How Fast Can Bed Bugs Spread, Healthfully

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How Fast Can Bed Bugs Spread?

Silent Pests

Bed bugs have been in the news in recent years. After decades in which they seemed to have been almost eradicated, these pests are making a comeback. This is bad news for humans. According to the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, bed bugs require a “blood meal” to survive, and they prefer the taste of human blood to that of other warm-blooded animals. These miniature vampires typically strike at night while people are sleeping, making a painless bite and sucking several drops of blood. Not known to carry infectious diseases, bed bugs nonetheless can cause allergic reactions to their saliva, and their bites leave itchy blotches similar to mosquito or flea bites. Hiding in inaccessible places, spreading out to all areas of a building and able to go months without feeding if necessary, they are difficult to find and control.

Once an infestation is underway, the property owner faces a tough eradication process that will require the services of a professional exterminator. This must be done sooner rather than later because they are hardy and they spread very quickly.


In the outdoors, bed bugs infest nests of birds, bats and other animals. These flightless insects, which measure 1/4 inch at maturity, enter a house, motel or apartment building by hiding in luggage, clothing or fabric. Once in place, the bugs set about reproducing, which they can do with impressive speed. Female bed bugs lay between one and five tiny eggs per day. Hatchlings are no bigger than a poppy seed. Once hatched, according to the School of Public Health at Harvard University, a baby bed bug or “nymph” requires only a single blood feast to molt and move into its next stage of development, which occurs five times before adulthood.

The nymphs reach maturity in a month or more, depending on conditions such as temperature (bed bugs like it warm) and the availability of blood. Assuming an average daily production of three viable eggs, simple math would indicate that at the end of one week, a single female would lay more than twenty eggs. Some weeks later, given a steady blood supply, these 20 bedbugs are adults. If half of them are females and each one lays twenty eggs in a week, this means a second generation of nymphs numbering approximately 200, all of which come from just one female bed bug. The production of three generations of bed bugs in a year is not uncommon.

Locational Spread

Bed bugs can spread from one room or apartment to another through door frames, windows, or holes or cracks in the walls, ceilings and floors. They can contaminate wood furniture by laying eggs in cracks and recesses, and when that furniture is moved, these eggs (which can stay viable for years) may hatch in a new location. Weeks or months without blood do not harm these tough insects. As a result, if bed bugs are found, one should consult an exterminator immediately.

Bed bugs have been in the news in recent years. After decades in which they seemed to have been almost eradicated, these pests are making a comeback. Not known to carry infectious diseases, bed bugs nonetheless can cause allergic reactions to their saliva, and their bites leave itchy blotches similar to mosquito or flea bites. These flightless insects, which measure 1/4 inch at maturity, enter a house, motel or apartment building by hiding in luggage, clothing or fabric. Some weeks later, given a steady blood supply, these 20 bedbugs are adults.

How Quickly Do Bed Bugs Spread?

Posted by Paul J. Bello — Certified Entomologist on August 03, 2016

With bed bugs becoming a major pest problem in homes, hotels and businesses across the country, many people are curious about how quickly bed bugs spread. Bed bugs do not fly since they do not have wings. They are able to crawl and rapidly move short distances within an infected area, and slowly spread to other rooms in the home or business.

Another way bed bugs move around is by finding their way into purses, backpacks, suitcases, briefcases, clothing, and jackets. Bed bugs rely upon humans to help transport them to new areas and locations where they are free to set up and establish new infestations. In fact, these traveling methods are the number one way people introduce bed bugs into their homes.

Once brought into the home, bed bug infestations take time to grow before they become a major headache. If you were to bring home one single female who has already mated, the new visitor will start to populate the home with new bed bugs. She will lay about 100 eggs over the course of the first month. Since her laying is spread out, by the end of the month there will be roughly 50 or 60 nymphs (developing infant bed bugs) and 30-40 eggs waiting to be hatched.

By the end of the second month, the adult population will have grown to around 10 breeding adults with about 200 developing bed bugs in various stages, and numerous eggs. At this point, you should start to notice small reddish-brown color dots on your bedding and mattress, and you may start to see small dark specks of dirt, as well as other minute particles. Catching and controlling bed bugs at this stage is beneficial, as things start to get out of hand by the end of the third month.

The bed bug population explodes during the third month of infestation. By now the colony has grown to over 100 breeding adults, 1,000s of developing nymphs, and 400-500 eggs. In addition, some of the adult bed bugs will start to migrate to other rooms within the home, since they can survive for approximately 6 to 12 months without a meal. If left to continue to grow and expand, the bed bug colony starts to turn into a major infestation.

