Do you have skin? Blood? Exude carbon dioxide? Travel? Live in a multi-unit apartment complex? This blog is for you!
1) Bed bugs do NOT always bite in that classic Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner pattern.
I was able to delude myself for months that I somehow had an infestation of invisible mosquitoes. Months. Just because I was waking up with a single bite every couple of days.
2) Bed bugs do not necessarily bite between the sheets.
Bed bugs, like most other critters, will crawl on top of your blankets to get at exposed skin. Another reason I thought the problem was mosquitoes. I had always assumed that bed bugs lived in your sheets. Not so. It’s more likely they’re living in your bed itself–think the frame or under the mattress.
3) Bed bugs look like ticks–except super flat.
In my mind, bed bugs were always tiny, like mites. Bu they actually sort of look like ticks and ARE visible to the naked eye. The only thing is that they’re ridiculously flat. They can fit anywhere. If you can slide a credit card into a crevice, a bed bug can fit there too.
4) Bed bug bites don’t necessarily show up right away.
I was finding bites up to 24 hours after I’d been bitten.
5) The fear, lack of sleep, and social stigma are worse than the actual bugs.
My blood is super tasty. Not, like, Bella Swan levels of tasty. But I’ve always been the person who mosquitoes swarm at a barbeque, like moths to a flame or like my relatives to grilled meat. So I’ve grown accustomed to dealing with bites.
I never had a full-on infestation, so I only got a few bed bug bites every couple of days. However, when I realized what was causing the bites, I didn’t want to have people over. I was scared to go to other people’s houses. I was scared to try and make plans, out of concern that I would be treated like a leper. (I wasn’t.) I was also paranoid about falling asleep, knowing that parasitic insects were waiting to feed on me. I’d jolt awake in the middle of the night, scratching at every little itch or twinge. These have been the worst parts of this whole nightmare.
Bonus: Everyone you know has either had bed bugs or knows someone who has had bed bugs.
When I started telling people what was causing my hermit-itude, a surprising number of people actually responded with their own bed bug battle story. Or they had a boyfriend/sister/tennis partner who dealt with bed bugs too. It’s really more common than you think, and people are very sympathetic.
Just note that I am not an entomologist. These are all lessons I have learned through personal experience. Horrible personal experience. Invisible nighttime mosquitoes? Fake. Bed bugs? Oh so terribly real.