How Bed Bugs Move From Place To Place

How to Move Without Bringing Bed Bugs With You

Moving is stressful enough already. Dealing with moving companies, boxing up everything you own, and figuring out how you’re going to fit your grandmother’s armoire into a Prius is all more than enough to induce a migraine or two. You shouldn’t have to worry about bringing bed bugs with you while you’re moving.

Unfortunately, if you have bed bugs in your current residence (whether or not you even know that they’re there), there’s a good chance that they will follow your family to their next nesting ground. To top it off, addendums in the fine print pinning bed bug extermination costs on the tenant is an increasingly popular tactic among landlords.

Whether or not you’ve been waking up to bed bug bites, it would be smart to take a few simple precautions to insure that your new home isn’t exposed to an infestation. Here are a few things you can do to make the big move without bringing bed bugs along for a ride:

Launder your clothes, bedding, and pillows.

Before you pack away the clothes in your closet, throw them in the washer and dryer. Whether they’ve been worn recently or not, clothing is a very common hiding place for bed bugs. They’re easy to treat; the high heat setting on any dryer will kill bed bugs and their eggs in a short cycle. Do the same for your beds’ sheets, covers, pillowcases, and pillows. Just make sure to check the labels on each item so nothing gets damaged.

Use a portable bed bug heater.

Since your shoes and books won’t make it out of the dryer in the best shape, you’ll need another treatment method for them. Portable bed bug heaters, like the new ZappBug Oven, are perfect for heat-treating your belongings. A ZappBug can safely heat up your shoes, books, luggage, chairs, rugs, papers, bedding and more. It can be set up in minutes, and starts heating with a push of a button; within six hours, any bed bugs or eggs inside will be toast.

Use new packing material and boxes.

Asking neighbors, family members, and local stores for their empty boxes has always been a smart way to move on a budget. However, this does carry a risk of inviting bed bugs to join you on the ride to your new home. To avoid this, consider purchasing new, sealed boxes and packing materials. You can find everything you need at your local post office, office supply store, or business shipping center. Don’t open the packages until you’re ready to start packing, to prevent bed bugs from hiding in them.

Don’t buy used furniture.

In the same vein of avoiding used boxes and packing peanuts, you should definitely steer clear of used furniture. Couches and mattresses on the street are one of the most common ways that bed bug infestations spread. The previous owners may or may not have known that they even had bed bugs, but either way it’s simply not worth the risk. If you do come across a pre-owned sofa or loveseat that you can’t resist, treat it with a vacuum and steamer as soon as you bring it home – when done properly, this will kill any bed bugs or eggs hiding inside the upholstery.

Do you have any advice for staying bed bug-free on the move? Don’t keep it to yourself; throw us a tip in the comments or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page.

How to Move Without Bringing Bed Bugs With You

Moving is stressful enough already. Dealing with moving companies, boxing up everything you own, and figuring out how you’re going to fit your grandmother’s armoire into a Prius is all more than enough to induce a migraine or two. You shouldn’t have to worry about bringing bed bugs with you while you’re moving.

Unfortunately, if you have bed bugs in your current residence (whether or not you even know that they’re there), there’s a good chance that they will follow your family to their next nesting ground. To top it off, addendums in the fine print pinning bed bug extermination costs on the tenant is an increasingly popular tactic among landlords.

Whether or not you’ve been waking up to bed bug bites, it would be smart to take a few simple precautions to insure that your new home isn’t exposed to an infestation. Here are a few things you can do to make the big move without bringing bed bugs along for a ride:

Launder your clothes, bedding, and pillows.

Before you pack away the clothes in your closet, throw them in the washer and dryer. Whether they’ve been worn recently or not, clothing is a very common hiding place for bed bugs. They’re easy to treat; the high heat setting on any dryer will kill bed bugs and their eggs in a short cycle. Do the same for your beds’ sheets, covers, pillowcases, and pillows. Just make sure to check the labels on each item so nothing gets damaged.

Use a portable bed bug heater.

