How Can Bed Bugs Come

Bedbugs

Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.

Check if it’s bedbugs

Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Signs of bedbugs include:

  • bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
  • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
  • small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)

Bedbug bites can be red and itchy. They’re often in a line or cluster.

Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo

Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.

How you can treat bedbug bites

Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.

Things you can do include:

  • putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
  • keeping the affected area clean
  • not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
  • antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
  • the redness around the bites is spreading

You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.

Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP

It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

How to get rid of bedbugs

contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides

wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes

put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)

clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early

do not keep clutter around your bed

do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first

do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs

Page last reviewed: 21 January 2019
Next review due: 21 January 2022

What Attracts Bedbugs to Human Environments?

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

Once considered a pest of the past, bedbugs now make regular headlines as they infest homes, hotels, and dormitories worldwide. As bedbugs spread, more people worry about them and want to know what causes a bedbug infestation.

Though it might seem as if bedbug infestations are on the rise, historical context indicates that bedbugs and other bloodsucking parasites have been associated with humans for thousands of years. Throughout that history, people have endured them feeding on their blood. Bedbugs all but disappeared when people started using DDT and other pesticides to keep insects out of their homes. Although news headlines suggest bedbugs are conquering the world, the reality is that bedbug infestations are still at historically low numbers.

Why are they called bedbugs? Once they settle into your home, they congregate where you spend a lot of sedentary time: chairs, couches, and especially beds. They are attracted to you by the carbon dioxide in the air you breathe out, and you do a lot of breathing over the hours you’re in bed. Then they feed on your blood.

Bedbugs Don’t Care If You’re Clean or Dirty

Contrary to popular belief, there is no association between bedbugs and filth. They feed on human and animal blood, and as long as a source of blood is available to them, they will happily take up residence in even the most pristine home.

Being poor doesn’t put you at greater risk for bedbugs, and having wealth doesn’t immunize you from a bedbug infestation. Although poverty doesn’t cause bedbugs, impoverished communities may lack the resources needed to control infestations, making them more persistent and pervasive in such areas.

Bedbugs Are Excellent Hitchhikers

For bedbugs to infest your home, they have to hitch a ride on someone or something. They don’t usually stay on their human hosts after feeding, but they might hide in clothing and inadvertently go along for the ride to a new location. Most often, bedbugs travel in luggage after someone has stayed in an infested hotel room. Bedbugs may even infest theaters and other public spaces and spread to new locations via purses, backpacks, coats, or hats.

Bedbugs Go Where the Action Is

Since bedbugs travel by hitchhiking, infestations are more common in places with high rates of turnover in the human population: apartment buildings, dormitories, homeless shelters, hotels and motels, and military barracks. Any time you have a lot of people coming and going, there’s an increased risk that someone will carry a few bedbugs into the building. In general, owners of single-family homes have a lower risk of getting bedbugs.

Bedbugs Hide in Clutter

Once in your home, bedbugs scurry quickly to select a new hiding place; in beds and other furniture, behind baseboards, under wallpaper, or inside switch plates. Then it’s just a matter of time before they begin multiplying. A single female may arrive at your doorstep already carrying enough eggs to produce hundreds of offspring. While filth does not benefit bedbugs, clutter does. The more cluttered your home is, the more hiding places there are for bedbugs and the harder it will be to get rid of them.

What Causes Bed Bugs

Bed bugs often appear even in new apartments that are equipped with the all modern conveniences. Certainly, the owners of clean houses are puzzled about why parasites have inhabited their apartment. Moreover, how have they penetrated into their dwelling? There are several causes of bed bugs appearance in the apartment.

The thing is that it does not matter how carefully cleanliness is maintained. The main and the only target of bed bugs is a human being (or sometimes small-sized animals). Thus, they can settle in the places where people spend nighttime.

To avoid bed bugs penetration into the house you should always stay alert and monitor the subtle changes that happen in the apartment. Also, from time to time it is useful to take prophylactic measures and apply insecticide on the perimeter of the possible entry points of insects. It is also recommended to communicate with your neighbors and pay attention to the condition of their apartments.

Additionally, bed bugs can come to your house by chance. In this case, it depends on the owner’s wish to mind all the possible ways of their penetration. Therefore, it is important to understand what causes bed bugs appearance to be able to protect yourself from these parasites when needed.

What Causes Bed Bugs in an Apartment?

It is difficult to answer the question about where bed bugs come from. It depends on the flat location, the presence of parasites at neighbors’ apartments, or the owners’ recent trips by train or someone else’s car. There are many ways of how these insects penetrate into the house; thus, bed bugs causes may be different.

