Updated: February 3, 2021

Bed bugs are strange little creatures.

They get their name by infesting your bedroom and attacking you while asleep. Similar to other household pests, these insects are parasites.

(Meaning they depend on a host to survive). 

Unfortunately, that host could be you…

As human blood is their main food source

In fact, they need regular meals to stay active and thrive into adulthood

But, here’s the thing…

Bed bugs aren’t a new development. They have been around in human history for the past 300 thousand years

This is because of their resilience and ability to spread easily.  

So How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

You can get bed bugs in a variety of ways. Bed bugs are hitchhiking creatures that can travel to your residence on your clothes or in suitcases. In fact, they’re so good at hitchhiking you could have picked up an infestation just by visiting any of the following places:

  • Schools
  • Office Buildings
  • Retail Stores
  • Public Transit
  • Movie Theaters

They love to make homes in your pockets and the crevices of your bags.

Then, once you have an infestation, they can be hard to find.

Not only do these pests spread fast, but they are in a constant state of hiding.

(When they’re not feeding).

You may think that your home is infested with another kind of bug. But, really there are bed bugs growing into an army beneath your bed coverings. 


Once you have an infestation in your house the expenses add up fast

You may need to replace infested belongings such as:

  • Bed linens
  • Carpeting
  • Mattress
  • Couches

That’s why it’s important to avoid bringing bed bugs into your house in the first place, by learning more about the ways they make it inside

How Do You Get Bed Bugs in Your House?

Bed bugs can be found in any place where humans tend to congregate together. They can infest your home discreetly, without you knowing until it’s too late. 

That means that you could be minding your business traveling home from work when one of these insects makes its way into your coat. 

From there, just one female bed bug can trigger a full scale infestation. 

Since bed bugs can live 10+ months without feeding, it may take them a while to make their way out of your laundry basket to start causing a problem. 

It’s important to note:

Taking bed bugs home from public transportation or large gatherings isn’t that common. For the most part people get bed bugs by sleeping on infested furniture or leaving their bags in an infested room overnight

You may leave for a vacation only to come back with a few bites and a budding suspicion that something is wrong. It could take you days to figure out where the bites are coming from and how to get rid of the infestation

What is the Main Cause of Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs (like all other living beings) are on a mission to eat and reproduce. They don’t target homes specifically just to be a nuisance. 

Here’s the thing: 

The only way to avoid a bed bug infestation is to take measures into your own hands, and prevent it from happening.

Therefore you should follow the below steps to keep bed bugs from taking up residence in your home. 

1. Keep Your Belongings Clean

Consider vacuuming out your suitcase every time you return from a vacation. That way any bugs that made their way inside will be taken care of. 

You can also go a step further and take a trash bag to store your suitcase during your hotel stay. 

Then, when you get home you should wash all of your clothes on high heat.

(Even the ones you haven’t worn). 

2. Watch Out For Used Furniture:

Avoid bringing second-hand furniture into your house without inspecting it thoroughly for signs of bed bugs like blood stains and eggs. 

As a best practice…

You shouldn’t buy used furniture for your bedroom, but rather buy only select new items.  

Notable furniture stores that have had bed bugs include:

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, brownish-colored, oval insects that sustain themselves on the blood of humans and other animals. 

They have flat bodies about the size of a small apple seed (before feeding).

After a feeding their bodies swell with blood to become reddish in color. Their bodies will also elongate to more than 50% above their original size.  

They move quickly over the floor wall and crevices of your house, laying eggs that are no larger than a speck of dust

Once a bed bug hatches and feeds for the first time, it becomes a “nymph” or baby bed bug, and sheds its skin 5 times before reaching its mature state.

Each phase lasts about 1 week and requires a blood meal before the shedding can take place. 

Bed bugs are sometimes hard to spot so to identify an infestation, you may have to look for the evidence that they leave behind. 

This includes:

  1. Skin Itchiness and Irritation.
  2. Brown Spots on Your Mattress and Sheets.
  3. Bloodstains.
  4. Dead Bugs.
  5. A Musty Smell.
  6. Red Bumps or Welts.
  7. Sleep Disruption.
  8. Adverse Skin Reactions.
  9. Finally, the Bed Bugs Themselves.

Do Bed Bugs Come from Outside?

Bed bugs don’t typically come from the outdoors.

Here’s the thing:

They make their way into your home most of the time undetected. They like to hide in luggage and clothing, used beds and couches, and other home goods items. 

