What Scents Attract Bed Bugs

by | Last updated Jun 28, 2023 | Bugs

Over the years, there has been a misconception that if you have bed bugs, you are a dirty person(poor personal hygiene) and that bed bugs are drawn to filth and dirt. But that’s not the case; there is enough evidence to suggest otherwise. For example, you will never see bed bugs around dirty dishes. So what scents attract bed bugs?.

Ok, if they are not attracted to the dirt in your home, what then? Studies have suggested that these tiny creatures prefer warm environments where they can easily access carbon dioxide and their preferred meal – blood.

Besides the carbon dioxide you breathe out and the warmth generated by your body, bed bugs are also attracted to a host of different scents. Yes! You read that right; bed bugs are drawn to varying scents in your home.

In this article, we will focus on the different scents that attract bed bugs to your home. Read on to get some shrewdness into what scents attract bedbugs.

What Scents Attract Bed Bugs?

Though bed bugs are primarily attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide, bed bugs are also attracted to different scents and smells.

1.     The Smell Of Dirty Laundry

Well, don’t get confused! The reason why bed bugs love the smell of dirty laundry is because of your sweat and scent.  The sweat smell in your clothes tends to attract bed bugs – these creepy guys tend to think it’s you.

Recently scientists conducted a test where they placed dirty laundry and clean clothes in different corners in a bedbug-infested room overnight. And to their surprise, when they checked in the morning. The bed bugs had assembled on the dirty clothes.

Related reading: How to tell if bed bugs are in your clothes

2.     Histamine – Hormonal Scent From Bed Bugs

Have you ever wondered why bed bug bites are ordinarily in one area most of the time? This is the reason, whenever bed bugs bite you and feed on your blood, they generate a chemical-like scent, “Histamine.” that attracts other bed bugs to that spot.

This unique scent, mainly found in bed bug droppings and skin, usually communicates to the other bed bugs that it’s a safe place to feed.  Now, how do we utilize this to our advantage?

Scientists have come up with a clever way to make bed bugs come out of hiding places. They have developed bed bug traps that emit a similar scent (histamine produced by bed bugs). This is a game-changer in the battle against bed bugs.

You just switch on the trap, and it emits the histamine Pheromone. The bed bugs come out of their hiding places, thinking one of their own has found food only to get trapped. This pheromone trap is very effective, especially in a heavily infested home.

3.     Pheromones -Natural Human Scent

Another scent that bed bugs love is the natural smell of human skin. These pesky little bugs tend to pick up the scent we naturally give off when we sweat. Naturally, bed bugs are attracted to human warmth, and as your body generates heat, you also produce this human pheromone.

Related reading: Best Way To Repel Bed Bugs From Biting You

4.     Myths about Urine scent and bed bugs

Are bed bugs attracted to urine? A familiar question most people researching on bed bugs come across.  First of all, wetting in bed is not a pleasant experience, especially for kids and old adults alike. Even though there isn’t any scientific evidence to prove that bed bugs are attracted to urine, there is considerable evidence to prove that urine can attract bed bugs.

Studies have shown that urine contains a considerable amount of both carbon dioxide and histamine. And this is one reason why bed bugs are attracted to urine. This might not be proof enough, but these components will most definitely invite bed bugs to the host.

Related reading: How Do Bed Bug Traps Work


Why are bed bugs only biting me?

Are you the only one with itchy bites in your home, yet you slept in the same bed – a weird occurrence! Right?

While it might look like little camps are targeting you, but that’s not the case. Bed bugs are not that picky when it comes to blood.

Are you the only one with itchy bites in your home, yet you slept in the same bed – a weird occurrence! Right? While it might look like little camps are targeting you, but that’s not the case. Bed bugs are not that picky when it comes to blood.

Just rest assured they are feeding on everyone; it’s just that maybe their skin is not reacting the same way as yours after the bite.

Are bugs attracted to certain blood types?

Even though it has no scientific backing, it is believed that bed bugs tend to bite people with specific blood types more than others.

It is believed that some blood types emit more heat than others. We know bed bugs are attracted to warmth, so people with warm blood, “blood type O,” have a higher chance of being bitten.

But it also depends on a variety of factors that can increase the heat level, such as alcohol, exercise, sickness, and emotions. Some studies have suggested that bed bugs tend to shy away from blood that has alcohol in it.

Another theory is that bed bugs prefer to feed on the blood type they grew up with. If they grow up feeding AB blood type, they will most likely feed on the AB blood type. But this does not mean in the absence of AB blood type, they won’t feed on other blood types. They will feed on any blood type.

Are bed bugs attracted to period blood?

The answer is an affirmative no. Reason being bed bugs are not attracted to you by the scent of blood but rather your body heat, carbon dioxide, and natural body smell.

Related reading: What if A Bug Flies in Your Ear?


Over time bed bugs have evolved and adapted over the years. Though bed bugs might feed on animals, they generally love feeding on warm-blooded humans.  So don’t be surprised if they feed on you.


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Because bed bugs are active at night, they tend to look for food at night. At this time, you are usually asleep, and since you don’t move much, you make a fantastic food source for bed bugs. They can easily find you in the dark as they can smell your skin scent and the carbon dioxide you emit.

Related reading: What attracts bed bugs

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