Bed bugs can travel rapidly at a speed of 3 to 4 feet per minute, which happens to be 0.045 miles per hour. Looking at these tiny creatures that measure around a quarter of an inch and have no wings nor long legs, one would be surprised to find how fast bed bugs can actually spread between rooms.
So, for an average bed bug, it will take only a few minutes to crawl to an adjacent room, provided the crawl surface is smooth. Their travel rate in fact equals the sprint time of an average adult.
How Bed Bugs Travel from Room to Room?
Where the aforementioned statistics assume that bed bugs will be crawling on their six legs to cross the room, they fail to take into account the fact that these troublesome creatures much rather prefer taking lifts!
Why utilize their energy to crawl through the entire room when they can simply hitch a ride to travel between rooms? Letâ€™s take a look at some of their potential rides.
Movement of people
Bed bugs prefer to travel through the movement of people, by infesting and hiding in their clothes. People who have been to some place infested by these bugs might end up becoming the host, and will bring them wherever they move.
Similarly if one bedroom within your house has been compromised and the bugs feel like they need to find a better hiding place, they will simply hide within the personâ€™s clothing and travel from room to room in search of their new abode.
Movement of infested furniture
Since the bugs usually thrive in dark and abandoned places within a house, you might find a bunch of them hiding behind the furniture which has been hardly moved from its position for a while.
In case you decide to move the furniture, these pests would quickly realize the breach of their hideout spot and hide within the furniture. Wherever you put the furniture next, the bed bugs will be sure to go along!
Purses, backpacks and luggage
Bed bugs come within your home through movement of people, yet clothes are not the only hiding place they utilize. Children might bring them home via their backpacks from schools or colleges. These pests also do not miss out on any opportunity to latch onto your purse or luggage to find a new home, while you travel and stay at a hotel room.
Unlike cockroaches, bed bugs have no wings and they canâ€™t fly. Unlike most other insects, bed bugs have unusually small legs which makes crawling the best means of transport for them.
The crawling speed of these pests matches that of a sprinting adult, and should therefore not be taken lightly. All it will ever take is a few minutes for them to move from one room to another, and before you discover them, they shall have spread within your entire house.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Spreading to Other Rooms?
Provided timely action is taken, you can easily prevent these burdensome creatures from spreading to un-infested areas of your house. This however requires an early detection and quick implementation of a variety of measures discussed below, to ensure that the bugs are quarantined within a single infested site before they are exterminated.
Consider a mattress protector
A good mattress protector may not necessarily prevent bed bugs from traveling, but it will keep them from burrowing in your mattress. Bed bugs love to burrow in mattresses, where they can multiple and feed on your while you sleep (yuck!). These zip-up covers form an impenetrable barrier to keep bed bugs out. There are a number of bed bug proof mattress covers available at bedbugsupply.com.
A mattress protector will also protect against perspiration and stains, as well as prevent dust mites (particularly helpful for those with allergies).
Use a bed bug spray
A bed bug spray contains pesticides, some of which are efficient in killing these pests. However, every pesticide is effective for a certain insect species which is why you need to carefully look for the one that will efficiently get rid of bed bugs. Once located, follow the instructions given on the bed bug spray word by word, to limit the harmful impact of using insecticide based sprays within your home.
You can use the bed bug spray to get rid of other infestations as well, including spiders, roaches dust mites and other crawling insects.
Do not move things between rooms
In case you discover bed bugs hiding behind a certain furniture, the worst idea would be to move the furnitureâ€™s location in a hope that the bugs would disperse or leave your home.
What will happen instead is that the bugs will hide within the moving item, and travel from one destination to another, infesting all the places that come in between. It is therefore advised to call in some professional pest control company if things go out of hand.
Do not wear clothes that are infested
If you locate even a single bed bug within a sweater, sock, shirt or any piece of clothing for that matter, take it off and do not continue wearing it until it has been properly treated with a bed bug detergent. Wearing and moving around with infested clothes provides bed bugs with an ideal opportunity to spread quickly throughout your home, as well as to your neighborhood and anywhere else you travel.
Reduce hideouts and clean the clutter
We know now that bed bugs prefer to hide and stay in places that offer them privacy and darkness. Clutter therefore becomes an ideal place for these bugs to hide within.
In order to effectively stop them from spreading, you need to get rid of any places offering these creatures sanctuary. This includes de-cluttering your house in an attempt to prevent the bugs from hiding in it and then using it as a base to easily transfer to other areas.
