your property and make sure they are processed correctly.

16. If one insecticide does not work why not mix two together.

 As much as this may make some sense it is highly illegal to do so.  The control of pesticide regulations in the UK forbid this activity and any cases we hear about will be immediately reported to the Health and Safety Executive for investigation.  As much as it pains us to say it we are seeing this happen even with experienced pest controllers.  Make sure you look after your health and safety by only using pest controllers who know what they are doing.

17. The pest controller soaked the property surely nothing could survive?

We are often called in behind companies that have used 10 litres of insecticide per visit for 3 or 6 visits and the problem is still ongoing.  This is because like many jobs it is not only what you use but how you use it, in our case we know from insecticide resistance issues and how widely they are reported in the press  “spraying and preying" is not the answer.  It does not matter how much product you use if the product does not work.  Our methods focus on immediately killing bed bugs rather than hoping what we spray kills them, this is why we  have a much greater efficiency than better known pest control companies.

18. I have been treated 3 times by another organisation and they say the bed bugs are resistant to all insecticides is this true?

In our experience as the saying goes a poor workman blames his tools, pest control is sadly no exception.  It is more likely that a lack of experience of the problem has led them to this conclusion, we are yet to witness a confirmed case of resistance to all professional grade insecticides.

19. The local pest controllers seems great value at less than £100 per visit for the whole house

Yes the initial deal may look appealing but when the problem does not clear and the costs start to rack up it no longer looks such good value.  If you end up disposing of the furniture on top of these costs it is certainly a false economy.  Our fees are actually below the industry average and yet we are acknowledged as the leaders in bedbug removal worldwide.

20. I saw an eBook about bedbugs is it worth getting?

Over the years we have red many eBooks on bed bugs, sadly most of them are based purely on the content of other peoples websites with little or no original information.  The fact is that an eBook at $8 is a waste of $8 because you can obtain more information from this website and the other quality sites listed on our information portal www.BedBugBeware.com  .  Cheap “me to” eBooks simply rip off people who find themselves in difficulty with bed bugs.  Our managing director feels so strongly on this subject that he considers the authors to more parasitic than bed bugs  themselves.

21. I saw a lotion online that stops bedbugs biting you does it work?

Sorry this is yet another example of absolute snake oil.  The only effect it will have is to lighten your pocket.  Bedbugs hunt via CO2 and heat as primary lures and simply don't target people by smell. Its why insect repellant's will also not work with bedbugs.

22. Encasing your mattress can prevent bedbugs, is this true?

When you come into contact with an infestation of bedbugs they know nothing about your home environment.  Although encasements can prevent infestations accessing inaccessible areas they have no preventative features at all and are not an essential step in bedbug treatment.  They are increasingly be referred to as mattress encostments as many appear to be significantly more costly than the dust mite allergy products they were developed from.

23. You can detect bedbugs with dogs, if the dog says I have them will you treat?

Although a correctly trained dog can scent detect bedbugs a treatment can only be authorised by finding confirming signs such as:

    Live samples

    Cast skins

    Faecal traces

Only through finding confirming signs of an infestation should treatment be conducted to assist you in doing this a fact sheet is available on BedBugBeware.com .  Where possible dogs should be trained to be play rewarded rather than food rewarded to avoid false positive detections.

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Author: David Cain © Bed Bugs Limited 2016
bed bug myths busted

Bed Bug Myths Busted

Bed Bugs Limited

Eradicating bed bugs from homes and businesses since 2005

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