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Are Bed Bugs Found in the Wild? Solved (Updated)

Last Updated on April 21, 2024 by Alene Schill

Bed bugs are typically discovered in a range of locations within our homes, which can include our beds, rugs, sofas, and the crevices in our walls. If you’re battling a bed bug invasion, you might wonder if these pests also inhabit outdoor areas. So, do bed bugs commonly exist in the natural environment?

Our team researched and compiled an in-depth guide to help you determine this, and if so, can they survive?

Can You Find Bed Bugs in the Wild?

a bed bug

Yes, bed bugs do exist in the wild. A distinction should be made on what bed bugs they are because there are more or less 90 species of bed bugs.

Do note that there are two species of bed bugs in the United States that have adapted to human living conditions, the common bed bug (Cimex Lectularius) and the tropical bed bug (Cimex Hemipterus). 

Another tropical species, Leptocimex Boueti, is common in West Africa and South America.

Aside from the three domestic bed bugs, the rest are found elsewhere, and most of them can survive in the wild but only for a limited amount of time. But what causes bed bugs?

Where Do They Come From?

Experts point out that the main culprit for the arrival of bed bugs to households worldwide is the first contact that happened in prehistoric times. There are caves in the Middle East where bats and humans alike took shelter. 

These winged mammals had bat bugs on them, and studies suggest that this is a very close relative of the bed bugs, except bat bugs, prefer to feed on bats. 

Similar to some invasive species of ants, bed bugs spread around the world through travel. It occurred as early as the ancient Egyptian civilization and the Greek and Roman empires.

Also read: Leveraging Air Conditioning to Combat Bugs

Can They Live in the Wild?

Yes, bed bugs can live in the wild. As a matter of fact, they have existed since the time of the dinosaurs. [1]

However, if we talk about domestic bed bugs, they are heavily dependent on the home environment. It is where they can hide and go out only to feed, often undetected. 

To thrive, they need to find a new warm-blooded host and be able to stay in a dark, warm, and dry place. These conditions are almost impossible to achieve in the wild. But how do you move without taking bed bugs with you?

Where Do They Inhabit?

checking bed bugs on the sofa

Bedbugs live indoors, especially since the outdoors don’t exactly present ideal living conditions for them. 

In order to live and thrive, bed bugs need a secure and dry place, and they need to be in close proximity to their food source (in this case, you.)

In locating bed bugs, their dark droppings, reddish stains on fabric, and eggs or nymph sheddings are telltale signs. [2

They are also easier to spot in your bed, chairs and sofas, rugs and carpets, wallpapers, curtains, and wall crevices. Here are some more facts about bed bugs.


Are there bed bugs in the woods?

Yes, there can be bed bugs in the woods. However, the outdoors isn’t ideal for them, so while there may be a couple of bed bugs in the woods, they won’t last long. 

While they can live on wooden furniture inside the home, they are not great at outdoor environments where they are away from their food source and fully exposed to various elements.

Can they feed on wild animals?

Yes, bed bugs can feed on wild animals as long as they are warm-blooded. This behavior is no different from their close relatives that live off poultry chicken, swallows, and bats which may look similar to them. 

Bed bugs find their host by sensing the carbon dioxide, moisture, and warmth they emit.

In Summary

The bed bugs we are familiar with rarely live outside the home. They may join you on your next hike or camping, but don’t expect them to thrive outside your cozy place.

The culprit is likely inside your home if you already have a bedbug infestation. 

It’s wild how they can wreak havoc through simple bites, so regularly look for them and opt for the help of an expert early into the infestation.



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