Within six months of introducing the original pregnant female bed bug into the home, you could be facing infestations in every room of the home. Populations by this point will have soared to well over 8,000 breeding adults, 100,000s of developing nymphs, and 50,000-60,000 eggs waiting to hatch. Knowing how bed bugs spread and populate new areas, you can clearly see why prevention and early detection are vital to keep your home or business bed bug free.

See also:  Cockroach Infestation and Factors Affecting the Estimation of Cockroach Population in Urban Communities

You can protect your bedding, mattresses, and box springs, as well as other furniture in the home, with special bed bug encasements. These protective barriers stop bed bugs from getting into your pillows, mattresses, box springs, and furniture should you accidentally introduce a bed bug into the home. For more information about the bed bug certified encasements and other waterproof and hypoallergenic mattress and bedding products, contact Mattress Safe® now at 770-205-5335.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small biting insects that can multiply quickly and travel easily.

It is possible for anyone to have an infestation of bed bugs, regardless of income or housing. Bed bugs and bed bug infestations are not considered a health hazard. However, secondary health concerns include skin infections and allergic reactions from insect bites, as well as the stress and anxiety of dealing with extreme infestations.

Preventing bed bugs from entering your home is the most important step in preventing an infestation.

Bed bug bites

Bed bugs can be found in hotels, motels, dormitories, apartments, condos, private homes, and even in some public places, such as businesses and offices. Anyone can get bed bugs.

Bed bugs are small biting insects that multiply quickly and travel easily. Early identification can prevent problems before they start. Learn about how to identify bed bugs, where they live, and how to identify bed bug bites:

Think you found a bed bug? Our staff can help you identify possible bed bugs.

Whether you are a homeowner, tenant or landlord, each person has a role in the treatment process for bed bugs.

Whichever treatment is used, it will only be effective if physical control methods and preventative measures are used together.

Learn About Bed Bug Infestations So You Will Be Better Equipped to Fight Yours!

A bed bug infestation is a big deal. It can disrupt your sleep/life, and you may have no idea what is happening to you or how to stop it. Bed bugs are different from most other household insect pests and are much more difficult to live with and to get rid of.

Bed bugs are keen to find a way into your house, and you have to be aware of their “migration tactics” in order to thwart them. You need to know how they move from house to house and room to room, how fast they can spread, where they are likely to hide, and what options you have for killing them.

Make no mistake. A bed bug infested home means your home has just become a war zone. You can’t let the enemy sneak by unnoticed under your radar, and knowing the facts about bed bugs is winning half the battle.

Table of Contents

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs are quite willing to enter your premises uninvited, take up permanent residence, and help themselves to a blood feast. But where do they come from to begin with?

The fact is, bed bugs live primarily in human habitations all over the world, be it in mattresses, box springs, carpeting, picture frames, cracks in floor, furniture, or a host of other locales.

Of course, bed bugs ultimately hail from the great outdoors, and you may find some still living there in tall grasses, but they are overwhelmingly an “indoor insect.”

Transferred from Person to Person

Unlike fleas and lice, bed bugs do not tend to live permanently on human beings or animals. Instead, they will generally hide is some hard to reach nook or cranny and come out at night to feed. That’s why they like to live in or near beds and other places people sleep or sit for long periods.

But, it is still possible for bed bugs to be transferred from person to person.

Here’s why:

  • They can get into your clothes, purse, laptop bag, jacket, or anything else you wear or carry about.
  • From there, they can get onto clothes of others you are in close contact with.

Their eggs can also be found on clothes sometimes, and if egg-infested clothes of yours touched someone else’s clothes, even the eggs could get transferred.

So, while it’s not very likely, it is possible for bed bugs to move from person to person.

Spread From House to House

Bed bugs, as clever as they are, do not generally walk long distances between buildings. They have other ways of getting into your house.

These stealthy home-invasion strategies include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Hitch a ride on your laundry, luggage, or other possessions that you bring back from a bed-bug-infested hotel room.
  • Your pet might pick up a bed bug while visiting another house (or even outdoors) and then bring it back to your place.
  • Bed bugs may be hiding in furniture in one house, but the owner may sell it at a garage sale or put it on the curb to dispose of it. Then, you take that old bed-bug-ridden piece of furniture into your house, thinking it’s a great find.
  • You sleep over at a friend’s house where bed bugs live. Bed bugs get into your stuff or on your person, and you unknowingly transport them home with you.
  • If you live in a multi-unit home or apartment complex, these bugs can crawl down the hall, through vents, and through cracks in the walls to get into your living quarters.

