Do bed bugs bite more women or men?

While not scientific, it seems (from many blog posts and comments) that women “seem” to get more bites than men – sometimes ALL THE BITES. This is unscientific but taken from numerous forums where this is shared by people dealing with infestations.

While it may appear that bed bugs prefer one person over another, scientists think this may be due to naturally occurring chemicals called pheromones. Other researchers say the other person is getting bites, but are not having a reaction, so they don’t think they are getting bit.

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When your other half doesn’t believe you have bed bugs

While not scientific, it seems (from social media, blog posts and comments) that women seem to get more bites than men, sometimes ALL THE BITES. This is unscientific but taken from numerous forums where this is shared by people dealing with infestations. 

The scientific theory is that bed bugs use pheromones, CO2, and warmth to find their meals (us), and might be more attracted to female pheromones. Just a theory, but a lot of research is being conducted on bed bugs and their pheromones, with the goal of death to bed bugs.

While unproven scientifically, it seems they may be more attracted to women than men for the purpose of feeding. 

Some scientists suggest it is because men are hairier and bed bugs cannot easily walk or feed on hairy skin. Smooth skin is easier for bed bugs to penetrate and bite.  It is possible that female human pheromones may be more attractive to bed bugs than male human pheromones since they are pheromone driven to a significant degree.

This can cause a lot of upset if your spouse or partner doesn’t believe that you have bed bugs because they aren’t being bitten, or are not reacting to bites. And of course bed bugs also bite men. If you have blood you are “good enough.” 

Don’t waste time trying to convince someone else you have bites. Get a professional inspection to find out quickly if you have bed bugs.

If you are in this situation you must take control and have a professional inspector come in and find the bed bugs. Then you will have “professional” evidence, and that may be all you need to work together to end the infestation.

What if you could prove you have bed bugs by trapping them?

One of the complicated things about bed bugs is you could have them for a few months and still never see one! But intercepter traps on your bed legs will prevent bed bugs from climbing up your bed and prevent them from escaping from the traps! If you have taken the steps to isolate your bed, then adding the traps will tell you within days if you have bed bugs or not, as long as they are not in your bed, pillows or bedding. If a couple weeks go by with no new bites and no bugs in the traps, then celebrate!

If you find bed bugs in the traps, you have the proof!

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Pest Control Technology reported on a study out of the University of Kansas, where researchers tried to determine who and how much do certain demographics react to bed bug bites. It’s a well informed article and explains a lot.

When asked the fundamental question: “Have you experienced any bites or skin reactions from the bed bugs in your dwelling?” 70 percent of respondents said “yes” and 30 percent said “no.” Interestingly, level of infestation had no appreciable effect on reactivity — about the same percentage of respondents reported having or not having a reaction whether they were living with low, moderate, high or very high numbers of bed bugs. Numerically more females than males said they were reacting to the bites but the difference was not statistically significant.

One of the interesting results was how adults over sixty-five reacted much less to bed bug bites than younger adults. There were good reasons in the study such as reduced sensitivity to allergens in general for older adults. But could pheromones also play a factor since bed bugs rely on pheromones for most of their instinctual behaviors such as feeding, mating and “nesting”, or basically everything bed bugs do.

What are pheromones?

What are pheromones and how might they determine who bed bugs bite when given more than one host to feed on? Pheromones may play a role in who bed bugs prefer to bite when there is more than one person present to feed on. Pheromones are a chemical that humans (animals) and insects naturally produce. Pheromones heavily influence behavior such as being attracted to or repulsed by another animal or even insect. 

A pheromone is a chemical that an animal produces which changes the behavior of another animal of the same species.

…The National Center for Biotechnology Information

Marking existing bites with a sharpie or permanent marker can help you identify new bites. It does eventually wash off. Note the “breakfast, lunch and dinner” three-bite pattern. Sometimes it’s just a two bite pattern so breakfast and lunch?

Some bites may disappear and then reappear. It can be confusing to know which bites are new, and which bites have reappeared. Marking bites with a sharpie can help you know if you are getting new bites.