Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

    

If you don’t think the answer to this question is important, then let me help you see why this is critical!

Brad the Bed Bug Bandit is a superb stowaway | Rentokil

If you understand where bed bugs come from and how they are spread you can do yourself a huge favour to avoid a problem with this unwanted pest.

In fact, there are 3 main reasons why you should care about the answer to this question.

If you can answer ‘No’ to all these questions below, than this subject does really matter to you!

  1. Do you want to share your bed with bed bugs?
  2. Do you want to have bed bugs in your home?
  3. Do you want to get nasty bites?

Bed bugs will go anywhere, with anyone.

If you need any more convincing, consider the fact that bed bugs do not discriminate. They do not care about age, gender, clean bed, dirty bedroom, your private home or your commercially run B&B – it is all the same to them – an opportunity to hide and get a good meal.

Hopefully, I have now given you enough reason to continue to read on.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

The BBC recently ran an interesting article looking into the origins of bed bugs.  Whilst this is a fascinating read, as a parent, holiday-maker or frequent traveller, you will be far more interested in knowing where bed bugs are known to be found in today’s world!

The Role of Hotels

It is widely reported that hotels and generally any establishment that offers sleeping accommodation with a high turnover in guests is a primary source of bed bugs.

Dirty & Clean Hotelroom with Bed Bug Bandits | Rentokil

If you suddenly discover a bed bug problem in your home, people will immediately assume you stayed away in a hotel room recently and brought them home that way.

If you are worried about bed bugs, check out my previous post on how to tell if you have bed bugs.

Checking Hotels ahead of a Holiday

Websites have been created purely to help you avoid this unnecessary exposure. Sites to help you check ahead if your intended hotel destination has had a reported problem can be very useful, see

Checking your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs

A proactive inspection on behalf of paying hotel guests and early detection is one key way of avoiding this pest. For this reason, there is loads of advice offered online about how to check your hotel room for bed bugs.

Rather more worryingly there is now also online advice available on how to sue a hotel for bed bugs – another clear implication of the possible risks of exposure to bed bugs when staying in hotels.

I don’t want to scare you off going on holiday ever again. The purpose here is to encourage you to be more vigilant and to keep yourself and your children free of bites and from spreading this parasite any further.

The Role of Second-hand / Vintage furniture

Second-hand furniture with Bed Bug Bandits | Rentokil

Did you know that second hand furniture can also harbour bed bugs? Most people would not even consider this a risk, but it can happen.

  • Always inspect second-hand brought mattresses or bed frames
  • Even carpets or any upholstered items, like an armchair or sofa or chaise lounge.
  • Check bedside cabinets and wardrobes too.

Need help with what to look for? Learn more about signs of bed bugs.

The Role of Transport

You can bury your head in the sand as deep as you like, but bed bugs have sadly also been found on trains, subways and even on airplanes. Although it is very difficult to find official stats confirming how good or bad the situation is, it does happen.

In fact, Forbes magazine ran an article way back in 2011 about bed bugs on planes and how you could (perhaps) avoid this risk.

Unfortunately, in this instance we are reliant on the large companies running our public transport to ensure they are vigilant and proactively manage any problem if and when it arises.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

Unlike other parasites, like fleas, which can stay attached to their host, bed bugs do not even climb onto their host. They feed whilst still in contact with your bed mattress for example. So, if you are not spreading them around on your person, then who or what is?

There are a number of ways this pest can spread either from one bedroom to another or from one hotel chain to another, or from a hotel to your home.

Luggage

I think most people would know that our very own luggage has helped to make bed bugs the most successful hitchhikers of all time! As illustrated by Bella & Boris in the latest #BedBugBandits adventure!

Luggage with Bed Bug Bandit | Rentokil

As well as picking up bed bugs from an infested room you have stayed in, you can just as easily introduce them into a brand new place by having stayed in an infested room – without your knowledge of course! That is pretty bad luck!

How To Avoid Becoming an Unwilling Bed Bug Accomplice

  1. Do not put suitcase on your bed – makes your suitcase a real victim!
  2. Do not leave luggage on the floor – empty when you arrive and place empty suitcase in top of wardrobe. This is because bed bugs not only hide on and around a bed during day time, they can even be found on the carpet, near skirting boards, from where they could easily crawl into a vulnerable suitcase.
  3. Hang clothes up in your wardrobe – where possible hang out all your clothes. Don’t give any chance for bed bugs to hide or deposit eggs.
  4. Keep your luggage in the bathroom – perhaps the most bizarre sounding advice, but one based on knowledge of bed bug behaviour. Bed bugs do not like polished smooth surfaces as it makes it more difficult for them to move around. So, in this way you are greatly reducing an encounter between your luggage and a bug!

Heated Luggage – a new Solution?

At the end of 2014, news came out about the availability of a new product – heated luggage (from a company called Thermal Strike).

The very fact that this product has come to market, speaks volumes about the role luggage plays in spreading bed bugs around the globe.

The Role of the Female Bed Bug 

Bella, the female bed bug bandit | Rentokil

 

Did you know…..if you do accidently take bed bugs home with you, it is usually the female bed bug – like Bella the female member of the Bed Bug Bandits. Females are more likely to disperse and find their way into your luggage (ready for an easy ride home!).

If this female bed bug is pregnant then you are in for a whole world of trouble…potentially. One pregnant female can lead to 1,000s of bed bugs due to rife in-breeding amongst any bed bug population.

 Cavity Walls

Bed bugs have the ability to spread to adjacent rooms through cavity walls / partition walls. Funnily enough though, they are also just as likely to enter via open doorways and along corridors.

Any professional pest controller should check rooms directly next to the source of the problem as well as directly above and below. In the industry this is sometimes referred to as the “cube approach”.

Cube approach to bed bug inspections | Rentokil

 

You can quickly start to see the rather large consequences for a hotel but even your own private home from just one small infestation starting off in just one room.

 Now, the Good News

In spite of all the news about bed bugs, the majority of people in this world have still never encountered them, and neither have I.

In fact, our increased scientific research into this pest – see the case of the biologist who allowed herself to be bitten 180,000 times – and emerging new pest control product development should ensure that this remains the status quo.

For more about bed bugs, follow all the other adventures of the Bed Bug Bandits. #BedBugBandits

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