How Bed Bugs Fly

Department of Health

Bed Bugs – What They Are and How to Control Them

Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years. They feed on blood, but are not known to spread any diseases to humans. Some people can be allergic to their bites. Getting rid of a bed bug infestation is not easy, but there are steps you can take to control the problem. There are also steps you can take to avoid bringing bed bugs home.

What are bed bugs?

How can bed bugs get into my home?

  • They can come from other infested areas or from used furniture. They can hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces.
  • They can travel between rooms in multi-unit buildings, such as apartment complexes and hotels.

How can I avoid bringing bed bugs into my home?

  • When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.
  • Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.

How do I know if I have a bed bug problem?

  • You can see the bed bugs themselves, their shed skins, or their droppings in mattress seams and other items in the bedroom.
  • There may also be blood stains on sheets.

How do I control a bed bug problem in my home?

It can be done, but it usually requires what is called an "integrated pest management" (IPM) approach. This combines techniques that pose the lowest risk to your health and the environment. Try these strategies:

  • Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.
  • Move your bed away from walls or furniture.
  • Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.
  • Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.
  • Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.

Should I also try pesticides?

Pesticides may not be effective and can be dangerous if used improperly. If you decide to use pesticides, follow these rules:

  • Only use pesticides that are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (look for the U.S. EPA Registration Number on the label) and make sure they are labeled to control bed bugs.
  • Do not apply pesticides directly to your body (there are no repellents registered to control bed bugs that can be used on the human body).
  • Do not use outdoor pesticides indoors.
  • If you decide to hire a pest control company, make sure they have experience with bed bugs. They should follow the steps of IPM, along with any pesticide application. Use a company that is registered and employs licensed applicators. The Department of Environmental Conservation has a list of registered companies.

It takes time and persistence to get rid of bed bugs, and in some cases, the cooperation of landlords, neighbors and others. It can be physically and emotionally exhausting. It can also be expensive when pest control companies are called in. Just remember – bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a health concern and, with vigilance, you can avoid or deal with infestations.

See the following for more information on bed bug biology and control measures:

Photo courtesy of Dr. Harold Harlan, Armed Forces Pest Management Board Image Library

Can Bed Bugs Fly?

The pests can turn up anywhere—homes, dorms, hospitals, hotels—but can bed bugs fly? Here’s how they get around.

jareynolds/Shutterstock

Can bed bugs fly?

Can bed bugs fly? Nope. At least not today’s bed bugs. Eons ago their ancestors could fly, but over time bed bugs evolved and they no longer need wings. Why fly (and risk getting seen) when you can live in secret near a human host and crawl out at night to suck blood?

How bed bugs travel

“Bed bugs travel with us humans, so however we may travel, they will travel,” says Jody Green, PhD, an urban entomologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They might not have wings, but they don’t need them because they hitchhike onto our belongings, like coats, backpacks, books, blankets, and even things like wheelchairs and prosthetics, Green says. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking or in a car, taxi, or plane. They can be transported by any means of travel humans use. Now that you know the answer to the question “can bed bugs fly,” learn what really causes bed bugs in the first place.

How do bed bugs get around?

Bed bugs have six legs that are adapted for crawling but not jumping. If you leave a bed bug–containing item in your bedroom, a bed bug doesn’t have to travel far to find you. They’ll settle in a place near you—like in the seams of a mattress, a headboard, a nightstand, or any nearby crack or crevice. Their new home is called a harborage and will be close by. To identify them, take a look at our guide to what bed bugs look like.

Can Bed Bugs Fly? Bed Bug Facts and Myths

While bed bugs love hitching rides in people’s luggage, clothing and sheets, they actually aren’t able fly. Discover more common bed bug myths and facts.

Bed bugs have made quite the resurgence recently. This has left many concerned, warm-blooded humans with questions about these pesky pests.

Below, find answers to many common questions about bed bugs.

Q: Do bed bugs fly and have wings?

A: Bed bugs seem to suddenly show up unexpectedly out of nowhere. Because of their sudden appearance, some people have asked, "Do bed bugs fly?" Thankfully, no, bed bugs cannot fly.

Q: How do bed bugs fly around the country?

A: Bed bugs crawl on six legs, and they do not have wings. However, any rapid transportation of bed bugs can be attributed to human activity. They attach themselves to luggage, clothing or even skin and hitch a ride.

Q: Why are they called bed bugs?

A: They feed on sleeping humans as hosts and primarily feed at night while these hosts are in bed.

Q: How do bed bugs find hosts while they are asleep?

A: Body heat, the carbon dioxide from exhaled breath and other biological signatures help focus the bed bugs on unsuspecting, snoozing hosts.

Q: What do bed bugs do during the daytime?

A: The bed bug feeds, then retreats back to its place of harborage for days or even weeks before coming back out, often making detection of infestations difficult until they are well established.

Q: Where do bed bugs hide?

A: They live in small crevices mostly undetected. They don’t need much space – it is possible to find eight or 10 bed bugs in a single screw hole in furniture or electronics.

Q: How do I know if I have bed bugs?

A: If you think you have been in contact with bed bugs, check personal belongings carefully. Then call the professionals at Terminix® for an expert assessment.

Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

What are Earwigs?

Most people have probably heard of earwigs at some point or another. These creepy-looking insects are associated with some urban myths. Learn the truth about earwigs, including what attracts them and how to help get rid of them.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

Are Bed Bugs Contagious?

