How Fast Do Bed Bugs Spread, Transfer & Multiply?

A bed bug spreading fast

Understanding how easily bed bugs transfer and how fast they can spread is necessary for every homeowner. This knowledge will give you a respect for the persistence of these pests, and encourage you to act quickly if you notice a problem.

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about how fast bed bugs spread and transfer (in general plus a room to room breakdown). Once you know how quickly they can multiply in your home, you’ll never underestimate them again!

How Easily Do Bed Bugs Transfer?

Let’s just say that you discover a bed bug or two somewhere in your home. Of course, the first thing you’ll want to know is how easily these bed bugs might be able to transfer from where you found them to another part of your house.

It’s natural to quickly progress in your mind from a few bed bugs to an infestation of biblical proportions, but it’s best to keep calm and think things through.

Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Killer

  • Kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs
  • Use spray as a spot treatment around bed frames, mattress seams/tufts/folds, and baseboards
  • Kills even the toughest bed bugs
  • The continuous spray Comfort Wand easily gets into hard-to-reach areas

Luckily, these insects can’t fly, so they have to rely on other means to transfer from one place to another. If they are looking for a food source, someone’s blood, and they need to go searching for it, then there are a few ways that they will be able to do this. 

A large amount of bed bugs that transferred from another home

They can crawl around looking for their next meal, but they are not very speedy crawlers. The one problem is that they are very small and can fit quite easily through tiny holes and cracks. Still, it can take a while for them to crawl and make their way into another area of the home.

However, bed bugs can still transfer very easily. Here are some common ways this can happen:

  • Switching around your furniture
  • Moving comforters and pillows to other rooms
  • Placing clothes in a different closet
  • Switching luggage from one place to another

As you can tell, these are things that people do all the time. In other words, our behavior is what makes it easy for bed bugs to transfer.

Quick Tip: One important thing to know is that bed bugs are not like lice. Despite some myths to the contrary, bed bugs do not transfer from person to person. They need to be on or in something (like clothes, backpacks, luggage or jackets) in order to transfer. 

We would also like to note here that bed bugs are not only found in homes that are, let’s say, less than clean. They can be found even in the neatest of homes. We definitely recommend avoiding keeping large piles of clothes on the floor. This is often a common hide-out for roaming bed bugs, and an easy way for them to spread.

In a nutshell, how easily bed bugs transfer from one area to another really just depends on the circumstances and the extent of the original infestation. We recommend taking some time to assess the extent of the infestation to see if you can solve the problem with DIY methods, or if you’ll need to bring in the help of a professional pest control company.

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Spread?

As mentioned above, the speed in which bed bugs can spread will depend on a number of factors. Each individual situation of bed bug infestation is slightly different, so we’ll use this section to present a general overview for the average home.

Bed bugs are part of the Cimicidae family. This taxonomic family includes insects such as the bat bug, swallow bug and poultry bug. These insects (bed bugs included) need to consume blood to survive, and that means that they have to be near their food source.

In the case of bed bugs, their food source will mostly likely consist of you and your family members (ew). This is one reason that these insects are usually found in beds. In fact, if you have bed bugs in your home, there will always be some within eight feet of one of the beds. 

Quick Tip: Strangely enough, most bed bugs will stay away from your pets, and they don’t seem to infest pet beds the same way that they will with human beds. Still, they are known to occasionally bite a cat or dog which makes it a good idea to check any pet beds or pet blankets that you may have around your home just to be safe.

If your bed bugs are happy with you as a food source, and they are getting plenty of blood, then the spread around your home may not be very rapid. However, as the situation changes they may decide to begin looking elsewhere for their next meal.

Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Killer

  • Kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs
  • Use spray as a spot treatment around bed frames, mattress seams/tufts/folds, and baseboards
  • Kills even the toughest bed bugs
  • The continuous spray Comfort Wand easily gets into hard-to-reach areas

It’s pretty hard to say just how rapidly they will spread across the whole house, but if you are moving infested items around your house fairly regularly, then the bed bugs will spread very quickly.