  • In most cases, bugs come from neighboring premises. It is especially typical for old buildings. Insects can crawl through a damaged wall, cracks or the outer wall of the house. Also, bed bugs often come through ventilation shafts. They can survive without food for quite a long time. Thus, long travels are not a problem for them. Insects’ body shape and small size facilitate their penetration into small holes and cracks. If a house is located in the countryside, bed bugs can often come to people from small-sized farm animals. In fact, the thick skin of a rabbit or a goat is not so attractive to these blood-sucking insects as the human one.
  • You can “catch” a bed bug and transfer it to your apartment having spent a night outside your house. Hotels, friends’ apartments, as well as trains or railway stations are places where you can get these parasites. Bed bugs are small in size. Thus, even if an insect does not have time to hide when a person gets up and dresses, the bug’s presence will be unnoticeable on the cloth.
  • One more cause of bed bugs penetration is buying appliances. Bed bugs like to hide in the places that are protected from bright daylight and have a source of heat. Parasites often get into working system units. If such a unit is moved to be repaired or to a new apartment, bed bugs will quickly spread through a new place.
  • Another way of getting bed bugs is bringing them to the house on clothes. Parasites cannot bite through clothing, but they can hide in it. It is not always possible to notice the bloodsucker due to its tiny size. Therefore, it is very likely to bring one or more insect home, having visited an apartment inhabited by them. Also, another cause of bed bugs penetration can be a purchase of clothes infested by these parasites.
  • Furniture is one of the most common bed bugs causes. New pieces of furniture brought from the store are rarely infested, as parasites simply have nothing to eat there. However, exceptions may occur. In most cases, bed bugs can dwell in the furniture that was previously used. Parasites spread through its surface and cracks. It is necessary to check the furniture very carefully before buying it, especially the inside part of it.
  • Bed bugs can live on bats, birds, hamsters and rats if they have not very long and thick hair. These insects do not drink blood of cats or dogs because their skin is too thick for these parasites. For this reason, they prefer cattle.
  • Guests may bring bed bugs to the apartment too. People who live in the infested premises may bring these insects on their clothes. It happens that after flat renovation owners may reveal bugs “left” by workers. These parasites are very fond of the large crowds of people, so they often live in construction trailers and hostels. If hired workers live in such conditions, it is very likely that they will bring bed bugs to their workplace.

Where Do Bed Bugs Really Come From and How to Get Rid of Them?

‘Where do bed bugs come from’ is one question many harassed people often wonder. The following article will cover everything you need to know about bed bugs and their journey into your house.

‘Where do bed bugs come from’ is one question many harassed people often wonder. The following article will cover everything you need to know about bed bugs and their journey into your house.

Bed bugs are tiny, wingless creatures that infest our homes, offices and take away our peace of mind. These blood sucking creatures are embarrassing pests that invade our homes and minds. They feast on our blood, when we are sleeping in our own beds. They tend to leave behind a trail of poop along our walls and furniture, that makes it look very embarrassing when you receive guests. Children tend to scratch and itch on the red, bumpy bed bug bites that may in some cases become infected. But where do they actually come from? They seem to be present everywhere, but how do they originate. Before we go onto the details of the journey of a bed bug into your house, let us start with their life cycle, that is, how do they come into being.

How do Bed Bugs Originate?

Bed bugs are members of the Cimicidae family and theCimex lectulariusis the common bug that gives us sleepless nights. These bugs have been a troublesome parasite to humans since a thousand years. It is said around 1940 they were almost eradicated from most of the developed countries. However, since the year 1995, they have again started to make a presence in the developed countries.

Bed bugs reproduce by traumatic insemination. Wondering what is a traumatic insemination? Well, it is mating procedure, where the male bed bug inseminates the female by piercing his hypodermic genitalia into the female beg bugs stomach (abdomen). The sperms are injected into the mesospermalege, that is a secondary genital structure. Injected sperms via haemolymph (blood) travel to the seminal conceptales, that is, sperm storage structure. Fertilization occurs at the ovaries. Eggs are released that then hatch into translucent nymphs. They feed and moult and reach maturity. These bugs communicate with the help of pheromones and kairomones. This helps them keep a track of the nesting location, reproduction as well as feeding.

Bed Bugs – Where do They Come from

The biggest question asked by many annoyed home owners with bed bug infestation is where do bed bugs come from? You tend to maintain the highest standards of hygiene and keep your home spick and span. Yet where do these bugs come from and begin sucking on your blood? Well, let me answer your question by explaining some possible factors related to the origin of bed bugs in your home.

