are bed bugs in the wallsWith the seemingly unstoppable spread of bed bugs, especially the rapid pace in which infestations expand in apartment buildings, hotels, dorms and schools, many wonder if there are bed bugs in the walls, making it easy for them to move from location to location.

Two Perspectives on the Bed Bugs in the Walls Debate

While it’s common knowledge that there may very well be bed bugs in the walls when a structure is infested, there is still debate as to if this is the origin of the infestation and/or the primary cause of the infestation spreading to other locations. One family who moved into a new apartment and got bed bugs believed that they came into their home from being transferred on clothing and furniture.  Of course, that can also be true.

The University of Kentucky, in its research, both agrees and disagrees with the idea that bed bugs in the walls are a primary way they spread. In their research on how bed bugs originate, they noted the following:

“The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items. This is a particular problem for hotels, motels and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant. Bed bugs are small, cryptic and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, boxes and belongings. The eggs are especially tiny and are usually overlooked. Acquiring secondhand beds, couches and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into previously non-infested dwellings. Bed bugs also can be carried in on a person’s clothing or shoes, resulting in an infestation.”

Yet, they do not rule out the use of walls as a means of bed bugs spreading out throughout a building. Their research also concluded, “Once bed bugs are introduced, they often spread throughout a building. The bugs can travel from room to room or floor to floor either by crawling or via a person.” And, because there may be cracks and crevices in walls, it makes sense to think that they can hide out here and also avoid some bed bug treatments this way. Eventually, they will come out and seek beds and other areas, so it is important to re-inspect and re-treat those areas as well as inspecting any used furniture and other items like suitcases before bringing these items into a new location in case you are inadvertently transporting hitchhiking bed bugs.

In Summary
In debating how bed bugs spread, this blog post noted the following points:

  • Bed bugs most often hitchhike on used furniture and belongings as well as suitcases, backpacks, and bags.
  • Once in a new location, bed bugs can hide and move around a building through walls and floors.
  • Walls are a favorite dark hiding place for bed bugs and a way to avoid treatment techniques.
  • All areas should be continually re-inspected as bed bugs will eventually come out of cracks and crevices seeking food. That’s why being vigilant with inspections is important in fighting a bed bug infestation.

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