With their tiny, flat bodies, they can hide in very small spaces no larger than the width of a credit card. 

They don’t have to make nests as ants and bees do. Instead, they live in groups while laying their eggs freely around the room. 

They love to make their homes in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards – anywhere they can hide and sneak out to prey on their victims at night. 

To protect your mattress from a bed bug infestation, consider purchasing a special bed bug mattress encasement

How Do Bed Bugs Start?

Once a bed bug enters your home, if it is female it will begin to lay eggs. These eggs will hatch into baby bugs that look to feed almost instantly. 

Bed bugs are primarily active at night. Most people report waking up in the morning with bites that are arranged in a clustered shape or zig zag pattern

The bed bug feeds by piercing your skin and using an elongated beak to drink for 3 to 10 minutes before they finish. 

Most of the time, bed bug bites are initially painless, but will become irritating welts on your body within 72 hours of the occurrence. 

Here is a great video on what not to do if you notice bed bugs. 

Do Bed Bugs Migrate?

Bed bugs move from place to place through humans who unwittingly become their carriers through bags, furniture, or other items. 

These pests also don’t typically migrate on their own. 

In fact, it’s typical that it takes weeks or months for bed bugs to make their way from one bedroom to another. 

The Most Common Way to Get Bed Bugs

By far, the most common way to get a bed bug infestation is by renting a home that was already infested before you moved in.

If this happens you may be able to sue your landlord over bed bugs. 

It’s also fairly common to pick up bed bugs from staying in hotel rooms, so don’t be afraid to take the recommended precautions with your luggage.

These include:

  • Storing luggage away from the bedroom, or in a plastic bag
  • Vacuuming your luggage immediately after you return home
  • Washing all your clothes and drying on high heat

Can You Get Bed Bugs Randomly?

It can sometimes feel like bed bugs came out of nowhere, especially when you have no idea where bed bugs come from.  

At the end of the day…

There is always an underlying cause, because bed bugs cannot just appear out of thin air. Although similar to the virality of infectious disease, bed bugs can spread with little to no human contact.

This is one of the main reasons we’re in a bed bug epidemic.

In some cases, you may have bed bugs and not even know it.

For example:

There have been cases where couples have lived in infested apartments or extended stay hotels for 6+ months without realizing there was an infestation.

The reason is not everyone experiences symptoms. If both people are getting bitten, one of the partners may not have a reaction to the bites.

In fact… 30% of people don’t react to bed bug bites at all.

For this reason, it can be easy to simply brush off the symptoms as other insects, or simply allergies.

How Did I Get Bed Bugs in My Couch?

Bed bugs got their name for a reason…

As they almost always congregate around the bedroom, close to a sleeping feeding source.

This is why even during an infestation, it’s hard to see their presence.

These pests are nocturnally active, so unless you’re accustomed to waking up at 3 am and doing inspections, you’re not likely to see them moving around.

Although with a major infestation, bed bugs may move beyond the bedroom.

They could infest other areas of the home, such as the living room couch.

Since it’s a piece of furniture where people congregate and spend their time…

It’s not unfeasible for your couch to get infested.

Though this would only be the case in very seasoned infestations. These types of invasions would require wide scale professional treatment methods, such as the industrial heat treatment.

If you do find bed bugs in your couch…. don’t panic.

You should try and determine the origin of the infestation and seek treatment immediately. If you recently purchased the couch from a used furniture store, you may be able to file a case for a lawsuit against the store.

So How Do You Get Bed Bugs in the First Place?

You can get bed bugs from a variety of places, but typically the most common is from travel. The most ordinary way people get bed bugs is from staying at a temporary residence such as hotel room, or Airbnb.

This is why you should also inspect the room and areas around the bed before spending the night.

If you experienced bed bugs in your hotel, Airbnb, or apartment, you may be eligible for compensation. There are situations when you can hold the property owner liable for your injuries and expenses.

You should get connected with a lawyer to discuss your unique situation and help determine whether you have a case.

Get in touch today for your FREE consultation.

There are ZERO fees unless you win your case. Don’t wait – Get in touch with us NOW.

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Date Published: 2020-08-02

Written By Robert Brown

I'm a seasoned pest control veteran. I focus my time on writing educational content about the industry and helping people learn about indoor insects. When I'm not thinking about bed bugs I am spending time with my daughters or walking the dog.

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