Since your shoes and books won’t make it out of the dryer in the best shape, you’ll need another treatment method for them. Portable bed bug heaters, like the new ZappBug Oven, are perfect for heat-treating your belongings. A ZappBug can safely heat up your shoes, books, luggage, chairs, rugs, papers, bedding and more. It can be set up in minutes, and starts heating with a push of a button; within six hours, any bed bugs or eggs inside will be toast.

Use new packing material and boxes.

Asking neighbors, family members, and local stores for their empty boxes has always been a smart way to move on a budget. However, this does carry a risk of inviting bed bugs to join you on the ride to your new home. To avoid this, consider purchasing new, sealed boxes and packing materials. You can find everything you need at your local post office, office supply store, or business shipping center. Don’t open the packages until you’re ready to start packing, to prevent bed bugs from hiding in them.

Don’t buy used furniture.

In the same vein of avoiding used boxes and packing peanuts, you should definitely steer clear of used furniture. Couches and mattresses on the street are one of the most common ways that bed bug infestations spread. The previous owners may or may not have known that they even had bed bugs, but either way it’s simply not worth the risk. If you do come across a pre-owned sofa or loveseat that you can’t resist, treat it with a vacuum and steamer as soon as you bring it home – when done properly, this will kill any bed bugs or eggs hiding inside the upholstery.

Do you have any advice for staying bed bug-free on the move? Don’t keep it to yourself; throw us a tip in the comments or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page.

How To Tell If An Apartment Has Bed Bugs Before You Move In

Until 10 years ago, I thought bed bugs were nothing more than a childhood nursery rhyme. You know the one: "Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite." But then I unknowingly moved into a bed bug-infested building, and what ensued was hands down the worst year of my life. If you want to avoid avoid the physical, emotional, and financial turmoil that accompanies a bed bug infestation, then you need to know how to tell if an apartment has bed bugs before you sign the lease.

While bed bugs are present in every city, Terminix recently release its annual report of the most bed bug infested cities in the U.S. Topping the list are Philadelphia, New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. The report noted that 22% of people have had an experience with bed bugs, yet 48% don’t know what kind of precautions to take in order to prevent them. Fear not my friendlies: I am here to share with you what I wish I’d known before moving into a bed bug-infested apartment.

Fortunately, in 2019, landlords are prohibited from renting units with known infestations, and most states require property managers to provide tenants with information about bed bugs, according to the legal site Nolo. I received this information with my most recent lease. It included a clause that said the apartment was free of bed bugs as well as information about what to do if you suspect you have bed bugs in the future.

But before I get into how to make sure you’re not moving into a building with a bed bug problem, here’s the quick and dirty about bed bugs. It’s important to know that although they’re called bed bugs, they can be found on any surface, including in between floorboards, under carpets, and even inside of books. Bed bugs are nocturnal, meaning they come out at night to feast on the blood of humans. While they don’t transmit diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bites are itchier than anything I’ve ever experienced.

If you think you can’t get them because you practice a level of cleanliness that could rival Monica fromFriends, bed bugs only eat blood, so it doesn’t matter how clean your home is. As long as there is blood in your body, you’re a very attractive meal for a bed bug.

In addition, bed bugs are notoriously hard to get rid of since the ban on the pesticide DDT in the 1970s, according to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky. They’re also very hard to see until they become adults, and even then they are only about as big as an apple seed. This is why you want to do everything you can to avoid getting them in the first place.

What’s more, they can go up to 18 months without feeding. This means that even if you’re moving into an apartment that’s been vacant for a while, you should still check for bed bugs before signing the lease. Because bed bugs can travel on clothes and other items, a never-lived-in unit can also have bed bugs.

The first thing you can do before viewing a potential apartment is to read Yelp reviews of the building and/or property management company, and check the address against the Bed Bug Registry. This is a site where people report bed bugs at hotels and residential properties. Because this information is self-reported, there is no guarantee a unit is safe just because it’s not listed on the registry, but it’s a good first step. I have checked every apartment I have lived in during the last 10 years against the registry.

