Are Bed Bugs Contagious?
Are bed bugs contagious? If this is one of the questions on your mind, then you are in the right place.
Bed bugs are a menace to drive away, but as long as they take to leave, it takes them less than a quarter of that time to arrive at your house. So how is it possible for these tiny creatures to populate your living space so easily and so swiftly? Get the answers to these and more questions as you read on.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasites that feed predominantly on human blood. They belong to the Cimex family of bugs and are flat, oval-shaped, and reddish-brown in color. Their bodies are covered with a number of scales. Though they have wing pads on their backs, they are not capable of growing wings, and hence, they cannot fly. They mostly travel by crawling.
How Do They Feed On Humans?
Bed bugs are nocturnal, which means that they are active mostly at night. They come out of their hiding places while the hosts (mostly humans) are asleep and feed on any body parts that are readily available.
The mouth of a bed bug first injects an anesthetic into the skin of the host. This makes the host immune to any pain following the bite. Hence, the host might not realize that he has been bitten by a bed bug until much later. Though the bites are painless, to begin with, they might turn into painful rashes that itch after some time.
A full blood feed for a mature bed bug takes anywhere between 10 -15 minutes, while a baby bug might take less time, like 5 – 10 minutes.
Are Bed Bugs Contagious?
Strictly speaking, bed bugs are not contagious. They can pass from one person to another, but that is because bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers by nature and are always on the lookout for their next host.
Bed bugs will not infest a human and then continue to live in his body. They tend to choose a living spot that is within about 8 feet from the place where humans spend the most amount of their time, eg mattress, sofas, cushions, etc. They usually leave the human as soon as their full feed is over.
Though bed bugs are not contagious it can take only a few seconds to pick them up from somewhere. Since they are so good at hiding, it is easy for them to take shelter in the seams of clothes, folds of luggage, straps of handbags, etc, and travel from one place to another.
Where Can They Be Picked Up From?
If you want to be protected against the bed bug menace, there are certain areas that you must avoid, or be careful in when you are present there. Take a look at some examples listed below:
- Public parks
- Movie theatres
- Public benches by the wayside
Though these are a few spaces you might want to watch out for, it is impossible to always be on the guard against bed bugs. Since it is possible for them to travel through minute holes and small gaps in walls etc, they can easily crawl into your home from your neighbor’s apartment.
How Can You Reduce The Risk Of These Pesky Parasites?
Though it is impossible to attain immunity from these creatures, there are a few tips that you can follow so that you are on the safe side in places that have a high footfall and are likely to be infested with bed bugs.
- When staying at hotels, dormitories, etc, avoid keeping your luggage on the bed. Keep it on the floor.
- Stowing your luggage in the bathroom is another good idea, as bugs are least likely to live in the bathroom.
- Inspect all your luggage carefully before leaving for any signs of bed bugs.
- Inspect chairs at the airport or on a plane before sitting in them.
- Keep your room free of dust and clutter as this will give bed bugs more space to grow.
- Spray your room from time to time with alcohol, vinegar, or essential oils diluted with water. They are effective deterrents to bed bugs.
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