Why Do Bed Bugs Not Bite Everyone? - Bed Bugs Insider (2023)

Bed bugs need a regular supply of blood to survive. For some reason, you’re covered in bed bug bites while your partner isn’t affected at all. You’re no doubt wondering why this is the case.

Bed bugs typically bite everyone, but 50% of people don’t react to bites, meaning they get no spots. Bed bugs may only infest one side of the bed, or have a blood type preference. They might be in someone else’s bed, but not yours. You might also be bitten by a different type of bug, or repel them without realizing what they’re doing.

There are many reasons why bed bugs bite one person and ignore others. There are also many myths about why bed bugs are disinterested in your partner which are accepted as the truth.

Table of Contents:

Why Are Bed Bugs Not Biting Me?

Some reasons are due to physical restrictions, and others are because you’re more appealing to them. Or they might be biting you, but you don’t know it.

Do Bed Bug Bites Always Swell?

Bed bug bites swell because of the histamine response. This is the body’s natural immune response to something it thinks is toxic. It’s also responsible for allergies.

However, not everybody’s body is the same. Some people are allergic to peanuts, for example, while others aren’t. In the same way, some people’s bodies don’t react to bed bug bites.

In practice, this means that some people’s bed bug bites don’t swell up. They might be biting you, but your body isn’t reacting. This explains why you don’t get bitten when you sleep in the same bed as someone that does.

The bed bugs in the mattress likely feed on you as much as the other person. They feed in the same way, and take the same amount of blood. The only difference is that your bites don’t swell up.

This is by far the most likely reason one of you is bitten, and one of you isn’t.

Do Bed Bugs Infest Every Room?

Do you live with a roommate or family member that is bitten regularly? Are you left untouched? The reason could be that the bed bugs haven’t reached your room yet.

Bed bug infestations start with a single female. She escapes her current harborage, and searches for a new place to lay her eggs. This could be by moving elsewhere in the same room. It could also be by hitching a ride in a person’s bag, and finding a new house.

Once there, she will find a secure place to lay her eggs. She will then continue feeding and laying eggs for several months, after being fertilized just once. Eventually, she will mate with her offspring and produce more eggs.

In this way, an infestation can start in one room. It can take a long time for them to attempt to find another room to infest. It’s only once all available spots are taken that a female tries to find a new room/house.

Why Do Bed Bugs Not Bite Everyone? - Bed Bugs Insider (1)

Do Bed Bugs Have a Blood Type Preference?

You may also be getting more or fewer bites than a partner because of blood type. Bed bugs have a preference for blood type, and stick to it where it’s available.

Their preference is based on what they grew up with. When bed bugs grow up feeding on O positive blood, they’ll feed on O positive in the future. The same applies to other blood types.

To be clear, there isn’t one blood type that bed bugs prefer over all others. Instead, it’s a matter of their taste. They can feed on any blood.

This could explain why your partner is consistently bitten, while the bugs leave you alone.

Where Do Bed Bugs Live?

You may also be getting a disproportionate number of bites because of the location. Unless you have a large infestation, the harborage will be on one side of the mattress. It could be on the left or right, or under any of the four corners.

This especially applies if there are hardly any bed bugs. If there are only five, and they live near one person, that one person will be a bit more.

Bed bugs are attracted to the closest food source they can find. They don’t wander around hoping that they find you. They sniff out the smells of CO2 and skin, and seek out your warmth to find you.

If the harborage is on the left of the mattress, the person on the left gets bitten more. Whichever person they’re nearest to will be bitten disproportionately. The only exception is if there are bed bugs under every corner of the mattress.

Does Washing Before Bed Stop Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are attracted to the smell of human skin. They pick up on the pheromones we give off naturally in our sweat. This is proven by the fact that bed bugs are attracted to dirty clothes.

You could, therefore, wash before bed, which might to an extent stop them from finding you. If you do, but your partner doesn’t, it might explain why you get fewer bites. This is untested in a scientific setting, however, so it’s unclear whether it works.

Plus, there are still other things they’re attracted to. They still seek out body heat and carbon dioxide. It’s unlikely that washing will make that much of a difference.

It Might Not Be Bed Bugs

There’s a chance that the bite marks might not be bed bug bites. They could be any one of several skin conditions, or bites from other things. Similar conditions include:

  • Scabies mite bite marks
  • Mosquito bite marks
  • Hives

Any of these issues could be affecting you, but not your partner.

