Flat and reddish brown, hiding in crevices and coming out to suck you blood whenever you sit or lie down to rest. Bed bugs are back with a bang, just when we thought they had vanished for good. Their comeback in the past few years has rekindled interest for information concerning their behavior, feeding habits, spread, control methods, and more. Because of the many years the parasites have been rare to come by, not many people know much about them. Some people have not even set their eyes on these creatures until recently. One of the most puzzling things about bed bugs is their ability to invade a whole neighborhood quickly or spread from building to building within a short time. But how do these parasites accomplish this, and what’s their speed like? That brings us to the question:
Do Bed Bugs Move Fast? Do they Jump?
The simple and most straightforward answer to this question is, no they don’t. However, it depends of what you consider fast. That’s because a bed bug averages about 3 to 4 feet every minute which is the same speed ants attain during their normal movements. Although not fast when looking at it from a human viewpoint, the speed cannot be said to be slow when compared to other insects.
Bed bugs cannot jump because their feet are not developed for the spring action. They also don’t fly as most insects do. Instead, they crawl from one place to another utilizing the tiny hooks on their feet to cling onto the tiny pores on surfaces. For that reason, the movement of bed bugs is only effective and fast enough if a surface is fairly rough. If they encounter slick surfaces, their movement is greatly hampered. Bed bugs will, therefore, slide when climbing up glass or any other extremely smooth surface.
The insects are poor at moving across overly uneven or shaggy surfaces such as rugs. That’s because their feet are tiny, weak and cannot provide enough force to push their body up as it moves along. Despite the slow movement, bed bugs are hard to capture. They can turn pretty quickly when fleeing and crawl at consistent speeds enabling them to reach a hiding place quickly. Besides that, they have a low lying body, and can get into crevices other insects couldn’t.
How Do Bed Bugs Move From One Building to Another?
Considering their relatively slow movement, it would take bed bugs a long time to invade a whole neighborhood. It might even be impossible for them to get from one commercial place to another such as hotels, movie theaters, office buildings, schools, and more by themselves. But we keep hearing of new infestations in places that are far apart sometimes even hundreds of miles from each other. So how are the bugs able to do that? They hitchhike. Bed bugs are excellent climbers, plus they know how to spot a host. They climb onto luggage, furniture and other household items on transit with ease. They get onto clothes and personal items such as toys, laptops and others. The insects then get transported to their new homes where they multiply and repeat the cycle to find new hosts.
Because they’re flat and small-sized, bed bugs are less conspicuous and will get onto your luggage easily without attracting your attention. When you settle down after reaching your destination, they don’t come out right away. In fact, the parasites don’t approach a new host directly. They linger a few feet away, waiting for the opportune time. The time to come out is often when you’re resting or asleep and less likely to spot or detect insect movement. Bed bugs mostly strike at night when the lights are out and humans are inactive and unlikely to notice moving creatures. And when they bite, they do so softly and quickly crawl away just in time to avoid capture.
Do Bed Bugs Infest Filthy Places?
Contrary to what many people think, bed bugs do not have an attraction to unsanitary conditions. That’s why the bugs will invade high end homes and establishments the same way they infest less up-kept and dirtier neighborhoods and businesses. The parasites are known to be non-discriminating and will make your home their dwelling place regardless of how dirt-free it is. Since their main meal is blood, you cannot prevent or exterminate them by keeping your home or commercial premises clean.
Bed bugs are indoor creatures which means they will always live where humans are, both in homes and work places. However, you the most common place to find them is where humans sleep followed by where they sit to rest. It’s the reason infestations happen mainly in beds and couches. The bugs make crevices on walls and in floors their hiding places while they await the best time to come out and feed.
Dealing With Bed Bugs
With the increase in cases of bed bugs invading homes and businesses, you may be wondering how to deal with the menace should they come to attack you. There are different measures to control bed bugs, some of which can be DIY and others that require the help of pest extermination experts. Or maybe you the bugs have already attacked, and you’re looking for a way to eliminate them. Whatever the a situation, there are two angles to take when trying to fix the issue of bed bugs; prevention and extermination.
How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestation
As we have seen, bed bugs get to your home or business when they climb onto the items or clothing you carry into these places. Knowing this can help you to prevent them reaching your home or business in the first place. To prevent an invasion consider the following measures:
- Be cautious when using public facilities, especially hotel rooms. Check the bed and the items in the room for signs of bed bugs. The parasites like to hide in the mattress seams, the head board and frame of the bed, and any other crevice. Check the other furniture in the room, too. Cracks on walls can be hiding spaces for the bugs. You don’t need to find the physical insects to know there are bed bugs. Fecal matter can be an indicator as well.
- Should you feel the bugs are likely to be present, don’t hesitate to politely decline spending the night there. In public transport, you can avoid exposing your luggage too much by keeping it closed. As soon as you’re back from your traveling, you may want to ensure any bugs you picked when on the go don’t invade your home. You can do that by vacuuming the items you brought home to suck up the insects. Take out your clothes and run them in the clothes drier for long enough and at a temperature that will kill any bugs.
- Reducing the amount of clutter and resulting hiding spaces in your home or any other place helps. The same case with eliminating crevices where you sleep.
- To help eliminate bugs and or even them from multiplying, make vacuuming a regular activity in your home. Vacuum every surface, from the floors, couches to the mattress. You will pick up the insects early enough and prevent them from multiplying.
What if the Bugs Are Already Present?
Bed bugs are known for being resistant to most of the insecticides that work for other bugs. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find a solution. There are methods that have proven to be effective against the parasites such as heat treatment and fumigation. Usually, you will need to employ the services of a professional who deals with insect extermination. They know better how to deal with the problem and local laws may require that a licensed expert carry out any spraying or other pest elimination method for safety reasons. We have an article here that goes over how to vet a pest control company before hiring them.
Should you choose a DIY approach, be sure to use the correct insecticide application techniques. Bed bugs usually group together and once you find them, can be easy to deal with. Often, they don’t spread or hide far from where they get their meal. They will usually hide a few feet away. On the bed, they will be on the frame, mattress and the nearby crevices. Ensure you concentrate your insecticide on those places. The same case with couches. Look out for crevices on walls and floors and spray them, too.
Bed bugs are tiny creatures but can make a place inhabitable. They bite and cause a lot of itchiness and discomfort. However, they don’t transmit any diseases and you shouldn’t be alarmed if they invade. With the a few simple measures, you can avoid them infesting your home or business. And if they happen to find a way into your place, you can always seek help to have them banished for good.
Eliminating bed bugs can take time, but working solutions do exist. Our favorite pest control treatments and recommended gear can be found here. They don’t reproduce quickly and the problem is unlikely to escalate to an unmanageable level. But that depends on how soon you take action and also depends on the method you employ to deal with the bugs. Fumigation can be an effective way, although it depends on your specific situation and the professional you hire for the job.