How Do Bedbugs Travel?

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How Do Bedbugs Travel?
How Do Bedbugs Travel? (Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have made an unwelcome resurgence in the last five years. The blood-feeding pests have been around for more than 50 years and were typically found in cramped, unsanitary conditions, but lately they can be found almost anywhere--from luxury hotels to dorm rooms. Bed bugs are tiny (approximately 5-7 mm in length) with reduced wings and tan in color. They feed about once a week during the night on exposed skin and survive for several months between meals. Their bites are relatively painless, but victims develop hard white bumps that can itch for days.

Travel

Although bed bugs have wings, they can't fly. Their preferred method of travel is crawling; for long distances, they will catch a ride. Bed bugs and their eggs can travel from country to country and place to place by hitchhiking on clothing, in boxes, in luggage and anything else that can be transported. The critters are flat in shape and can squeeze themselves into narrow hiding places such as under mattress buttons, under shirt collars and in picture frames. An infestation can occur when pregnant female bugs are transported to new locations. As the rate of travel increases, the bed-bug problem continues to spread as people unknowingly carry infested luggage and wear infested clothing.

Locate and Destroy

You can detect a bed-bug infestation by looking for fecal matter, egg sacks, bug skin or a live bed bug in crevices and cracks in or around your bed. Bed bugs do not only inhabit bedding, so check behind wallpaper, picture frames, couches and articles of clothing. If you are able to confirm an active bed-bug problem, contact a pest-control expert. Insecticides are used to get rid of them and infested items should be discarded. Experts suggest that infestation sites be deep-cleaned and vacuumed; mattresses should be placed in special bed-bug prevention bags.

cuttlefish on Flickr
cuttlefish on Flickr

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