Regularly wash and heat dry your fabrics
Washing all the washable items in your home, in hot water for around 30 minutes can potentially kill most bed bugs. Heat drying the fabric on a high flame can also have a similar effect on the bugs.
As soon as you identify the bug infestations, make sure to take off the mattress covers, pillowcases, clothes and other washable items to rid them of the pesky bugs. You can even isolate these items and place them in direct sunlight, however it will take around 2-3 months for the sunlight to kill these incessant pests.
How Do Bed Bugs Spread From House To House?
Bed bugs travel through houses in a similar manner as they travel between the rooms within a house. Since these bugs have extremely tiny bodies and are capable of crawling at a good speed from one place to another, they can easily slip in between the crevices to move through a wall or underneath the flooring to reach another home.
That however is not all. Bed bugs travel between houses predominantly through the movement of people and the items they wear or carry. These pests need food in the form of a few drops of human blood to survive, and reproduce.
In case your house has been compromised, and you visit your neighbors, the bugs might be hiding within your clothes and travelling along with you. As soon as they find a better place to infest, they invade it and lay their eggs which hatch later to reveal more pests.
Bed Bugs Adaptations Makes Them Hard To Kill
One would think that exposing these loathsome creatures to subzero temperatures can kill them immediately. That however does not hold true for bed bugs which can easily survive for as long as an 8-12 months without any blood or food intake.
With smaller sized nymphs being even difficult to detect, and the flatter bodies of adult bed bugs allowing them to seamlessly hide within unusual spaces, identifying them can turn into a nearly impossible task.
Since the symptoms of bed bug bites are not very different from that produced by other insects, and only a small percentage of people actually show any symptom at all, detecting the bed bugs transmission turns even more difficult.
Moreover, bed bugs can easily become resistant to pesticides, by developing thicker outer shells or developing better enzymes that can help them survive, thereby reducing the efficiency of pesticides.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a bed bug infestation to manifest?
Normally, a single bed bug nymph requires around a weekâ€™s time to develop and shed its skin. The shed skin, also called the exuviae, can be seen around the house and used as an indicator of bed bug infestation. A single female bed bug can lay up to 100 eggs in one month, and these eggs need around a month and a half to hatch and develop into adult bed bugs. This is how they multiply at a fast pace.
Can Bed Bugs Be Confined to One Room?
Yes bed bugs can be restricted to one room, however some rigorous efforts need to be made to stop their rapid spread. Since these tiny creatures crawl at an alarming speed, you need to act proactively and call professional help as soon as you identify them. In the meantime you need to eliminate all sources through which the bugs can hitch a ride to other rooms. This includes refraining from moving furniture from one room to another, or roaming around your home wearing the same clothes that you wore to an infested room. Make sure you wash and heat dry your laundry and place it in resealable bags to prevent these bugs from spreading within your house.
How fast do bed bugs crawl?
Bed bugs crawl at a surprisingly high speed of 0.045 miles per hour or 3 to 4 feet per minute, enabling them to cover a single room measuring twenty five feet in length, in around five minutes only. Their crawl speed in fact resembles the sprint time of an average adult human.
Do bed bugs infest the whole house?
Bed bugs do not infest the whole house and only choose places that suit their purpose best. They prefer to nest in areas which are dark, abandoned, offer a good hiding spot and a quick access to food. This includes clutters, crevices, behind and within the furniture, underneath carpets and flooring and so on.
Do bed bugs follow you to another room?
Yes, bed bugs can easily sense you using your body heat and carbon dioxide emissions as signals and find you to quench their thirst for your blood. So even if you decide to sleep in another room, bed bugs can crawl through and follow you into the other room. This makes the infestation even more difficult to treat since it is transferred to other rooms.
How fast do bed bugs spread in apartments?
Bed bugs can travel within apartments at a lightning speed. They can enter an apartment by hiding in the luggage, purse or clothing of a moving person, or through any furniture that is moved in. Once inside, they can enter any sort of crevices or voids, and can even invade the walls through light switches. Through the walls, bed bugs travel along the electrical wires to other rooms and apartments, infesting them along their way.
Can you get bed bugs by being around someone who has them?
Bed bugs are not really contagious and your chances of acquiring them simply by being present around someone who has them, is minimal. In fact, the chances of getting these bugs even by hugging an infected person or shaking hands with them is unusually low and not something to be afraid of. Bed bugs spread more rapidly from the movement of items and people, rather than moving from person to person.