Location: Cambridge, MA
There is always a big fear with bedbugs
because they are ectoparasites (suck blood) in that they transmit diseases. Let me start out by saying the scientific community HAS NOT found them to be disease vectors. Countless tests are performed to see if they are disease reservoirs + have the ability to transmit infectious diseases from person to person. To date disease transmission & bedbugs is not an issue.
What about the bites?
Bedbug saliva is like an numbing agent & they use it before they bite. Much like a dentist who swabs your mouth where he is putting the needle, this is exactly what a bedbug does. A local so you do not feel the needle! After 3-15min of feeding they remove their stylet (needle) and the itching in the area is from the bedbug saliva. The saliva also prevents blood clotting so they can imbibe the blood.
If a dirty fingernail breaks the skin from itching it could cause an infection. Approximately 30% of the population does not react to bedbug bites. Bites are dependent on the person! Also bite reactions are not instantaneaously like mosquitoes, it takes 4-7 days for a bite to appear. Typically, if you are the kind of person that reacts to a mosquito & flea bite then you will react the same to a bedbug bite
So, sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite!
George E. Williams Jr., A.C.E.
General Manager - Staff Entomologist
Environmental Health Services, Inc.