If you’re someone who has dealt with bed bugs before (or heard horror stories from others), then keeping these critters out of your home is likely very important to you. You probably follow a lot of the recommended steps to keep things clean and stop these critters from causing you headaches.
But can someone who has bed bugs bring them to your house?
This is a common concern among people who are conscious of keeping these pests out. What good is all the hard work you do if your friends or family can transport these bugs into your home?
Fortunately, this guide covers everything you need to know.
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Can Someone Who Has Bed Bugs Bring Them To Your House?
It used to be that having guests over was a pretty worry-free affair. Maybe you’d stress a little over the food or the sleeping arrangements, but that was about it. These days, however, the thought of guests bringing in bed bugs has become an added stressor for many hosts and hostesses.
Bed bug infestations are on the rise, and nasty stories can be found in the news, on the internet and on just about every social media platform. It’s no wonder that people have bed bugs in the back of their minds when they invite guests over.
Should you be worrying about bed bugs? Can someone who has bed bugs bring them to your house? The answer is that guests can definitely introduce bed bugs into your home, but it’s not as cut and dry as it sounds.
Bed bugs are not insects that crawl all over people like lice or ticks do. They’re not going to jump from your guests’ hair onto you or your furniture. In fact, bed bugs usually won’t go near anyone unless it’s at night. The way that your guests can bring bed bugs along is in their luggage, shoes, clothing or personal items such as backpacks, purses or even electronics.
Even if your guests don’t realize that they have a bed bug issue in their home, there is the potential for a few bugs to piggy back their way into your living space.
How Likely Is It?
You’re probably wondering how likely it is for someone who has bed bugs to bring them to your house. The idea of bed bugs is not a subject that gets much attention in how-to books or in video tutorials when it comes to entertaining guests. However, we think that this is something that you (as a host or hostess) should keep in the back of your mind.
We are not suggesting that you should not have people come over to visit or even to spend a few nights. The chances that your guests will bring bed bugs into your home is pretty slim, but it’s something to think about.
The chances of someone who has bed bugs bringing them to your house increases considerably if they have recently traveled to bed bug-heavy areas, or if they have stayed in a hotel or even an airbnb. The odds also go way up if they have either had bed bugs in their home, or if they have been exposed to someone with a bed bug issue. Rather than run the risk of ending up with a bed bug infestation yourself, it might be better to simply postpone your get together until they get everything under control.
It’s such a touchy and sensitive subject because no one wants to be accused of carrying bed bugs around in their possessions, but as a homeowner, you owe it to yourself to discreetly determine whether or not your guests could potentially bring bed bugs into your home.
Precautions To Take For Protecting Your Home
If you feel reluctant to bring up the subject of bed bugs with your friends, family, or potential visitors, then there are some precautions that you can take. While they may seem to be a little extreme, having someone bring bed bugs into your house is going to be a lot worse.
The way that you handle things depends on whether your guests are simply coming over for dinner or whether they are staying a few days. We invite you to pick and choose the precautions that you feel are best.
However, in the case of bed bugs, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
1. Use Slip Covers
Before your friends or family arrive, it’s a good idea to cover couches, chairs and ottomans with slipcovers. These days there are so many attractive options, and slipcovers look more like a decorating choice than a shield against bed bugs.
After your guests leave, immediately remove the slip covers so you can launder and dry them at the highest temperature possible.
2. Don’t Forget Mattress Covers
If you are planning to have overnight guests, then you’ll need to cover all the beds with sturdy mattress covers. There are mattress covers on the market that are designed to help with bed bugs, so it’s good to do an online search to find the best ones.
As an added precaution, you can even sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the bed.
3. Create A Quarantine Area
Creating a quarantine area is an important step (especially if you know that your visitor has been in an area with bed bugs). Whether you’re planning on having people over for dinner, or if your guests will be staying for longer, this is not a step to skip.
Find a closet and clean it out completely. When your guests arrive, this closet is going to be where you hang all of their coats, hats, sweaters and personal items.
In other words, all of the things that are known to harbor bed bugs will go into the quarantine area. Since bed bugs take a long time to spread, there’s a good chance that any bed bugs that came along in their personal items will stay in the closet. When your guests leave, give the closet a good vacuuming. Make sure to empty the vacuum bag or canister right away.