You Might Not Notice the Bed Bug Bites

The bites could be in specific locations that you can’t see. If they’re on the small of your back, for example, they’re more challenging to spot. Especially compared to bites on your arms or legs.

This applies if the bites aren’t itchy. If they don’t itch, and they’re in a location that’s hard to see, you’re unlikely to spot them.

They’re Wearing Bed Bug Repellent

You or your partner may be unwittingly repelling bed bugs. Certain everyday substances can be toxic and repel bed bugs. These include essential oils.

If your partner applies essential oils, this may be encouraging the bed bugs to bite you instead. There are also several ways that you could accidentally use oils:

  • In shampoo or conditioner
  • Through body wash
  • Through perfumes

With one person wearing a weak repellent, they might experience fewer bites.

Do Bed Bugs Prefer Females or Males?

Certain insects, like mosquitoes, are proven to prefer women. The exact reasons why are unclear. People suggest it may be due to different hormones, or even due to the menstrual cycle.

As of yet, no solid evidence exists to prove which sex bed bugs prefer. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence, as some people are convinced that they prefer men or women. However, this can be explained by peoples’ partners not reacting to the bites.

As for evidence that bed bugs prefer women, no scientists have studied the question. It’s possible, but unproven.

Do Bed Bugs Prefer Certain Colors?

The final point is that bed bugs prefer certain colors to others. According to PLoS One, they prefer red and black over lighter colors. The reason is that they search out these colors for their harborages. The darker the harborage, the safer they are.

This may make a difference based on the pajamas you wear. If you wear dark red or black pajamas, these preferred colors may attract them.

However, the extent of what this matters is unclear. One issue is that these preferences refer specifically to harborage locations. What attracts a bed bug to a harborage is different from what attracts them to a feeding site.

Also, bed bugs search for open skin. If anything, they would bite people who wear no pajamas more than those who wear black ones. That’s because pajamas cover some of the skin, making it difficult for the bed bug to feed.

Similar Posts:

  • How To Stop Bed Bugs from Biting You While Sleeping
  • 21 Ways to Prevent Bed Bugs from Entering Your Home That Work
  • What Attracts Bed Bugs into Your Home?
  • Can I Go to Work If I Have Bed Bugs?
  • Where Are Bed Bugs Most Likely to Bite?


Why do bed bugs bite some people and not others? ›

Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.

Can bed bugs bite one person in the bed and not the other? ›

Bed bugs can bite only one person in a group of people sharing a bedroom. They rarely bite pets. If they are not exterminated, they reproduce and spread rapidly. When their numbers grow, bed bugs become a nuisance.

Why do bed bugs only bite one person in the bed? ›


If bed bugs only bite one person, it's because they only had one person available. What happens is, bed bugs bite anyone they can find because they need blood to survive. But only half the people bitten react to the bites. The reaction of people to bed bug bites is different.

What blood type do bed bugs not like? ›

There are no specific blood types which bed bugs are attracted to, but there are instances where the pests will sometimes feed on one person in a bed and not the other.

What attracts bed bugs to a person? ›

As bed bugs feed on warm-blooded creatures, it's only natural that they're attracted to you. Specifically, they're drawn in by your body heat, the carbon dioxide you exhale and other biological signatures. In fact, they're called bed bugs because they're often found on or around bedding.

Why do bed bugs bite my girlfriend but not me? ›

To be clear, there isn't one blood type that bed bugs prefer over all others. Instead, it's a matter of their taste. They can feed on any blood. This could explain why your partner is consistently bitten, while the bugs leave you alone.

How many times can 1 bed bug bite you? ›

Often a single bed bug will produce more than one bite during the night so it is not always a one to one relationship where each bite represents a different bed bug.

How do bed bugs know you're sleeping? ›

The good news is that bed bugs cannot tell time, and they do not know much about your sleeping habits. They just wait for night to fall to make their appearances. What bed bugs want is for you to stop moving around. When you go to sleep, your body relaxes and stays still, making a perfect buffet for bed bugs.

Do bed bugs come out every night? ›

However, if there are not too many, then chances are that they will not bite every night. On average bed bugs feed once every 3 to 10 nights and spend the rest of the days resting and digesting their meals.

Do bed bugs have a natural enemy? ›

Shortlist of bed bug predators are:

American Cockroaches. Thanatus Flavidus Spiders. House Centipedes. The Masked Hunter also known as the Masked Bed Bug Hunter.

