There are a few different ways that bed bugs may enter a home. It is important to narrow down the source of an infestation so that you are not at risk of having new infesting bugs reintroduced into your home after we have performed a treatment.
1. Picked up in public
Bed bugs can be dropped off in any public place by someone with a severe infestation in their home.
Contracting bed bugs this way is a simple stroke of bad luck, but it means that a single treatment will eliminate the bugs in your home and keep you protected going forward.
Bed Bugs’ favourite nest locations are:
- within 3 feet of a sleeping or sitting surface
Individuals may be in danger of transporting a live bug or egg to a public place when they have a severe infestation in their home, especially if they store their clothing or other belongings in drawers or bins underneath their bed or couch.
An infested individual may deposit a bed bug or egg onto any surface in a public place around Toronto or areas you’ve traveled to/from, such as:
- the TTC, GO Transit, Taxi Cab, Uber, Lyft
- A public library, lecture hall, movie theatre, airport, hospital
- A hotel, motel or hostel, AirBnB,
If you have the misfortune of carrying that specimen back to your home, it could be the beginning of an infestation
If you only transport a single male or a single unfertilized female to your home, that bug may feed a few times but will never have the chance to mate and establish subsequent generations.
If, however, you transport a male and a female, a single fertilized female or a couple of eggs, these may be able to mate, breed new generations and establish an infestation in your home.
2. Frequent Visitor
If you have a frequent visitor to your home such as a friend or family member, a caregiver, a cleaner, a tutor or a coworker they may be unknowingly spreading an infestation to your home.
If you find a bed bug in your home, it is important that a professional inspection is performed in the homes of all frequent visitors. Unless these outside sources are identified, you may be at risk of new bugs traveling to your home and constantly resupplying the infestation with new bed bugs.
- Bed bug “bites” are an allergic skin reaction to the anticoagulant and anaesthetic agents in bed bug saliva
- About 30% of people are not allergic to bed bug saliva
- Therefore 1 in 3 people shows NO skin reaction when bed bugs draw their blood
- Even if a frequent visitor is not getting bites, it DOES NOT mean that they are in the clear
- Most people assume that if they are not getting any bites on their skin, they wouldn’t have any reason to suspect they have a bed bug infestation in their home.
- After discovering an infestation in your home, it is important to arrange an inspection in the home of any frequent visitor that may be reintroducing live bugs or eggs into your home.
- The residual protection of an effective bed bug treatment will continue to kill bugs brought into your home, but after the treatment wears off, you may be at risk of reinfestation from this visitor.
3. Through the Walls
One of the most frequent vectors of infestation is live bugs spreading through the dividing walls of adjacent condo and apartment units, townhouses or a semi-detached home.
- Bed bugs live on beds, mattresses, box springs, bed frames, couches, chairs, etc.
- Bed bugs do not live within the structure of a building like cockroaches, mice or rats.
- Bed bugs feed on mammalian blood to survive and will therefore establish their hiding spots as close as possible to sleeping and resting surfaces within the home.
- Scientific explanations differ for when, how, why and how far bed bugs will wander from unit to unit in a building. Here are three theories that contribute to answering this question
- Bed bugs communicate by excreting pheromones through their faeces.
- The pheromone in low concentrations tells other bugs in the immediate vicinity that a suitable hiding spot has been found.
- Attracted by the pheromone and bodily contact with other bugs, bed bugs tend to form clusters in these nesting sites
- In higher concentrations, this pheromone acts as a deterrent and may be a factor that causes new bugs to wander away from their nest sites.
- This means that when an infestation has become severe within a unit, the deterrent pheromone may cause bugs to wander far away from the original nest and find their way into adjacent units.
- Carbon Dioxide, Heat and Darkness
- Bed bugs are drawn to carbon dioxide, heat and darkness. Their antenna contain sophisticated sensory organs that can pick up on these three attractants from up to 12 feet away
- Host Departure
- A scenario we encounter quite frequently is when someone is suffering from a bedbug infestation they may be so horrified that they leave their apartment or home to stay at a relative’s, friend’s or a hotel.
- When the host departs bed bugs will begin to wander through the walls, vents or halls to try to find a new host to feed on
- Store Bought Insecticides
- Many store bought insecticides can cause bed bugs to disperse and can be harmful to your health if used improperly or excessively.
- Rather than residual insecticides that remain active on surfaces for an extended period of time and kill bugs as they walk over those surfaces, most commercially available products are contact killers only.
- These products can cause bed bugs to wander away from their original nest locations and find their way into uncommon hiding spots or even into adjacent units or attached houses.
- If bed bugs entered your home this way, you will need to notify neighbours, landlords, property management companies, superintendents etc.
- Getting all these parties involved can be complicated and awkward
- Many people don’t want to speak openly about bed bugs because of the stigma surrounding this pest.
- We have decades of experience in mediating these encounters, and in our experience, the best policy is always openness and honesty paired with thoroughness and professionalism.
- Luckily you have already done the right thing by contacting Addison. We can help you deal with any complexities and issues around communicating with neighbours and landlords.
4. Used Furniture or Clothing
- Another common way that bed bugs get into your home is buying or finding used furniture or clothing
- Mattresses discarded at the side of the road should be properly wrapped and marked if they are infested with bed bugs.
- Unfortunately, this guideline is often neglected, and items are collected without knowing they are infested.
- Couches and chairs bought from classified websites such as Craigslist or Kijiji may be infested with bed bugs without the knowledge of the seller.