Bed bugs do not actually choose to hide or live on your body. The only time they are only ever on you is when they are feeding. They are not like lice or mites who have the necessary appendages to attach on their host.
Bed bugs only crawl on a person’s skin when they need to feed, after which they make their way back to their hiding spots to digest their blood meal.
If you do find bed bugs on your body, they are most likely in the middle of ingesting their blood meal, or your bed bug infestation is so serious that they come out even during your waking hours. You may find them in your scalp, face, neck, legs, and ankles. They love to target areas that are not covered by clothing and are touching the bed.
Can bed bugs hide on your body?
Bed bugs are attracted to people who are generally inactive, because these are the people that sleep or lie down long enough for them to feed on sufficiently. Despite this, you do not need to worry about bed bugs hiding out on your body longer than it needs to, which is around 10 minutes.
Unlike other pests that attach to human hosts, bed bugs do not latch onto humans the same way. Bed bugs are hitchhikers so they can be transported by humans in their clothes and belongings, such as furniture, luggage, and coats.
Once bed bugs have laid claim to an area, they will find a harborage, or a hiding spot, near where their primary host sleeps.
The feeding process usually lasts between five to ten minutes depending on the age of the bed bug.
While most people are not aware that they are being fed on by a bed bug while it is happening, these bites can result in itchy red welts caused by their saliva. These bites can cause discomfort for over a week.
Once feeding is done, the bed bug will retreat to their harborage to keep safe and digest the blood.
Male and female baby bed bugs, or nymphs, require a blood meal to progress into the next stage of maturity. Once they are sexually mature, female bed bugs will use the protein from the blood to develop eggs after mating. Under favorable conditions with easy access to human hosts, the time in between feedings is between five to ten days. Female bed bugs then lay 10 to 15 eggs each batch.
If bed bugs do not hide on people’s bodies, where do they hide?
Aside from mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards, there are other places around your bedroom and house where bed bugs can hide.
Clothing and laundry baskets
Bed bugs hitchhike by latching onto clothes, so it is not surprising to find them in laundry baskets and hampers. Laundry baskets are usually kept inside bedrooms and sometimes near the bed, so bed bugs can easily make their way in there to hide.
Walls and ceilings
Bed bugs primarily venture out during the night time and hide away during the day. They will not think twice about climbing up a wall if they cannot find a place to hide on the ground. They may hide behind picture frames on walls. Wall cracks can also make great hiding places for bed bugs because they are harder to spot, but this is usually an indication that you have a severe bed bug infestation.
Books and alarm clocks
People keep their alarm clocks on their bedside tables, so it should come as no surprise to learn that bed bugs will also consider that as a viable hiding place. People do not usually think about alarm clocks or books near their beds as places that harbor bed bugs, which makes these things even more desirable for bed bugs since it will keep them safe.
The spines of books, especially the ones that you rarely open, can keep bed bugs and their eggs away from danger, so always check your books if they have been compromised.
Nightstands and dressers
Any furniture that is right next to your bed are great places for bed bugs to hide in because they are made of wood and are only a few feet away from their food source. The crevices in the drawers and dressers can be ideal places for bed bugs to lay eggs in.
Couches and chairs
Apart from beds, people like to lounge around on chairs and couches, while some people even sleep and take naps on them. If you are a couch potato, the bed bugs in your house will adjust according to your routine and begin setting up shop on the furniture because they realized that they have easy access to your blood there.
Carpets and floorboards
Bed bugs hide in your carpet edges and floorboards. They like living in the little gaps and holes where most people do not suspect them to be in.
Electrical devices and outlets
In severely infested homes, bed bugs will spread out into areas that are not as close to your bed as you think. They can even live inside your electrical outlets. This is because there are too many bed bugs that the new ones have to get creative and search out new areas to hide out after feeding.
Bed bugs can be found on your body when they are actively ingesting a meal, which takes around ten minutes. But bed bugs will never choose to live or hide on your body if they had a choice. After feeding, bed bugs will usually return to their hiding spots on or around your bed to keep safe and to digest the blood they just ate until they need to come back for their next meal in a week or so.
If you find bed bugs on your body, you might have a severe infestation on your hands, that is why they have resorted to actually lingering on your body instead of finding a place to hide.
Image: istockphoto.com / juststock