That’s why it’s so important to act quickly if you find bed bugs in your home. Taking the right action early will prevent you from having to deal with a larger problem later (which can also save you a whole lot of money).

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Spread From Room To Room?

The rate at which bed bugs will spread from room to room varies with each situation or location.

If the bed bug invasion starts with just one female, then the spread will take a while. In situations where you bring a few home from a trip or visit to an infested house, then they will tend to spread and multiply at a much more rapid rate.

A group of bed bugs that are multiplying quickly

Say you bring one pregnant female into your home, and she lays the standard one to twelve eggs a day. After ten days, the eggs will hatch, and these newly hatched baby bed bugs will need to go through a series of five nymph stages. After two to four months, those young insects will become egg laying adults. With every female laying 200-500 eggs in her lifetime, the number of bed bugs in your home could multiply very quickly.

Bed bugs are very small and can easily fit into the tiniest cracks and holes. They will even latch onto your clothing, shoes or bedding making it a breeze for them to move from room to room. And considering that they can crawl three to four feet per minute, they can spread pretty far on their own.

If you decide to rearrange the house by moving furniture around, that could significantly speed up the spread from one room to another.

In other words, if you have a serious bed bug infestation and leave the problem unchecked, bed bugs can spread from room to room in a matter of days.

Ways Bed Bugs Spread

After all of the itch-producing information that was presented above, it’s time for us to list some of the most common ways bed bugs can spread throughout your home. Most homeowners are surprised when they find out the various ways that bed bugs can transfer since they’re actually the ones helping them spread!

This ability to spread in many different ways is not so surprising when you consider that bed bugs and humans have been battling for at least 3,500 years. It’s thought that bed bugs and humans first came together when humans came in contact with bats. This likely happened when people were sharing cave dwellings with bats.

Quick Tip: Bed bugs have even been mentioned in the writings of ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Even back then, bed bugs were already enough of a nuisance to end up in their literature.

So, let’s cover some of the main ways that these small but persistent insects use to spread throughout the human population with such ease.

Crawling On Their Own

Bed bugs don’t have wings, so flying from area to area is not an option. Instead, bed bugs crawl to spread to new places. This crawling is mostly done at night, so they are able to do so with a certain amount of stealth. Unless you’re awake and turn on a light, you probably wouldn’t even know that they are on the move. 

Since these insects are so small, they are able to easily crawl through cracks in floors and walls. They can even travel through pipes. This fact makes them the scourge of apartment buildings, condos and other such living spaces. 

Transfering On Objects Within The Home

Staying with the theme of living spaces, bed bugs can definitely follow you if you move to another place. If you don’t check your furniture, bedding, clothes and other items carefully, you may unwittingly spread your bed bug infestation to a new location. This can even happen if you’re just moving furniture around from one room to another.

Hitching A Ride From The Outside

Not many people think about bringing home unwanted visitors when they return from a trip, but this is a very common way for bed bugs to spread and transfer. We can’t stress enough how important it is to always check your luggage, clothing, shoes, and bags for any signs of these insects. All it takes is one female bug to become attached to your things, and you may soon end up with a huge infestation later.

Like to thrift? As much fun as it is to land a great bargain at a thrift store, you have to be very careful that you don’t bring home these unwanted critters. Bedding, furniture, clothing, and even books can be hiding places for bed bugs. Make sure to inspect any items you may want to purchase.

Some other ways that bed bugs can end up in your home include using any kind of shared laundry facility, visiting friends or bringing them into your car. Really, the possibilities are pretty much endless, so it’s always best to be cautious.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know how fast bed bugs can spread and transfer, there’s no excuse for you to take their presence lightly. It only takes a matter of days for them to go room to room and multiply!

If you find bed bugs in your home, the best thing you can do is act fast and try to remove them. Whether that be with DIY methods or by hiring an exterminator, action is required.

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