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Can Someone Who Has Bed Bugs Bring Them to Your House?

Can Someone Who Has Bed Bugs Bring Them to Your House?

Can someone who has bed bugs bring them to your house? The short answer: yes and now. It’s never a good idea to risk it. In this guide, we’ll show you things to consider and when to call a pest control professional.

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Can Someone Who Has Bed Bugs Bring Them to Your House?

If you know a friend or family member is dealing with bed bugs, you might be cautious about allowing them into your home. After all, it’s a fair question: Can someone who has bed bugs bring them to your house?

Graphic that says can someone with bed bugs bring them to your house and a short blurb in green text answering this question

The short answer is yes, but there are certain items on which bed bugs tend to “hang out.” If you can stop these items from being brought into your house, you can stop a potential infestation in its tracks. 

Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious when someone has a bed bug problem at home. Many people consider having bed bugs an embarrassing issue.

Why It Matters

Person clearly stressed out because he has bed bugs

So asking a guest may not get you an honest answer. Your guests may not even realize they have an infestation at home. Bed bugs are very small and like to hide.

So you probably won’t notice if someone is accidentally bringing bed bugs into your house. The only way to stop these parasitic hitchhikers from taking up residence is to be proactive.

There are a few ways you can protect your home from a bed bug invasion (including using rubbing alcohol), whether or not you know about a friend or family member’s pest problem.

In this guide, we’ll explain:

  • What you need to know about bed bugs
  • Unexpected ways bed bugs can hitch a ride into your home
  • What to avoid bringing into your home
  • What to do if a guest has bed bugs
  • How you can protect your home from bed bugs

Let’s start with why it’s important to be vigilant about making sure bed bugs don’t enter your house in the first place.

What You Need to Know About Bed Bugs

The life cycle of a bed bug displayed on a mac computer screen

You might wonder why it’s so important to be vigilant about bed bugs coming into your house. There are a few things you need to know about bed bugs.

These tiny insects:

  • Incredibly small, about the size of an apple seed. Adult bed bugs are just 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch long. 
  • Parasitic and feed on human blood. They live on or near beds to have quick access to human blood while their host is sleeping.
  • Brown in color, but their color can change based on whether they have recently “fed” on blood.
  • Hide most of the time, only coming out to feed when they detect the carbon dioxide in your breath.
  • Turn into itchy welts and may show up anywhere that your skin is exposed while you sleep, even your face.
  • Move around quickly when it’s not time to feed, and they can move about 8 feet away from a bed. This is how they spread to other areas and end up in clothing, shoes, luggage, etc.
  • Might hide in your bed, curtains, electrical outlets, pillows, couch – even in the head of a screw.

These are just a few reasons why bed bugs are not a pest you want to mess with. They’re small enough to hide in unexpected places, actively look for areas to spread to, and are hard to get rid of. 

Now that you know a little more about bed bugs and why they’re bad news, let’s talk about how they can get into your house with a little unintentional help from your friends.

Note: Note sure if you have bed bugs? Read our complete guide to Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs.

How Can Someone With Bed Bugs Bring Them to Your House?

The giant shadow of a bed bug displayed in an ominous way above a bed

If someone brings bed bugs into your house from a home infestation, they won’t realize that they’re doing it.

If they know they have bed bugs at home, they may even carefully look over their luggage, clothing, or purse and give it the “all clear” before coming over. 

The problem is that bed bugs are tiny hide-and-seek experts. It takes more than a glance to make sure bed bugs aren’t trying to crash the party. It’s up to you to know the items in which bed bugs like to hide.

Understanding this helps you can make sure they don’t make your house their new home. You’ll also need to be cautious about accepting used items from well-meaning friends and family.

How Bed Bugs Enter Your Home

Infographic style graphic showing where you can get bed bugs from

Bed bugs can be unintentionally brought into your home on or in secondhand items, anything fabric, and even inside electronics.

Treat the following items as though they’re harboring bed bugs if a guest with an infestation brings them in (or if you purchase them secondhand):

  • Shoes or socks
  • Clothing 
  • Luggage
  • Used furniture
  • Handbags 
  • Used curtains
  • Used books
  • Phones and radios
  • Used vacuums

Not only can adult bed bugs be brought into your house in or on these items, but bed bug eggs and nymphs (juvenile bed bugs) can, too. That’s how many infestations start.

If a few adult bed bugs, their eggs, and nymphs all show up, they can multiply quickly. One bed bug can lay up to 250 eggs in its 4-6 month lifespan.

This matters because if someone brings bed bugs into your house, you could have a full-blown infestation in weeks.

Think You Have Bed Bugs?

Think you have an infestation? Jump to When to Call a Pro

What to Do If a Guest Has Bed Bugs

Knowing the items that bed bugs tend to infest or hitch a ride on will make it easier for you to develop a plan. Catching an infestation early on will prevent a full-blown infestation.

If you suspect or know that a guest has bed bugs in their home, it’s your job to make sure it doesn’t spread to your home. 

Dealing with short-term guests who will only stay for a few hours is different from dealing with an overnight guest who has a bed bug problem.

