How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

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Cimex lectularius, known commonly as the bed bug, is a pest that often creates significant alarm wherever it pops up. Waking up in a hotel with dozens of bites leaves most victims feeling uncomfortable and violated. And, it is even worse for the millions who have had the misfortune of discovering these blood-eating bugs infesting their homes. Why is this? Perhaps it is because our beds are where we go to rest. They are a place of warmth, comfort, and safety. Perhaps it is because there is something horrific about being bitten repeatedly by bugs while we sleep. No one knows for sure.

There is also the stigma attached to bed bugs, an idea that only dirty, cluttered homes will get them. While this idea is completely inaccurate, it still affects our psyche. Even though it has been strongly proven that bed bugs can be found in even the cleanest environments, they are generally considered dirty bugs and finding them may make us feel unclean.
So, how do we get bed bugs in the first place? Do they come in through the walls? What drives them in? Is it excessive rain and oversaturation in the soil around our homes? Actually, it isn't any of these. Bed bugs don't crawl across your yard and squeeze in through your exterior walls like other insect pests. These bugs are hitchhikers. If you have bed bugs, someone—possibly you—carried them into your home.

a bed bug on a human hand

The One Exception

Before we cover the many ways bed bugs can be carried in, let's cover one instance where you can actually get bed bugs without carrying them in. If you live in an apartment complex, you can get these pests without ever leaving your home or having anyone come over for a visit. Bed bugs can and do get into wall voids. If you have a neighbor with an infestation, these bugs can find their way over to your apartment. That is why treatments done in apartment complexes can be tricky.


The most likely way bed bugs will get into your home is by returning with you from a trip or vacation. If you stay somewhere during your travels, even at a friend or relative's house, you can pick bed bugs up and bring them home.
It doesn't matter if you stay in a 5-star hotel or bare-bones motel. These pests can be anywhere, and effective pest control is not something only resorts and luxury hotels can afford. There is, however, a greater risk if you are traveling to another country that doesn't have the level of pest control we have here in the United States.
It is also important to point out that you don't have to bring a single bug back with you to get an infestation. Bed bug females are prone to laying their eggs in portable items, and these eggs do not require the female to hatch.

College-Age Kids

Dormitories are a target for bed bugs because students come in from worldwide, even under-developed countries where bed bugs are rampant. Dormitories also provide the perfect environment for an insect pest that requires blood for food.
If you have college-age kids who come home for the holidays, they may not be coming alone. It is important to ensure that their belongings are inspected and that all clothing is washed and dried at the hottest temperature.


When your kids have a sleepover, or you invite guests to spend the night at your home, there is always a chance that they may bring bed bugs with them, even if they come from a clean home. As bed bug infestations continue to climb at an alarming rate, this is becoming more and more of a concern.

Going Out

Anytime you leave your home and travel in public places, you have a chance of picking these bugs up. Bed bugs have been found in taxis, buses, trains, and planes. They have been found infesting movie theaters, libraries, police stations, and other public areas. The reason for this is that bed bugs can feed on us even when we are fully awake. So, it is important to properly identify bed bugs if you see them when you are out and about and be able to recognize the signs of a bed bug infestation.
If you discover bed bugs when you are out and about, be sure to report them. When you discover them in your home, call Parkway Pest Services or another QualityPro-certified pest management company near you that uses advanced methods like K-9 Bed Bug Inspectors and focused steam treatments. Bed bugs are a pest that can be controlled 100% of the time. Don't let them take over your home or business. Fight back with proactive bed bug control, reach out to Parkway Pest Services today. 


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