Spread from Room to Room

You may, perhaps, imagine that bed bugs can’t get around too fast. It’s true they have small legs and can’t hop or skip, but they can walk up to 100 feet in a single night. They just “keep going till they get there.”

Bed Bug Hiding Spots

And bed bugs are known to move through the inside of walls, which they will access via outlets if not through cracks. They can run inside of in-wall piping for a quicker move from room to room. It really doesn’t take more than a single night for them to migrate to a new room. And they can even get into your vacuum cleaner so that you are helping them spread quicker as you clean the carpet.

It could be a matter of days before your entire house is infested, given you have enough of a bed bug population and your bed bugs are motivated to look for food/water/blood somewhere other than where they are at the moment.

Infestation Map

I found a bed bug, you say, so where should I look for more? Can I map out the infestation so I can map out an eradication plan?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to be sure of all the nooks and crannies your unwelcome guests may be hiding in, and they may even move around from night to night. All you can do is know the likely spots and apply bed bug killer.

I Have One Bed Bug. Does It Mean an Infestation?

A single bed bug may or may not indicate you already have a true infestation.

But if you do find a bed bug, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • A single impregnated female can produce a whole population. She will lay the eggs and then breed with her own offspring.
  • The odds are in favor of your not having found the only bed bug in your house. Where there’s one, there are probably more.
  • Bed bugs can go 6 months or more without a blood meal, and many individual bugs may not feed more than once a week on average. Thus, you won’t see them all out searching for food at the same time.
  • Is the bed bug red-bodied? Then it was feeding. If they’re feeding, chances are they’re breeding.
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My Bed

Once in your bedroom, bed bugs will have no trouble finding your bed. They are attracted to carbon dioxide such as warm-blooded animals exhale and to your body heat. As soon as they sense CO2 and heat at night, they will go to your bed because you, their target, are lying on it.

Bed bugs can get into your bedroom on your dirty clothes, on the clothes you are wearing, or by hiding in suitcases, hand bags, boxes, furniture, or anything else you bring into your room that offers them good cover.


Do bed bugs live in walls? The answer is: sometimes. Walls are not necessarily their number one or preferred hideout, as with cockroaches, but when no better shelter exists near their feeding zone, they’ll be quick to reside inside wall cavities.

Of course, there has to be an entry point for them to get into the wall. So if your walls have cracks or small holes in them, caulking it up, painting over it, or otherwise sealing it off may deny your bed bugs a hideout.

Wood Floors

Yes, bed bugs can live inside wood flooring. They can even crawl along inside the seams between wood planks, even when those seams are rather tight.

The pancake-flat bodies and small size of bed bugs allow the to get into and live in even the most inaccessible areas. There are few wood floors, if any, that are so tightly put together that bed bugs couldn’t get into them.

Infestation Timeline

You may be wondering what to do if you have bed bugs, and how long you have before they overrun you. You may be waking up at night, staring at the clock, and wondering, “How long do I have?”

How Long Does It Take for Bed Bugs to Infest?

Here are four facts you should know that will give you an idea as to how long it takes for a bed bug infestation to get started and to get into “full swing:”

  1. Female bed bugs can lay from one to five eggs per day and ultimately 200 or 250 eggs in a lifetime.
  2. Eggs will hatch in five to 10 days’ time, and the emergent nymphs will immediately begin looking for a blood meal.
  3. It takes around four or five weeks for a bed bug to reach maturity, going through five molts along the way.
  4. Bed bugs will live around four to 10 months, but life spans may vary quite a bit based on conditions (and on your extermination efforts!)

The Life Cycle of a Bed Bug

Conclusion: an infestation can get rolling in less than a week, become unbearable in one to two months, and reach peak population levels in six months to a year, given the right conditions and plenty of blood.

What You Should Know

You may be wondering, “Do bed bugs go away if I just leave them alone a while?” Wishful thinking may have its merits, perhaps, but no, they normally won’t just go away on their own.

My Apartment Is Infested With Bed Bugs. Now What?

If your apartment definitely has a bed bug infestation, what can you do about it? You’ll need to learn how to kill bed bugs and how to keep them from coming back.

