Pest Resources

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?​


Bed bugs rely on humans for travel. They hitch a lift on unsuspecting passers-by, and they can crawl into your luggage and come home with you. Before you know it, you have a bed bug infestation that needs to be dealt with, as bed bugs spread quickly.

This type of insect will not just leave of its own accord! So long as they have a blood meal, they will stay.

Bed bugs feed on blood alone, nothing else! However, they can survive for several months without a blood meal.

In this article, we will discuss ‘how do bed bugs spread’ and give advice on how to get rid of bed bugs and bed bug eggs. If you know how humans spread bed bugs, you can help keep your home or business bug-free.

What are the signs to look for?

Have the bed bugs been biting? Bites are one indication you may have bed bugs.



Other things to look for if you think you are infested with bed bugs:

  • The bed bug bites will cause poor sleep.

  • Empty bed bug egg cases, bed bug feces, or a bad musty smell that comes from the bed bugs’ scent glands.

  • If you search your bedding, you might notice bloodstains on the sheets and pillowcases.

  • Search for rusty marks on the bedding, which come from bed bug poop.

What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye and about the size of an apple seed. They are reddish-brown in color, turning redder when they have fed on blood.

An adult bed bug is oval and flat, which allows it to crawl into tight spaces. Bed bugs cannot fly as they do not have wings.

Bed bugs are able to move very quickly, which is one of the ways bed bugs spread.

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs do not live in nests; they hide together in mattresses, box springs, headboards, electrical outlets, under peeling paint, loose wall coverings, bed frames, and other tight spaces. Check inside drawers and cupboards to make sure they are not hiding in them.

They will also hide in crevices, cracks, and gaps. Try to block up crevices, cracks, gaps, etc, with caulk.


Female adult bed bugs are able to lay five eggs a day. The eggs will then go on to develop into nymphs, which will shed their skins up to five times before maturing.

Bed Bugs bites

Bites can be very irritating to the skin, causing itching. Thankfully there are no known health risks associated with bites.



These insects bite the skin and feed on the blood of the sleeping host at night. You may notice bite marks that are slightly swollen on the upper half of the body. The bites are often red, with a darker spot in the middle. Some people suffer an allergic reaction which may need medical attention.

Check your mattress

Bed bugs, as the name suggests, live in or near where a person sleeps like a mattress.

No need to throw out infested mattresses or box spring. They can be sprinkled with Diatomaceous Earth. Once treated, they will be fine to re-use. Do not be tempted to move any mattresses from one room to another; the bed bugs spread this way. It is worth considering a mattress encasement to fully enclose and protect the mattress.

Place infested items like bedclothes in a sealed plastic bag and wash and dry them on high heat.

Vacuuming and steam cleaning

Vacuum everything, including carpet, mattress, box springs, and all upholstered furniture. Empty the vacuum cleaner outside into a plastic bag and tie it up.

Vacuuming regularly is probably one of the best methods a person can use to remove bed bugs and prevent a large infestation.

The heat from a steam cleaner will kill bed bugs and their eggs. It may be worth investing in one and using it in every room in the house.

Use the steam cleaner regularly to control the spread of infestations.

Used furniture

Have you ever bought used furniture? It is a cheap alternative, but it should be checked thoroughly before you bring it inside the house. This is another way female bed bugs can get into your home, lay eggs, and spread the infestation.

If you want to be on the safe side, spray it with an insecticide that will kill bedbugs and eggs.

Check all your luggage for signs of a bed bug infestation

How did I get bed bugs? You might be wondering; we will answer that now. How quickly bed bugs spread depends on how much traveling you do because they tend to hitchhike home with you.

If you go away on vacation, you will be at a higher risk of an infestation in a hotel room. To prevent bed bugs from moving from one site to another, be sure to put your luggage on a rack, not on the floor. This will help prevent bed bugs from getting inside. The same goes for clothing and coats. The bed bugs travel home with you inside your luggage and clothing.

Once in your hotel room, check the room for bed bugs. Look at the furniture for any evidence. Pay special attention to the beds and pillows. If you find bed bugs, let the manager know the room is infested to prevent the spread of bed bugs.

The spread of bed bugs can also be traced to other places where people sleep, for instance, on cruise ships, and dorm rooms, and even shared laundry facilities can spread bed bugs on clothes.

Wash your clothing

Bed bugs die in high temperatures. Wash all clothes and bedclothes and tumble dry on high heat. This is one of the best methods to stop bed bugs.

Remove clutter




Most bed bugs love to hide amongst items and remove as much clutter as possible. Donate unwanted clothes to charity.

Do bed bugs spread disease?

Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Their bites can be itchy and can cause an allergic reaction.

DIY pest control

DIY bed bug removal can be chemical-free or with pesticides. There are many products produced for bug removal look online or in hardware stores.

Diatomaceous earth is naturally occurring and commonly used for infestations, as is baking soda sprinkled on the infected area. Both dry out insects leading to death.

Tea tree oil can be diluted and used as a treatment. Add around 20 drops to a spray bottle of water and spray on infected areas.

Rubbing alcohol can be tried, but you will need a high percentage of alcohol for it to work.

Professional treatment

Heat treatment is often used for pest control, as it kills both the bed bug and the eggs.

The property is heated inside to a high temperature, around 120 F. This will kill off bed bug infestations.

Before the heat can be applied, heat-sensitive items must be removed from the home, along with children and pets, including fish.

How long does it take?

It takes around 6 to 8 hours. Not only will it kill bed bugs, but it will also get rid of cockroaches, fleas, beetles, and woodworms, amongst others.

And finally,

We hope you have found the advice and tips helpful in this article. Please feel free to contact us by email. If you have any questions, we will do our best to answer them as quickly as possible.

And remember

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

Read more here.

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