In addition, if any unit in the building you’re looking at has been listed in the past year, know that bed bugs can easily travel from one unit to another in an apartment building. If the building is listed as having had a problem several years ago, it might be worth considering if you ask a lot of questions and get information from the property manager about their bed bug protocol.

Another thing you can do is take a playing card and run it along cracks between the baseboards and the floor and in between floorboards to see if any brown fecal matter or molted skin is visible. If the apartment is carpeted, try to pull up a section of carpet next to the wall to check for fecal matter or run a card in the area where the carpet meets the wall. The site Sniff K9s suggests using a blow dryer and running it over the same areas to check for live bed bugs. You can also hire a bed bug-sniffing dog to come check out the apartment before you sign your lease.

Overall, the best way to ensure the apartment you’re moving into is bed bug free is to arm yourself with information. Look up the laws in your city and state to find out what your landlord is required to tell you and who is responsible for paying for extermination should an infestation occur. Physically check out the unit using the aforementioned methods, check the registry, and read reviews of the building.

If anything feels off, walk away. While bed bugs are easier to manage and eradicate than they were 10 years ago ⁠— because there is more information available now ⁠— this is one experience you definitely don’t want to have. It’s been 10 years since my bed bug nightmare, and I’m still not over it.

What NOT to Do When you Have Bed Bugs

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  • Do not Panic. You can control bed bugs with careful inspection and by using proper control methods.
  • Do not try to kill bed bugs by using agricultural or garden pesticides. Using outdoor pesticides to control bed bugs can make you or your family very sick.
  • Do no t use products that appear to be “homemade” or “custom formulated.” Homemade products could be dangerous and they might make the problem worse.
  • Do no t use products that have labels in a non-English language
  • Do not apply pesticides directly to your body. This could make you very sick.
  • Do no t use rubbing alcohol, kerosene or gasoline. These chemicals may cause fires
  • Do not throw away your furniture. Beds and other furniture can be treated for bed bugs. Throwing away your furniture can spread the bugs and you have to buy new furniture.
  • Do not store things under the bed. Storing stuff under the bed gives bed bugs many new places to hide. This makes it more difficult to get rid of bed bugs.
  • Do not move things from room to room. Moving your things from the room with bed bugs to another room in your house may spread the bed bugs.
  • Do not wrap items in black plastic and place in the sun. It will not get hot enough to kill all the bugs.

Prevention

Bed bugs are hard to prevent because of their small size, night habits, and ability to hitchhike. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Know your surroundings.If you return home from a place where bed bugs may have been, do not go or take possessions such as luggage or clothing directly to your bed. Instead, prevent any chance of bed bug reinfestation by laundering and quarantining potential hitchhiking bugs.
  • Inspect previously owned itemsthoroughly before bringing them home. Look for groups of small white eggs and red-brown bed bugs stuck in fabric, cushions, or small openings on furniture. Do not pick up items that were thrown out because you could bring someone else’s problem home.

How do they spread?

Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. They can easily move from an infested building to a new site as people move. The recent resurgence of bed bugs is due in large part to international travel. Bed bugs hitchhike on luggage or on personal items or clothing and can move from one country to another in a very short period of time. Within a community, bed bugs can spread when people move infested possessions into a new apartment or home. Purchasing infested, second-hand beds or other furniture has been shown to accelerate local outbreaks of bed bugs. Once inside a building bed bugs can move between rooms or apartments by walking or crawling via hallways, or by squeezing through tiny cracks in common walls, ceilings, or utility ports.

How can I prevent bed bugs from entering my home?

The most valuable form of home protection is becoming aware of the threat of bed bugs. Understand where and how they travel. Know what they look like and how to inspect for them. Be very careful about purchasing or bringing home second-hand upholstered furniture and clothing. Always closely inspect items for signs of infestation. Launder any items that can be laundered in hot soapy water and dry with hot air. Bed bugs will not survive this regime. Make vacuuming, cleaning, decluttering and inspecting a regular habit. Steam or heat treatments must be applied to anything that is suspect, before it enters the house.

How do I protect myself from bed bugs while traveling?

