Updated: February 3, 2021

When it comes to dealing with pest outbreaks, none are quite as devastating as experiencing a major bed bug infestation. These insects have been around for centuries, and consistently are affecting homes, businesses, schools, and hotels across America.

Eradicating a bed bug infestation is extremely difficult, as these insects have an unprecedented ability to survive. Most DIY treatments don’t work on their own and bed bugs have become immune to conventional treatments involving insecticides.

The best method for fully removing an infestation is the “whole room bed bug heat treatment”. Though this treatment is effective, it can be very expensive and disruptive to your daily life.

Therefore let’s talk about how to avoid an infestation, which brings up the question..

If Your Neighbor Has Bugs, Now what?

The one positive of bed bugs is that they don’t travel by themselves. They tend to hitchhike on people’s clothes, belongings, and in some cases on their bodies. Therefore don’t invite anybody with a known infestation over to your house.

You should also pay attention to the severity of the infestation. You can do this by asking yourself the following questions:

Have my neighbors experienced significant injuries from an infestation?

How long has the infestation been around?

Have they taken any action to remove the infestation?

The severity of bed bugs around you might dictate the level of action you take to protect your home. Either way, periodic inspections are important because with the way these insects spread, even one bed bug can mean an infestation.

Can Bed Bugs Travel Across The Yard?

A common question people ask is whether bed bugs can survive outdoors, whether it be in the grass, at the park, or in the dirt. The answer is Yes, bed bugs can live outdoors, but they usually won’t live for as long as they normally would.

Bed bugs have adapted to survive in less than desirable conditions, however without a host to feed on, they will eventually die.

Bed bugs won’t leave your house to live in grass, however in unique occasions, they can survive on outdoor furniture. Bed bugs will likely try and find their way inside your property, so they may hide outside in the short term.

When Would Bed Bugs Be Found Outdoors?

Bed bugs can be found outdoors in the following places:

  • Fences
  • Woodpiles
  • Lawn clutter
  • Cracks in outdoor structures

Since humans will throw out mattresses that are infested with bed bugs, people typically associate bed bugs to fleas, ticks, and other similar insects. Bed bugs are different in that they need dark, warm, and secluded places to reproduce.  

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive Outdoors?

The lifespan of bed bugs living outside depends on the following factors:

  1. Temperature: Bed bugs will only die from cold if it drops to temperatures south of -18 degrees Celsius. Heat is typically better for killing them, although temperatures would need to go as high as 50 degrees Celsius.
  2. Weather – Bed bugs cannot survive in water, so precipitation will likely kill bed bugs if they’re caught outside.
  3. Food (IMPORTANT) – Bed bugs can survive multiple months without food, however if the temperature goes down, bed bugs metabolism will go down and they can survive up to a year.
  4. Predators – There are many natural predators that can bring bed bugs to an early death. This includes lizards, spiders, cockroaches, and Pharaoh ants (although not a method for eradicating bed bugs).

Can Bed Bugs Travel Through Walls?

Bed bugs greatest traits are their ability to maneuver around tight spaces. So the short answer is yes, if your wall has cracks that can fit a piece of paper, it can fit a bed bug.

Bed bugs don’t have wings so they cannot fly, and their legs aren’t made for jumping either. This is part of what makes these creatures so magnificent, the ability to crawl many meters at once.

If your bed is next to a wall, they will likely find a nice crevice to hide out, mate, and multiply right next to you.

Bed Bugs on Wood Walls vs. Concrete Walls

Wood Walls – Bed bugs like wood walls because of the brownish color that allows them to camouflage well. Wood is also a bad conductor of heat which keeps the conditions temperate and undisturbed.

Concrete Walls – Concrete walls typically have a smooth finish, which in general means less hiding spots for bed bugs. Older concrete walls that are in extreme temperatures however, are more likely to have big cracks where bed bugs can crawl.

Ny Neighbor Gave Me Bed Bugs

If your neighbor has bed bugs you should definitely take the situation seriously, especially because we’re only starting to understand how bed bugs can travel from place to place.

Although as mentioned above, if you’re in a single family home that’s not attached (like a townhome, condo, or apartment), the odds that bed bugs can spread to you are low.

If you do have pets that roam around your property, or kids that play outside, bed bugs can potentially hitch a ride into your home.

To reduce the risk of getting your neighbor’s bed bugs you should do the following:

  • Examine belongings when you return home from traveling
  • Wash your clothes and dry on high heat
  • Be cautious when in public, and when staying in temporary residences. If you’re staying in an Airbnb or hotel room, you should inspect the room properly before you go to sleep.
  • Learn how to properly identify bed bugs and learn their warning signs
  • Seal cracks and crevices in your walls (especially if you have wooden walls)
  • Keep clutter around your bed to a minimum

Five Little Known Facts About Bed Bugs

1) Bed bugs can live anywhere

Reported bed bugs cases are usually in hotels or apartments, but in reality, bed bugs can be found in more diverse environments. The truth is bed bugs can be found in hospitals, college dorms, offices, schools, buses, trains, movie theaters, retail stores, and daycare centers.

2) Bed bugs aren’t just in cities

Contrary to popular belief bed bugs are found in all fifty states, whether it be rural, suburban, or city life environments. The NPMA did a survey breaking down bed bug cases by region. It found that 17% of cases are from the Northeast, 20% are from the Midwest, 20% are from the south, and 19% are from the west.

Through Google Trends you can view the popularity of bed bug related searches by city.

trends.embed.renderExploreWidget(“GEO_MAP”, {“comparisonItem”:[{“keyword”:”bed bugs”,”geo”:”US”,”time”:”today 12-m”}],”category”:0,”property”:””}, {“exploreQuery”:”q=bed%20bugs&geo=US&date=today 12-m”,”guestPath”:”https://trends.google.com:443/trends/embed/”});

3) Bed bugs are methodical

Bed bugs have a predictable feeding pattern and are creatures of routine. Bed bug bites typically feed in a line or a zig-zag pattern on purpose, and they feed for 10 to 15 minutes until they’re full.

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Date Published: 2020-05-13

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.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hayley Fojtik

    Is I think my neighbor has a bed bug infestation that came into my connecting condo, how do I approach this? Through HOA or directly contacting them?

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