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How Did I Get Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs have been around for thousands of years. A very common pest in the United States until World War 2. Bed bugs feed on blood, but have not been shown to spread disease during the meal unlike mosquitoes do. Bed bugs do not fly or walk great distances. They hitchhike from place to place. Getting bed bugs is not as hard you might think if the conditions are right.

What are the right conditions to bring home bed bugs?

The right conditions are simple. For you to bring home an infestation of bed bugs one of three things have to happen.

  • 1. You must bring home an already pregnant female. That female must survive the trip into your house. The female must then find a place to lay her eggs.


  • 2. You need to bring home a male and female bed bug. If you do not have a male and female bed bug then they can not reproduce and create an infestation. Again both bugs must survive the trip into your house, then mate, and successfully lay eggs.


3.  You bring home two viable eggs that survive the trip. Once they survive the trip they must hatch. After they hatch they must live an average of 5 weeks to become reproducing adults. Then the 2 bugs must find each other.

If neither of these happens and you just bring home one bed bug then it will live out its life unable to reproduce.

What if they find you?


If you live in an apartment or other multi-family type home bed bugs can travel through the wall voids from apartment to apartment. This is a very common way for bed bugs to spread throughout an apartment community. Roaches and mice can spread the same way. It is important to report any sign of bed bug activity in your apartment to your manager. If the management is not aware there is a problem, then they cannot properly address the other units around you. The source may be a neighbor that you have never seen. Treating just your apartment may not stop future infestations if the are on the other side of the wall from you in your neighbor’s apartment


Used or second-hand furniture is a popular source for bed bugs. People throw out infested furniture in attempts to get rid of a bed bug infestation. A lot of apartment communities warn against taking furniture form the trash area without proper inspection. If you bring an infested sofa, chair, mattresses, bed frame, etc. you are bringing in enough bugs that are able to reproduce. If you see a sign on something that says bed bugs or infested it is best just to leave it.


Due to the high turnover of people getting an infestation from a hotel is not unusual. The best practices you can do is:

  • Don’t put your clothes in the drawers. Leave them in your suitcase.
  • Use the suitcase stand provided.
    • After returning home immediately wash and dry your clothes and store your suitcase in a closed trash bag.

Overnight or Frequent Guests

The more common way people get them is by having a visitor stay at their house or they stay at a friend’s house. Identifying if a friend or family is responsible for introducing the bed bugs to you is important. By identifying the original source you lower the chances of reintroduction. This can be a hard and uncomfortable conversation to have with a  friend or family member. Children of separated parents may the way they are introduced from one home to another.

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