If there’s one thing everyone can agree on it’s that bed bugs have no place in our homes and offices. No one want to share their space with these miniature vampires. Still, more and more people are falling prey to these revolting pests, and it’s becoming clear that they can turn up just about anywhere. From fifth-floor walk-ups to Manhattan skyscrapers bed bugs are turning up everywhere.

But just where are these loathsome pests coming from? And more importantly, how are they getting into our homes, offices, and public buildings?

Before we tackle either of these questions, we need to talk a little bit about the bed bug itself.

A Little Background on the Bed Bug

Bed bugs are small biting insects that feed on human blood. They’re flat and tiny, and are attracted to the warmth of humans and other mammals. Experts at concealment, these pests can hide in cracks and crevices, only coming out to feed on their hosts when their victims are most vulnerable.

While it’s true that bed bugs do not appear to transmit any infectious diseases (although research on that is still ongoing) their bites can be extremely irritating, and more often than not result in itchy welts and rashes appearing on the skin of the person who’s been bitten.

Bed bugs are also champion hitchhikers, and unfortunately we are their primary form of transport. So the answer to the question of how bed bugs are getting into our homes and offices is fairly simple. They hitch a ride –

Frequent Travelers

If you travel frequently, either for work or pleasure, you’re a likely target for a hitchhiking bed bug or two. Like it or not, hotels are never quite as clean and pest free as the claim, and even five star lodgings can be home to colonies of bed bugs. If just a few of these pests attach themselves to your clothing or luggage you could be bringing home a bit of a surprise. When you unpack after your travels any bed bugs you might have picked up will happily set up house, breeding and multiplying and picking out victims.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Travelers have more to worry about than hotel rooms. Bed bugs like nothing more than riding on public transport, and they’ve been known to show up on airplanes, trains, taxis and crosstown buses. Once again, if a stray bug or two latches on to your trouser leg or hitches a lift on your backpack you could end up bringing them into your home with you. Once inside your home they’ll go about their business building a new colony.

Theater Goers Beware

A relaxing night on the town with dinner and a movie is the perfect way to unwind after a busy week. As you settle back to munch on some popcorn and enjoy a film the last thing on your mind is bed bugs. But crowded theaters are the perfect stomping grounds for hungry bed bugs. The warmth of the crowd, the soft upholstery of the seats, provide everything a bed bug needs to stay fat and happy. If they can hitch a lift home with some unsuspecting movie goers all the better.

Visiting Infested Buildings

Bed bugs know how to hide. It’s their chief defense, and they are experts at using it to their advantage. That’s why they’re able to go unnoticed for so long, especially in public buildings. But that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Offices, shopping malls, cafes and courthouses have all been prone to an invasion of bed bugs. It’s all too easy to pick up a bed bug or two when you’re out and about taking care of business in the city.

So, if you’ve ever wondered just where those blasted bed bugs were coming from, and how they get into our homes, the answer is simple. We bring them in ourselves.

It’s called cross infestation in the trade, and it’s the chief cause of bed bugs in homes and offices throughout the country. Bed bugs hitch a lift with us while we’re out and about and simply stick with us until they find an environment they like. At which point they jump ship, set up house for themselves, and start breeding a colony.

That’s why it always pays to be aware of your surroundings, and to keep your eyes peeled for any unwanted insect hitchhikers. After all, there are some things you definitely do not want to pick up a bring home to the family.