Bed bugs are small sedentary creatures entirely dependent upon the blood of their hosts for sustenance. Their mobility is relatively restricted; they can neither fly nor jump and are fairly slow when compared to other predatory insects. But in spite of these limitations bed bugs have no trouble keeping up with their human hosts. They easily move throughout a building, traveling from room to room, in search of human hosts and fresh blood.
How long it takes bed bugs to spread throughout a home is largely dependent upon how they choose to travel. If they are limited to traveling only on their own power a bed bug can travels upwards of 20 feet in five hours. At that speed it would clearly take some time for a colony of bed bugs to spread throughout a home or workplace.
But bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers, and they’re more than happy to hitch a lift on the clothes and the belongings of their human hosts. That drastically cuts down on travel time and makes it easier for bed bugs to move from room to room. That’s why you need to give attention to every room in your home if you are battling a bed bug infestation.
How Quickly do Bed Bugs Spread in a Closed Environment?
An adult bed bug can lay between 1 and 12 eggs per day, or roughly 200 to 500 eggs over the course of a lifetime. That rate of reproduction clearly illustrates just how quickly a small bed bug problem can turn into a full-blown infestation. It doesn’t take long for a small bed bug problem to turn into a full-blown invasion, and barring proper intervention that invasion can easily take a significant toll, both emotionally and financially, on the homeowner.
As we know, bed bugs rely on warm-blooded hosts for food. In most cases these hosts are human and a bed bug’s survival depends on keeping in close proximity to their human hosts. Although bed bugs are slow moving they will move around a house looking for hosts to feed on, and they will continue to breed and reproduce as they travel throughout their environment. Whenever possible they will reduce their travel time and exertions by hitching rides on their hosts clothing, furniture, or other items as they are moved from one room to another.
How do Bed Bugs Move from Room to Room?
The bed bug’s body shape makes it easy for them to crawl into tight spaces. They will crawl through voids in walls and baseboards, passing through cracks and crevices in search of a safe hiding place and an easy meal. They will travel down hallways and up walls in search of blood. They can even crawl through electrical sockets, traveling between rooms in houses and apartments in search of easy prey.
Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide humans emit when we sleep, and they will go to great lengths to get nearer to their primary food source. This accounts for the common spread of bed bugs throughout a household. The contributing factors of bed bug spread can be broken down into three basic areas:
- Hosts are sleeping or resting in another room to escape a primary infestation location
- Hosts have moved clothing or furnishing to a new location to escape a bed bug infestation, and in doing so provided transport for the colony’s outliers
- Bed bugs have been driven from one room to another by improperly deployed bug bombs and over the counter insecticides
Can Bed Bugs be Contained in One Room?
When facing a possible bed bug infestation it’s only natural to want to contain the problem. You might double down on your regular cleaning routine, going through the house with a fine toothed comp trying to root out the bed bugs and killing them on sight. Unfortunately, that takes time and even a deep clean will only delay the onset of the invasion force. Bed bugs are masters at hiding and out-waiting their enemies. They can survive for long periods without food; only to emerge from their hiding places after you think you’ve eliminated the problem.
It might be tempting to isolate the invaders by shutting off an infested room and starving the bed bugs out. But as we know bed bugs can survive up to five months without food. That’s a long time to shut down a room in your home. Moreover, it’s pretty much impossible to truly isolate bed bugs in one room or area of the home.
In practice, there are a number of reasons isolation simply doesn’t work as a technique to eliminate bed bugs:
- Bed bugs can crawl through cracks in walls and through connecting voids like electrical sockets and air vents in search of food
- Family pets can act as carriers for stray bed bugs, helping to spread them from one room to another
- Bed bugs often secrete themselves in clothing and personal belongings, meaning anything you remove from the isolate area may itself be a vehicle for the bed bugs
- It is impractical and inconvenient to quarantine a single room within your home
In the final analysis it’s best to deal with a bed bug problem head on. Any attempt to isolate a bed bug colony or limit its reach throughout the household is doomed to failure. The best defense is a strong offense, and that means calling in a professional inspection and removal service to evaluate your bed bug problems and develop a plan of attack that will eliminate the infestation once and for all. The sooner you act, the sooner you can put the nightmare of a full-scale bed bug infestation behind you.