Nothing is as terrifying as having unwanted guests in our home. In particular, bed bugs are a type of guest that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your worst enemies. So, what causes bed bugs to thrive and continue to find new places? How do you get bed bugs if you think you have been very careful?
These blood-sucking parasites are not only creepy but have flattened bodies that allow them to fit in the tiniest of places. They can double in number in a very short time period if they get the right quota of blood. Additionally, the creatures are not easy to get rid of, especially when they’ve become a full-blown infestation. To be as safe as possible, we need to know how you get them and what causes them to appear.
Due to their stealthy ways of moving around, these little critters have become a global concern, with their infestation wreaking havoc in millions of homes. So does filth and dirt cause them? Do humans spread them? Do they appear from nowhere? What causes bed bugs?
Does Being Dirty Cause Bed Bugs?
A notion spews around, indicating that bed bugs are caused by dirt or filth. This is a complete misconception as filthiness only helps them hide better. Bugs are not attracted to untidiness, decay, or filthiness. The creatures can survive in any environment as long as they are near their food source. There have been reports of bed bugs living in some of the cleanest spots.
Bed bugs exist by feeding on blood. These parasites don’t have the luxury of living on their hosts, such as fleas and ticks. So, they must develop a creative way of ensuring that they stay close to their food source. They hide in crevices and cracks near the bed and attack the host in the dead of night.
It doesn’t matter whether your place is clean as a whistle or as filthy as a dustbin. Any place is susceptible to infestation if the bed bugs are guaranteed to get their ration of blood. So, if dirt and dust don’t bring these parasites, how do you get bed bugs?
To answer these questions, we look at how bed bugs can be introduced to your home and how they travel from one property to another.
How Bed Bugs Move from One Property to the Next
Since bed bugs are oval-shaped parasites are wingless, the only way they can move around is through crawling. Bed Bugs tiny size and flattened body make it possible for these creatures to move through ceiling openings, crevices on walls, or pipes. This would mean that they spread slowly, which is not the case. The main reason why these creatures spread faster and find it easy to get in your house is that they hide in items that are carried from one place to the other.
So, What Causes Bed Bugs in a Home?
- Public Means of Transport
As we become better at traveling, we are likely to use various modes of transport to reach our destinations. Whether it’s a rental car, taxi cab, plane, train, or any other form of public transport, you are likely to sit where somebody else sat before.
Let’s say that a person came from a house that was infested by bed bugs. If one of the bed bugs is attached to their clothes, it can crawl out when you’re seated in a cab, plane, or train and hide under the seat.
The bed bug can come out and attach itself to your clothes when you sit in the same seat. As usual, you’ll rush home and take off your clothes, and throw them on the bed before you take them to the laundry basket. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how bed bugs find their way into your home. And since the bugs take only a short time to reproduce, it would take just a few months to start noticing red spots on the sheets or rashes on your skin, indicating rapid spread.
- Movie Theaters, Hotels, and Hospitals
Like public transports, hospitals, movie theaters, and hotels also experience many people moving in and out. As such, these places can also be a drop and pick-up point for bed bugs. If a guest before you carry bed bugs either from home or public transport, they can leave them in a hotel room that you might book during your vacation. Since it is not easy to know whether a hotel is infested with bed bugs, you must take the necessary precautions when leaving. To ensure that bed bugs don’t hitch a ride with you when you are going home, you should take the clothes you’re wearing to your local dry cleaner before you go home.
And since these creatures know how to hide, they’ll not be detected when the rooms are being cleaned. When you rent that room and unpack your items, the bugs can hitch a ride, in your suitcases, clothes, or even shoes, straight to your sweet home. The same case goes to movie theaters, which witness high traffic of people.
If you thought hospitals were gross, bed bugs might be another reason to get you spooked. In a survey done by the National Pest Management Association in 2012, it was discovered that more than one-third of US-pest management companies received a call to exterminate bed bugs in hospitals.
- School, Workplaces, and Neighbors
School and workplaces are other notorious locations where you can pick up these parasites. If one of the employee’s homes is infested, bugs might hide in their clothes and get free transport to your workplace, mostly if you work in a communal environment. You can pick these parasites from here and take them home.
Bed bugs can also hitch a ride to your house on your kid’s backpack or uniform from school. If there is an infested house in your neighborhood, you or your kids can carry the parasites from such places when they visit them.
- Buying Second-hand Furniture, Clothes and Antiques
Like in the beds where these creatures are usually found, furniture has several places where bed bugs can hide. Whether it is under the seat covers or in the cushion covers, bed bugs can take refuge in such areas and come out when the item is brought to the house.
For collectors who like adding antiques to their repositories, you might also pick up something that came from a house that was infested by bed bugs. Once you take it to your home, that’s how you facilitate the movement of bed bugs from one place to the next.
If you are fond of buying secondhand items, they could pose a bed bug risk. Don’t bring home secondhand furniture before checking whether they have bed bugs. Furniture poses a significant risk of bed bug infestation to your home. It boasts several places where these parasites can hide, including between the cushions, in the cushion covers, in the seam, and inside the seat cloth. EPA recommends that you seek professional fumigation to get rid of parasites before you bring secondhand furniture into your house.
Before you wear any secondhand clothing or put it in your wardrobe:
- Make sure you put it in a dryer for a complete cycle.
- Avoid bringing home other used items such as mattresses, bed frames, or even rugs.
- If you have to do so, make sure they have been checked and fumigated by a professional.
What Else Causes Bed Bugs? All Types Of Other Items
While it’s common to find bed bugs on fabrics, they can also be found in other items. These creatures can survive for months without a meal, which means that they can hitch a ride on virtually anything. Therefore, it is vitally essential to check out items such as used electronics, books, and art pieces for bed bugs before bringing them to your house.
What About the Notion that Bed Bugs are Caused by Filth and Dirt?
You’ve heard more than once people claiming bed bugs are brought about by accumulating dirt and dust. However, this is just a misconception. You’ll find bed bugs even in some of the cleanest places in the world, including top-rated hotels. Bed bugs love filth and dirt since it helps them to hide better. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that untidiness or the presence of clutter causes bed bugs.
Tips to Help You Avoid Bed Bugs
- Conduct a thorough inspection of your luggage and clothes after spending a night in a hotel, resort, motel, or hostel, no matter how clean it is.
- When kids return from school or a friend’s house, make sure you inspect their clothes and bags for bed bugs.
- Make sure you examine any used furniture before bringing it into your house.
- Check for signs of bed bugs when using public transport. If you detect any infestation signs, make sure you don’t use that taxi, bus, or plane anymore.
- Look out for any signs of bed bugs when you’re in a public place.
Nothing can be as annoying and disturbing as bed bug infestation. So, you should avoid bringing these creatures to your house at all costs. And since the blood-sucking parasites can hitch a ride on virtually everything, you must inspect all used items before you get them into your house. Ensure that the first thing you do is clean your luggage and clothes immediately after you arrive home from a trip or allow visitors to your home.
You can also use the onsite chat feature, Free Pest Inspection form on this page, or our online contact form to get in touch with us. Whatever your pest control needs, we are happy to help you eliminate it.