Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Pets?
Bed bugs are notorious for being elusive, difficult pests that give even the most popular and premier bed bug exterminator a run for their money. They are also extremely irritating, biting humans while they sleep and often leaving red marks and annoyance in their wake. But many times our first thought is not about ourselves, but about others in our household and how bed bugs can affect them. This includes our older family members, children, and even pets.
It is common knowledge that bed bugs bite humans for feed in order to reproduce and grow, but what about our furry friends?
But first, what are bed bugs?
Bed bugs, also known scientifically as Cimex Lectularius L, are insects that feed on warm blooded animals as their only source of nutrition. Only the size of an apple seed, these pests are flat, which makes them an ideal size and shape to hide within seams, cracks, and crevices. Because their food source is stagnant at night, they often choose to hide within mattresses, bed frames, and box springs. At night, they come out from hiding, feed for about five minutes, detach, then retreat back into hiding. Because of their quick, almost non-exist, appearance in public, most people don’t realize they have an infestation until it becomes a large problem.
So they bite humans, but what about pets?
Bed bugs prefer humans as their main source food, but they can bite any warm-blooded animal, including pets. This includes cats, dogs, rodents, and other animals that tend to sleep near their humans. Although these pets are not major hosts of bed bugs, their beds are often great hiding places, so it is important to inspect their bedding if you suspect a infestation. If you do find live bed bugs, be sure to call a professional bed bug exterminator as soon as possible.
Do bed bugs carry diseases like other pests, such as fleas and ticks?
Bed bugs are irritating and can make even the most sane person go a bit crazy, but bed bugs are not known to carry any diseases. Bed bug bites can cause skin irritation and, if severe, might require some minor treatment from a doctor, but will not develop to anything of concern. However, bed bugs are labeled as a significant public health issue due to their ability to lead people to poor physical health, mental health, and negative financial outcomes.
Can my pet carry bed bugs, like fleas?
Bed bugs do not live on their hosts as much as common pests, such as ticks, lice, and fleas. Although, they are excellent and efficient hitchhikers that spread using luggage, furniture, bedding, and clothing. This leaves the possibility that they can use your pet or their bedding as a transportation outlet.
How can I tell if my pet has been bit by a bed bug?
Looking under your pet’s hair, you will notice very tiny red bumps, often times on their limbs and belly. Because they move in a linear pattern while feeding, the bites will occur what will look like a straight line. If you notice your pet beginning to itch more frequently, it is important to check their skin for irritations and pests.
How can I tell if I have a bed bug infestation?
Keep an eye on your pets for biting, licking, scratching, and irritability. If they are showing these signs, it is often because of a pest infestation or skin irritation due to other factors. If these pests are bed bugs, you will feed tiny red blood stains on their bedding due to the smashing them. You will also notice what will look like little black dots, the size of a mark made by the tip of a marker, on their bed. These are bed bug feces that are deposited after feeding. Bed bug sheddings, or their exoskeletons, will be around your pet’s bedding and will look transparent and empty.
Bed bug eggs are often an indication of a bed bug infestation, but are very hard to find. A very obvious sign of an infestation is the appearance of live adult bed bugs, which are small, reddish brown in color, and are shaped like apple seeds.