How Can You Get Bed Bugs From Another Person

Do Bed Bugs Travel on People?

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Believe it or not, bed bugs can travel via human hosts. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images )

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They’re creepy, they’re crawly and they’re often quite difficult to spot. Bed bugs – blood-sucking, tiny parasites that dine on human and animal hosts – have become a concern worldwide due to their stealthy ways of getting around. Unfortunately, the little critters are more mobile than we would like to think.

Bed Bug Bites and Basics

Bed bugs – named for one of their favorite hangouts – tend to be found in linens, between cracks in mattresses and even in cracks and crevices in the floor. They leech off their human or animal hosts, with bed bug bites leaving scabby trails of rashes and marks across the skin. Because they are mostly active at night, it can take awhile for a person to notice that his home or hotel room has bed bugs.

How Bed Bugs Spread

Not everyone is aware that bed bugs can be spread via humans: if a person goes to a hotel room that has bed bugs, and the bed bugs hide out on the person or on the person’s luggage, the bed bugs can be spread to a new location. Because of this, no house is safe from a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can spread from house to house, living in even the cleanest conditions; bed bugs are not a sign that a person’s home is dirty or unkempt.

Looking for Bed Bug Evidence

If you suspect that your home has been hit by bed bugs, look for the following telltale signs: small scabs or rashes in a line-like pattern on your skin, small fecal droppings or small blood smears on your sheets. The bed-bug bites will most likely be across your face, arms, or legs – the areas that are not covered by your pajamas as you sleep. Remember, though, that not all people will develop a rash if being bitten. You’ll also want to check for bugs in your mattress and in your luggage by closely inspecting them.

Eradicating Bed Bugs for Good

Though a variety of sprays and ointments are out there marketed as beg-bug killers, the truth is that many of these products do not work. You can attempt to rid yourself of these pests by vacuuming every inch of your apartment and by putting your linens in a dryer set on the highest setting. While it’s rare to find bed bugs on the clothes you’re wearing – they tend to fall off once you start moving – you should still wash any potentially contaminated clothing as well. A severe infestation will require the attention of a licensed exterminator; it can often take more than one visit from the exterminator to ensure that the bed bugs are really gone.


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Can you get bedbugs by sitting next to someone ?

Wiki User
May 24, 2009 3:54PM

No that is unlikely though not totally impossible. You see the

point is people do not have bedbugs and do not normally carry them

around with them. Beds and homes do have bedbugs. But can I explain

this better. The bedbugs will stay in hiding places in your bedding

or near your bed and only come out at night when somebody is asleep

in that bed to feed or else if they get disturbed, such as when you

make your bed or tidy your room. When they come out at night, you

will then get bitten because your bed is the problem not you.

People’s beds are in close proximity such as in a dormitory of a

barrack room, then bedbugs in one person’s bed do often move across

to the neighbouring person’s bed. In private houses or apartments

too if one person sleeping in that home gets them in their bedroom

and it gets infested, some bedbugs may in time move to other

bedrooms in the same home and feed off the person using that bed,

and so that bedroom may also become infested in time. The point to

understand is bedbugs will multiply over a period of time if you

have them anywhere in your home and they find people when asleep by

your breath and that is what attracts them to you. So it is most

important to get rid of them just as soon as you know you have a

bedbug problem anywhere in the home. Do nothing and the problem

will just get worse and worse as the months go by, andthen

if somebody comes to visit that home they could end up unwittingly

with a bedbug laying its eggs in their clothing and import it into

their home. So your visitors home gets an infestation due to your

negligence in not dealing with the problem.

Can you catch bed bugs from person to person?

Question by Wadia B:
Can you catch bed bugs from person to person?

I dont want to catch bed bugs! I was at a place where i heard about 5 people say they have bed bug so i was wondering if i could catch them just by sitting next to them.

Best answer:

Answer by James D
They can travel in clothing but it’s unlikely. You’re more likely to get them on you from sitting on a couch or bed at a place that has them. Bed bugs usually just stay hidden and only come out to feed during the night, they don’t stay on people’s bodies but there is a chance they could get on your clothes.

If you’re worried, you can wash your clothing and bedding on hot. Good luck, they are a real pain to deal with.

Post your answer to this question below.

More posts like this one in Bedbug Questions.

Bedbugs feed on human blood, as do fleas – but unlike fleas they feed only in the dark (attracted by the CO2 we exhale) and then return to their hiding place. It would be very rare for them to remain on a person and therefore, catching them from another person is highly unlikley

How Do You Get Bed Bugs

“Learning about how easily bed bugs are acquired is very concerning for most people, but fear not; there are several things you can do to prevent bed bugs. It is far easier to prevent the bed bug problem than it is to correct it.”

How do you get bed bugs?

There are many ways you can get bed bugs. Bed bugs are commonly found in hotels, rental homes, apartments, and dorm rooms, however an infestation can occur almost anywhere. Bed bug infestations can occur in a/an office, school, library, movie theater, restaurant, care facility, shelter and many other places.

If you visit a place that is infested with bed bugs you can easily bring them home with you. Frequent travelers are quite likely to encounter them at some point and should learn all about bed bugs. These bugs are the ultimate hitchhikers, they can attach themselves to fabric like clothing and suitcases. Bed bugs can not fly or jump, they can either climb onto you while you are resting or drop on top of you from the ceiling. Once they are on your clothes, in your purse, or in your suitcase, bed bugs will find a place to hide until you get home.

Another common way to get bed bugs is by bringing used furniture into the home. Someone with bed bugs is selling their dresser, couch, coffee table, night stand, lamp etc. to you – the unsuspecting victim.

If your home has shared walls (like a apartment or condo) you can get bed bugs from your neighbors. The bed bugs can travel between the units through the wall voids Or between the floor and ceiling of stacked units.

Bed bug infestations can be found in houses, hotels, apartments, and dorm rooms, however an infestation can occur almost anywhere. They can also occur in a/an office, school, library, movie theater, restaurant, care facility, shelter and many other public places. It is very common to get bed bugs from the homes of friends or family, or when people come to visit your home or facility.

Bed Bugs are an indoor only pest, so how can you get bed bugs so easily?

The introduction of one pregnant female is the beginning of the infestation nightmare. Bed bugs are brought into the home by people. They can hitch hike on clothing, backpacks, luggage and purses. They can be on or within used furniture, beds, or couches. They can even be brought in by the maid’s vacuum.

Soon after you get bed bugs in your home, they will immediately find the areas near where they can get a blood meal. This is usually on or near your bed or couch. Once a suitable nesting location is found she will start laying eggs and feeding whenever possible. The army will grow quickly after the first hatch out.

When you get bed bugs in your bed or couch, the bed bug plague has begun and will spread quickly through the home. Once a female bed bug is impregnated by a male, she will run away from the nest and start laying eggs elsewhere in order to avoid the males. The female bed bug will remain pregnant her entire life and will avoid the painful courtship at all costs. This is the development of bed bug nests in various places throughout the home that often becomes a severe infestation in weeks.

Each pregnant female can lay five eggs a day and up to 500 her lifetime. Bed bug eggs start to hatch after about ten days. In just one month, the number of bed bugs could reach over 200 hungry individuals. If improperly treated, a small bed bug infestation could become a bed bug mega nest in a few short months.

Bed bug eggs will hatch ten days after being laid. The newly hatched bed bugs will begin to seek a blood meal immediately. Every time the bed bug feeds, it will grow to the next stage until it is an adult. This family will live in a nest that is made of bed bugs, feces and eggs.

Often times bed bugs will go unnoticed for several weeks or months. Our customers often think the skin irritation is caused by allergies or other sources and will seek medical attention. By the time the customer finds out it is bed bugs, the infestation can be detected in all rooms of the home.

Learning about how easily bed bugs are acquired is very concerning for most people, but fear not; there are several things you can do to prevent bed bugs. It is far easier to prevent the bed bug problem than it is to correct it.

10 Myths About Bedbugs

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

There are many misconceptions about the humble bedbug. Bedbugs (or cimicids) belong to a highly specialized family of insects that feed off the blood of humans, bats, and birds. The best-known members are the temperate-climate parasiteCimex lectularius(which means "bedbug" in Latin) andCimex hemipterus, a tropical version. Bedbugs are the most widely recognized insect in the world. They are known to have fed on humans for more than 4,000 years—and probably much longer. Unfortunately, there are many myths about these tiny pests.

If You Wake Up With Insect Bites, You Have Bedbugs

Bedbugs tend to bite on locations that are exposed during sleep—the arms, legs, and back as well as the face and eyes. The insects prefer sites that lack hair, with a thin epidermis that provides access to plentiful blood.

However, bedbugs are not the only nocturnal feeder on humans. Quite a few other arthropods could be the cause of bite marks, including fleas, mites, spiders, or even bat bugs. Also, many medical conditions cause rashes that look similar to bug bites. If the marks persist but you don’t find signs of an infestation, consider a trip to the doctor.

Are you the only one in your household waking up with bites? People react to bedbug bites differently, just as they do with mosquito and other insect bites. Two people can sleep on the same bedbug-infested mattress, and one will wake up without any signs of being bitten while the other will be covered in bite marks.

Bedbugs Cannot Be Seen by the Naked Eye

While bedbugs are pretty small insects, they aren’t microscopic. If you know where to look for them, you can definitely see them without the aid of a magnifier. The bedbug nymph is roughly the size of a poppy seed. Adults measure a bit larger than 3/16th of an inch, or about the size of an apple seed or a lentil.   The eggs, which are just the size of a pinhead, are harder to see without magnification.

