The Pest Control Blog South Africa

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite And Other Sayings


Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs biteThis morning I heard an interesting expression that was thrown at me…someone described a new restaurant they tried over the weekend as being: “the bees knees”, which apparently means, it was very good!!

So this got the curious grey matter that I was given bubbling and I got to thinking:  “How many other proverbs are there to describe things?” Maybe I have uncovered the meaning to why pests where created…to make awesome proverbs for us to use, of course.

So to discover a few common pest proverbs I went to visit a good old friend, who is very knowledgeable when it comes to these sorts of investigations,

Here are a few pesty proverbs and sayings I found:

“Don’t let the bed-bugs bitea long-winded way of saying sleep-tight which means get a good night’s sleep. Oh the english language is a funny onion. On no – another strange phrase!

“She’s got ants in her pants” This is commonly used to describe someone who is very restless and cannot keep still.

An ant across the ocean is seen, but not the elephant nearby” This proverb is of Malaysian decent and basically describes a person that sees flaws in other people and doesn’t see the huge obvious faults in himself.

“Beetle away” Means to move away quickly

“Beetle brain” This is quite an obvious one, it means to be not so smart or clever. We all have our moments

“Bookworm” This one is used quite often. It describes a person who reads many books. Are you a bookworm?

“As snug as a bug in a rug” I like this one, my dad told it to me when I was a young lad. It means to be very snug, warm and comfortable. Warm in bed on a cold winter’s day.

“Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet” This one is from Chinese decent and basically means don’t aggravate a small problem into a bigger problem.

“A bug” Commonly used in the computer world, a fault in a machine (computer)

“Bug-eyed” eyes that stick out (e.g. He was bug-eyed with fright)

And here is one that is not really a proverb, but a rather funny tongue twister, which I personally think each employee should be able to say before a meeting to show that they are fully awake and alert.

“Big black bugs bleed blue black blood but baby black bugs bleed blue blood”

Does anyone know where the “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” saying comes from? And, if you have any more sayings about bugs let us know!

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  1. Phil
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen many questions like this on the Internet, and all seem to decompose the phrase and address the origin and meaning of “sleep tight”. They answer WHAT it is instead of WHEN the idiom was first used. In searching Google Books, the earliest reference to the specific idiom “Good-night, sleep-tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” I found is in the 1896 first publication the book of humor titled “What They Say in New England: a book of signs, sayings, and superstitions” by Clifton Johnson.

  2. Ivan
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Sleep Tight means:
    Long ago beds had frames with rope stretched across the frame.
    A pad was put on the web of rope and quilts on that.
    If the ropes got loose than you slept on a sagging bed – not good. You had to tighten the ropes.
    Sleep tight meant to get a comfortable sleep.
    Springs and mattress were a definite improvement!

    I’m sure you get the bedbug part.

  3. Joe
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    The bedbug is just for the rhyme duh!

  4. yishea allen
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    this story is mostly about keep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bites i love this story its interset amazing and other fantastic so i hope u sit back and relax this story keep tight and dont let the bedbug bite

  5. Terri
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Okay, well I am doing a project in Social Studies class and I am learning about nursery rhymes, proverbs and sayings, and I need to find out what they mean and I chose “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” as one of my proverbs and sayings. I need to know the history behind it and where it came from, where it first started, who made it up and everything like that! Please help me! Thank you :)

  6. Nita
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    Just came back from an 1800′s historical village and festival. “Sleep tight” came from the old beds having ropes for the straw mattresses to rest upon. If the ropes were not tightened, then the bedding sagged. The straw mattresses would become infested with bedbugs, hence “don’t let the bedbugs bite”. Peppermint oil was spread around the perimeter of the bed, trying to keep the bedbugs from getting into the straw mattresses.

    • Posted October 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Hi Nita

      What an interesting origin of the saying, “sleep tight”!

      You can now imagine my joy that a) beds have certainly become more comfortable and b) that since the 1800′s bed bug treatments has evolved from pure DIY remedies to innovative pest control products that takes care of the menacing bed bugs!

      Thanks Nita for letting us know where the saying came from!

      Many thanks,

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