Bed bugs will snack on warm-blooded animals, including birds, but typically only if a human host isn’t readily available.
Bed Bugs and Birds
As per Penn State’s Entomology department’s bed bug fact sheet,
All members of the bed bug family feed on the blood of birds or mammals.
However, humans are the go-to choice for bed bugs to fuel up on blood-meal, they will seek a human host before settling for a Tweety snack. Which is why bed bugs like to live close to slumbering humans. If you have a pet bird in your home and bed bugs have made their way inside, your bird may get bitten by a bed bug, but typically only if a human is too far away when their munchies strike.
If your bird does exhibit signs of being bitten by a bed bug, such as a red bump or flat welt on their skin combined with excessive scratching of the area, check the people in your home for bites too. Bed bugs are primarily a people pest, not a bird pest. Consult your veterinarian about the best course of treatment to alleviate your bird’s discomfort and to prevent potential secondary skin infection from scratching the affected area.
Bed bugs are exceptional at hiding. They have flat, oval bodies that can hide in tiny cracks, crevices, and even laptops. So, setting up shop on the perimeter of a bird cage is not difficult for bed bugs. When inspecting and treating your home for bed bugs, be sure to not overlook Tweety’s birdhouse as a possible location for them to seek refuge.
Bed Bugs and Bunnies! And hamsters, gerbils, and all pet rodents…
Hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, bunnies, and even pet rats are all warm-blooded mammals so bed bugs will bite pets if they can’t find a human host, within approximately 50 – 75 feet of their residential nests. They are drawn to hosts by detecting the carbon dioxide emissions a hosts releases upon exhalation; but do prefer human hosts over other mammals. If you suspect bed bugs are bugging your caged critters, there is a good chance they’ve been nibbling on the people in your home too. In addition to checking your pets cage, bedding, and all belongings, check your home thoroughly. Eradication of the bed bug is the only sure-fire way to protect your pets from further bed bug attacks.
Bed Bugs are not known to transmit diseases to people or our pets the way other common pests like mites or tapeworms do, but they can affect our animal’s health by creating uncomfortable, itchy, bite marks. Treatment of their discomfort should be done under the advice of your veterinarian.
Bed Bugs and Reptiles
Warm-blood, warm temperatures, and smooth skin are all qualities that bed bugs look for in an excellent blood-meal host. Reptiles, including snakes, chameleon’s, and crocodiles lack those traits highly prized by bed bugs. So, if a bed bug shows a biting interest in a reptile pet, they are seriously out of human host options. If you’ve spotted a bed bug in your pet’s enclosure they have more likely just chosen the cozy habitat to live in; they aren’t too interested in your ball python as a blood-meal source. Inspect the cracks, crevices and every nook of your pet’s home for evidence of bed bugs. Female bed bugs lay 1-2 tiny eggs every day, that can lead to hundreds of baby bed bugs looking for a warm-blooded nursemaid in just a few short weeks!
While it’s not impossible for a bed bug to bite a reptile or amphibian, it is highly unlikely. If you suspect a bed bug is feeding on your non-human companions, there is a high probability that they are feeding on you too. At the heart of bed bug behavior is the reality that bed bugs are a people pest, not a pet pest.
If bed bugs are an issue in your home, rest assured you are not the only one suffering, in 2014 the city of Hamilton, Ontario spent $450,000 towards fighting the bed bug problem plaguing their city. Bed bugs are a nuisance, and the best way to get rid of them is too utilize the services of a pest-control specialist. Consider moving your cold-blooded friends while your home is being treated to another location; ensure they aren’t exposed to harmful bed bug treatment chemicals.