How Do Bed Bugs Look On Clothes

Bed Bugs FAQs

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.

Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.

Do bed bugs spread disease?

Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

What health risks do bed bugs pose?

A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?

One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:

  • the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
  • rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
  • a sweet musty odor.

How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?

It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.

Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.

How did I get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?

Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.

How are bed bugs treated and prevented?

Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.

This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are wingless. Adults do have the vestiges of wings called wing pads, but they do not fully develop into functional wings.

Adults are brown in color, although their bodies redden after feeding. Full-grown bed bugs move relatively slowly and measure between 4 to 5 mm. Homeowners sometimes have the misconception that bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. The nymphs may be small and difficult to see, but the adults are detectable with the naked eye and may be found in the cracks and crevices they use to hide.

Newly hatched nymphs are approximately the size of the head of a pin and are white or tan until they feed. They often are described as being about the size and shape of an apple seed.

Bed Bug Control

Cimex lectularius L.

Learn what bed bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a bed bug Infestation.

Find out how bed bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.

Learn about bed bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.

Learn how Orkin handles bed bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of bed bug extermination services.

How to Detect Bed Bugs

Detecting bed bugs can be difficult, as they are small in size and able to hide in tiny cracks and crevices. However, evidence of a bed bug infestation may be found in bedding and on mattresses. Live bed bugs leave clusters of dark brown or black spots of dried excrement on infested surfaces. Bed bugs also exude a subtle, sweet, musty odor.

Bed Bug Cluster

Where to Check for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs usually are found close to where people spend much of their time, and since bed bugs have flattened bodies, they like to get into small cracks and crevice near where people sleep. Examples include mattresses, box springs, headboards, footboards, bed frames and other furniture that is within 5-8 feet of the bed. Other common locations are cracks and gaps behind wall outlets, floor molding, window and door molding and where carpet edges meet the wall. Bed bugs have been known to occur in many different locations if their population is large and they have dispersed from their more common areas to areas where they are normally less likely to be found.

Bed bugs are easily transported into previously non-infested dwellings.

If you have detected a bed bug infestation within your home, contact a pest control professional to discuss treatment options.

Bed Bug Control

Cimex lectularius L.

Learn what bed bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a bed bug Infestation.

Find out how bed bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.

Learn about bed bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.

Learn how Orkin handles bed bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of bed bug extermination services.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Your Clothes?

Did you know thatbed bugscan technically live in your clothes? It’s unlikely that a bed bug would live in the clothes that you’re actually wearing due to the fact that you move a lot and they tend to prefer a stationary habitat. However, it’s possible that bed bugs could set up camp in an unpacked suitcase, backpack or something along those lines.

Of course, the insects would eventually have to set out in search of nourishment, but that just means they might move onto your headboard or furniture so they’re in closer proximity to their meals, which you provide.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs are pretty good hitchhikers. They have no issue catching a ride on your coat, suitcase or purse. To put it simply, you can pick up a bed bug almost anywhere you sit still or rest for a while if they’re present there. At the same time, house guests or visitors can also bring bed bugs into your home.

It’s possible for a bed bug to hitch a ride on you from almost anywhere, including:

  • Public transportation and transport stations
  • Airports
  • Movie theaters and libraries
  • Retail clothing stores
  • Apartments, hotels, hostels and guest houses

Do Bed Bugs Spread Disease?

There are about48 different pathogensthat have been found inside bed bugs. However, there is no current evidence to suggest that their bites transmit pathogens that can cause disease in humans.

That doesn’t mean they can’t affect your health, though. Bed bug bites are known to cause itchy welts on some people that they bite, and when humans itch, we scratch. After a while, all that scratching could potentially lead to infection.

How to Help Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are well-known for being incredibly difficult to control. In addition, they’re very productive breeders, meaning an infestation can go from small to unmanageable in a short window of time. Because of this, relying ondo-it-yourself bed bug controlis typically not a good idea.

If you happen to spot a bed bug — or any othersigns that bed bugs may be in your home— your best course of action is to immediately contact a bed bug control professional, like Terminix®.

A trained Terminix technician can come out to your home and perform a thorough inspection of the areas where bed bugs are known to rest, including beds, headboards, furniture and linens. If bed bugs are found, then your technician will work with you to create a customized treatment solution that’s tailored to the specifics of your problem and the needs of your household.

Terminix offers free bed bug inspections, so don’t lose another night’s sleep worrying about whether or not the bed bugs are going to bite you. Schedule your inspection today.

The Best Mouse Trap Method

Everyone has seen the cartoon mouse trap: A big wedge of cheese perched precariously on a small wooden rectangle, just waiting for an unsuspecting mouse to come along. Most modern mouse traps don’t use pieces of cheese, although they can still use food as bait. One of the most popular baits, believe it or not, is peanut butter. There are still versions of the snap trap from cartoons, but there are also other kinds like electronic traps. Because these traps usually mean dealing with dead mice, plenty of people wonder if there’s a way to help get rid of mice without classic mouse traps. Although mouse traps are the most effective in helping to get of mice, you can also try the following natural methods to see if they help remove these pesky rodents.

How to Help Remove Fruit Flies from Your Home

Fruit flies are one of the most common household pests and they can be a huge nuisance for homeowners. Not only that, but researchers have found that fruit flies can “transfer bacteria from a contaminated source, food, or waste to surfaces or ready-to-eat food.

How to Naturally Get Rid of Bugs on Plants

Buying houseplants can put you at risk for harboring unwanted pest infestations. Before these bugs cause damage to your new plant, know how to take care of them using natural remedies.

How to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Itchy bites and illness may occur after exposure to some arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. The bites can cause discomfort and, in some cases, transmit pathogens (bacteria, viruses and protozoans) that can cause a variety of diseases. Some examples of diseases that are of concern in the United States include: (mosquito) chikungunya, dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile fever, Zika; (tick) Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The good news? There are many precautions you can take to help avoid bites from mosquitoes and ticks.

Bed Bugs On Clothes – Complete Treatment Guide

If you’ve heard about the bed bug scare in the news lately, then you may be concerned about your chances of picking up or bringing home bed bugs. One of the questions, then, that you may be asking yourself is whether you’ll find bed bugs on clothes.

Can bed bugs live in clothes? If so, how long? These are a couple of the questions you’ll have answered in this article.

Additionally, I’ll give you information about whether your clothes provide any protection from bed bug bites. You’ll also discover the important information about how to get rid of bed bugs on clothes if you do find them there.

Read on to learn more and put your mind at ease.

Can Bed Bugs Live On Clothes?

Whether bed bugs can live on clothes is a bit of a tricky question. Yes, they can be on your clothes, but the real question is, which clothes? Will they jump onto the clothes you’re wearing? Are they hiding in your closet?

First, bed bugs cannot jump. They also can’t fly. That means if you’re out somewhere and there are bed bugs present, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to have bed bugs transferred to the clothes you are wearing. It’s not impossible, but it’s extremely rare.

Second, bed bugs do not typically like being on a moving host. That’s why they often attack in beds, when you’re asleep, or in comfortable chairs when you’re relaxed and still. Bed bugs do not live on humans, and you are not going to get bed bugs from sitting next to someone on the train, for instance.

That being said, you may pick up bed bugs in trains or other vehicles, or even in places like movie theaters, where many people gather at once. You are not “catching” bed bugs from the other people, though.

What happens is the bugs take up residence in a building, and they stay there because they discover they can get a steady source of human hosts in a particular area. If you’re in a room or vehicle that has a bed bug colony, they may very well travel back to your home with you in your bag or briefcase, if you carry one.

Where do bed bugs find your clothes, then? It’s well-known that people have found bed bugs in their clothes, but it usually happens when clothes are left out in a pile. Clutter is a good hiding spot for bed bugs, which don’t like to be seen. If you leave clothes on the floor or bed, there’s a good chance they can pick up pests.

This is even more important to remember when you travel.

When you visit a hotel, do not unpack your clothes onto the bed. Bed bugs are happy to climb in with your clothes or directly into your luggage. In fact, this is probably the most common way that bed bugs end up in clothing.

Bed bugs and heat

As a side note, bed bugs really do not like heat. It happens to be one of the primary methods used to get rid of them, in fact. As you may know, your body puts off quite a lot of heat, so knowing that should help to ease your fear that bed bugs are living in your hair or under your clothes. They come for a blood meal, and they leave.

How Long Will Bed Bugs Live On Clothes?

In addition to disliking body heat, bed bugs also are not well-equipped to crawl through your hair. If you do find bugs crawling on your body or in your hair, then you probably have something else, like ticks, lice, or fleas. Any of these can also be found on the clothing you are wearing.

Bed bugs found in clothes that you are wearing were likely trying to hitch a ride until they could find a place to get off and make a hiding spot.

If you do end up with bed bugs in your clothes, such as in luggage or a pile of discarded laundry, then you may be wondering what to do about it. Can you just leave the clothes tucked away until the pests starve and die?