What are bed bugs weaknesses? ›

If bed bugs have one weakness, it's that they're intolerant of extremely high or low temperatures. Washing clothes and bedding at the highest possible setting followed by drying for at least 30 minutes at high heat should do the trick. You can also freeze clothing or other objects you suspect of being infested.

What scents attract bed bugs? ›

One scent that bed bugs find appealing is dirty laundry or dirty bedding because of how it smells once it's come in contact with humans. Research has shown that bed bugs prefer previously worn clothing and used bedding, which is why you shouldn't leave these items on the floor close to your bed.

Do bed bugs jump from person to person? ›

Bed bugs, unlike lice, don't travel directly on people and spread from person to person. But they can travel on people's clothes. In this way, people can spread bed bugs to others, without even knowing it.

How long can bed bugs live without biting someone? ›

People can also bring bed bugs into their home on infested clothing, bedding, furniture, and luggage. Bed bugs can go without feeding for 20 to 400 days, depending on temperature and humidity.

What are bed bugs afraid of? ›

One of the most researched solutions for keeping bed bugs away is peppermint. This plant can provide a smell which bed bugs and other pests hate. The scent will drive any pest which will keep your home pest-free and fresh at the same time.

How do you find a bed bug nest? ›

Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard. If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs: In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains. In drawer joints.

What does rubbing alcohol do to bedbugs? ›

Alcohol works two ways to kill bedbugs. First, it acts as a solvent, which means it eats away the bug's outer shell. The dissolving action might be enough to kill some bedbugs, but alcohol delivers a one-two punch. It also acts as a desiccant, a substance that induces drying out.

Why do bugs bite me and not my husband? ›

In fact, about 85 percent of why mosquitoes are attracted to you comes down to your genetics, researchers say. Things like your blood type and how much lactic acid you have on your skin play a big role.

Is it possible for bed bugs to only be in one room? ›

Do Bed Bugs Usually Stay In One Room? Since bed bugs do not have wings and do not jump, some people incorrectly assume that they tend to stay in one room and not travel much. However, this is not true. Bed bugs move around quickly and seek any place where they can find their next blood meal (i.e. humans).

How do you prevent bed bug bites while sleeping? ›

How can you prevent bedbug bites?
  1. Wash and dry your bedding on high heat. ...
  2. Vacuum and steam clean furniture and floors. ...
  3. Get a mattress and box spring cover. ...
  4. Sleep in long-sleeved clothing. ...
  5. Declutter. ...
  6. Use interceptor traps. ...
  7. Contact a qualified pest control professional.
Nov 18, 2022

Do bed bugs bite in daytime? ›

They are nocturnal parasites, which means they rest during the day and are active at night. However, bedbugs are opportunistic and will bite in the day, especially if starved for some time. They feed on the blood of humans.

What kills bed bugs and their eggs? ›

Interestingly, bed bug eggs must be exposed to 118°F for 90 minutes to reach 100% mortality. Note that whole room heat treatments (see below) are based on a thermal death point of 113°F, yet these treatments have been very successful.

How many times can 1 bed bug bite at once? ›

Often a single bed bug will produce more than one bite during the night so it is not always a one to one relationship where each bite represents a different bed bug.

Do bed bugs only bite certain areas? ›

Where on the body do bedbug bites occur? Bedbugs can bite any part of your body. However, they'll normally bite areas of skin that are exposed while you sleep. This includes your face, neck, arms, and hands.

Can bed bugs travel on clothes you're wearing? ›

Bed bugs, unlike lice, don't travel directly on people and spread from person to person. But they can travel on people's clothes. In this way, people can spread bed bugs to others, without even knowing it.

Are bed bugs picky about who they bite? ›

You might be relieved to know that bed bugs don't actually target certain individuals in a home. These bugs aren't picky about who they bite, so you can bet that they're feeding on everyone in your home. Even though you may be the only person who seems to have bites.

What is the most common place for bed bugs to bite? ›

Bites are commonly found on the parts of the body that are more likely to be exposed to bed bugs during sleep - the hands, neck, face, shoulders, legs and arms. While not always the case, bed bug bites are often grouped together in a small area and at times may occur in a line or a zigzag pattern.

What is biting me at night that isn't bed bugs? ›

Besides bedbugs, numerous insects bite at night. These night biters can be mites, fleas, mosquitoes, lice, spiders, and ticks.


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