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Will BBs always (eventually) colonize a bed?

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  1. bugration

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 5:07:07
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    I'm beginning to seriously suspect BBs - my best guess is that the infestation begun anything from 3-8 weeks ago (I know of course that it may take several weeks before you start reacting to the bites).

    Anyway, my question is this - if you do a very thorough inspection of the bed, mattress, box spring, headboard, etc and find no bed bugs or other damning signs, then does this mean that either there is no infestation or, at worst, it is a light infestation?

    I ask this because, as an infestation grows to anything beyond a minimal level, isn't it highly likely to find at least some bedbugs somewhere on or inside the bed? Perhaps initially the colony sets up somewhere nearby, but eventually don't the new nymphs, if not any existing adult BBs, start to favor the mattress, box spring etc as opposed to somewhere further away?

  2. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 10:17:52
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    Very intelligent. Dr. Miller once told me that after a bed bug feeds on you they run off as if they cannot stand being near you so that makes me speculate that they may travel farther away. I believe that it was Dr. Gangloff-Kaufmann who once told me that the bed bugs like to be as close to the host as possible. Dr. Kells told me that some like to travel away from the host. Go figure. Anything is possible with these little bastards.

  3. paulaw0919

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 13:58:20
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    I was told by a very knowledgeable PCO from Cooper Pest that bed bugs by nature are very lazy, like to stay close to the host. In a light infestation, lets say brought in by luggage and that luggage is in your bedroom closet. Yes, they will bite and go back to the luggage for a while, but eventually they will not venture that far for their food and and settle closer to the host. This is why I was told self treatment, spraying alcohol all over the room, and disturbing areas is not a good idea. This makes what bugs that are there, scatter and not act they the way they normally would, nor be where they are normally found, thus making them harder and longer to treat. It will take a while for them to feel comfortable to move in and settle closer to the host again...in the normal areas found (headboard, mattress, box, frame)
    As an infestation spreads, further out of one room, lets say bed room gets more and more infested. You get a bug on your pj's and then sit on the couch. If that bug goes on the couch and finds that a meal is easily reached on that couch because it's used often for long periods of time, then that bug will stay on that couch for that's where it's food source is sure to come. IMO, as an infestation gets bigger, there is a lot on buggy misplacement issues that are unknown about. ex: buggy on clothing from one room to another, thus finding buggies in room that are not slept in or used much? Not sure about that, I just know they spread out a lot after time.
    But bottom line, from what I'm told, for the most part, they generally stay close to the host. Whether that infestations starts in the bed, couch, whatever. As infestation gets larger, yes, they spread to further areas. When you say, "Perhaps initially the colony sets up somewhere nearby, but eventually don't the new nymphs, if not any existing adult BBs, start to favor the mattress, box spring etc as opposed to somewhere further away?" I think you have the right idea, imo.

  4. MixedFeelings

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 17:48:52
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    From my personal research (as a layperson), I agree with this theory.

    I would add that I suspect they have some natural spreading instinct... ie: when they detect (by droppings, odors, and/or some other magical BB communications medium) that a number of them already inhabit a given area, some spread out to non-inhabited areas.

    MF

  5. bugration

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jul 9 2008 18:53:23
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    Thanks for the replies.

    So I guess that in any large infestation, at least some of the bugs will have a preference for the bed - unless somehow an entire population was programmed to set up far away from the host (as opposed to closer in, which often seems to be regarded as the most "typical" behavior, rightly or wrongly).

    What I wonder though is, since they like living in mattress lining so much, why don't they just shove all the way in so as to be completely undetectable? I would imagine that on most mattresses there are enough small gaps for them to be able to slip completely out of sight? Surely the life expectancy of those that remain completely hidden (e.g. in an electrical socket, completely inside a mattress, etc) is far higher than those that could be spotted with a cursory inspection, hence the former are more likely to bring their behavior set forward into the next generations?

    Also, as they are certainly crafty if not intelligent, are they actually able to detect when a host is asleep? I'm aware that if hungry enough they will be happy to attack at any time of day, but if getting regular meals do they specifically keep out of sight until the right moment?

  6. johndoe

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jul 10 2008 4:38:05
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    From what I've read, I think that the two main factors for bbs to start to favor the the bed or the mattress is because:

    1)As has already been mentioned, bbs like to stay close to their host.

    2)BBs are suppose to be attracted to cloth and fabric because they instinctively know that humans either wear or sit down or sleep on cloth or fabric items.

    Although, it's interesting that some of the older tenants in my buildings who were around during the bb epidemic in the U.S. during the 1940s and 1950s said that the bbs back then didn't get all into your clothes and everything, but only infested beds where people slept. Also, they told me that back then the bbs moved slowly rather than fast like they do today.

    Also, bugration asked if bbs are able to detect when a host is asleep. Well, actually, I've read that in addition to being attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide emissions, bbs can also detect when a person is in REM sleep and sometimes that is the best time for them to attack. And to answer bugration's other question about bbs keeping out of sight until the right moment, I would say yes. Sometimes I have the tendency to stay on my computer too long, and when that happens, I often times start to get bit by bbs. And 99% of the time I have never seen them, even though I was wide awake. Same thing when I've been bitten in my car.

  7. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jul 10 2008 13:53:04
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    johndoe,
    You may not be getting bit the moment that you think that you feel as though you are bitten because of the immune system response time to the initial bite.


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