What Causes Bed Bugs?

What Causes Bed Bugs? Causes and Symptoms

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are a fact of life, particularly after states banned DDT for its toxicity to humans. So, are bed bugs caused by dirty homes or living quarters? Well, NO!

You’ll also find bed bugs in clean environs like high-end quarters and 5-star hotels. So, what causes bed bugs?

The short answer is that bed bugs are caused by traveling in bed bugs and infested places or acquiring second-hand furniture and mattresses. Bed bugs will hitchhike your luggage, clothing, and legs to suck blood. They’re flat-bodied and wingless – it measures 5 to 7 mm.

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Let’s get started!

But first, here are the signs of bed bugs: reddish fecal matter, is there a sweet-musty odor?, crushed bedbugs – you’ll see blood smears, light-brown bed bug skin casting, and white eggs (small in size).

Details: What Causes Bed Bugs? Causes and Symptoms 

1. Buying Used and Infested Furniture

You can buy and carry a piece of second-hand furniture to your home or business for cheap. But the bed bugs and their babies from the garage sales aren’t easy to control.

Equally, rented furniture may carry bed bugs if their origin was a place that was infested by the blood-sucking insects. This is particularly common if pest-inspection is not done right.

Sadly, bed bugs are hardy pests that’ll live for months after taking a full blood meal. Therefore, segregating the infested furniture won’t help get rid of the bed bugs.

Therefore, for any of us renters and homeowners out here, we’ll need to rightly inspect & treat, for bed bugs, any old furniture you’re to bring home.

How to Treating Used Furniture for Bed Bugs 

To prevent or control the bed bugs, you can use either chemical (insecticide – like sprays) or non-chemical ways. But be patient as the eradication may require several treatment cycles.

  • Steam clean and vacuum all the old furniture and mattress – including the box-spring cracks. You can use foggers or bombs that are approved for killing bed bugs.
  • Clean the dirt and clutter that’s lying around the rooms – this will help cut the number of locations that the bed bugs can hide.
  • Also, examine the second-hand furniture for cracks and holes – you’ll need to seal and caulk these to kill the bed bugs, their eggs, and babies.
  • Next, treat the bedbug-infested mattress or furniture using heat for about 15 to 30 minutes. If it’s a fabric, you can use a clothes dryer at medium-high temperatures.
  • But, you can bag and launder the second-hand items at about 120 F. For box-spring and mattress, you’ll need to encase them.

2. Travelling – Bed Bugs Hitchhike Clothes and Suitcases

Besides the loss of luggage and food poisoning, most travelers worry even more about travel bugs and bed bugs! Bed bugs re-emerged and continued spreading after the banning of DDT.

While traveling, you can pick up bed bugs from hotels and resorts, libraries, movie theaters, retail stores, hospitals, universities, and colleges.

However, the bugs may also hitchhike your clothes either in private homes or other business premises.

In fact, a recent NPMA’s case study reported that 75% of the respondents had an encounter with bed bugs in motels and hotels.

How to Prevent and Control Bed Bugs while Travelling 

  • First, inspect the hotel room to detect any signs of bed bugs. I note that for this, you’ll require just a good flashlight. So, examine luggage racks, the headboard, and mattress. Check the mattress seams for signs of spots and stains – change room/ hotel and notify the management.
  • Inspect the chairs. Sofas and behind bed’s headboard. This must happen first before starting unpacking. Any bed bugs signs will prove enough to change room/ hotel and notify the management.
  • Avoid changing to a room directly above or next to the one infested by bed bugs. Notably, bed bugs will readily hitchhike through wall sockets, luggage, and housekeeping carts to the next room.
  • Next, during room entry or exit, place your luggage on the luggage racks when you’re unpacking or packing. So, don’t place the luggage on the room’s floor or even the bed – further let the luggage be very far from the bed.
  • During your stay in the hotel, enclose your suitcase in some good protective cover or trash bag so that the bed bugs won’t hitchhike waiting for you to move with them.
  • When you arrive home, unpack the language directly into the washing machine while also conducting a thorough inspection. The high temperatures in the dryer will kill the bed bugs.
  • Clean and dry all the clothes you had during the trip and even those that weren’t worn or those you purchased on your way home.
  • Finally, vacuum the suitcase and ensure you store it in the garage or basement – or ensure it’s a long-distance from your bedroom.

3. Dirty or Clean? – Bed Bugs Don’t Care!

It’s actually a fact bed bugs don’t give a fish if you’re dirty or clean. As you already know, bed bugs mainly feed blood from humans or animals.

Therefore, bed bugs will remain in the house or other premises, be they clean or dirty, provided the host is available – the bed bugs will easily take their blood meal.

So, don’t lie to yourself. Wealth won’t help you against bed bug attacks; also, poverty isn’t a ticket for getting a bed bug infestation. However, it’s also a fact that poor people could lack the finances to prevent or control bed bug infestations.

4. Bed bugs will hide in Clutter 

Clutter forms an excellent hiding place for bed bugs – this will include switch plates, wallpapers, baseboards, furniture, beds. Therefore, reducing the clutter will guarantee that the bugs won’t spread.

Further, it would help if you did not carry objects to a non-infested area from the already infected area. Sadly, if you do the contrary, the bloodsuckers will quickly move around, hiding in clothes and furniture.

Ensure to throw all the bed, bug-infested objects into some plastic trash bags. Also, ensure that you take the plastic bags when it’s full of infested items. Don’t throw clothes on the bed or the floor – discard the items you no longer wear.

Have plastic boxes to replace the cardboard boxes you have. Notably, cardboards are a great hiding place for the blood-sucking bugs – bed bugs. Further, throw away any newspapers and magazines lying around.

Sadly, a mature and fertilized female bed bug will lay about 200 to 250 eggs in its life. So, definitely, any clutter will benefit the bed bug as they reproduce and grow their babies. Get rid of the annoying clutter now!

5. Bed bugs Love High Human Traffic

If you’re in an area with high human traffic – you should be worried since the bugs will easily hitch-hike humans in military barracks, motels and hotels, homeless shelters, dormitories, and apartment buildings.

Therefore, for all the large number of people you’ll see entering and exiting a location, there is an even higher risk of bringing and leaving a few bed bugs, their eggs, or babies.


First, bed bugs mainly hide in closets, second-hand furniture, upholstery, upholstery, bed frames, box springs, and mattresses seams. But as we’ve noted, bed bugs are caused by old- furniture and second-hand mattresses, infested luggage while on international travels.

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