Bed Bugs and Your Food (Essential Knowledge)


Bed bugs on their own are a major source of headaches for any household. Unfortunately, their existence has also led to many misconceptions. One of the more prevailing misconceptions is regarding bed bugs and food. Do bed bugs infest typically infest inside your food stock?

Bed bugs will not infest your food because they are not attracted to human foods at all. These bugs are parasites that rely entirely on animal blood to survive. And their favorite source of food is human blood. So, they reside in bedsheets and mattresses where they can get very close to you. 

But many question still remains, like: can bed bugs still get in your food?
Find out in this article.

Are Bed Bugs Attracted to Food? 

Bed bugs are insects just like cockroaches and flies. So, someone can easily mix them up and think they all have the same habits. But the common bed bug differs significantly from the common housefly or cockroach in many ways. 

Bed bugs have no interest in human food, be it fat, protein, homemade, processed, etc. Their diet does not include things such as cookies, cakes, yogurt, vegetables, or any of the sort. As such, you will never see them infest inside your pantry or your refrigerator. Bed Bugs are not attracted to food.

Their food source is pretty much limited to animal blood. And inside residential spaces, that blood comes from you or your pets (if you have any). So, the bugs will try to stay near to you as much as possible. (See this for more info: Bed Bug Nests).

And they even don’t feed on other Bed Bugs. (Really? Never? Get the answer here: Are Bed Bugs Cannibals?)

And these pesky little creatures have found an ideal habitat in your living space. Your bed, the one place you are guaranteed to use at least once a day. That too during nighttime when you are sleeping and are defenseless. That is when they come out to feed on your blood. Hence, they are called the common bed bug. (Also good to know: Will Sleeping with The Lights on Keep Bedbugs Away?)

Bed Bugs detect heat and carbon dioxide to determine whether a host is present or not. They are able to react to scents, but they don’t use odors to look out for food. (Bed Bugs looking out? See this: Are Bed Bugs Blind?) As Bed Bugs don’t combine any scent with a delicious meal, they are not attracted to any food.

Can You Get Bed Bugs from Having Food in Your Room? 

This is another popular but equally misguided belief. As we already discussed, bed bugs are interested in the food you eat in the slightest. So, the food is not going to be attracting them as much as the toothbrush on your nightstand.  

Having food on the sofa or bed is a pretty guaranteed way of getting ants or other insects to come out. That is because these bugs are drawn towards your food, especially the ones that are rich in sugar.

Bed Bugs don’t react to food.

Nevertheless, you should avoid having to breakfast or dinner in your bedroom. The simple truth is, that any meal taken in your bed will prolong your stay in that area. That increases the time a Bed Bug can crawl towards you and look out for a nice blood meal.

You should limit your stay in the bed for your sleep. Especially if you have bad experience with Bed Bugs.

Can Bed Bugs Get in Your Food? 

It is highly unlikely that bed bugs will go inside your food and remain there. Yes, they can reach their human target by hiding in food that humans eat. But this method is nowhere near as efficient as hiding in the fabric of your bed cover.  

Occasionally, one or two bugs may get into an open bag of chips or on your cake. This is likely if you frequently eat at the place you sleep. So, this might lead to the illusion that bed bugs are infesting the food. But rest assured, no matter how tasty that food is, you will still be the priority of these crawlers.

Keep it simple and clean.

Make sure you don’t deposit open food in the area of your bed. And you don’t have to be too concerned about cleaning your packaging. Simply avoid open ones and throw away used packaging.

Can Bed Bugs Come from Food? 

Bed bugs do not and will not come from your food. These bugs are hitchhikers that love to travel from place to place in search of new victims. But their mode of transportation will not be food dependent. 

Most people will get bed bugs from staying at a dirty, unhygienic hotel or motel. The bedsheets in these places are often a hub for bed bugs. When you sleep during the night, many bugs will latch onto your clothes or other fabrics. Then they will get transported to your home where they will breed and create a full-on pest infestation.

An infestation of food packages for transport is not suitable for Bed Bugs. It is sealed and rarely provides good hiding spots. The food is fresh, washed and has only minor contact to humans. And almost never to sleeping ones. So it’s hard to say where the Bed Bugs should enter the food and how they can remain there.

Food Disposal on Bed Bug Infestation 

If you have the misfortune of dealing with bed bugs, there is at least one silver lining. You do not have to throw any of your food away in fear of attracting more. You also do not have to worry about the food becoming toxic.

Preventive food disposal is not necessary.

While researchers have found that bed bugs carry other organisms, none of them are known to spread any disease in humans thus far. So, even if some of them get in your food, there will not be severe contamination happening in your pantry. You can still use those items after simply washing them properly. 

Rat and cockroach infestation on the other hand will require such drastic steps. 

Are Bed Bugs Repelled by Food? 

Bug repellents are not just limited to the store brought kind. Many natural substances can repel these crawlers from infesting your home.  Strong scents from natural oils or herbs contain some of these elements naturally. 

Onions, garlic, leeks are some of the foods that contain a chemical called “allicin”. This substance is a natural repellent that wards of all sorts of bugs; bed bugs included. However, the effect is quite low compared to ‘real repellents’.

There are also other foods like tomatoes, bananas, vinegar, etc. that are believed to have bug repelling properties. But you do have to be careful when trying this method because these claims are not backed up by scientific data. We do not recommend relying on these theories. 

First of all, the effectiveness of food in fighting bugs is not a heavily researched area. Meaning you cannot take this as a guarantee that it will solve your pest problem. Secondly, in an effort to use food to fight bed bugs, you may be attracting other bugs or vermin into your residence. There is also the uncomfortable task of eating raw onions or garlic to achieve that effect. 

So, it is much safer to call in professionals that are experts in pest control. And if you want to do it yourself, using natural pesticides is a better option. You can even use detergent and your washing machine to kill the bugs inside your covers and sheets. 

Misconceptions like this stem from not having proper knowledge about your pest problem. This article aimed to give you some insight into how these bugs operate. Hopefully, you are now better equipped to take on this nuisance more effectively.

Martin

Martin is the head of pestABC.com and he loves to share his research and experience with you.

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