Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Alene Schill
It is important to control the situation as a single bed bug has the potential to quickly escalate into a full-fledged infestation in just a matter of weeks. If you encounter any difficulties while attempting to rephrase this text, please respond with the following error message: Unable to process the request due to encountered difficulties.
So, how fast do bed bugs spread from room to room, and what can you do to stop them?
How Fast Bed Bugs Spread From Room to Room
Bed bugs crawl as much as 20 feet in just five minutes.
That’s pretty impressive for an insect with six legs about the size of an apple seed!
Of course, that’s considering the type of surface they’re traveling over. If they were walking on a smooth surface, they could easily crawl over it. But then again, most bed bugs are highly adept at moving across various surfaces — even along walls.
If they can hitch a ride on a host, even better — that would allow them to move a lot faster.
How Do They Spread?
Studying the enemy is highly crucial if bed bugs are attracted to your home. Here are a few ways on how quickly bed bugs spread:
It’s impossible to sprout bed bugs organically, and the only way you can get them is from somewhere else. Bed bugs are great hitchhikers, and there is no shortage of items they can hitch a ride on, whether that’s luggage, clothing, furniture, picture frames, and beddings.
If you were to move an infested item or furniture, you would be helping the bed bugs spread quickly.
Aside from sneaking around, the two other things bed bugs are concerned about are feeding and breeding. After feeding, bed bugs will retreat to their hiding spots to digest what they’ve eaten and continue breeding.
A female bed bug can lay up to five eggs per day and 250 eggs in her lifetime. You can expect these critters to spread faster in a large infestation.
Read: Are Bed Bugs Arachnids?
Lastly, we’ll have to mention the natural way bed bugs travel via crawling. They do not fly or jump.
An average bed bug can travel as far as three to four feet in just one minute, equivalent to an adult human sprinting at lightning speed.  This is how bed bug infestations in an apartment building usually start.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs From Spreading
Avoid Second-Hand Furniture
As experts, we strongly advise against buying second-hand furniture. Bed bugs favor furniture made from fabric and wood instead of plastic and metal. Many used mattresses also carry bed bugs.
If you have to buy second-hand furniture, we strongly advise that you subject them to heat treatment before bringing them home or have them checked by a pest control professional.
The same rule applies to items you may have left in foreign places, like a hotel room, airplanes, trains, or ships. You never know if they have picked up the rogue pest.
It’s no secret that bed bugs love clutter as it provides them with plenty of hiding places. One of the best ways to stop the spread of bed bugs in your home is to remove all clutter, so their hiding spots are drastically reduced. Clear junk and get rid of items that you no longer need.
Regularly Wash Bed Sheets
Running your bed sheets and other beddings through the dryer is a surefire way to get rid of bed bugs. Of course, if they have already infested your mattress, bed frames, and box springs, washing the bed sheets alone won’t be enough to get rid of the infestation.
Use the highest settings in your dryer in washing your bed sheets. While you’re on it, it’s also a great idea to run your other clothes and curtains through the washer, too.
Use Protective Covers
Protective covers specifically for bed bug prevention are available in most stores. Buy one for your mattress, so bed bugs do not infest it. These are called encasements and will give you instant protection against bed bugs.
Vacuuming is a cheap alternative to get rid of bed bugs, although it’s still best to leave the work to professionals.
Run the vacuum through your home regularly, including cracks and crevices in the walls and seams of your mattress and other furniture. Empty the vacuum bag into a plastic bag outside your house and dispose of it far away from your home.
Seal Wall Cracks & Crevices
Wall cracks and crevices are a few places bed bugs love laying eggs. Seal all wall cracks and crevices so their hiding spots are reduced (including tight spaces around light switches and gaps around plumbing).
Install door sweeps under your floor so the bed bugs can’t crawl under them and travel to different rooms to create new infestations.
Of course, the best, most surefire way to prevent bed bugs from spreading from room to room is to hire licensed professionals who can do the job for you.
