Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having a bed bug infestation in their home will tell you how unpleasant it can be. Bed bugs can leave you with nasty, itchy bites that can linger for weeks, and ridding yourself of an infestation can take much longer than that.
But how do you get bed bugs? Some people will tell you that an infestation is the result of a dirty living area, but that’s not always true. While a messy, cluttered room provides ample hiding places for bed bugs, you can find yourself with an infestation problem even when your home is kept perfectly clean. This is because bed bugs tend to find their way into your living space by hitching a ride on you or your possessions when you travel outside your home.
Here are some of the most common places that bed bugs are liable to come from:
- Public Transportation
- Hotels, Motels, Hostels, and Hospitals
- On the Job or at School
- Luggage, Backpacks, and Briefcases
Any place in which there is a high volume of people coming and going is ideal for bed bugs looking to hitch a ride. This includes all forms of public transportation. Be it a train, plane, bus, or subway, your daily commute is one of the most likely places for you to acquire a bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, many people can’t avoid public transportation, so the only option is to minimize contact between you, your possessions, and the other people you are riding with.
If it’s any consolation, bed bugs can’t jump, so direct contact is necessary for them to travel with you.
Hotels, Motels, Hostels, and Hospitals
In other words: anywhere where the public stays overnight. They’re called bed bugs because they like to make their nests near your sleeping quarters so that they can feed on your blood once you’ve fallen asleep. Bed bugs prefer the dark, and they can sense that you’re sleeping by smelling the carbon dioxide you’re breathing out. This makes high traffic areas with sleeping arrangements, such as hotels, motels, hostels, and hospitals, the perfect recipe for an infestation.
Many places that offer overnight accommodations are acutely aware of the high potential for bed bug infestations in their buildings, but that doesn’t mean they can prevent them 100% of the time. Always be sure to keep an eye out for signs of bed bugs when staying overnight in a hotel, and wash everything in your luggage as soon as you get home.
On the Job or at School
Again, you’re going to find bed bugs in any area with a high number of people on the move. In places like office buildings and schools, people are not only coming and going frequently, they’re storing their possessions in closets, and on shelves, tables, and even floors. If it’s not you that comes into contact with someone who is carrying bed bugs, it may be your coat hanging on the coat rack that comes into contact with another garment that’s housing them.
Luggage, Backpacks, and Briefcases
Whether you’re traveling on vacation, on business, or on your daily commute to work, there are times when you’re absolutely going to need to have some form of suitcase or bag with you. Unfortunately, personal bags are one of the most ideal means of transportation for hitchhiking bed bugs. Your best bet is to keep your luggage, backpack, or briefcase off of floors and away from cluttered areas, and to check through them for signs of bed bugs before you set them down in your home.
Other Useful Tips for Preventing a Bed Bug Infestation
How do you get bed bugs? By not following these tips:
Keep Clutter to a Minimum
Your house doesn’t need to be messy for bed bugs to make their nest there, but if you can reduce clutter, you can reduce the chance of an infestation. Keep the area around and beneath your bed as tidy as possible, and clean and vacuum frequently.
Use a Mattress Cover
Mattresses and box springs are two of the most common places for bed bugs to make their nests. Buying an encasement for them can help prevent infestations. Not all encasements are going to be effective, however, so if you do purchase one be sure that it is specifically designed to stop bed bugs from nesting. And if the cover should ever become torn, it is no longer bed bug resistant and is going to need to be replaced.
Always Check Second Hand Furniture
Thrift stores can offer great bargains for furnishing your home, but there’s no telling who the previous owner was, or where the furniture used to reside. Be sure to check all mattresses, bed frames, box springs, couches, and any other pieces of second furniture for signs of bed bug infestation before you purchase it and bring it into your home.
Other Helpful Bed Bug Resources
- How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in a Plastic Bag?
- Do Bed Bugs Go Dormant in Winter?
- Bed Bugs vs. Ticks: The Differences Between Ticks & Bed Bugs
- 4 Early Signs of Bed Bugs on Mattresses
- Do Bed Bugs Hide in Metal Bed Frames?
- How to Find Bed Bugs During the Day
- Bed Bug Prevention Tips: How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Property
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.