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.

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 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

The National Center for Biotechnology Information describes pheromones in this article:

“Pheromones that produce a simple releaser effect–a single specific response mediated directly by the central nervous system–are widespread in the animal kingdom and serve a great many functions. The chemical structures of six attractants are shown . Although two of the six–the mammalian scents muskone and civetone–have been known for some 40 years and are generally assumed to serve a sexual function, their exact role has never been rigorously established by experiments with living animals. In fact, mammals seem to employ musk-like compounds, alone or in combination with other substances, to serve several functions: to mark territories, to assist in territorial defense and to identify the sexes.” 

The scientific theory is that in addition to carbon dioxide and warmth, bed bugs also use pheromones to find their meals (us), and each other. They may be more attracted to female pheromones. While it’s just a theory, a lot of research is being conducted on bed bugs and their pheromones, with the goal “death to bed bugs” according to Scientific American.

While it may appear that bed bugs prefer one person over another, the more likely explanation is that the other person is not reacting to bites. Because there is more research and testing to conduct while researchers learn more about them, it is possible bed bugs prefer one person over another, when there is more than one option (meal) available.

Do bed bugs prefer a blood type?

There is no scientific evidence that bed bugs prefer one blood type over another. There is however a boatload of misinformation on the internet that suggests they may or do. But there is no research study that I can find that suggests this is even a thing. 

Listen! If you have blood, you are the right type for any bed bug. Those are the qualifications, having blood.