Be alert and aware when travelling. If you suspect bed bug infestations, use common sense and what you know about bed bugs to help avoid bringing them home with you. Inspect your hotel room for signs of an infestation BEFORE you move your belongings in. Some travelers will place their luggage in the bathtub or on a wooden chair or desk rather than on a bed while they perform this inspection. Carefully inspect the mattress seams, headboard, and furniture around the bed for fecal specks, cast skins, or live bed bugs. If bed bugs or signs of bed bugs are found, immediately report this to the registration desk and ask for a different room. When returning home, carefully check luggage seams and clothing for any signs of bed bugs before bringing it into your home. Clothing can be immediately washed and dried to ensure that no bed bugs will hitchhike on it. If other possessions and luggage are found to have bed bugs on it, do not take them into the home. Arrange for heat or other reliable treatment of the articles in question.

How do I inspect a hotel room for bed bugs?

Checking into hotel rooms:

Remember the old addage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ This has never been more true than in our battle with bed bugs. Avoiding them in the first place is the best prevention.

When checking into a hotel ask if bed bugs have been found there or if treatments for bed bugs have occurred.

Once at your room, do not put your luggage, coat or personal belongings on the bed. Rather use luggage racks, table tops, leave at front door/hall, or place in bathtub upon entry.

Thoroughly inspect the room before unpacking.

  • Use a flashlight.
  • Remove top comforter (this seldom receives the laundry regime that sheets do).
  • Pull back the hotel bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly the corners, for telltale brownish or reddish specks (fecal specks).
  • Look behind the head-board if possible, paying close attention to tight cracks and crevices.
  • Inspect folds, cracks and crevices of furniture near the bed.
  • Inspect the carpeting and base boards nearest to the bed.

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact the management – ask to be moved and not just next door.

Returning Home From a Bed Bug Infested Area?

Remember that providing an opportunity for a hitch-hiking bed bug to move from bed to bed, is the most likely route of re-infestation.

When you return home from an infested residence, thoroughly inspect and vacuum your suitcases, purses, hand bags and any other goods that have been with youbeforebringing them into the house.

Place all of your clothing in sealable plastic bags and take them directly to the laundry. Wash all your clothes (whether used during the trip or not ) in hot soapy water and dry in a clothes dryer set on high heat. This includes the clothes that you are wearing. Strip at the door and place your clothing in a plastic bag.

Use a large plastic bag to contain your luggage and store in an area not commonly used (garage or storage closet) – not under bed or even in your bedroom.

Shoes and other non-washable items can be placed in a box or bag and then moved to a freezer or ‘pack-tite’ for temperature treatments.

Do Bed Bugs Jump?

ANSWERING COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW BED BUGS MOVE

One of the most common places humans interact with bed bugs is, no surprise, in the bed.

Because mattresses are often raised two to three feet above the floor, people often have a similar question. Do bed bugs jump onto the bed? How do they get up there?

Do bed bugs jump?

Bed bugs are insects with six legs, and they can get around quickly. Bed bugs cannot jump or fly though.

If bed bugs can’t jump or fly, how do they move from place to place?

Bed bugs primarily crawl and are often transported by humans and their belongings.

How fast are bed bugs able to move?

These irritating pests can crawl three to four feet per minute on most surfaces.

That may not seem fast, but when scaled to human terms, the speed would equal that of an average adult sprinting. It is comparable to many ant species, and it is certainly fast enough for them to find a crack or crevice to hide in on the bed or bed frame.

How do bed bugs get onto beds?

Bed bugs make their way to mattresses by crawling up the legs of bed frames and nearby items that touch the bed.

Bedding and linens that hang down far enough to touch the floor can also provide a means of access. When headboards or other parts of the bed touch the wall, bed bugs can make their way onto the bed.

Bed bugs prefer natural and textured surfaces to travel on because their feet don’t provide traction on slick surfaces.

What should I do if I see a bed bug?

If you see or suspect bed bugs crawling on your mattress or anywhere else, call the professionals at Terminix® to assist.

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