Bed bugs are not too picky about where and when they catch a ride and don’t necessarily have a preferred mode of transportation, so it’s no surprise how many people wonder, are bed bugs contagious?

Related Articles

Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

Cluster Flies In Your Home

If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve dealt with annoying flies ruining your summer barbecues and outdoor dinner parties. You may have even become accustomed to whipping out the flypaper and heavy-duty bug zappers the minute you hear the familiar buzz of a fly. These annoying pests are likely house flies, which can pose significant health risks to you and your family. But have you ever seen large, sluggish flies loitering inside your home in the autumn and winter? They may be cluster flies.

Tips to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Your House

Now that it’s fall, it’s officially indoor stink bug season. Before it becomes winter, brown marmorated stink bugs are looking for comfortable overwintering sites to spend the cold months—and that can often mean that they may find a way to sneak into your house. While the odor that a stink bug releases is not dangerous, they are definitely a nuisance. Luckily, there are steps you can take to get rid of stink bugs in your house—without having to deal with the unpleasant smell.

What are Sand Fleas?

Many people love going to the beach to spend time in the sun, sand, and water. But they might not love some of the nuisances that live at the beach or in the ocean, such as gnats or jellyfish. But, what about the sand flea, a small critter that can be found in moist areas such as under rocks or debris. Keep reading to learn exactly what sand fleas are and if you need to worry about them.

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

Bedbugs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

Continued

Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.

Continued

Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

Sources

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

Do Bed Bugs Jump or Fly?

In this article, we seek to answer some of the most commonly asked bed bugs related questions –Do bed bugs jump or fly? Do they even have wings? How do they move around?

As the saying goes…“ Knowing your enemy is half the battle ”

Although bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, their bites can cause rashes and even severe skin irritation for some.

Bed Bugs prefer to move at night (in the dark) and feed on human hosts. As such, one of the most common places bed bugs get to humans is, not surprisingly, onthe bed.

Let’s get right into the questions that this article seeks to answer: understanding bed bug’s movement and behavior and how to use it against them.

Can bed bugs fly? Do they even have wings?

Here’s the good news – Bed bugs cannot fly!

They DO have wings though.

Lucky for us, these wing pads do not have the capability to take flight once the bedbug has fully matured. These small wing pads are part of a bed bug’s anatomy, grown just above the abdomen and below the head.

Scientists think that bed bug’s ancestors used to be able to fly, but the front wings on today’s bed bugs are reduced to small jointed pads that can only do slight wiggles while the bed bugs move or feed (similar to the muscles in our ears that allow some people to wiggle them slightly).

[May:If you’ve ever encountered bed bugs that fly, chances are high that it’s actually some other type of bug.]

Can Bed Bugs Jump?

If you have ever encountered bed bugs “jumping” off the walls or from the ceiling, it is more likely they’ve lost grip fell.

Unlike other insects that are incapable of flight (like fleas), bed bugs can’t jump either.

With their wide body so low and close to the ground, their short legs are already having a hard time keeping them up and moving around.

How Do Bed Bugs Move Around?

Bed bugs crawl at an even pace around the speed of an ant (also depending on the surface they are on) due to their 6 short legs and wide body.

So, if bed bugs do not have the capability to jump or fly, how are these tiny pests able to spread so quickly and easily from place to place?

The answer is, they simply crawl or hitch hike.

Often, these sneaky pest hitch on humans and their belongings to move around, crawling onto either someone or someone’s clothes (or other items like backpacks) and then onto their next host.

Luggage left on the bed or floor (i.e. lobby or hotels) is also one of the most common ways they migrates. Second-hand and rented furniture is another common target for bed bugs to spread.

Tip2:Do unpacking on solid table where you have better visibility on any possible bugs sneaking around.

[May:It is also a good practice NOT to do unpacking in the room or worse still, on the bed.]

How Fast Can Bed Bugs Move?

An adult bed bug can crawl about 1 metre per minute (3 to 4 feet) on most surfaces. That’s comparable to most of the ant species and is certainly fast enough to find a crack or crevice to hide.

How Do Bed Bugs Get Onto The Bed?

As bed bugs do not have the ability to jump or fly, they rely on their fairly good climbing ability to crawl their way up the bed (usually at night).

Their feet has small hooks that allows them to grab onto small pores and cracks in textured surfaces, bed bugs gains access to the bed by one of these many possible access points; such as crawling up the legs of bed frames and nearby items that touch the bed.

Bedding and bed linens that hangs low enough to come into contact with the floor are also a means of access for them to get up the bed. Any parts of the bed in contact with the wall (i.e Headboards) can also result in access to bed bugs.

Applying These Informations

With this information in mind, here are some of the things to do at home along other bed bug killing methods and natural remedies:

    Move bed away from the wall and from other furniture (i.e nightstands, dressers) Ensure no hanging skirts or bed sheets touching the floor Remove any storages under the bed Place Interceptors (i.e ClimbUp) under each leg of the bed to trap bed bugs on it’s track. Consider using encasement to protect mattresses from beg bugs

Conclusion

Bed bugs have wings but can fly or jump. They move around from place to place by crawling and hitch hiking from host to host to travel longer distances to their desired destination.

Minimising contact points to the bed can minimise the chances of getting bed bugs onto the bed. The only way to stop bed bugs from moving is to get rid of them completely using different remedies and treatments.

Here are a few articles that might be helpful:

Aren’t you glad to know that bed bugs aren’t able to jump or take flight? With these information on hand, what do you intend to do at home to reduce the chances that bed bugs can get to you?

Add Comments: