16 Surprising Ways Bed Bugs Travel from 16 Surprising Ways Bed Bugs Travel

16 Surprising Ways Bed Bugs Travel


16 Surprising Ways Bed Bugs Travel


The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) issues a warning to millions of Americans who plan to travel – beware of the bed bug. The NPMA has seen a 71 percent increase in infestations since 2001, mainly due to international travel, according to Pest World. These hitchhiking pests can easily travel home with people, but not on them. The tiny insects cannot jump but are very effective crawlers and climbers.

Inside of walls


The insides of walls can harbor bed bugs, according to New York State Integrated Pest Management. They can move along and through wall voids, plumbing and electrical chaseways, etc. Although not every apartment has to be treated, those adjacent to the infested ones should be, Orkin, a pest control company, says. Contact the property managers and request an inspection.

Under wallpaper


Bed bugs can’t fly but they can crawl long distances and under the cover of wallpaper undetected. You should repair any cracks in a wall before covering it with wallpaper, especially in the bedroom. Remove any loose wallpaper and tighten light switch covers. Pay attention to spaces behind electrical switch plates because this is a favorite sneaking spot as well.

Via snail mail


People shop online all the time, but who knows where certain items — especially clothes — come from? Open packages outside, especially if they come in cardboard boxes. Doing so in daylight can save you the inconvenience of a bed bug infestation.

Clothes and shoes


Bed bugs like to stay close to their meal source, which is the blood of people and animals. They wouldn’t be caught dead in hair as it’s too hot, but they settle in folded clothes, shoes and anything that can be removed from the body. Don’t put your clothes on soft surfaces until you’ve inspected them for stowaway bed bugs.

In briefcases and suitcases

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Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Briefcases are ideal for them because they have many small nooks and crannies that people may not be paying attention to. Don’t make the common mistake of putting a briefcase on the bed, couch or sofa, as an intrusive bed bug may see it as an open invitation. Wrap your luggage and garment bags in plastic or garbage bags. Keep them away from the bed and dressers. Look around the zipper areas for eggs, live insects or black spots.

Hiding in cardboard boxes


Since bed bugs need humans to survive, the insects follow them everywhere in pretty much the same ways people travel. Cardboard boxes are something of a Trojan Horse for the insects, as they are a great place for them to hide. To counter these advances, isolate the boxes in the best way you can. Use duct tape around all edges, for example.

Certain furniture


Bed bugs can hide practically unnoticed in narrow cracks and seams which you may find in different kinds of furniture. If you feel this is the case, wrap the furniture with possible bed bug entrances in plastic. The nasty insects tuck into the corners and undersides. A good tip to remember: If a credit card can fit into a crack in your furniture, a bed bug likely can as well. They can also live in leather, suede, and vinyl.

In backpacks

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As with a briefcase, backpacks have many small spots bed bugs can hide. Try to remember not to leave the bags on the bed, sofa or couch or leaning against a wall. Even better, seal your backpack in plastic to stop them from hopping on. Always store the bags in high places such as on luggage racks, on top of a TV or nightstands.

On buses and trains

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Remember in 2014 when New York City’s subway system faced an unprecedented bed bug problem? Some trains were even taken out of service. The insects can hide in the seat cushions or cracks in buses or train cars. Don’t put your clothes on the back of the seats and keep bags on your lap if possible.

Check the pillow


The tiny insects, which are just about 4 millimeters in length, can stay almost invisible to the naked eye in a pillowcase. They are an easy infestation hot spot because they can host a lot of eggs undetected. If that’s the case, your pillow will probably smell of mold. You want to consider buying a bed bug blocker pillow protector. They are usually zippered and have a bite barrier.

The laundry


The No. 1 advice to travelers who suspect that they may have brought bed bugs home is to wash and dry all clothes — even ones you haven’t worn — at high temperatures. The extreme heat will kill them. The same cannot be said for a cold water wash, where bugs or their eggs can survive. Also, dirty belongings sitting too close to other unwashed garments are a recipe for invasion.

Yard sales


If you think of attending your neighbor’s garage sale this weekend, think again. You may find cheap items which can end up costing you a fortune if you fight bed bugs as a result. The parasites can hide in tables, chairs, electronics, nightstand lamps, picture frames. Don’t pick up things people left outside their houses, as there may be a good reason why they got rid of them in the first place.



Bed bugs are great hitchhikers. They will even catch a ride hiding in souvenirs, according to New York State Integrated Pest Management, if they were not able to make it to your clothes or suitcase. The insects transfer on personal objects via close proximity and are able to live in almost any crack or protected location.

On planes

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Whether you travel in economy or first class, the parasites don’t discriminate. The horrid pests love all seats and will hide there until they get a chance to get on your clothes or handbag, and bite you in your sleep. In one famous example, British Airways fumigated a plane and grounded two more after a reported infestation. United Airlines has had a similar problem.

Pipes and wires


Bed bugs travel easily along pipes, according to New York State Integrated Pest Management. The insects can crawl from apartment to apartment along electrical wiring and other openings. You may notice a kind of sweet smell in the room if the infestation is heavy. Tighten loose light switches and seal openings where pipes and wires come into your home.

Even in your laptop

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Have you ever found bed bugs in your laptop? Anything with small nooks and crannies can harbor a bed bug, including keyboards, computers and CD cases. You can put these devices in a zip lock bag with no-pest strips for up to two weeks until the insects suffocate. You can also try over-the-counter sprays.