A bed bug in a bathroom with grey tiles.

Why Would Bed Bugs Be In The Bathroom?

If you see bed bugs in the bathroom, below are a few possible scenarios. In fact, just seeing a bed bug anywhere can cause just about anyone to go into a state of panic. It’s important to note that we carry bed bugs as hitchhikers into new environments; they can take a ride on our clothing or in our bags. 

Bed bugs are positively thigmotactic organisms. To illustrate positively thigmotactic means that they seek out contact with other objects. Finding a single bed bug in a  bathroom is unusual but not unheard of; in most cases, the bed bug just ended up in the bathroom. If you do find a lone bed bug in your bathroom it is best to determine if it is a male vs a female bed bug. Figuring this out will let you know if that bed bug in the bathroom laid eggs.

Yes, seeing a bed bug in a bathroom is unusual. Bed bugs like to hike right next to where people sit or lie down for long periods. Bed bugs in a bathroom are uncommon because they only get nutrition from human blood. So unless your bathroom has a couch or chair where you hang out for hours, they are usually not setting up a home in a bathroom. Instead, they more than likely just ended up in the washroom and will find a more suitable place in time.  

Namely, bed bugs don’t drink water or go after any type of food crumbs like roaches. A bed bug is not similar to a cockroach at all. A cockroach survives on food crumbs and water, whereas bed bugs survive on blood. Consequently, bed bugs are attracted to CO2; when we breathe, it will trigger them to start moving.

Over the past ten years, about 20  clients have told me that they found a bed bug in their bathroom. As you can see, this is not common, but it does happen. Each city has their own laws regarding bed bugs and who is responsible for the treatment. Our NYC bed bug law will differ from a Portland, OR bed bug law.

Why Would Bed Bugs Be In The Bathroom? There are many reasons why.

What To Do If You Find a Bed Bug In Your Bathroom

  • Take a photo of the bug and save the bug. You can collect it on tape and then put it into the freezer; make sure to write the date you found the bug on the ziplock. Many pest control companies and K9 bed bug inspection companies will ID your bug over email. 

Get your bug correctly identified before jumping to conclusions. I have gone on many bed bug inspections where the bug the client found is not a bed bug. Other bugs commonly misidentified as a bed bug: bat bugs, spider beetles, carpet beetles, roach nymphs, swallow bugs, bird mites,  booklice, or a pirate bug in the “anthocoroid” family.

If you live in a building and there turns out to be a building-wide issue, you will want to save this bug for future evidence.

  • If you find a bed bug in the bathroom, the first thing to do after taking a photo and saving the bug is to do a thorough bed bug inspection in your bedroom and living room. You can hire a bed bug company to inspect for you or do it yourself. Hiring a professional is an essential step in helping you determine if that bed bug you found in your home is a lone hitchhiker, a traveler, or a sign of a more extensive infestation in your home.

  • Some states have laws in place that require the landlord to provide bed bug extermination. If you are renting an apartment, then reach out to the landlord and let them know.

A Mattress Cover Can Help You Monitor

  • Buy mattress and box spring covers; wherever that bug in the bathroom came from, there are more. So if you don’t know exactly where it came from and do not see any other bed bugs in your home, a bed bug encasement will help you monitor the bed as well as minimize any seams and hiding places in case another bed bug shows up.

  • Seal up all cracks and crevices in your apartment. Do not forget to seal up the seams around the water pipes, steam pipes, as well as any air vents. One resident went to the extreme measure of putting tape over the air vent because he kept finding bed bugs in his bathroom. 

Once he put the clear tape over the air vent, he could catch a few live bed bugs trying to crawl out of the air vent. The tenant caught the live bed bugs on the packing tape, so he could now show them to his landlord as proof and evidence.

In our photo below, you can see the extreme measure that this resident went to in order to prevent any more bed bugs from crawling out of the vent.

We are not recommending this as a solution, we are merely just showing you what one person did.

A bathroom vent can be a reason why a bed bug gets into your apartment.

9 Reasons Why You Might Find Bed Bugs In The Bathroom

  1. You have a bed bug issue in your home, and you keep a laundry basket in the bathroom. Whenever you put clothing, pillowcases, or bedding into that laundry basket in the bathroom, you are at risk of getting bed bugs in your bathroom.

Neighbors Setting Off Bed Bug Bombs!

  1. One of your apartment building neighbors is setting off DIY bed bug bombs. These bed bug bombs are causing their bed bugs to scatter. It is important to note that the bed bug bombs are not strong enough to kill the bed bugs. Instead, it makes them run, which could be why some bugs end up traveling to other apartments through vents, radiators,  and pipes.

  1. If you work in an office with a bed bug issue, you may have carried one home on your clothing and accidentally dropped it off in your bathroom.

  1. Unbeknownst to you, one of your neighboring apartments is dealing with an infestation. If the colony of bugs is getting too big, they can begin to show up in your apartment. If the adjacent flats bed bug colony does not have enough food sources, so they seek a new food source and home.

  1. You recently went on a trip where you may have picked up a bed bug on your clothing. A human can pick up a  bed bug on an airplane seat, a train seat, uber car, a taxi, Doctor’s office, or other shared seating.

Bed Bugs Are Hitchhikers!

  1. You have a bed bug issue in your bedroom, and in the middle of the night, you get up to go to the bathroom. A bed bug may have been in the middle of feeding on you or crawling on your clothing. This is how you can accidentally transfer it to the bathroom.

  1. There is an apartment on your floor with bed bugs, and one of your neighbors accidentally dropped off a bed bug in the hallway. This single bed bug can find its way into your apartment. While it is in search of a food source, it may just randomly end up in your bathroom.

  1. A bed bug can enter a duct or vent system in one apartment. The bed bug can exit the duct in a neighboring apartment bathroom. It is not likely for bed bugs to create a  harborage inside a duct system, but they can travel inside one. A bed bug can travel through an air vent, but the air vent itself is not a likely place to find an infestation.

  1. A bed bug can travel along a plumbing pipe and get into your bathroom cabinet. Traveling along the side of a plumbing pipe and then coming out into other apartments. This can be another way they get from one apartment to the next. Traveling on the inside of the plumbing pipe is less likely than along the outside of the line.

FAQ On Seeing Bed Bugs In A Bathroom

Final Words On What It Means If A Bed Bug Is Found In The Bathroom

In conclusion, these nine reasons can help answer why bed bugs would be in the bathroom. If you discover more in your home or find bed bug poop after finding the bed bug, hire a bed bug specialist. A bed bug professional or a certified bed bug sniffing dog can help you figure out the source. If you don’t see any more visible evidence of bed bugs in your home after finding one in the bathroom, keep monitoring for a few months. it is best to continue monitoring your furniture and walls for any bed bug evidence, over the next few months.

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