31 Aug Hide a beds and futons are bad etiquette

 

My post entitled “host cues and feeding patterns of bed bugs” experimented with starving bed bugs being manipulating by withholding and providing a host. It was found that bed bug behaviour is in many respects host driven. The bugs usually remained in their harbourage until host cues were added to the room. I have also, as an exterminator assessing infested suites, occasionally noted a bed bug suddenly appearing from a harbourage and then retreating. I am guessing here a bit but I suspect the bug noted my presence, decided to investigate, and found the situation too dangerous and went back to hiding.

My customers have often noted that they found bed bugs on their clothing during the day. One customer who had just moved into an infested suite, found numerous first instars feeding on her bare feet as she sat on a chair. On other occasions people that had no bugs in their own suite visited infested suites and commented that a bed bug was found on their clothing as they visited.

So we know that bed bugs, despite their penchant for night time feeding, do in fact partake in day time feeding as well. When futons and hide a beds are used for sleeping they fill with large numbers of bed bugs and any guest offered a seat on this furniture during the day is at great risk. The host driven bed bugs will be very tempted to take a blood meal right on the spot and the guest then brings the bug home in their clothing. Even if a family member of the infested suite sits on the hide a bed during the day it is likely a bug will take advantage of the situation to access a blood meal. That family member then transfers the bug to other locations when they get off the hide a bed – not very nice.

As such I recommend keeping sleeping areas separate from day time areas to reduce the risks of transfer. If you have a futon use it only as a bed or a couch but never both. If you are visiting a home choose to sit on furniture on which people can not sleep. A host should never offer a dual purposed hide a bed to his guest. An even better solution is to never buy a futon or hide a bed.