Do Bed Bugs Prefer Certain Blood Types?

Bed bugs, those elusive nocturnal pests, have long been a source of frustration and discomfort for many.

Known for their itchy bites and the difficulty in eradicating them, bed bugs can make life miserable for those who encounter them. One of the most intriguing questions about these insects is whether they have a preference for certain blood types.

Let’s delve into the science behind bed bugs and their feeding habits to understand if blood type plays a role in their choice of host.

Understanding Bed Bugs

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, reddish-brown insects that feed exclusively on blood. They are typically found in places where humans sleep, such as beds, couches, and even luggage. Their flat bodies allow them to hide in cracks and crevices during the day, emerging at night to feed on their unsuspecting hosts.

The Biology of Bed Bug Feeding

Bed bugs locate their hosts by detecting carbon dioxide, heat, and certain chemicals emitted by humans. Once they find a suitable host, they pierce the skin with their elongated mouthparts and inject saliva containing anticoagulants and anesthetics, ensuring the feeding process is as painless as possible.

Do Bed Bugs Have a Blood Type Preference?

The question of whether bed bugs prefer certain blood types is complex. Scientific research on this topic is limited, but a few studies have provided some insights.

Research Findings

Laboratory Studies: A study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida explored the feeding preferences of bed bugs in a controlled environment. They found that bed bugs do not show a strong preference for one blood type over another. Instead, factors such as the availability of the host and environmental conditions played a more significant role in their feeding behavior.

Chemical Cues: Another study suggested that the chemical composition of an individual’s skin, influenced by diet, hygiene, and genetics, might be more important than blood type. Bed bugs are attracted to the unique blend of chemicals on the skin’s surface, which varies from person to person, potentially explaining why some individuals seem to be more prone to bites.

Anecdotal Evidence: Many people report varying experiences with bed bug bites, leading to speculation about blood type preferences. However, anecdotal evidence is not scientifically robust and can be influenced by numerous variables, including differences in individual sensitivity to bites.

Possible Explanations for Variability in Bites

While blood type may not be a decisive factor, several other reasons could explain why some people get bitten more frequently:

Host Availability: Bed bugs will feed on the nearest available host. If one person in a household is more accessible during the night, they are more likely to be bitten.

Skin Temperature and Carbon Dioxide: Variations in body heat and CO2 emission can make certain individuals more attractive to bed bugs.

Skin Microbiome: The bacteria and other microorganisms on a person’s skin can produce unique odors that may attract or repel bed bugs.


Current scientific evidence does not support the notion that bed bugs have a preference for certain blood types. Instead, their feeding behavior is influenced by a combination of factors, including host availability, chemical cues from the skin, and environmental conditions.

While blood type might not be a significant factor, the complex interplay of various elements determines how attractive a person is to these pests.

For those dealing with a bed bug infestation, the focus should be on effective eradication methods rather than worrying about blood type.

Using integrated pest management strategies, including thorough cleaning, professional pest control services, and preventive measures, can help keep these persistent pests at bay.