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Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothes?

And Other Frequently Asked Questions

Where to Sleep if You Have a Bed Bug Infestation

In school, children are taught about ants, bees, spiders, flies, and other common pests. Bed bugs aren’t one of the frequently discussed bugs, and we often only hear about them when watching the news and learning of a big infestation. We frequently field questions, like if bed bugs can bite through clothes, if you can see them, and what types of treatment are available. What questions are people asking?

Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothes?

No, bed bugs cannot bite through clothes. Their mouthpieces are too small to cut through your clothing in order to get to your blood.

How Long Does It Take for Bites to Show up?

Unlike other insect bites, it can take a few days before bed bug bites surface. That means the bumps you get the day after you return from your hotel stay might be from bed bugs.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Eating?

They can go for 20 to 400 days without eating, depending on the temperature and humidity levels. (The ones who lived for 400 days were kept in a low-temperature laboratory setting.)

Can You See Bed Bugs?

Adult bed bugs are twice as big as the eggs, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, making it up to 0.18 inches, or 4.5 millimeters. If you’re trying to wrap your head around that size, consider that 0.1 inch is just a little thicker than a quarter. Basically, they are the size of an apple seed, so you can see them if you know where to look.

Are There Non-Chemical Treatments for Bed Bugs?

Yes, there are multiple approaches you can take:

  • Heat Treatments: Remove and wash all things that can come out of your car—seat covers, rugs, etc. Put what you can in a dryer for 30-60 minutes. The washing machine together with heat from the dryer will not kill the bed bugs and any eggs that might be attached to them. Not everything can be removed and put in the dryer, so you can leave rugs and seat covers in the hot sun for a few hours. Putting them in a plastic bag can help insulate the heat.
  • Steam cleaning: Steam-cleaning uses steam to kill bed bugs and get them out from their tight hiding places. This method also kills the bugs in all the stages of their life-cycle, which includes the eggs.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is mineral that kills bed bugs instantly by dehydrating them. Simply add it to all cracks and seams in your car then vacuum up the debris.
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