What do Bed Bugs Feed On and Where do They hide?

Bed bugs are small insects that look similar to ticks. They live by feeding on blood and have been known not to transmit diseases. Most people find them quite disgusting and scary. But despite their reputation, they aren’t actually harmful at all. If caught early enough, they can easily be treated using pesticides and insecticides. Here are some things that you should know about bed bugs:

  • They can survive without food for months.
  • They can infest many different types of surfaces.
  • Cannot fly or jump.
  •  They are found all over the world.
  •  They feed mainly on humans (but not exclusively).

If you're wondering what bed bugs are attracted to, you've come to the right place. This article describes several things bed bugs have been known to feed upon. 

What do bed bugs feed on?

hungry bug cartoon bed bug/ flea with knife and fork bed bug animation  stock illustrations

Bed bugs are also known as "bloodsuckers" due to their feeding habits. They've been known to feed on human blood. There are two main reasons that they feed on us.

  • They feed to obtain blood (a necessary process for their survival). Because they're blood-sucking insects, they must consume blood to survive. In fact, most of their needs are met through the consumption of blood.
  • They also feed on our blood for reproductive purposes.
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What are bed bugs attracted to? Favorite hiding spots

Hungry night bedbug

This paragraph will highlight most of the common things bed bugs are attracted to.

1. Blood

Bed bugs feed on blood. Not just human blood, although many people think they only depend on human blood, that is not true. In general, they feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including mice, rats, dogs, cats, etc. They can even climb onto sleeping birds and suck their blood. They are more used to human blood because we provide them with a dwelling place where they can breed and interact. Also, our blood provides them with healthy nutrients for their survival. Bed bugs feeding on human skin may cause itchiness and red marks.

2. Carbon dioxide 

Bed bugs are generally attracted by carbon dioxide, especially at night. Since we move less while sleeping, this could provide a confined space of raised carbon dioxide concentration and, as such, could be the perfect environment for bed bugs to detect us.

4. Warmth

Studies have revealed that our immune cells become less active and more dormant, thereby manifesting some inflammatory actions, this could literally raise the body temperature in the hope of killing bacteria. Meanwhile, this temperature could provide the perfect warmth for bed bugs to detect and feed on their host.

4. Skin Cells

Bed bugs have antennae that act as sensors to direct and detect the skin of their hosts. While getting bitten is unpleasant enough, if you're allergic to something, having a bed bug bite can make those allergies worse. Bed bugs can also secrete chemicals that irritate the skin. Luckily, bed bugs are not known to transmit any kind of disease.

 5. Bedding

Bedding items are great places to find hidden bed bugs since they prefer to stay near their hosts. You'll want to keep bedding well aired out; however, as soon as it gets damp, you should put it away—damp bedding could retain chemicals from your sweat, and this can produce an odour that will attract bed bugs.  By laundering your sheets and pillowcases frequently, you can ensure that you aren’t bringing bed bugs into your home. Change your linens at least once per week, and make sure to wash everything separately from your regular laundry. You wouldn't want to spread bed bugs around your home. If you do happen to spot any bed bug droppings, you can clean them up with soap and water. Don’t forget to check the seams for hidden crevices. If you find any, then you need to replace those parts immediately.

Related:   How to Avoid Bed Bugs Before They Bite

Suitcases and luggage

These things can sometimes act as a perfect hiding spot for bedbugs. While sleeping, the bugs move out, crawl onto you, and eventually get to your skin.  If you notice any traces of of eggs, it can really be that of bed bugs; then you need to move everything around and wash all your clothes. You should also consider checking any suitcases or luggage that you brought home from vacation. 

Storage lockers

Lockers are a great way to organize your belongings and add some extra storage space to your room. Unfortunately, they also provide access points for bedbugs to come inside your home. Always double bag your belongings and keep them in a locked locker to avoid this.

Things bed bugs are not attracted to

hungry bed bug hungry looking bed bug bed bug animation  stock illustrations

Bed bugs find it difficult to thrive in areas that don't promote their survival, here is a list of things and places bed bugs are not attracted to.


Bed bugs prefer to stay in hidden cracks and crevices, providing a dark location suitable for natural comfort and dwelling. They tend to run away from bright locations and are often not comfortable with sun rays. In addition, the temperature from the sun is capable of killing them. 


Bed bugs are not attracted to your hair in any way and cannot live there, as they are not hives or ticks that can live in your hair. This area goes against their instincts. However, you may find their eggs hanging in your hair because they are sticky.

Pesticide/harsh chemicals

You definitely want to stay away from anything that will harm you. In the same way, bed bugs want to stay away from sites that have just been damped with these chemicals.

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Airtight containers

Bed bugs cannot survive in areas with low air levels (oxygen). In this case, bed bugs would survive for a long in this condition. Therefore, it is difficult to find them in these areas.

Glass jars

Jars are great for storing food, especially glass jars. They won’t allow bed bugs access to the food inside, and they will help prevent odours from escaping. However, they are not completely bug-proof, so be careful about placing them near areas where your family sleeps. Make sure to double bag your leftovers and place them in these containers.

To know more about effective ways to prevent bed bugs infestation, click here


How do I know if bed bugs are gone?

If there are no signs of bed bugs (such as bites) after three weeks of treatment, then you can be sure bed bugs are gone.

What smell attracts bed bugs?

Smells from windex, scented candles, bleach and fabric softeners can attract bed bugs.

Can I get bed bugs from travelling?

Yes, you can get bed bugs from travelling, especially when you keep your luggage in areas infested with bed bugs.

What do I do when I find too many bed bugs in my house?

I recommend you get a professional bed bug exterminator. But if you can’t find one, you can check our previous post on ways to prevent bedbugs or kindly seek help.

Can I get rid of bed bugs?

Although bedbug infestation may be difficult to control, yes, when done correctly, you can get rid of all the bed bugs around you.

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