There are many sources that lead to a bed bug infestation. There is not a single country in the world, that has not been traveled to by the bed bugs. The bed bugs are just 1/4″ in size and can easily sneak into baggage, luggage, clothes, trailers, planes, trains, buses, anything and everything without being noticed. These bed bugs hitchhike all over the world and make your home their heavenly abode. Let us see some of the possible sources of where do bed bugs come from.

If you have recently traveled or have received a guest in your home, chances are that the bed bugs had a piggyback ride in the travel luggage and baggage. They tend to hide in the seams of baggage and become the uninvited guests in your home. If you have school going or college going kids at home, chances are they have unwittingly bought home the bed bugs from their schools or college dorms. If you have just moved or received some packages, chances are these pesky creatures moved in with the boxes and packages received.

If you have bought some antique wooden furniture in the garage sale or purchased some furniture off the streets or during garage sale or even from a furniture dealer, it may be possible that the bed bugs came into your home absolutely free. It is possible that bed bugs come in with the furniture, as these bugs can even survive for a year without feeding. Thus, second-hand furniture may come along with a first-class problem, that is, bed bugs!

Your next door neighbor may unknowingly share their problem of bed bugs with you. If you have visiting neighbors, the bed bugs may hitch a ride in their clothes, bags, etc. and start living with you. It may even happen that the creepy crawlies, just stealthily crawl through the common pipes, vents, dead spaces between common walls from the next door apartment into yours. They may move in because they aren’t getting their daily bread and butter as your neighbor is away for a few days or may be they are forced to evacuate as the neighbor has treated his home with bed bug killing spray.

Bed bugs may also find laundry as a way to get inside your home. If you use laundry rooms to clean your dirty linen, it is possible that someone with a bed bug infestation has passed on the problem to you unknowingly. Many people launder their bed lines and clothes in case of an infestation and may unconsciously bring along some bed bugs in their laundry bags. Bed bugs can easily walk into your laundry bag kept nearby and travel along with you and your freshly laundered clothes into your home.

You thought a nice vacation with your partner in a quiet and peaceful locale with help you unwind your nerves. Well, instead you come back home and get entwined into a long and irritating bed bug infestation problem. Bed bugs are very common pest found in hotels. They are found in the pillows, under the mattresses, between the bed joints and the wardrobe. As they can survive a year without feeding, they are waiting patiently in the dark corners for their next victims.

Bed bugs are champion world travelers. They have no problems traveling by plane, train, ship, buses, cars, mopeds, cycles, etc. You never know, they may even hop into a rocket or submarine and make a cozy home there. Who knows, they may even have traveled to the far, far galaxy when E.T. visited earth! (I know, I am going crazy with my imaginary assumptions!). Anyway, these are just a few possible answers to your question where do bed bugs come from. Just to be sure you have encountered a bed bug in your home, let me explain in short what do bed bugs look like.

How do I Identify Bed Bugs

Most of you by now may have few questions popped into your heads, like how do I identify bed bugs? If you can’t differentiate between a mosquito bite and bed bug bites then you might find your answer in the article what do bed bugs bites look like.

Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. The hatchlings are just about the size of a poppy-seed. The adults can measure about 1/4th of an inch. They are oval in shape and flat from top to bottom. Bed bugs are white after molting. They may even have a tan brown or orange color. After feeding you may see your blood in their body as a dark red mass. You may even come across empty shell-like skin of bed bugs. It’s just their cast skin. They generally feed in the night, when their prey is sleeping, when it will not disturb their banquet. While feeding the bed bugs inject a tiny amount of saliva into the skin and repeated bites make many people sensitized to the saliva, or it may result in a full-fledged allergic reaction in some. The bites are scratchy but resist the urge to scratch, as it will just intensify the irritation and pain. But, you can breathe out just a single sigh of relief, bed bugs are not known to be carriers of any infectious disease agents.

Apart from the bug itself, you can identify its presence in your surroundings by black marks on your walls and furniture. These black marks are the bed bug droppings of dried blood. You may even smell over-ripe raspberries in the room infested with bed bugs. One may even find blood stains on bed sheets in the morning or molts.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

So, now you know where do bed bugs come from, what do they look like and how to identify them. The next logical thought is getting rid of bed bugs. You need to look for these creatures under the tufts, seams and folds of mattresses. You may even observe small black spots of dried excrement in the corners of your walls, furniture, etc. It may also happen that you will find them hiding under the carpets, loosened wallpaper, cracks and crevices of the walls, etc. In fact, you should not be surprised, when you find them hiding in your television, computer, etc.

