How do Bed Bugs Spread in Your Home?

Bed bugs are a nuisance. These microscopic, blood-sucking insects can be the reason for your sleepless nights. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs do not spread because a house is either unclean or in a poor neighborhood.

While they do not spread any disease, their bites can be very itchy and leave bumpy, red spots across your body. Sadly, there is not one preventive measure that you can adapt to avoid the infestation of bed bugs in your house. Similarly, there is no particular cause behind the outbreak of bed bugs in your house.

matress free from bed bugs

How Do Bed Bugs Spread From House to House?

Bed bugs are tiny creatures that survive on human’s blood. Generally, they exist in densely populated neighborhoods or residential complexes. But they are equally capable of making their way into high-rise apartments or multi-story office buildings. For bed bugs to enter your home, they only need a ride. This ‘ride’ can be luggage, furniture or any clothing item like shoes or a scarf.

Even a single bed bug can infest your home. It multiplies fast and, within weeks, you may start spotting bed bugs crawling on your furniture or mattress.

The following are the most common ways through which a bed bug can enter your home.

You Carry Them from a Hotel Room

You went to the much-needed vacation and booked a room in a fancy hotel you heard a lot about. The sheet is clean and the room has a soft fragrance. You left your opened suitcase on the floor and lie down to shake off travel fatigue.

You did not consider, though, that the room might have a bed bug somewhere in the corner. As discussed above, bed bugs do not prefer filthy environment. So, it doesn’t matter how clean your hotel room is. It can still face the problem of bed bug infestation.

Also, a hotel is a place where hundreds of people come and go in a month. No one can tell for sure if a traveler carries a bed bug in his/her luggage. Hotels are a perfect breeding ground for bed bugs.

If you are in a room with bed bugs, your luggage and clothes can become a carrier of these insects. You may see them on the lining of your luggage’s zipper or on the folding of your clothes. 

Your Temptation to Get Something For Free Cost You

In a dwindling economy like these days’, anything with the free label is tempting. Take a walk down your block and you will spot pieces of well-looking furniture and comfy mattresses. These unclaimed items may tempt you to bring them home, but wait. Such items are the sanctuary of bed bugs. Often, the reason why they are on the pavement is that they are home to bed bugs.

You should also be wary of buying mattresses or furniture from a place that offers the exchange policy. Such places take people’s old furniture and replace it with their own at a price. The storage area is the same for both old and new items. When a seller puts an already infested item in a storeroom, bed bugs find a way to crawl on to new pieces.

To protect your homes from a bed bug invasion, make sure not to bring discarded items or shop at places that follow the exchange policy.

Your Neighbors May Have Them

In shared housing options like dorms, condos, and apartments, bed bug migration is a problem. You may be doing all things right, but if your next-door house has bed bug infestation you can have it too.

These insects can crawl through connected vents or tiny cracks in the walls and move from one place to another. This is how bed bugs spread from house to house.

They Travel Through Used Clothes

Clothes at a thrift store or from donations or even those you borrowed from a friend can be a resting place for bed bugs.

When you get a used clothing item, make sure to run it through hot water. Bed bugs cannot survive temperatures above 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Besides used clothes or furniture, non-fabrics like books can also make bed bugs move from one place to a different one.

dirty used clothes

In Bed Bug Infested Areas

If you are at a bedbug-infested place, you will bring a cluster of insects back home. These insects only need an item to hitch a ride on. So from your purse, shoes to your wallet, anything can help them migrate.

How Are Bed Bugs Spread At Home

You now know how bed bugs find their way to your home. You will be mistaken if you think that bed bugs in your room will go easily. It may sound dramatic but bed bugs want your blood for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When they are hungry, they will move across your home to find you.

The reason why these insects often live on the seams of the mattress is that they can easily get to you. Since they are nocturnal, they will easily find you near their resting place when you are having a good night sleep.

There are a number of other factors as well that allow bed bugs to spread across the house. Some of them are below:      

Moving the furniture:

You spot a bed bug on a chair in your lounge, and you place it in a storeroom. For you, this saved your lounge from infestation. But, in reality, this may lead to bed bugs spreading in other rooms. When getting rid of such furniture items, seal them in a plastic bag. This will prevent bed bugs and their eggs from falling on the floor and seeking refuge in your home. To save others from bringing your infested furniture to their homes, mark the furniture with the word ‘bedbug-infested’.

Disturbing them:

Bed bugs live in the cluster. So there will be a specific corner where they go back to once they are done with their blood meal. They like their privacy and will not appreciate you flashing a torch on them.

