They’re one of the most intrusive and troublesome pests in the country. Science calls them Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. But you and I know them better as bed bugs.
Over the last several decades bed bugs have moved from near extinction to become one of the most common household pests in America. Whether you live in a big city or a small town chances are you know someone who has dealt with an infestation.
Where are Bed Bugs Typically Found?
We tend to think of bed bugs as exclusively bedroom pests. After all, it’s in the name. While bed bugs are usually found in bed rooms that’s not necessarily their preferred habitat. Like most predators they will go wherever they can find food.
The bed bug requires human blood to survive. To get that blood they need their human hosts to be placid and inattentive. Sleeping victims are ideal, and for most bed bugs that means hanging out in bed rooms waiting for their human to crawl into bed and fall asleep.
But bed bugs also need space to move and reproduce. They don’t always keep to a single room or space in a home. They can, and will, move throughout the house finding a wide array of hiding places – some of which may surprise you.
Unusual Bed Bug Hiding Places
Bed bugs are clever and crafty. They are more than capable of hiding just about anywhere you can think of – not just in your mattress. Over the years professional bed bug inspectors and exterminators have found these pests in some pretty strange places.
Naturally, some were stranger than others. So let’s start with the unexpected before we move on to the downright unusual:
- Living Room Furniture – Bed bugs are looking for stationary victims. Like it or not that doesn’t just apply to sleepers in bed. It also applies to those of us that nap on the couch, sit in our comfy chairs while watching TV, and generally lounge around the place. Let’s face it – that’s all of us.
Bed bugs are more than happy to set up shop in sofas, easy chairs, and even carpeting. Perhaps on terribly surprising. So let’s move on.
- Electrical Outlets – Technically behind the outlet covers. These are not just prime places for these pests to hide, they’re also present convenient access to rooms throughout the home. Bed bugs will use these gaps in the walls to travel from one room to another looking for food or a place to reproduce.
- Picture Frames and Wall Hangings – Not as common as some of our other examples but with a large infestation it’s not too unusual to find bed bugs hiding behind photos or paintings. Flags and tapestries are also good hiding places for adventurous bed bugs on the move.
- Bathrooms – Bathrooms are often considered the safest room in the house. By and large that’s true. Bed bugs have fewer places to hide in clutter free bathroom. But how many of us really keep on top of the clutter? In a large infestation bed bugs can hide in cracks between tiles, throw rugs, vanities, and stacks of towels.
The Strangest Places to Find Bed Bugs
If we move beyond the home we can find some even stranger bed bug hideouts. In a recent survey published by the Professional Pest Management Alliance the organization included a special section devoted to the weird and wild places bed bugs have been found.
Some of the strangest places include:
- School Buses – Public transportation is always vulnerable to bed bug infestations. We’ve seen it in bus depots, airports, subways. The constant influx of people and their belongings makes public transport a hot spot for bed bug encounters. School buses aren’t exempt and it’s not uncommon to find our kids sharing their morning trip to school with bed bugs.
- Hospital Beds and Wheelchairs – As troubling as it sounds bed bugs have been found in a number of hospitals and nursing homes. Once again that steady stream of people coming and going from these facilities make them attractive to bed bugs. Consequently these pests have been found in hospital beds, linens, and even wheelchairs.
- Movie Theaters – Bed bugs have often been found in movie theaters. It’s understandable in a way. People come to see a movie, relax in the comfy chairs, and any stray bed bugs they may be carrying decide to strike out for pastures new. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that the AMC Empire in Times Square had to be closed for bed bug treatments.
- Churches – Once again the steady influx of people from throughout a community makes it easy for bed bugs to find new places to hide. Churches with large congregations can easily become infested with the pests. It’s now common enough that some insurance agencies have started offering specific policies and clauses addressing the problem.
Combating Bed Bugs Wherever You Find Them
As you can see bed bugs can turn up in some surprising places, both inside and outside of the home. If you suspect you have a burgeoning bed bug problem now is the time to act. The sooner you take action the sooner you can be rid of these blood-sucking parasites.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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