Now that you found the hiding places of these creepy crawlies, you need to follow some steps for getting rid of bed bugs. You should reduce clutter around the house and clean your carpets, blankets, stuffed toys with a vacuum cleaner. You can bag these household items in plastic bags with Nuvan Strips in case of a heavy infestation. You should remove drawers from desks and check properly for possible hidden bed bugs. Caulk and seal all holes and crevices in the pipes and wires in the walls and floors. Launder garments and bed linen in hot water, that is about 120° F. Vacuum the bed seams, foot boards, bed stands, head boards, carpets, etc. and then discard the vacuum bag once done. Spray insecticides that can kill bed bugs in every nook and corner of your house. You may even call in professional pest control services, if the infestation is out of control.

This was a little about bed bugs. These are real annoying bugs that suck your blood just like a vampire. It is very important to act fast and control the spread of bed bugs on the first sign of a bed bug in your house. I hope this article on where do bed bugs come from, proves to be of some help to you.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs (picture on the left) likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation.

If you do identify bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of bed bug treatment.

Pest Stats

Color

Unfed adults are mahogany; engorged bed bugs are red-brown. Nymphs are nearly colorless.

Shape

Flat, broad oval when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed.

Adults are 1/4 inch long. Nymphs range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.

Antennae

Region

Found throughout U.S.

Bed Bug Photos

Photo of an unfed adult bed bug on the skin

Photo of a male and female bed bugs with eggs

Photo of a bed bug to scale on a penny

Close-up photo of the head and thorax of a bed bug

Photo of a bed bug on human skin

Photo of an adult bed bug on a piece of velcro

Photo of bed bug skins – a telltale sign of a bed bug infestation

Photo of a baby bed bug and fecal spots

Snapshot of the appearance and distribution of bed bugs

Videos View All Videos

This video will take you on an educational trip through the history of bed bugs, teach you how to be vigilant to minimize your risk of encountering them and how to effectively deal with this resilient pest if you have an infestation.

Watch this demonstration on the proper way to inspect for bed bugs.

Here are some tips to avoid bringing bed bugs inside your home after traveling.

Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. If you are bitten by a bed bug, the most common threat is from the bite-mark itself, which can turn into a large, raised, itchy welt. For more on this blood-sucking pest, check out the bed bug pest guide.

Bed bugs are NOT known to transmit disease to humans. They also do not transmit MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. For more information on bed bugs, visitAll Things Bed Bugs.

Concerned about bed bugs and disease? Dr. Parada assures us there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit disease to humans. Learn more about bed bugs here.

Think you may have bed bug bites? Dr. Parada explains the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites, which can be difficult to tell. Learn more about bed bug bites here.

How do I know if I have bed bugs? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), shares some advice. Visit All Things Bed Bugs for more information about this elusive pest.

Why are bed bugs so hard to control? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), has the answer! Learn more about bed bugs in the All Things Bed Bugs hub.

This public service announcement highlights the dangers of bed bug infestations. It features close up footage of bed bugs feedings on human skin.

Bed bugs (picture on the left) likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation.

If you do identify bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of bed bug treatment.

Pest Stats

Color

Unfed adults are mahogany; engorged bed bugs are red-brown. Nymphs are nearly colorless.

Shape

Flat, broad oval when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed.

Adults are 1/4 inch long. Nymphs range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.

Antennae

Region

Found throughout U.S.

Videos View All Videos

This video will take you on an educational trip through the history of bed bugs, teach you how to be vigilant to minimize your risk of encountering them and how to effectively deal with this resilient pest if you have an infestation.

Watch this demonstration on the proper way to inspect for bed bugs.

Here are some tips to avoid bringing bed bugs inside your home after traveling.

Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. If you are bitten by a bed bug, the most common threat is from the bite-mark itself, which can turn into a large, raised, itchy welt. For more on this blood-sucking pest, check out the bed bug pest guide.

Bed bugs are NOT known to transmit disease to humans. They also do not transmit MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. For more information on bed bugs, visitAll Things Bed Bugs.

Concerned about bed bugs and disease? Dr. Parada assures us there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit disease to humans. Learn more about bed bugs here.

Think you may have bed bug bites? Dr. Parada explains the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites, which can be difficult to tell. Learn more about bed bug bites here.

How do I know if I have bed bugs? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), shares some advice. Visit All Things Bed Bugs for more information about this elusive pest.

Why are bed bugs so hard to control? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), has the answer! Learn more about bed bugs in the All Things Bed Bugs hub.

This public service announcement highlights the dangers of bed bug infestations. It features close up footage of bed bugs feedings on human skin.

Habits

Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switchplates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.

Habitat

So where do bed bugs live? Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Bed bugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, busses and trains.

Threats

Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.

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