Here are two reasons why starving out bed bugs will not work. First, the bed bugs will leave your clothing to search for a host to feed on. That means even if they’ve made the clothes their hideout, they will do what they can to get a meal. If they succeed at living your luggage or clothing pile, they can survive indefinitely and start an infestation in your home.

Second, bed bugs can go for a significant period of time without feeding. How long? In ideal conditions for them, they can live for over a year without taking a meal. Typically, colder temperatures allow them to survive longer without a host. In usual circumstances, a bed bug can go several months between meals if it has to.

Do you want to leave your clothes unwashed for months in the hope that bed bugs will just go away? Clearly, that’s not going to work.

As with finding bugs on your body, if you find bugs on your clothes or bite marks under your clothes, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have bed bugs. Bed bug bites look quite similar to other insect or arachnid bites.

Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothing?

Speaking of bites, what about getting bites through clothing? Does that happen? In most cases, the answer is no. Bed bugs feed under fairly specific circumstances, and you generally don’t have to worry about getting bitten through your clothes.

Unfortunately, bed bugs are tiny, and they can crawl under your clothes fairly easily. What that means is that they can still bite under your clothes, despite not being able to bite through them.

A bed bug’s mouthparts can’t penetrate most clothing, but that doesn’t make clothes a good option for preventing bites if you have an infestation. Not only can they crawl under clothes, but they are happy to bite any exposed area of skin, including the face and neck.

The exception to whether bed bugs can bite through clothing is if you are wearing especially thin material. In that case, it may be possible to receive a bite through the clothes.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On Clothes

If you found out that your clothes or luggage has become infested with bed bugs, don’t panic. There are things you can do to make your clothing safe to wear again. You also have options for preventing the spread of bed bugs, if you realize you picked them up before taking the affected clothing out in your home.

First thing’s first, try to prevent spreading bed bugs anywhere else. That means containing whatever bugs you have found, wherever you have found them. Do not transport the clothing, luggage, shoes, or bag with bed bugs anywhere else.

Double seal the affected items in two plastic zipper bags or trash bags. Then, transport them to the area where you plan to treat the clothing. Double sealing prevents individual bugs from escaping during transport. Even a single bug can start a new colony, if it’s a fertilized female.

Be sure to check everything carefully as smaller bed bugs can be very hard to see, and you don’t want to miss leaving any infested clothing laying around the house.

You then have a few different options for destroying the pests. The simplest method is to just throw away the double-sealed clothing or items. However, this may not be the best method, if the items were expensive or you want to keep them.

You can use heat to destroy the bed bugs. Putting the sealed bags in direct sun on a hot day can raise the temperature high enough to kill them. However, this method can be quite unreliable, and for this to work, you need to confirm that the internal temperature of the bag reaches at least 118 degrees Fahrenheit or more for at least 90 minutes in order to completely get rid of the infestation in your clothing.

Bed bugs can actually be destroyed at slightly lower sustained temperatures, but the eggs require higher temps and longer durations. If you don’t destroy all the eggs, the bugs will just come back.

A better way to use heat to kill bed bugs is to apply a steamer directly to clothing.

If you’re looking for a powerful and reliable steamer for use against infestations and at a good price, the PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner is a great choice. It’s heavy-duty, made to last, and produces a great covering of extremely hot pressurized steam – exactly what you want in order to kill insects and their eggs on impact.

This steamer can be used on a wide number of surfaces and objects, including mattresses, carpets, curtains, clothing, box springs, bedding and baseboards.

Another (slightly more expensive, but thorough) alternative is by using a specially-made bed bug heater.

My favorite way to heat household items to a temperature that is sure to kill all bed bugs and eggs without needing to purchase expensive pest control heat treatment is to use a ZappBug Heater, which is specially designed to kill all stages in the bed bug life cycle.

Simply place infested items into the ZappBug heater and it will automatically reach the all-important bed bug killing temperature, so you can be sure the items come out all-clear.

Large and small versions are also available.

Of course, you will still need to use caution to transport them to a laundry room or laundromat after heat treatment if you want to wear the clothes without bug corpses all over them. Even if you choose not to use outdoor heat, washing and then drying the clothes at a high temperature for 90 minutes will remove and destroy the bugs.


It’s normal to be grossed out by bed bugs on clothes, but you can get rid of them and prevent them from spreading by following the steps set out in this article. Once your clothing has been treated, it’s extremely important to keep it away from other infested items around the house.

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