Here are Five Key Steps you can take to eradicate your blossoming bed bug population:

  1. Clear away all the clutter from your bedroom or other infested area. In fact, clean and organize your whole house like you were getting ready for white glove at college.
  2. Wash and dry all your clothes and linens that could possibly have gotten exposed to bed bugs or their eggs. Use the high-heat setting.
  3. Spray bed bug killer along the baseboards, into cracks and crevices, onto mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, and anywhere else it’s safe to spray it. Also apply diatomaceous earth under and around your bed, set up CO2 bed bug traps, and use rubbing alcohol to protect your exposed skin at night.
  4. Use a one-two punch bed bug fogger bomb approach. The first bombs will kill off adults mostly. Wait two weeks so the surviving eggs can hatch, and then bomb to wipe out the hatchlings before they mature and repopulate.
  5. You can repeat the four steps above several times, but if the problem persists, call in a professional who can safely heat your home to 118 degrees Fahrenheit to kill every bed bug.

Three Steps to be Bed-Bug-Free

Can They Come Back After Treatment?

Bed bugs can return the same way they got into your home to begin with, even after you totally eradicate them.

Thus, you need to think about how they may have gotten in. Stop bringing in garage sale or curbside furniture, routinely sprinkle diatomaceous earth along your door’s bottom if you live in an apartment complex, or change whatever else it takes to keep them out!

Learn how bed bugs spread into and throughout houses and how their population explodes. Take measures accordingly without delay to kill them and prevent a return. Knowing the facts about your bed bug infestation will help you end it!

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

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Do you have bed bugs?

What are bed bugs?

Bed Bugs are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. Although found on animals, they do seem to have a preference for humans. They can travel up to 100 feet per day, but prefer to be around areas where people sleep, as they do most of their feeding during the night. They hide during the day, and they are commonly found behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices, folded area of beds, bedding, clothing, furniture and especially on and around mattresses and box springs. They are masters at hiding, and many people never see them.

Bed bugs can lay up to 5 eggs per day and more than 500 in their lifetime, allowing them to multiply at a rapid rate.

How do I know if I have bed bugs? What are the symptoms of bed bug bites?

A qualified pest control professional, with extensive experience in treating bed bug infestations, can easily tell if your home has bed bugs, even if you have never seen one, or have no symptoms.

While some people are unaware that they have bed bugs, or may attribute bites to other insects. Many notice tell-tale signs, which can include bites that may resemble mosquito bites, with a small bite area, and/or a swollen and red area surrounding the bite. Before biting, bed bugs inject a type of anesthetic into the skin, so many people feel nothing, but may notice a bite 1-3 days later. Symptoms may vary widely, and while bed bug bites are generally harmless, some people may have a severe allergic reaction, particularly children and the elderly. There can be psychological side effects as well, including anxiety and insomnia. Bed bugs multiply rapidly, so it is important to call a professional quickly after noticing what appears to be a bed bug bite.

How did I get bed bugs?

Although clutter provides bed bugs with places to hide, cleanliness has no impact on the likelihood of suffering from a bed bug infestation. You can get bed bugs even if your home is extremely clean, and cleaning in itself, will not rid your home of bed bugs.

Bed bugs travel to find a human feeding source. Bed Bugs can spread quickly in apartment complexes, condominiums, hotels and other buildings where there are multiple units. They can be brought into your home in used furniture or bedding and from visiting an infested area. If you have visited a hotel where there are bed bugs, they can hide in your luggage, and you can bring them into your home without knowing.

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Visiting family or friends may unknowingly bring bed bugs into your home. Bed bugs can even travel from luggage to luggage in holding areas of airplanes!

Because travel and visitors traveling to your home are a common source of bed bugs, you should be very diligent and have your home inspected to ensure bed bugs are not present. To avoid bringing these hitch hikers home from hotels, you should always keep your luggage as far away from the bed as possible and off the floor (use luggage rack). The first thing many expert travelers do upon checking into a hotel, is to inspect the mattress cracks and crevices, for signs of bed bugs.

Do not think you are safe just because you have not traveled recently. Remember that if you live in an apartment complex, condo or attached home, your neighbor may be the source of the bed bugs coming into your home.

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

Trying to deal with bed bugs yourself can be very daunting and ineffective. Bed bug infestations are insidious and difficult to eradicate without professional help. Bed bugs cannot be killed by typical sprays or bombs found in grocery stores, and ant/roach killer is completely ineffective in killing bed bugs. According to a major, national pest control company, some genetic strains of bed bugs have become resistant to certain insecticides. Some methods of treating bed bugs can take weeks, and the psychological strain of dealing with bed bug bites on yourself and your loved ones can take a toll on your emotional well being and the well being of your family.

