Bed Bugs On Airplanes: Can Bed Bugs Survive In Airplane?

Imagine yourself going to the airport to catch a plane for a vacation planned some months ago. You are obviously excited and thinking about this vacation for some time now.

You finally made it into your plane, and you find yourself comfortably seated, and you think that you will enjoy a quick flight to a dream vacation. Well, this vacation can be all but relaxing. Thing is that you could get bitten while sleeping on the plane or your luggage might get infested while getting transported by a plane. Yes, believe it or not in some cases bed bugs have found its way into the airplane.

Can bed bugs survive in airplane, and how did they even get there? Bed bugs can survive in airplanes because they have lots of hosts to feed on, and the conditions are not that different from your house. How did bed bugs get on the airplane? It is pretty simple – bed bugs boarded the airplane with their already infested hosts. Other passengers can carry bed bugs into the airplane in their clothes or luggage (not directly on their bodies).

Bed Bug Exterminators

The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is, how have bed bugs ended in a plane in the first place? Aren’t they supposed to be in a home and someone’s bed? That’s why they are called bed bugs in the first place, right? We have to disappoint you because bed bugs can live almost everywhere in your house and even on the airplane.

What should you do if you are on a bed bug infested airplane? Well, there are a couple of strategies that you can apply. One way is to cover your skin, and not give bed bugs a chance to bite you, but there are a couple of more things that you can do that we will talk about later in the article.

Stay with us till the end of this article, and you will learn a thing or two about bed bugs in planes, and ways of dealing with them.

How Can Bed Bugs Survive a Plane Flight

How can bed bugs even survive a plane journey? There is a reasonable explanation. Bed bugs are brought into the plane in the luggage or on the clothes of the host. Trip to the plane was obviously not too long, because they survived to board the plane, and when you enter the plane, the temperature for bed bugs on the airplane is ideal. Best living conditions for bed bugs are in human homes, and the temperature with all the other environmental factors in the planes are pretty much the same, so they can comfortably live and thrive in a plane.

The most important thing for bed bugs life is the temperature. If the temperature is right, they will function normally. During their long life around us, bed bugs evolved to be able to adapt to our life. They find us as the best hosts, because we live in closed homes, and we don’t move that often. Our homes are sheltered from environmental influences, so bed bugs can reproduce without any problems. We can connect all these elements with a plane.

One more thing about bed bugs and planes – it is very hard to find them because there are a lot of places for them to hide. And even if you find some, you can’t be sure that you found them all. Some of them can remain on passengers, and later they can carry them to their homes, and that`s how bed bug infestations are born.

How Did Bed Bugs Get Into the Plane In The First Place?

How Did Bed Bugs Get Into the Plane In The First Place

There is a couple of answers to this question – someone could have a bed bug infestation at home, and he carried some of them on their clothes or in luggage to the plane. Also, there are a lot of bed bug infestations roaming in hostels and even some hotels, so someone could have carried a couple of bed bugs with them on the airplane. Before you leave your accommodation it is recommended to check for bed bugs, if it`s possible.

A few bed bugs are enough to infest the whole plane. Bed bugs are reproducing quickly, and an airplane is a great home for them, with a lot of hosts to feed off, so they have all the prepositions to multiply very quickly.

How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs on a Plane

Before you take your seat on an airplane spare a minute and check your seat. I guess someone will look at you like you`re out of your mind, but it is better to be safe than sorry. This is how you get confronted by your first problem – how to spot a bed bug on a plane. It is even harder to check for bed bugs on an airplane than at home. There are a lot of gaps and it is hard to check places where they can hide, and also, you can`t check under your seat.

At home, you don’t have like 200 or 300 people distracting you from your search for bed bugs. Even so, do your best, look where you can, because if you spot one, you possibly stopped a bed bug invasion – plane style. If you want to avoid bed bug’s annoyance during flight, you can take some precautionary measures:

  • Don’t use any pillows or blankets offered by the plane staff. They could be infested with bed bugs
  • Use a seat cover to protect yourself from the nasty bugs
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  • It is recommended to put all the clothes you wore during the flight to the washing machine as soon as you get home.

All this will help you if the plane is infested with bed bugs. Continue with the reading if you want to know what to do if you actually see them.

How to Spot Bed Bugs on Your Airplane Seat

How to Spot Bed Bugs on Your Airplane Seat

When you actually see a bed bug, inform the plane crew. If you can catch one or more of those nasty insects, put them in a plastic bag because that way you can be sure that they won’t escape. Bed bugs placed in a closed plastic bag will eventually die. If you report a bed bug to the crew, they will surely approach the problem with all the necessary means, because they don’t want a bunch of angry bed bug bitten passengers.

If you don’t manage to stay bed bug free after your plane trip, and you bring them back to your home, use a bed bug spray to kill them right away or eradicate them with some heat treatments using a steamer, dryer or a washing machine. Bed bugs are nothing to joke about because in no time your entire house will be filled with bed bugs. Professionals know where to look for them, and with what chemicals they can destroy them but be aware professional treatments can be very expensive.

How Did the Problem with the Bed Bugs on Planes Start in First Place?

Problem with the bed bugs on planes started when flights to some countries which still have big problems with bed bugs, became cheap and available. When you add into the equation that the USA banned some of the pesticides that were good for getting rid of the bed bugs, you get an ongoing bed bug apocalypse.

These are some of the incidences that were recorded by passengers regarding bed bugs

How Long Does It Take for Bed Bug Bites to Fully Show After the Flight?

It depends. Usually, it takes around 24 to 48 hours for the bite from the bed bugs to show, so don’t rush to judge the air company for a bed bug bite. If you noticed the bed bug bites when you settled on a plane, chances are they might have happened before the flight, but you didn’t pay attention to it. So pay attention and don’t lash out at the cabin crew if you don’t have any evidence for that. You will bring panic to a whole plane, and that is not good when you are flying 10000 meters above the ground.

Of course, if you felt the bite (this is very unlikely), you can check the place you felt it and see the marks, but in that case, it won’t be blistering red, and that is a confirmation that you`ve been bitten recently by a bug. You still need to confirm if that was a bed bug.

What Should I Do After the Flight That Was Infested with Bed Bugs?

If you didn’t protect yourself and your luggage from bed bugs in the first place, you should wash everything as soon as possible. If you carry a few bed bugs or their eggs, which you will have difficulty seeing, you can have a home infestation in no time.


From this article, you can learn a thing or two about bed bugs and their life on the plane. Everyone should be informed that bed bugs infect even planes, because there is always a chance to bring an infestation from a plane to your home, and that is something you will never want in your life. There is a couple of things to do if you want to protect yourself during the flight, like covering your skin and wrapping plastic around your luggage, but that is no guarantee that you will avoid getting bitten. If you think that you carried some of them with you to your home, be sure to contact the professionals or use our site to try to get rid of them all by yourself.

If you found this topic about bed bugs interesting, continue following our web site. We will continue with the articles containing various topics about bed bugs in the future. So hold on, and always be on the watch for bed bugs!

List of Sources

Keep bed bugs from moving in after travel, Michigan State University

EPA. (May 2010). Controlling Bed Bugs. Pesticides: Controlling Pests

Frishman A. 2000. Bed Bug basics and control measures. Pest Control 68: 24.

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