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What Are The Chances Of Getting Bed Bugs From A Storage Unit?

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Alene Schill

Bed bugs are typically bothersome insects that have the ability to infest domestic residences, hotels, and storage locations.

These tiny insects feed on human blood and can cause itchy welts and other health problems. 

While most people take measures to prevent bed bugs from entering their homes, the risk of picking up these pests from a storage unit may be less well-known. 

We’ll explore the chances of getting bed bugs from a storage unit and what steps you can take to minimize the risk. 

Is It Possible To Get Bed Bugs From A Storage Unit?

Storage Units

Yes, it is possible to get bed bugs from a storage unit. Bed bugs are highly resilient and can survive for long periods without feeding.

They can hitch a ride on clothing, luggage, or furniture and easily spread from one location to another. 

Storage units are often used to store furniture, clothing, and other items commonly infested with bed bugs.

Additionally, storage units are not typically treated with insecticides [1], making it easier for bed bugs to survive and reproduce. 

If an infested item is stored in a unit, the bed bugs can quickly spread to other items in the same unit or neighboring units, making it possible for you to bring them home with you.

Therefore, taking preventative measures when using storage units is essential to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In A Storage Unit?

The lifespan of bed bugs in a storage unit depends on various factors such as temperature, humidity, and access to food (blood).

Bed bugs can live for several months to over a year without feeding, allowing them to survive in storage units for extended periods. 

“Insects are living metaphors for me. They are so alien and so remote and so perfect, but also, they are emotionless; they don’t have any human or mammalian instincts. They’ll eat their young at the drop of a hat; they can eat your house! There’s no empathy – none.” Filmmaker.

– Guillermo del Toro, Mexican Actor

However, their survival time can be affected by environmental conditions.

At a temperature of around 20-25°C and humidity levels above 70%, bed bugs can survive for up to 5 months without feeding. 

However, their survival time can increase at lower temperatures to over a year.

Therefore, it is essential to eliminate bed bugs in storage units as they can survive for extended periods and continue to pose a risk to your property even if you haven’t accessed the unit for a while.

How To Spot Bed Bugs In A Storage Unit

  1. Live bed bugs: Bed bugs are reddish-brown and about the size of an apple seed. Look for live bed bugs crawling on surfaces like walls, furniture, or clothing.
  2. Shed skins: As bed bugs grow, they shed their skins. Look for empty bed bug shells on surfaces or in crevices.
  3. Stains: Bed bugs leave dark stains on surfaces where they have been feeding. Look for brown or black stains on walls, furniture, or bedding.
  4. Musty odor: Bed bugs release a musty smell that can be unpleasant. If you notice a musty odor in your storage unit, it could be a sign of a bed bug infestation.
  5. Bites: If you notice itchy welts or bites on your skin after accessing your storage unit, it could be a sign of bed bugs. However, bed bug bites can resemble bites from other insects, so it is not a definitive sign of an infestation.

Can You Bomb A Storage Unit For Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs on a Sheet

Using a bed bug bomb or fogger in a storage unit is not recommended, as it can be ineffective and potentially hazardous.

Bed bug bombs are designed to release insecticides into the air, which can kill bed bugs on contact. 

However, bed bugs can hide in tight spaces and may not be exposed to the insecticide, leading to a partial or ineffective treatment. 

Additionally, the use of bed bug bombs in enclosed areas, such as storage units, can pose a health risk as the insecticide can remain in the air for an extended period and can cause respiratory issues. 

Instead, hiring a pest control professional who can assess the infestation and use targeted treatment methods to eliminate bed bugs in the storage unit is recommended.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In A Storage Unit?

  1. Inspect your items: Before storing them, check them for signs of bed bugs. Wash clothing and bedding in hot water and dry them on high heat to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
  2. Use plastic containers: Store your items with tight-fitting lids to prevent bed bugs from entering.
  3. Vacuum the unit: Use a high-powered vacuum to clean the storage unit thoroughly. Pay attention to cracks, crevices, and other tight spaces where bed bugs can hide.
  4. Treat the unit: Hire a pest control professional to treat the storage unit with an effective insecticide. They may use a combination of heat treatment and insecticides to eliminate bed bugs.
  5. Repeat the treatment: Bed bug eggs can survive up to two weeks, so it is essential to repeat the treatment after this time to ensure that all bed bugs [2] and their eggs have been eliminated.
  6. Prevention: Prevent bed bugs from entering the storage unit again, such as inspecting items before storing them and using plastic containers.

FAQs

What are the common bugs found in storage units?

Common bugs in storage units include silverfish, cockroaches, moths, spiders, rodents, and bed bugs.

These pests can infest stored items and damage or contaminate them, making it essential to take preventative measures to keep them out of storage units.

How long can bed bugs live without a host in a storage unit?

Bed bugs can live without a host in a storage unit for several months to over a year, depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Bed bugs can survive for up to five months without feeding at room temperature and high humidity, while at lower temperatures, they can live for over a year.

Key Takeaways

The chances of getting bed bugs from a storage unit depend on various factors, such as the level of infestation and preventative measures taken to avoid the introduction of bed bugs. 

Since bed bugs can survive for extended periods without feeding, they can pose a risk to your stored items, even if you last accessed the unit a while ago. 

It is crucial to prevent bed bug infestations, such as inspecting items before storing them and using plastic containers to minimize the risk of infestation. 

If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your storage unit, it is essential to immediately eliminate the pests and prevent them from spreading to your home or business. 

Hiring a professional pest control service is recommended for the most effective and safe treatment.

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/insecticide
  2. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/bedbugs-infestation

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