Bedbug Infestations Are Rare

Although bedbugs all but disappeared in developed countries in the 1930s and again in the 1980s, global bedbug infestations are increasing in the 21st century. Rises in bedbug activity have been seen on every continent except Antarctica. In the United States, bedbugs are reported in all 50 states, and an estimated one in five Americans either has had a bedbug infestation in their home or knows someone who has.   Today, infestations are found in offices and retail environments, in health and transportation buildings, and even in movie houses: basically, anywhere people sleep or sit.

Bedbugs Are a Sign of a Dirty House

Although there is a great social stigma to having a bedbug infestation, bedbugs don’t care how neat and tidy your house is, nor do they care if you’re the best housekeeper on the block. As long as you have blood pumping through your veins, bedbugs will happily take up residence in your home. The same rule holds true for hotels and resorts. Whether a hotel has bedbugs has nothing to do with how clean or dirty the establishment is. Even a five-star resort can host bedbugs. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that clutter can make it much more difficult to get rid of bedbugs once they’re in your home—the mess gives the insects plenty of places to hide.

Bedbugs Only Bite After Dark

While bedbugs prefer to do their dirty work under cover of darkness, the light won’t stop a hungry bedbug from biting you. In desperation, some people will try leaving all their lights on at night, hoping the bedbugs will stay hidden like cockroaches. All this will do is make you more sleep-deprived.

Bedbugs spend most of their time hidden away. They only come out to feed once every three to seven days, usually from one to five a.m. They fully engorge themselves on your blood in 10 to 20 minutes, and then they go back to their hiding places to digest their food. After a meal, adult bedbugs may increase in length by 30 to 50 percent and in weight by 150 to 200 percent.  

Bedbugs Live in Mattresses

Bedbugs do hide in the seams and crevices of your mattress. Since these nocturnal insects feed on your blood, it is to their advantage to live close to the place where you spend the night. But that doesn’t mean bedbugs only live in mattresses. The insects also inhabit carpets and couches, dressers and closets, and even places where you’d never think to look, such as inside picture frames and switch plate covers.

Infestations can be extremely costly, resulting in multimillion-dollar damage in the hospitality industry, poultry industry, and private and communal households. Costs include payment for pest control, damage to social reputation, and replacement of infested clothing and furniture.

You Can Feel a Bedbug Bite

Bedbug saliva contains a substance that serves as a mild anesthetic, so when one bites you, it actually does you the favor of numbing your skin first. It’s very unlikely that you’d ever feel a bedbug bite when it happens.

Reactions to bites vary from individual to individual. Some people have no reactions at all; often the bites start out as small indistinct lesions about two-tenths of an inch in diameter, which may develop into larger circular or ovoid welts. Bedbug bites are usually less than ½ inch in size.   If there are a large number of bites, they can give the appearance of a generalized rash. They itch intensely, cause sleep deprivation, and can be associated with secondary bacterial infections as a consequence of scratching.

Bedbugs Jump From the Floor to Your Bed

Bedbugs aren’t built for jumping. They simply don’t have the legs for it as fleas and grasshoppers do. Bedbugs don’t have wings, either, so they can’t fly. They can only crawl for locomotion, so moving from the floor to the bed requires them to climb up a leg of the bed, or to scale belongings or furniture you’ve placed nearby.

This can work to your advantage if you’re battling bedbugs, as you can create barriers to keep them from climbing onto your bed. Cover the bed legs in double-sided tape, or place them in trays of water. Of course, if your bedspread touches the floor, the bedbugs will still be able to climb up, and the insects have also been known to crawl up the wall to the ceiling and then drop onto the bed.

Bedbugs Transmit Diseases to People

Although bedbugs can and do carry infectious diseases, there is little danger of the viruses being transmitted to humans. So far, scientists have found no evidence that bedbugs are capable of transmitting diseases to human hosts. For this reason, they’re considered a nuisance pest rather than a health threat.

But even though they don’t transmit diseases, bedbugs aren’t harmless. Some people experience severe allergic reactions to bedbug bites, and people who are bitten sometimes suffer from secondary infections. The emotional stress of dealing with a persistent bedbug infestation can also have a negative impact on your health.

Bedbugs Can Survive a Year Without a Meal

Technically, this is true. Under the right conditions, bedbugs have been known to survive as long as a year without a meal. Bedbugs, like all insects, are cold-blooded, so when temperatures drop, their body temperatures decrease. If it gets cold enough, bedbug metabolism will slow down, and they’ll stop eating temporarily.

However, it is highly unlikely that it would ever get cold enough in your home to trigger such a long period of inactivity. For practical purposes, then, this statement is false. At normal room temperature, a bedbug might go as long as two to three months without a meal, but that’s about it.

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