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Do Bed Bugs Transmit Disease?

Bed bugs in bedNo one likes the idea of a blood sucking bug invading their sleeping space, but sometimes without our knowledge and especially at night, these bugs are taking refuge in our bedrooms and throughout our homes. They are annoying biting pests and, unfortunately, they are increasing again in numbers throughout the world after a period when they were believed to be extinct.

Bed bugs are human parasites who require blood to reproduce, grow and survive.  Although the effects of their bites can vary from person to person, the results are usually red, itchy welts. In very extreme cases reactions can include large wheals can appear. Usually these wheals will reduce in size and become small red marks on our bodies. Bed bug bites may also result in blister-like inflammations, but we may not see them for a day or two. Since bed bugs inject an anesthetic during the feeding process, we usually do not discover the bite until much later, since the bite itself is not that painful. Because bed bugs can affect anyone, especially individuals traveling and frequenting heavily traveled areas, such as hotels or movie theaters, people are curious about what the health effects and possible diseases that bed bugs can transmit are.

Entomology and bed bug experts alike have some answers for us on the subject of bed bugs:

  • Bed bugs have been found to carry at minimum approximately 27 agents of human disease! These include parasitic worms, viruses, Protozoa and bacteria.  Even though this is gross and sounds concerning, none of these agents multiply or reproduce within the bed bug, and very few can survive for long inside the bed bug. As a result, they are not spread from bite victim to bite victim This is at least a small comfort for those who may come into contact with bed bugs. There has been no evidence to prove that these bugs are involved in transmitting any diseases, including all the big ones we may worry about, such as Hepatitis B and HIV.
  • The biggest problem that can arise from bed bugs is the fact that they are nocturnal parasites, whose frequent feedings throughout the night can disrupt our sleep cycle and make us irritable the next day.  It can also cause some real emotional distress for many of us who have been affected by a bed bug infestation. In the end, we can all sleep better knowing that there are bed bug pest control companies out there that can help, if we believe we have a bed bug infestation in our home.
  • Hard to imagine, but significant blood loss from very heavy rates of bed bug feeding over a period of time can lead to anemia for some bite victims, particularly in malnourished children. This is not a comforting thought for any of us, which is why one should stress the importance of contacting an expert bed bug exterminator to tackle the infestation as soon as it is discovered.
  • Bites on the skin can also be from other pesky bug sources so it is important to see a doctor if you are concerned that your bites are more severe than what is described here as a “normal” reactions to the bed bug bites, or if you happen to get a secondary skin infection from continual itching of the bites.  Since everyone’s bed bug bite responses can be different, it pays to keep a watchful eye on any health effects. For some people a serious allergic reaction can occur for which one should always seek medical attention quickly. It is also important to remember that some of us may show no symptoms or itching from a bite at all, despite still having an infestation problem in our home.

In the end, our sleep, our health, and our mental well being are so important to us! Therefore, bed bug experts want to encourage us to investigate and educate ourselves on the subject of bed bugs, if we believe we are dealing with a bed bug infestation or may come into contact with one. A lot of the fallacies regarding these bugs and any diseases that they may carry, as well as questions concerning appropriate treatment methods, can always be answered by your Phoenix area bed bug pest control expert.

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