You can come across bed bugs in a wide range of places. Hospitals, hotels, dorms, and, of course, your house. But how do these creatures get around? It would seem like a logical explanation to think that bed bugs can fly because sometimes the insects emerge out of nowhere…
So, do bed bugs fly? Bed bugs cannot fly because they don’t have any wings. However, there are plenty of other ways in which bed bugs can get around. They crawl on their six legs, and they move around by getting into people’s language and clothes. For now, bed bugs can use other things to fly. For example, bed bugs can travel in planes.
Related: How Many Legs Do Bed Bugs Have?
Now long-long time ago, these insects might have had wings to help them travel long distances. Nowadays, bed bugs do not need wings, as they have a lot of other ways to get around. Moreover, if a creature flies, it risks being spotted by a human. And that’s certainly not what a bed bug needs. If you saw something fly around that looked like a bed bug, the chances are high that it’s a stink bug (these insects look similar).
There is a theory that bed bugs might start to fly in the future. Mainly because even though these creatures do not have wings, they actually do have wing pads that never develop into full wings. But who knows? Maybe, in a few hundreds of years, the pads will actually turn into normal wings.
How Do Bed Bugs Move?
Ok, so, if these creatures can’t actually fly, then how do they move? Can bed bugs jump or run, for example?
Fortunately, bed bugs don’t jump either. The insects don’t have powerful legs that could help them jump. And if you think you have seen something jump next to you – it is certainly not a bed bug. It might be a flea, for example, as these insects do jump and sometimes bite humans (even though they do look completely different from bed bugs).
So, in case these annoying insects cannot fly and jump, then how do they move? Bed bugs crawl. In fact, they can crawl extremely fast and that’s exactly what helps them travel from one room to the other and run away from you. Bed bugs can crawl 3-4 feet per minute. Yes, that might not seem too fast, but if we scale the numbers in human terms, then the speed of a crawling bed bug would equal to that of a human being sprinting!
Bear in mind that bed bugs don’t really need to develop extremely high speeds as they ‘attack’ humans when they are fast asleep. So, these creatures have plenty of time to move around. Moreover, too much movement can simply wake the ‘prey’ up.
Can Bed Bugs Climb Walls?
Yes, bed bugs can climb walls. In case your house has a severe bed bug infestation, at one point or the other, you might notice some bed bugs climbing walls. One thing to note is that bed bugs can’t really climb very smooth surfaces. But in case there is some texture on the wall or if the paint coats are not even enough, the bed bugs can climb up and down your walls.
How Do Bed Bugs Get from One Room to the Other?
Of course, once the bed bug gets inside your house, it will choose to build its home somewhere near its food (and that means – you). That’s why these insects prefer to stay in mattresses. For the same reason, experts recommend getting a mattress protector that will stop the bugs from living in it.
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However, the bad news is that these insects can easily hide in a small crack anywhere around you or in the bed headboard, for example. In a lot of cases, as soon as someone finds out that his or her mattress is infested by bed bugs, usually that person will prefer to move to the sofa before the professionals arrive. That is not a very good idea. Bed bugs will understand that there is no longer any food near them and they will begin the ‘hunt’. The insects can totally take their time while crawling from one room to the other as bed bugs can survive without a meal for at least a few months.
The worst part about the migration of bed bugs from one room to the other is that these creatures can start using your wall outlets to get around (and, potentially, start multiplying in a new area as well).
So, in the end, you will not only have a mattress that is infested (click to see how to get rid of the bed bugs in mattresses). The bed bugs will also be present inside wall voids and it’s much more difficult to get rid of the annoying bugs when they are in such hard-to-reach spots.
How Do Bed Bugs Travel?
Even though bed bugs can’t fly and can’t jump, these creatures are experienced travelers. Hitchhikers, to be exact. Bed bugs can easily travel with us, wherever we go, as they use their six legs not only to crawl but also to stick on a variety of our house objects. Bed bugs can travel on suitcases, clothes, blankets, books, and even wheelchairs.
Of course, bed bugs love places that lots of humans use to stay in. Like hotels, for example. However, sometimes it might be enough for you to sit in a taxi right after a person who had brought a bed bug on his backpack had left. The bed bug will make sure to use your bag or coat to continue the journey until it finally arrives in its new home.
Doesn’t sound too reassuring, right? But there is some good news. In the absolute majority of cases, bed bugs do not use our hair and body to travel around. These insects don’t like warm places, so they will always prefer a suitcase, for example. That means that when you are talking to a person, you can’t really get contaminated through interacting with the actual human. His personal belongings are what you have to be aware of.
How to Stop Bed Bugs from Moving Around?
It is practically impossible to spot one single bed bug that happens to be on your clothes. So, at one point or the other, you might end up bringing it inside your house. However, what you can do is stop the bed bug from traveling from one room of your house to the other.
As we have already mentioned, bed bugs prefer to stay close to humans as we are, basically, their meal. The chances are high that any bed bug that you have brought into the house will end up close to your bed. In case you are not allergic to bed bugs, you might not even notice the infestation at first.
People have different reactions to the bites (and some even have zero reaction to the bite). But as soon as the infestation starts getting more severe (once the bed bugs begin to multiply), at one point, you will find out that there is a huge problem in your bedroom.
Even though it is psychologically difficult to make yourself sleep in the bed that you now know is contaminated, you have to continue doing that. If you move to another room or to the sofa, you will, basically, make the bed bugs migrate from one room to the other. Some of them will be left behind and will continue multiplying in the first room, while the others will use the cracks in the wall to ‘travel’.
To cut a long story short, if you don’t ‘sacrifice’ yourself at one point, your whole house will get infested. In this case, it will be extremely difficult even for the professionals to get rid of every single bed bug.
In fact, this is one advice that exterminators usually give – continue sleeping in the same place. If you do that, the various traps and insecticides will work more effectively.
in this article, we have found out that bed bugs (thankfully) do not fly. Moreover, these annoying creatures can’t jump and they are not really fast crawlers. However, they do have quite a few ways of traveling and getting from one room to the other and that’s exactly why any type of bed bug infestation should be taken seriously.
List of Sources
Bed Bug Myths and Facts, University of Denver
What You Should Know About Bed Bugs, Cornell College
Cimex lectularius Linnaeus (Bed Bugs), University of Florida