Whether you’re coping with a bed bug infestation or hoping to prevent them from moving in, knowing where bed bugs hide is an important first step in keeping your home safe.
According to PestWorld.org, a non-profit organization associated with the National Pest Management Association, a 2013 report on bed bugs found that bed bugs continue to be the hardest pest to treat—even harder than cockroaches. Not only that, but 99.6% of U.S.-based pest management companies helped treat bed bug infestations during 2012. This was more than 2011, showing that the number of people dealing with a bed bug problem is on the rise.
If you’re one of the one out of five Americans coping with bed bugs in your home, learning everything you can about bed bugs is a solid first step in fixing your situation. True, it won’t help you get rid of your bed bugs overnight, but it can help you protect your home from future infestations and from giving your bed bugs places to hide while you try and get them out.
Where to Find Bed Bugs
Most people know that bed bugs live in beds. No surprise there. But, since over the course of a bed bug’s life it changes size so dramatically (from the size of a nymph that can pass through mattress stitch-holes to an adult that can be up to 5 mm in length), most people don’t know just how many other places that bed bugs can hide. Having bed bugs in your mattress is just the beginning. If you’re trying to find bed bugs, it’s important to realize that you can’t just rely on looking at your bed.
Unfortunately, bed bugs don’t just wait on the surface of your mattress waiting to be found either. Instead, they hide in dark, safe areas until you’re sleeping, and then they sneak in to feed. What’s worse, they don’t just confine themselves to bedding. Hungry bed bugs travel, and they will readily infest a surprising range of items. If you’re looking for bed bugs, be sure to check:
Furniture like couches and chairs. If given a chance, bed bugs will readily infest any sort of comfortable, cozy furniture. This includes the interior of stuffed couches, chairs, ottomans, and the like. Just like with mattresses, bed bug nymphs can climb into the interior, and young and old alike can hide in any nook or cranny that’s available. If you’re searching for bed bugs, be sure to check along the seams, skirts, folds and corners of all your furniture.
Headboards, box springs and bed frames. Bed bugs will often infest wooden headboards that are adjacent to infested mattresses. If you suspect you have an infestation, be sure to thoroughly inspect your headboard for signs of bed bug infestation. And, don’t forget to check screw holes, as bed bugs hide in screw holes and grommets when they are available.
Luggage. It is not uncommon for travelers to bring home bed bugs that somehow get in their luggage at a hotel. If you’re traveling and stay at a hotel or motel, be sure to thoroughly inspect your luggage before you bring it into your home. And, if you have bed bugs already, be sure to check your stored luggage for signs of infestation.
Clothing and shoes. As unsettling as it may be, even your clothes and shoes aren’t safe. Not only will hungry bed bugs hitch a ride on clothing, they have been known to infest soft footwear like slippers.
In your closet. Since bed bugs can and will crawl several feet to feed, it’s not uncommon for them to hide in closets, where there are plenty of safe, cozy places to hide. A cluttered closet makes it easier for them to hide undetected too, so be sure to check through everything.
Wheelchairs. Bed bugs have even been known to infest wheelchairs. If you have bed bugs and someone in your home uses a wheelchair or other mobility aid, be sure to thoroughly inspect the seat padding and frame for signs of infestation.
Under wallpaper. Believe it or not, you can find bed bugs in your walls. Be sure to examine any loose wallpaper or cracked plaster for signs of bed bug infestation, especially if they are near sleeping areas.
In electronics. Like cockroaches, bed bugs will readily infest electronics like televisions, computers and radios. They will even infest wall plugs near sleeping areas. If any electronic items or outlets are close to infested sleeping areas, be sure to examine them (inside and out) for signs of infestation.
Obviously, one of the reasons that bed bugs are so hard to eradicate is that they can hide in so many places. If you have bed bugs—or if you want to prevent yourself from bringing them home—these are some key places you need to look to find them. And, remember: bed bugs don’t just come from hotels. Here are some of the other places you can find bed bugs:
- College dorms
- Nursing homes
- Daycare centers
- Public transportation
- Thrift store furniture
If you buy second-hand furniture or visit a facility and see potential signs of bed bugs, thoroughly examine yourself and your belongings before you enter your home. Likewise if you inherit furnishings or get them for free from a stranger. If you want to prevent bed bugs from getting into your house, it pays to be proactive by inspecting (or even disposing of) suspect furniture, clothing and belongings.