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 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. Seeing bed bugs in kitchens is also not normal behavior for them; read our entire article on bed bugs in kitchen and why you might see them.
Over the past ten years, about 40 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.
What To Do If You Find a Bed Bug In Your Bathroom
Whether you find bed bugs in the shower, bed bugs in the sink, or just on the bathroom floor, we are here to help!
Take a Photo
Take a photo of the bug and save the bug. There are many other bathroom bugs that can be mistaken for a bed 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.
Inspect The Rest of Your Home
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 essential in helping you determine if that bed bug you found in your home is a bat bug vs a bed bug, a lone hitchhiker, a traveler, or a sign of a more extensive infestation in your home.
Contact The Landlord
Some states have laws requiring the landlord to provide bed bug extermination. If you rent an apartment, contact the landlord and let them know.
Get Encasements: 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. Furthermore it will also minimize any seams and hiding places in case another bed bug shows up.
Seal Up Cracks and Crevices
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.
10 Reasons Why You Might Find Bed Bugs In The Bathroom
From Your Laundry Basket
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.
Washing clothes does kill bed bugs but you must make sure they go through the dryer on the hottest setting. If you have bed bugs then don’t place the laundry directly into the hamper without putting them into plastic bags. You can also invest in a bed bug proof laundry hamper.
Neighbors Setting Off Bed Bug Bombs!
One of your apartment building neighbors is setting off DIY bed bug bombs. These bed bug bombs are causing their bed bugs to scatter. Which this scattering is one way in how bed bugs start up in another apartment.
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.
Your Work Place Has Them And You Carried One Home
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.
Infestation in a Neighboring Apartment
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 (blood) then the bugs will seek a new blood source and home.
Hitchhiker That You Picked Up From A Recent Trip
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!
You Got Up in the Middle of the Night to Use the Bathroom and Dropped One Off.
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.
A Bed Bug Crawled In From Your Apartment Hallway
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. In these cases you may also see a bed bug on the ceiling.
It Crawled Through The Vent From A Neighboring Apartment
A bed bug can enter a duct or vent system in one apartment. Then the bed bug can exit the duct into 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.
It Crawled Along the Steam Pipe or Plumbing Pipe
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.
A Guest Dropped One Off In Your Bathroom
You have a guest over and they have an active infestation at their own house. If they have a bed bug on their clothing then this is how they can accidentally drop a bed bug off in your home.
One of our former clients found a bed bug in their bathroom. What they learned later on was that accidentally someone brought the bed bug to their house and it ended up in their bathroom.
FAQ On Seeing Bed Bugs In A Bathroom
Bed Bugs In Shower, Why?
You may see a bed bug in your shower for many reasons. If you hang your clothes to dry in the shower, then a bed bug can fall off. Another reason is that it came from your bed, meaning that you unknowingly dropped it off in the bathtub.
If you encountered bed bugs somewhere else and picked up a hitchhiker. Then it may end up on your shower floor.
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.