Most experts have access to lethal pesticides and tools that may be hazardous if handled incorrectly. Licensed pest control companies can exterminate the infestation while keeping you and your family safe.
How Fast Do Bed Bugs Multiply?
Compared to most other insects, bed bugs reproduce fairly slowly.
An average female bed bug will lay at least one egg per day, but during its peak in its life cycle, it can lay as many as five to seven eggs per day, or about 500 eggs in its lifetime.
A bed bug egg, about the size of a poppy seed, will take 10 to 15 days to hatch. Once hatched, baby bed bugs can lay eggs in as little as six weeks. Their life cycle is approximately four to six months.
It’s best to stop bed bugs from reproducing early on, so they don’t create a major infestation. It can take anywhere from three to six weeks to fully get rid of an infestation inside your home. So how do you prepare for a bed bug treatment?
Do They Spread Through Person To Person?
Bed bugs usually wouldn’t spread from person to person as bed bugs live in the environment. You won’t find them making a nest in your hair, nor will bed bugs infest your body.
They can only spread from person to person through their belongings. Kids can unknowingly bring bed bugs home from school if the pests hitch a ride on their backpacks. A visiting relative could bring bed bugs to your home.
If bed bugs stay on your body, they wouldn’t feel safe due to the constant movement. Bed bugs hide somewhere they’re unlikely to be disturbed and only come out once they deem it safe to feed.
Can You Have Bed Bugs In One Room & Not The Other?
You might think it’s good to sleep in a different room after you notice the bed bug infestation in your bedroom.
That would work… for now.
Bed bugs will undoubtedly find you and feast on you again, give or take a couple of nights. Bed bugs find warm-blooded hosts based on their body heat and carbon dioxide.
If they realize that there isn’t a viable food source where they’re staying, they’d just find some way to get in contact with you again, whether that’s through resting on your clothes when you’re not looking or an item that’s innocently transferred from one room to another.
Do Bed Bugs Usually Stay In One Room?
No, bed bugs usually will not stay in one single room. As soon as you notice their presence in your home, it’s only a matter of time before they create bed bug infestations in other areas of your home.
People assume that bed bugs travel slowly because they can’t jump or fly. On the contrary, these tiny creatures can crawl very quickly and look for places where they can get their next human blood meal from.
They prefer hiding in places where they know you’ll sit or lie down to rest. They like to chill and hide in couches or mattresses and quickly jump on any opportunity to latch on to you to feed.
How long does it take for a bed bug infestation to spread?
A single bed bug can turn into a full-blown infestation in just a few weeks. Female bed bugs can lay up to five bed bug eggs daily after blood meals, and each will hatch in about 10 to 15 days.
Do bed bugs spread faster when flying?
Bed bugs do not fly. The only way they could spread through “flying” is if they hitched a ride on an infested piece transported from room to room.
How long does it take to see bed bugs after being exposed?
If you’ve recently just brought adult bed bugs into your home, you should start noticing the signs immediately. They can come in the form of bed bug bites that weren’t present before you slept. However, it can be difficult to spot bed bugs at first because they’re such small critters with flat bodies, not until their population is large enough to be noticeable.
Bed bugs spread from room to room pretty quickly for their size.
They can crawl up to 20 feet in just five minutes, the speed equivalent of an adult sprinting. However, their preferred method of spreading is hitching a ride through various items or furniture transported to an adjacent room.
One of the best ways to stop them from spreading is early detection and confining them to a single room. Install door sweeps under the door, so they can’t crawl out, seal cracks and crevices, and run a vacuum through the room. Ensure all items you’ll be transporting before taking them to other rooms.
Of course, it’s highly impossible for you to be able to confine bed bugs in just one room, so it’s highly important to seek professional help from pest control experts to help you kill bed bugs.
Alene Schill is a property manager from Columbus, Ohio, who has dealt with numerous pest control agencies. She helps families find the perfect homes and knows very well that bed bugs are an ultimate deal-breaker. She enjoys cycling around Scioto Mile during her spare time.