When you go around your house, poking one corner after the other, these insects get their cue to relocate. From one dark corner to the next, they will remain in the house but keep changing their resting place.

If you are on a spraying mission, poke their hiding spots only when you have the spray ready and liberally spray on them as soon as you locate them.

Using the same vacuum:

The best and less tedious home remedy to kill bed bugs is to suck them up in a vacuum. You should be careful about not using the same vacuum for the rest of your house. For killing bed bugs, buy a new vacuum exclusively for this purpose.

Allowing them to multiply:

Bed bugs multiply fast. For you to experience bed bug infestation, all it takes is a single sexually active female bed bug. It lays at least five eggs a day and these eggs take 10 days to hatch. Afterward, the female bed bug can mate with her own children.

These parasites have a dedicated place, as discussed above. But, when their population increases, they move to other places in the house to have room for themselves. This is why their early detection is important. Once they start multiplying, it becomes a challenge to eradicate them completely.

All That You Need to Know About Bed Bugs

This section will tackle questions that people often ask about bed bugs. It is easy to say that a bed bug multiples fast. But, there has to be a method to quantify what fast means. The following sections talk about biological aspects like reproduction and life cycle of bed bugs.

How Long Does it Take for Bed Bug Eggs to Hatch

After mating, a female bed bug lays oval, 1/16 inch-long, white eggs. Female bed bugs lay eggs in crevices or cracks in the wall. At a time, they can lay up to five eggs. In their lifetime, they can lay between 200 and 250 eggs.  

An egg hatches in six to 10 days and the nymph searches for a blood meal. Before reaching adulthood, immature nymphs molt at least five times. Before each molt, a bed bug needs one blood meal.

Young nymphs can survive for several months without a meal, while older nymphs can survive even longer. The lifespan of adult bed bugs is between two and four months.  

How Do Beg Bugs Reproduce

The bed bug mating is called traumatic insemination in the lexicon of biology. This process means that a male bed bug penetrates into a female by literally stabbing the latter’s abdomen.

The male’s reproductive cells, or gametes, will move to the female’s reproductive gametes or ovaries. The fertilization can take place at any location on the abdomen, and a female bed bug carries eggs for a period between five and seven weeks.

After the eggs hatch, the bed bug immediately feeds them. Following the feeding period of three or so days, the female can lay eggs again. She continues to feed as she lays eggs. On average, the female can produce between three and eight eggs a week.  

Generally, a female bed bug can lay 12 eggs per day if she has had a proper blood meal. A female covers the eggs with an adhesive layer to ensure that the eggs remain intact.

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Move

Tiny bed bugs crawl fast and can move three to four feet per minute. This speed allows them to quickly find the nearest crack in the wall when they sense danger. Many people believe that bed bugs can fly. This is not true. These are wingless insects and cannot fly unless you put external pressure (for example, keeping a blow dryer behind them).

They cannot jump too. They are depended on a carrier for moving from one place to another. There has to be a surface or an item through which they move across the house; or from one place to another.

People often ask: how do bed bugs get onto beds if they can’t jump or fly? Bed bugs are capable of intelligently making their way to the surface they want to reach. If they want to reach atop a bed, they crawl up the legs of the bed or nearby pieces of furniture, for example, end table or a cupboard, that touch the bed.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread

Microscopic bedbug scanning electron micrograph.

Let’s review the article now. Bed bugs spread from house to house through a carrier. These hitchhikers can hide in someone’s belonging and move with them wherever they go. Most people think that these insects can travel on human bodies too. This is a misconception. Bed bugs detest heat and they will never remain on the human skin for long. They can be on clothes though.

Bed bugs do not spread any disease but the itchiness of their bites can be irritating. Even if you have got rid of them, you can suffer from a condition called delusional parasitosis. This syndrome makes you falsely believe that you have the insect crawling on your skin. You can even suffer from the condition for a longer period than you think.

One of the important things to remember is that bed bugs do not prefer unsanitary conditions. So if you spot a bed bug, don’t think that you have kept your house dirty. They crawl into your house in search of blood and nothing else.

Bed bugs live in dark corners where the sunlight is the least. This is why they are more common in apartment buildings.

Early detection of bed bugs is important. Otherwise, they will spread across the homes in large numbers. Before covering your house with pesticides, try to get rid of these insects by using home remedies.

It’s always better to take preventive measures and avert bed bugs from invading your house.