Many people think they can save money by trying to deal with bed bugs themselves. This often entails using methods which have proven to be ineffective. It can also be costly, as some methods require throwing out your mattress and box spring, and other infested furniture. It can also be extremely inconvenient, requiring airtight bagging of clothing, and other personal items for 18 months or more.

Eliminating bed bugs requires a systematic approach utilizing methods targeted specifically to bed bugs. In addition to killing active bed bugs, you have to deal with the many eggs that will inevitably hatch, and any method that does not deal with the eggs will not be effective.

Your local bed bug expert

We are bed bug experts, and have been voted the best pest control company in Las Cruces 5 consetive years in a row!

We have the most advanced and effective method of eliminating bed bugs through thermal remediation. Our method kills bed bugs in ALL stages, including eggs, in just hours whereas chemical treatments can take several weeks. We can also reach areas that traditional chemicals can not!

  • You can keep mattresses and furniture after treatment if desired. No need to spend a lot of money replacing furniture.
  • Only 1 treatment is needed in most cases vs multiple chemical treatments.
  • Peace of mind from knowing that in just hours, the problem is solved.
  • Optional K9 dog inspection available to ensure all bugs are dead after treatment.
  • Treatment is discrete – Our vehicles do not mention bed bugs.

For Questions regarding bed bugs, treatments or any other pests, call your local bed bug expert, Jeff Murray at 575-636-3149

Voted #1 pest company LC Sun-News 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016

Voted Best Pest Control in Las Cruces


Bug Guy Pest Control serves your pest control needs in Las Cruces, and surrounding Southern New Mexico communities, including Santa Teresa, Sunland Park, Anthony, La Mesa, Chamberino, Berino, Vado, Mesquite, Mesilla, Radium Springs, and Dona Ana


Empowering Businesses and Protecting Consumers

Bed Bug Information

The City of Chicago is committed to providing residents with the best information to protect themselves from bed bugs. Most experts agree that public education and awareness provides the best defense against bed bugs. The need for good education is reflected in the City’s Bed Bug Ordinance. Go here to find out more information a about the ordinance.

The following fact sheets have been provided by Midwest Pesticide Action Center (MPAC), the City’s delegate agency for bed bug control. MPAC is a not for profit organization devoted to reducing the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides by advocating for the use of Integrated Pest Management, or IPM – a proven, effective and economical method of pest control that aims to eliminate the root causes of the pest problem. Go here for a list of MPAC’s free training opportunities both live and online or contact us at at [email protected] or (312) 878-7378 for a customized workshop.*

Bed bugs can live almost anywhere, from apartment buildings to four star hotel rooms. A combination of the bed bug’s evolution, resistance to pesticides, global warming, and a lack of public awareness has hastened their spread. Bed Bugs are unlike other pests and are difficult to control without a full understanding of how to identify, prevent, and treat for them. Please review the information provided carefully.
Q: What are bed bugs?

A: Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are parasites that feed on human blood. Adult bed bugs are about the size, shape and color of an apple seed. They live wherever humans sleep, feed mostly at night, and can reproduce rapidly.

Q. Do bed bugs spread disease?

A. No research has linked Bed bugs to the spread of disease. Most health problems associated with bed bugs involve itching and infection from their bites and loss of sleep.

Bed BugFact Sheets

These fact sheets provides background information, facts, and control strategies, available in English and Spanish.

The Landlords Checklist gives landlords and building managers basic information about responding to the growing bed bug problem, available in English and Spanish.

The Tenant Checklist gives tenants a checklist for things they can do if they suspect a bed bug problem available in English, Spanish, Chinese

The Bed Bug Ordinance fact sheets provide some basic information to residents about the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords according to Chicago’s bed bug ordinance. For official City of Chicago information and resources on the ordinance, go here.

If you make a purchase of a mattress or other furniture in the City of Chicago and suspect bed bugs, you can file a consumer fraud complaint here. There’s more information on about purchasing a mattress on the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection website.

Filing a Complaint

You can report instances of bed bug infestation in an apartment building or commercial building by calling 311 or by filing an online complaint with the Department of Buildings.

Upcoming Bed Bug Training and Events

Need more help with your bed bug issues? Looking for training on bed bug management and prevention? Midwest Pesticide Action Center, Chicago’s delegate agency on pest control, can help!*

Go here for a list of free training opportunities both live and online.

Email us at [email protected] or call us at (312) 878-7378 for a customized workshop or more information.

*Brought to you with generous support from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

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