ATLANTA – As cold weather settles in and you snuggle under the blankets, there is always the chance that you’ll be joined by a batch of biting critters.

There’s an old saying—sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Bed bugs do bite, but why do they invade the places where we sleep?

“The bed is the most predictable location where these insects can locate their food,” says Daniel Suiter of the University of Georgia’s Department of Entomology. “Bed bugs must feed on blood in order to molt from one stage to the next.”

Like other blood sucking pests, bed bugs are drawn to the places where we spend most of our time. They’re attracted to carbon dioxide. Since we spend six to eight hours a day in bed exhaling a lot of CO2, we’re practically begging bed bugs to join us.

 After they’ve taken our blood, these insects typically dash off to their hiding spot to digest their meal. That’s usually the headboard.

Fortunately, their bite doesn’t bother most people the way mosquito bites can.

According to Suiter, bedbugs can hitch a ride on just about anything.

"They can get on an endless array of items like book bags, purses, jackets, dirty clothes, and shoes,” says Suiter. “If you think of it, they can hitch a ride on it.”

Even though they’re called bedbugs, they will hang out in other places where we linger like a couch or recliner.

Suiter says if you see one bedbug it doesn’t mean there’s an infestation. And just because there’s a bug in your bed, that doesn’t mean it’s a bed bug.

“We see lots of insects that come into our lab that are not bed bugs, but people think they are because the insect was found in their bedroom,” says Suiter. “Homeowners should call their county extension agent or a pest management professional to get an insect identified.”

There are traps if there is an infestation.

Get the right information and help and you really can sleep tight.