How Are Bed Bugs Spread?

Unfortunately, nowadays bed bugs are widespread and can be found even in clean places. Of course, as soon as one finds out that bed bugs are an issue in his or her house, the person would want to get rid of the creatures straight away but before finding out how you can cope with these insects, it is important to figure out how bed bugs are spread.

How are bed bugs spread? A guest can bring bed bugs into your house without even knowing and you can do that as well. The bed bugs might be sitting on his or her bags, clothes, etc. In case you have kids, the children might end up bringing the bed bugs on their backpacks from school. The scenarios vary a lot, but the outcome is always the same – your household gets infested.

Bed Bug Exterminators

In case you know exactly how bed bugs prefer to ‘travel’ and everything about the habits of the insects, you will be able to, hopefully, prevent the infestation because as we know, nothing works better than prevention.

Where Do Bed Bugs Like to Live?

As bed bugs feed on our blood, they like to stay as close to humans as possible. And, of course, our bed is the perfect place for these creatures. During the day, you won’t find the insects around as they are really good at hiding but as night falls, bed bugs get out of their hideaways and find their ‘victims’.

The unique scent that humans have and the heat that our bodies produce, help the bed bugs find us during the night. By the way, our smell is also how bed bugs differentiate us from other mammals. However, you should know that bed bugs can as easily suck the blood of animals, in case there are no humans around.

In general, bed bugs can be spread by any item that carries our scent. The creatures understand that these items will bring them to a human’s home – a place where they can thrive and multiply.

It is not true that bed bugs can be found only in dirty environments. Even clean homes have places where they can live and feel great (behind wall moldings and under the mattress, for example).

So, if you spot bed bugs in your house that does not mean that you are terrible with your personal hygiene. The chances are high that the insects got to your house on someone’s clothes, items of furniture, and so on.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread from Person to Person?

How Do Bed Bugs Spread from Person to Person

Unlike lice, for example, bed bugs do not live on humans. Moreover, these insects can’t jump, so the bed bugs won’t end up jumping from one human to the other. However, bed bugs certainly can be spread from person to person, with the help of personal items.

After the bed bugs have been brought into the house, they can spend weeks and even months waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack. In case the bed bugs feel like the new home is not right for them, they can continue to ‘travel’ until they find the perfect place where they can thrive.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread from House to House?

If you are a frequent traveler, then the chances are high that you might ‘pick up’ a bed bug during your adventures.  In a certain sense, bed bugs are experienced travelers as well. They like to stay at hostels and on airplanes, on cruise ships and any kind of public transportation…

Bed bugs certainly do like places that have a great number of overnight guests. So, you can end up moving the bed bugs from one place to the other on your luggage or clothes. By the way, you can easily encounter bed bugs at a university or a hospital.

By the way, bed bugs can crawl from one room to the other at a really fast speed. On most surfaces, bed bugs can travel with a speed of 3-4 feet per minute. That’s exactly why bed bugs can quickly find hiding spots and travel from one place to the other, despite the fact that bed bugs can’t fly.

Bed bugs like to come back to their secret location after the meal. There, bed bugs will digest the blood and mate. If the surroundings are right, new bed bugs can emerge every 1.5 months (that’s the time that the eggs need to develop into an adult). The main aim of the bed bugs is to eat and mate. That’s why even a few bed bugs are extremely dangerous – those will start multiplying with lightning speed.

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Spread?

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Spread

As we have already mentioned, bed bugs will start multiplying if they like their new home. In such a case, bed bugs can start laying anywhere between one and twelve eggs every single day! In a lifetime, a bed bug can produce 200-500 eggs. It won’t take long for this pest problem to go out of control. That’s why it is extremely important to try and spot the infestation during the early stages. If there are hundreds of bed bugs in your house, it will be very difficult to get rid of all of them.

Of course, in order to survive the bed bug has to eat but the bad news is that they can survive without a meal for months if the weather is warm and for a whole year if it is a bit colder.

Bed bugs can easily move from one room to the other, if they feel like the conditions in the new place will be better. All-in-all, the bed bugs will need only a few months to take over the whole house. If you have brought one single female in your house (on your bag or clothes, for example), there will be around 50-60 nymphs by the end of the first month and another 30-40 eggs.

How Are Bed Bugs Spread?

If we all stayed at our houses and never let anyone in, the chances are high that there wouldn’t be any bed bugs. But because of the fact that humans like to travel (not only to different countries but also to work and school, for example), the insects can easily move around with our help.

As bed bugs can’t fly and jump, they prefer to use our bags, clothes, and even purses to travel. However, if these creatures need to, they can easily crawl from one room to the other (at a very high speed, by the way).

There is practically a 100% guarantee that you won’t be able to notice a bed bug when you bring it into your house. They need some time to find the perfect hideaway and start multiplying but once it does start to mate, you better watch out.

One single female can produce hundreds of eggs during her lifetime. By the end of the first month, your house will become home to over 50 developing bed bugs and a few dozen eggs. During the second month, the population of these insects will have twenty breeding adults, a lot of eggs, and a couple hundred of developing bugs.

At this point, you can still get rid of the whole population without too much effort. In case you spot some brown dots on your bed, make sure to call the professionals. However, if you fail to notice the infestation at this stage, it will be pretty hard to eliminate the bugs during the third month.

The population of these insects will simply explode. There will be around a hundred adults that are multiplying; a thousand of developing bugs; countless eggs! Of course, the adult insects will start to migrate, in order to invade new territories.

In only six months after one single pregnant female was brought into your house, you will have all of the rooms infested. Hundreds of thousands of bed bugs will be developing and thousands of eggs will be ready to hatch at any time. We bet these numbers make your skin itch!


Unfortunately, there is no single prevention method. You can certainly thoroughly check all the new items that you bring into your house (pay extra attention to the clothes from vintage and second-hand shops). However, you won’t really be able to spot the bed bug, if the creature is hiding in your bag, when you’re coming home from work, for example.

What you can do is check all of the mattresses from time to time to ensure that there are no dots or other suspicious signs of a bed bug infestation. If you have spotted these insects, you can try to get rid of them all on your own. Yes, you might end up succeeding if the infestation has not progressed, but it is always better to call the specialists as they know the exact spots in your house that would need some extra attention. Best of luck!

List of Sources

Cimex lectularius Linnaeus (Bed Bugs), University of Florida

Koehler PG, Pereira RM, Pfiester M, Hertz J. (July 2011). Bed bugs and blood-sucking conenose. EDIS. (26 April 2017)

[USDA] U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1976. How to Control Bed Bugs. USDA. Washington D.C.

Usinger RL. 1966. Monograph of Cimicidae (Hemiptera – Heteroptera). Entomological Society of America, College Park, Maryland.

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