Bed Bugs are Dangerous: But Not for the Reason You Think

Bed Bugs are Dangerous: But Not for the Reason You Think

We’ve fielded a lot of questions about bed bugs over the years, from what attracts them, to how to identify their bites, and whether or not their bites are dangerous. While bed bugs aren’t dangerous in the sense that they won’t cause you any real harm (just some minor discomfort), there are other, more serious health implications of a bed bug infestation. So… what are these more serious health implications if it’s not to do with their bite? The danger of bed bugs is often actually what they do to your mental health.

A Tragic End to a Bed Bug Argument

On Halloween night, an argument over a possible bed bug infestation became fatal when a tenant and the super clashed in a Bronx apartment building. The two men involved, 38-year-old James Akerson, the tenant, and 53-year-old super ChristopherCook, had been at each other’s throats for some time, according to other tenants, though this argument started over what Akerson believed to be a bed bug infestation in his apartment.Robinson, a tenant and witness to the crime, reports the argument seemingly having gone too far, with both men wielding knives. He reported seeing Cook drop to the ground, at which point he told Akerson that he was calling the police. When Akerson realized what he had done, he tried to revive Cook but fled the scene when he realized what he’d done.He returned as police arrived, and they transported both men to the hospital for treatment, where Cook died.While the stress of bed bugs wasn’t the sole cause of things turning bad here (Akerson had recently lost his fiance to an overdose, and one of the other tenants said “He’s going through a lot”), it shows the toll bed bugs pushed him into a dark place.

Bed Bugs and PTSD

The above incident is unfortunately not an isolated one. Studies have found that people living with active bed bug infestations display PTSD symptoms, such as paranoia, obsessive checking, anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares. To add fuel to the fire, those who have to live with bed bug infestations are usually vulnerable; living on the poverty line or in isolation with other mental health issues.Either due to a lack of access or a lack of funds, they are unable to access pest control services.

A 25-year-old woman in Minneapolis was unable to get her landlord to take care of abed bug problem that left her finding them “in clumps” and storing them in clear plastic bags that “[filled] with swarms of tiny, hungry baby bed bugs.” As a response, she got rid of all her big furniture and finally invested in her own heat treatment system while she looks for a new place to live. She now reports reacting to every light touch and tickle, and cannot sleep for more than 3 hours a night.Psychologists say victims feel (and usually are) trapped in a situation they can’t escape, and led them to start habits that are difficult to lose, such as changing clothes 5 times a day, showering 10 times a day, or even soaking themselves in bleach. Going back to leading a normal life can be difficult, as the illusive nature of bed bugs makes them ideal fuel for paranoia.

Free Bed Bug Inspections

The mental consequences of bed bugs are traumatic, and no one should have to live in such a bad situation. If you are beginning to feel paranoid about whether or not your Arizona home has bed bugs, we provide free home inspections so you can know for sure what you’re dealing with, and what to do about it (our bed bug heat treatments eradicate bed bugs in 24 hours or less!). To book your free home inspection, click here.

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