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Short-Term Guests

Illustration showing how to avoid getting bed bugs

If they aren’t staying long, you probably won’t need to discuss your bed bug concerns with them. Just discreetly take the following actions to protect your home from being infested:

  • Cover furniture in the area you’ll be spending time with slipcovers or sheets that can be washed and dried on high heat immediately afterward.
  • Ask guests to take their shoes off before entering and either leave them outside the door or in a designated plastic shoebox with a lid. Clean it afterward.
  • Completely clear out a small closet and use it to hang their coat, scarf, hat, purse, backpack, etc. as soon as they enter your home. When they leave, thoroughly vacuum the closet and throw the vacuum bag away or empty the canister outside.
  • Wash and dry (high heat) any fabric or clothing items the guest brings for you as a gift as soon as possible.
  • Dispose of any gift packaging (wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, boxes) right away and remove it from your home.

Overnight Guests

What do do if you suspect someone in your house has brought in bed bugs

Dealing with overnight guests that have a bed bug problem is a little more difficult. Hopefully, they’ll be upfront with you about their infestation and save you a little trouble.

If they don’t, you can either:

  • Have a slightly uncomfortable conversation about what you’ll be doing to prevent bed bugs
  • Take action without alerting them to the real reason

The option you choose might be based on how sensitive you think your guests will be about discussing their bed bug problem.

If you just can’t bring it up with your guest, it’s going to be very difficult to take all the precautions needed. You might indicate that a neighbor recently had bed bugs and that you’re cautious for now.

Want to prevent bed bugs that may be carried in from infesting your house? There are a few simple steps you’ll need to take.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Cover furniture with clean slipcovers or sheets that can be washed and dried after use
  • Put a mattress encasement on the bed they’ll be using
  • Ask your guest to take their shoes off before entering and place their shoes in a plastic shoebox with a lid
  • Ask them to change into clean clothes upon arrival if you can offer them a clean change of clothes and give them a plastic bag to place their clothing in
  • Offer to do your guest’s laundry and use hot water and the high heat dryer setting
  • Place their luggage, suitcase, bag, or backpack into plastic containers with lids
  • Or put the luggage into a ceramic bathtub
  • Wash (hot water) and dry (high heat) any sheets, slipcovers, bedding, towels, washcloths, etc. that your guest used during their stay
  • Thoroughly vacuum your home and dispose of the bag or empty the canister outside

Protecting Your Home from Bed Bugs

Can someone with bed bugs bring them to your house? Absolutely, but if you’re proactive, you can keep hitchhiking bed bugs from sticking around and turning into an infestation.

Protecting your home from bed bugs is a lot easier than getting rid of bed bugs. Here are a few ways you can stop bed bugs from calling your house home.

Say No to Secondhand Stuff

 

Graphic that says saying no to second hand stuff as an image for a piece on whether someone with bed bugs can bring them to your house

Secondhand items may have come from a home infested with bed bugs. Any furniture, clothing, or fabric items are especially suspect.

However, you may find bed bugs in:

  • Used vacuums
  • Shoes
  • Luggage
  • Books
  • And even telephones

If you do purchase something secondhand, launder it and dry it on high heat if possible. But be careful not to heat them too hot, otherwise you’ll melt them.

Bed Bug Interceptors

Get bed bug interceptors for all your beds. These are devices that sit under the legs of your bed. They have two rings that catch bed bugs that are crawling up or down your bed.

With these in place, you’ll clearly see whether you do or don’t have bed bugs. Buy bed bug interceptors online or through your pest control company. 

Keep It Clean

A painter standing against a bunch of shelves and pointing at the sky

According to the EPA, reducing clutter and keeping your home vacuumed are both good ways to prevent bed bugs. Clutter gives bed bugs excellent places to hide.

So eliminating it makes it easier to find them if they make their way into your home. Regularly vacuum so any bed bug that ends up in your house won’t turn into an infestation. 

Avoid Visiting Bed Bug Infested Homes

If you know someone has bed bugs, keep your distance from their place for a while. It would be wise not to go back until they’ve reported a pest control company that successfully eradicated the infestation.

When you visit an area where bed bugs are living, some may come home with you on your clothing, shoes, or accessories.

Educate Your Friends and Family

Person standin at a door with fly-like dots around their head

Finally, dealing with bed bugs really shouldn’t be surrounded by stigma, but it is. The more stigma surrounds it, the more secretive people will be when dealing with bed bugs.

That’s why you can protect your home (and others) from bed bugs by educating the people close to you about them.

You should explain:

  • What exactly bed bugs are
  • How they can protect their home from them
  • The items bed bugs tend to travel on
  • And how to deal with guests that may have bed bug problems

You could help reduce the stigma around bed bugs by educating your friends and family and opening the door for future discussions if one of them deals with an infestation.

When to Call a Pro

Person stressed because he has bed bugs and thinking about an exterminator to help fix his problem

It also helps them understand the purpose of your preventative actions. After all, if someone can bring bed bugs into your house, your friends and family can have the same troubles.

Want to be sure you don’t have bed bugs in your home? Enter your information into the form below to connect with at least one local pest control expert.

Not only will you receive a completely free estimate from one or more local pest control experts, but you’ll stop the invasion before it costs thousands of dollars to treat.

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Can Someone Who Has Bed Bugs Bring Them to Your House?

A happy family gathering around a bed bug graphic

So, can someone who has bed bugs bring them to your house? The answer is simple: yes they can. And it’s actually far easier than you’d think.

It’s critical to catch an infestation early on, because bed bugs are hard to get rid of. If you suspect you have bed bugs, you should immediately call an exterminator.

Fortunately for you, the form just above makes it easy to quickly get a bid. Simply enter your information to get one or more completely free quotes.

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