How Bed Bug Infestations Spread

Bed bugs might not be a disease, but they spread like one!

This creepy pest spreads far and wide—quickly, quietly, and indiscriminately. Bed bugs can strike anywhere—from the messiest apartment to the most spotless home. How do bed bug infestations spread? And how can you avoid this terrible infestation?

Keep reading to find out!

How Do Bed Bug Infestations Spread?

Bed bugs are small, flightless insects, barely bigger than an apple seed. They can’t even jump, only able to move by crawling quickly—yet they have a knack for spreading to the far corners of the earth. How is this possible?

Typically, bed bug infestations spread in one of two ways.

First, bed bugs can spread by crawling from an infested area into a non-infested one. This often happens in multi-unit buildings, like apartment complexes and dormitories. One apartment or dorm room gets an infestation, and bed bugs then slowly spread to other apartments and dorms.

Second, bed bugs can spread by hitchhiking a ride on a person’s belongings. In this way, bed bugs are able to spread far quicker and more easily than they would be able to by crawling. Bed bugs can hide in furniture, linens, clothing, moving boxes, appliances, books, picture frames, and more. You’d be surprised where bed bugs can hide!

By hitchhiking on a person’s belongings, bed bugs can travel anywhere. This is why bed bugs often infest areas where people congregate—like homes, hotels, schools, theaters, airports, bus stations, etc.—and spread from there. The more people congregate in an area, the more likely it is that at least one person can bring in bed bugs.

In one recent example, bed bugs took Paris Fashion Week by storm this past year. Attendees of the fashion week flooded social media with reports of bed bugs crawling on the metro, hiding in mattresses—even present in movie theaters. While Paris already has a problem with bed bugs, it’s very possible that more bed bugs were brought to the city by people traveling to attend the shows, via their clothing and luggage.

You can expect bed bugs to remain a big problem in Cincinnati (and everywhere else) in the future. Now that more people are traveling post-pandemic, we are seeing a resurgence in the spread of bed bugs. Essentially, as people travel, so do bed bugs.

How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home

Bed bugs can happen to anyone: they are an equal opportunity pest. Even the cleanest homes and the most luxurious hotels have had bed bugs.

Since anyone could bring bed bugs into your home, it’s important to know the signs of bed bugs—so you can nip a problem in the bud early.

There are also a few situations when you are at increased risk of “catching” bed bugs. In these situations, we recommend taking steps to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you.

When You’re Traveling

Travel is often considered the most high-risk activity when it comes to bed bugs. Traveling in areas with lots of bed bugs (which is most metropolitan areas) and sleeping in places where lots of other people have slept substantially increases your risk.

However, that doesn’t mean that bed bugs have to ruin your vacation. To avoid bringing bed bugs home with you, we recommend checking your hotel room for signs of bed bugs prior to unpacking. Also keep your luggage off the floor, and don’t unpack into the hotel dressers. If you see signs of any pest activity in the room, speak up! Ask hotel management for a different room (one far away from the original booking) immediately. If you can’t get a different room, switch hotels.

When you get back from your travels, do a post-trip check. Check your luggage and other belongings, wash your clothes on high heat, and stay vigilant for signs of bed bugs in the weeks following your trip.

When You’re Buying Secondhand Goods

Buying secondhand goods is great for a number of reasons: it’s often cheaper, plus it’s great for the environment. However, buying something that’s been in someone else’s home can come with an increased risk of bed bugs.

Items like furniture, clothing, and anything made of cloth can hide bed bugs. If you do decide to purchase one of these items, it’s a good idea to inspect the item carefully pre-purchase. Clothing and soft goods can be laundered on high heat to kill bed bugs, and some furniture can be steamed. If you’re concerned that an item might have bed bugs, skip it! It’s not worth the risk.

Need Help with Bed Bugs?

While you can reduce your risk of bed bugs, unfortunately, an infestation can still occur. If this happens to you, we’re here to help.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.