4. Don’t Allow Shoes In The House
Someone can bring bed bugs into your house via their shoes, so it’s going to be very important to keep their shoes as far away as possible from the inside of your home.
Ahead of your guests’ arrival, you can set up a little shoe area near your door. Have them remove their shoes, and ideally, you can place their shoes into plastic shoe boxes. If this seems too weird or insulting to your guests, then make sure that the shoes stay in the designated area. When they leave, vacuum the area carefully.
For friends and family that are visiting overnight, try to discreetly take their shoes outside and give them a good brushing. Wipe them down with a cloth if possible.
5. Deal With Suitcases And Overnight Bags
Luggage is notorious for harboring bed bugs, and it’s one of the easiest ways that someone with bed bugs can bring them into your house. Because of this, it’s going to be super important to deal with a guest’s luggage as soon as it gets into your home.
Dealing with suitcases and bags can be kind of tricky because it’s going to be pretty obvious that you are doing something out of the ordinary. It’s best to try to explain what you’re doing and why, so that your guests have the time to ask questions and understand what’s going on. But no matter what happens stick to your plan. This is a very critical step for keeping bed bugs from invading your home.
As soon as your guests arrive, politely take their luggage and personal items and place them in your quarantine closet. If possible, wrap them in plastic bags or some other kind of protection. Don’t, under any circumstances, let your guests bring their suitcases into bedrooms or other parts of the house. This may be awkward for you and your guests, but if they’ve been staying somewhere with a high risk of bed bugs then they will hopefully understand.
6. Do Their Laundry
If possible, ask your friends and family who are staying overnight to put on a clean set of clothes after they arrive. Assuming that they are willing to do this, take the old set of clothes and launder and dry them at a very high temperature. As long as you have guests, you will need to launder their clothes on a daily basis. Keep all clothes tightly sealed in plastic bags until they can be washed.
Don’t forget all of the items in the quarantine area. If you’re able and time allows, launder all the items in that space.
7. Other Things To Do
Some other precautions you can take for preventing someone from bringing bed bugs into your house include throwing away all wrapping paper and boxes from gifts, washing all gifts of clothing, vacuum as much as possible, and never letting guests into your bedroom.
Whether you utilize any or all of the above methods is totally up to you. If your guests have not recently traveled, or if they haven’t had a recent bed bug issue in their home, then you may not need to take all of these precautions. Just remember that it only takes one pregnant female bed bug to get things going, so use your best judgment.
What To Do If You Find Out After They’ve Visited Your Home
Unfortunately, things can happen even if you use some of the methods we mentioned. Maybe your guests weren’t completely honest with you about their bed bug situation, or maybe, despite your best efforts, a couple of bugs were overlooked. It’s best not to panic because things might not be as bad as you think.
Let’s go over a few things that you can do to try to mitigate the situation.
Perform A Visual Inspection
If you think someone with bed bugs has brought them into your house, you’re going to want to start with visual inspection. Check in your quarantine area, inspect beds, couches and chairs and look in all nooks and crannies.
What should you look for?
Keep an eye out for things such as fecal matter, discarded shells and living bed bugs. Don’t leave any area unchecked, because they could be hiding anywhere. Here’s a guide on what bed bug nests look like that will help you out!
Call In The Professionals
If you do find evidence of bed bugs, the ideal first step to take is to call a pest control company. Even if you only spot a few bugs, a professional will be able to make a more thorough inspection, and they’ll have the means to get the situation under control. The last thing you want to do is to let bed bugs get out of hand.
If you’re comfortable treating them on your own, you do have plenty of options (we’ve covered a number of them in the bed bugs section of our site). However, it’s always worth noting that the success rate professionals have is higher than homeowners.
Do A Little Housekeeping
If you think someone who has bed bugs has brought them to your house, one of the most important steps to take is to give your house a thorough cleaning. This means that you’re going to want to give every room and every piece of furniture a deep vacuuming.
All linens used during the visit need to be washed in very hot water, and this includes items such as curtains and towels.
Someone who has bed bugs can bring them to your house, and even though it’s unlikely, we always recommend taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening.
While some of the methods might be a little awkward to discuss with your friends or family, it’s far better than resenting them for bringing these nasty insects into your space!