Bed bugs can be one of the most frustrating and fear-inducing pests on the planet. Like many people out there, I have had the misfortune of encountering these pesky creatures and dealing with the uncomfortable post-bite aftermath.
These insects have also piqued my curiosity. I have often wondered do bed bugs have any predators? If so, what animal eats bed bugs? These are questions that have been on my mind and perhaps the minds of many others as well. I was quite surprised to find out just how many foes the bed bug has. Read on for the answer:
There are a variety of predatory pests that can eat bed bugs. Natural predators that eat bed bugs include the masked hunter insect, cockroaches, ants, spiders, mites, and centipedes.
A Look at What Eats Bed Bugs
When considering what eats bed bugs, also known as Cimex lectularius, there are several main bugs that are capable of devouring these pests. The first one I’ll touch on is the masked hunter insect. This Reduvius personatus bed bug assassin is also conveniently referred to as the masked bed bug hunter. It predominantly feeds on a variety of insects as well as bed bugs. The downside is that these night-time feeding pests can also attack and bite humans if provoked, inducing extreme pain if bitten.
The next type of bug I’d like to discuss is the cockroach. Many different species of cockroaches exist with several having an appetite for bed bugs. Some of the main types of bed bug-eating cockroaches are the brown-banded cockroach, also known as Supella longipalpa, the Oriental cockroach, also referred to as Blatta orientalis, the German cockroach, or Blattella germanica, and the American cockroach, also called Periplaneta americana. Known to eat a lot of things from just about any food source, these roaches will gladly partake in dining on bed bugs when the opportunity to do so is there.
Furthermore, yet another group of insects that are natural predators to the bed bug are ants. An assortment of these critters, such as Argentine ants, red imported fire ants, and Pharaoh ants eat bed bugs in addition to their regular food sources. However, tiny Pharaoh ants stand out as the number one prime ant species that will attack and feed upon bed bugs.
Next, I’ll take a look at centipedes and mites. House centipedes are quite intriguing in their own right. They feed on a large selection of invertebrates including blood-sucking bed bugs. The primary species of centipedes that prey on bed bugs are known as Scutigera coleoptrata. Additionally, mites also referred to as Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, are known to feast on bed bugs. Since these common house dust critters typically dwell near bedding areas, this puts them in close proximity to acquiring a meal of bed bugs.
Do Spiders Eat Bed Bugs?
A diverse range of spiders participates in eating these parasites. The webs that these spiders create definitely come in handy for trapping unsuspecting bed bugs. The dominant species of spider that is known for hunting bed bugs are called Thanatus flavidus.
Do Roaches Eat Bed Bugs?
Your property is alive with both roaches and bed bugs, but will the circle of life naturally prevail? The answer to this is yes, cockroaches will and do eat bed bugs.
In all honestly, no one wants to be sharing their home with either pest, but as roaches are scavengers, they will eat just about anything – including bed bugs – helping to prevent an infestation on your behalf. But be warned, cockroaches themselves carry germs and spread diseases that can be harmful to humans.
Bed Bugs vs Roaches
As both bed bugs and roaches are nocturnal, they spend the twilight hours searching for food. And, although cockroaches are predominantly found in kitchens, pantries, and garbage areas they will happily wander into your bedroom in search of a midnight snack. Using their acute sensors, they can easily locate bed bugs and their eggs.
Sworn enemies, roaches can move much faster than a bed bug, so once they have this little critter insight, there is no escape. Although smaller in size and slower in pace, bed bugs can breed at a much quicker rate than a cockroach can. So, although roaches may be able to keep bed bug numbers down, they will never win the fight against them.
Do Mice Eat Bed Bugs
Aside from roaches bed bugs have many other natural predators such as argentine, pharaoh, and red fire ants, certain spiders, and even lizards, frogs, and toads. And whilst mice might feast on bugs and insects whilst in the wild when in your home, a mouse will not choose to eat a bed bug.
This is mainly because bed bugs live in our beds and mice prefer to be around readily available food sources, so scampering in your kitchen is much more preferable. If anything, bed bugs are a nuisance to rodents, as in the absence of a human host they will often take a bite from a rat or a mouse as our blood is surprisingly similar.
What Lizard Eats Bed Bugs?
Many lizard species are predators of a long list of live insects as their food source, including bed bugs. Geographic regions where a high density of wild house geckos exists have noted smaller insect populations. Although lizards are harmless for the most part, it would not be practical to use them in lieu of the appropriate bed bug pest control. Moreover, they also need special climate conditions to survive and thrive.
Is the Use of Natural Bed Bug Predators Feasible?
Although I wish it was as easy as relying upon bed bug predators to eliminate the pest, this, unfortunately, would not be a realistic solution to depend upon as a replacement for traditional pest control methods. Biological bed bug control may not be feasible, however, the presence of some of these predators may help tip-off or hint at a possible area of infestation. Consequently, a natural predator getting rid of a parasite is at least one less bed bug to worry about.
Basic Bed Bug Detection
There are a few signs to be on the lookout for when suspecting a possible bed bug infestation. I recommend taking note of the following:
- Stains – Dark fecal stains, blood stains, and even skin castings in and around the bed area could be an indicator of a bed bug issue.
- Bed Bug Bites – This may seem obvious, but bite marks could also be a potential sign of the parasite’s presence. It can sometimes, however, be difficult to decipher between flea, mosquito, and bed bug bites. Furthermore, bed bug bites tend to itch quite a bit more.
How Can I Prevent Bed Bugs?
Trust me, prevention is key to eliminating a bigger headache down the road. There are several actions you can take to minimize the risk of introducing bed bugs into your personal space.
- Used Items – Caution should be taken when acquiring used items such as furniture and clothing. It may seem like a good deal at first, but if not careful, I know I could get much more than I bargained for in the form of bed bugs. I would definitely ask plenty of questions regarding the item as well as perform a thorough inspection.
- Travel Attentively – Although it’s easy to throw caution to the wind while traveling, it’s important to pay close attention to your surroundings. That includes staying vigilant to prevent inadvertently picking up bed bugs when on the move. Checking the room and mattress, placing clothes in plastic bags for an extra barrier of protection, and keeping luggage away from the bed area are a few great options to consider.
- Launder Immediately After Travel – Whether it is suspected or not that bed bugs may have been picked up during travel, I would highly recommend swiftly laundering luggage contents as a precaution. High heat, especially, is one of the best methods to use in killing pesky bed bugs.
- Periodic Checks – Regular checks of locations where bed bugs typically hide are also a good idea. Some hotspots may include box springs, mattresses, headboards, couches, and chairs.
These are just a few useful tips to avoid bringing uninvited bed bugs into your home. Prevention can save a lot of money, stress, and time.
Final Words on What Eats Bed Bugs and Handy Tips for Prevention
In summary, an ample selection of fellow pests contributes to what eats bed bugs. Some of these natural bed bug enemies that prey upon the parasite include the masked bed bug hunter insect, cockroaches, ants, Thanatus flavidus spiders, mites, centipedes, and some lizards. Although it is not practical to depend on using bed bug predators as pest control, other reasonable measures can be taken to avoid exposure to bed bugs.
Taking extra care when traveling and being proactive in recognizing early signs of a potential issue can go a long way in ensuring a safe and comfortable living space.