Do bed bugs know when you’re asleep? No, they just know that night time – when it’s dark – is when humans are most likely to be inactive. Bed bugs can smell the carbon dioxide that we give off while we’re in bed, so that’s when they emerge to feed. The light will deter bed bugs from coming out, but not for very long.
Bed bugs are sneaky parasitic creatures that aren’t often seen during the day. Instead, they come out at night, while we’re asleep. This gives them the chance to feed without interruption. When it’s light, they hide away in harborages around the bedroom.
We’ll look at why bed bugs come out at night, and whether it’s true that they only bite humans while we’re asleep. We’ll discuss whether you can deter bed bugs by sleeping with the light on. Finally, we’ll share some tips for sleeping with bed bugs, and ways of repelling them.
Why Do Bed Bugs Come Out at Night?
If you have bed bugs, you’ll know that they usually come out at night. They make themselves comfortable in mattresses, headboards and box springs, and rest during the day.
Bed bugs have to drink human blood, to survive. So, when your head hits the pillow at night, they come out to feast. In the morning (or several days later, depending on how your body reacts) you wake up with itchy bite marks.
So, why do bed bugs avoid light, and come out at night? Bed bugs are different from other parasites. Unlike fleas, ticks, and lice, they can’t live on our bodies full-time.
Their legs aren’t designed for clinging onto skin or hair. As we walk around, bed bugs get dislodged and end up falling off. The most they can manage it to climb on, feed, and then leave again.
This is why they choose to feed while we’re asleep. Every night, we lie down in bed and remain still for around eight hours. Bed bugs smell the carbon dioxide that we exhale, and come out to feed. We sometimes squash them when we roll over in our sleep, but the risk is minimal for them.
Bed bugs have learned to associate light with humans being awake and moving around. So, they wait until darkness falls before coming out of hiding.
Do Bed Bugs Only Bite When You Are Sleeping?
One of the common misconceptions about bed bugs is that they’ll only bite when you’re asleep.
It’s easy to tell where this myth came from. As we know, bed bugs prefer to avoid light, and of course, they chiefly live in beds. We don’t tend to spend much time in our beds unless we’re asleep. However, that does not mean that bed bugs only bite you when you’re sleeping.
Bed bugs can’t tell when a human is awake or asleep. As long as you are staying relatively still, you’re fair game to a bed bug. You can be bitten when you’re relaxing on the couch, for example.
If you have a home office, this is another prime bed bug spot. Bed bugs can live inside office chairs and electronics. There was even a case of bed bugs living inside a woman’s mouse mat. They bit her hand every time she used the computer.
So, while bed bugs do prefer to feed on a sleeping host, any period of inactivity will do. As long as you remain still long enough for a bed bug to feed.
Peace of Mind
BedBug® advice you can trust