Can Bed Bugs Climb on Metal? Does a Metal Frame Stop Them?

“Can bed bugs climb on metal?” is one of the most commonly asked questions. Despite some conflicting answers, the answer is yes – bed bugs can climb on metal frames. Though metal frames may not have as many bed bug hiding spots, these pests can still find a screw hole or seam to slip into.

Bed bugs can climb onto metal surfaces just like any other surface. A bed bug uses its wrist pad to help it climb up a metal bed frame.

Bed Bugs and Metal Bed Frames: Everything You Need to Know

Can Bed Bugs Climb on Metal

Yes, unfortunately, bed bugs can crawl up metal. Since bed bugs do not jump, the only way for them to get onto your metal bed frame is to crawl or be introduced to the bed. While they may prefer to climb on textured surfaces, they can still find a way to crawl up smoother surfaces like metal.

Many people think that if they get a metal bed frame, it will prevent bed bugs. Did you know that bed bugs use their wrist pad to help them climb on smooth surfaces?

Bed bugs can climb up metal with the help of their wrist pads
The photo above was taken by Lou Sorkin. Check out Lou Sorkin’s website for more bed bug info

While metal frames may lessen the chances of bugs crawling from the floor onto your mattress, it’s important to remember that this is far from a surefire solution. The best thing you can do is to remain vigilant, ramp up on preventative measures, and look for any signs of an infestation.

Where on the Metal Frame Do Bed Bugs Hide?

You’ll need to look into the following areas:

  • You must search all screws.

  • Look at the metal rail where the mattress sits; many times, a bed bug will be sitting between the metal and the mattress/box spring.

  • Check all seams where two pieces of metal are attached. You can slide a piece of paper here to see if anything comes out.

Steaming for bed bugs on a metal frame

  • If your metal bed frame has hollow tubes, you may want to check the inside. You can take apart the metal frame and pour boiling water into the pipes to see if any bugs come out. Or take a bed bug steamer and shoot the steam into the metal tubes. Sometimes bugs will run when they are hit with heat like that.

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What Are Some Signs That Your Metal Bed Frame Has Bed Bugs?

Can Bed Bugs Climb on Metal

  • Look for bed bug feces stains on and around your bed. The bed bug droppings will look like black ink-like marks.

  • Check all of the common bed bug hiding places. Some of these are behind your headboard and under your bed frame.

  • Get a bright flashlight and check every single screw hole on the metal frame. We often find bed bugs sitting in a recessed metal screw hole.

  • Check each screw hole for pearly white bed bug eggs. Check out our guide on bed bug eggs so you know what to look for.

Can Bed Bugs Live on Metal?

Yes, as long as a blood source is sleeping on the metal, it really doesn’t matter what bed frame you have. If bed bugs get introduced to your bed, then the material of the frame doesn’t matter.

Remember that a simple metal frame will be easier for you to spot the bed bugs, but it won’t prevent them. A wooden Captains bed is the worst type of bed since they provide a plethora of hiding spots.

How to Keep Bed Bugs off Metal Frames?

The best way to guarantee bed bugs don’t find their way into your bedroom is by taking precautions not to pick them up.

Do Bed Bugs Like Metal?

No bed bugs do like or dislike metal. A bed bug only cares about acquiring a blood meal. So if your mattress is on a metal frame, the bed bugs will find a way to make a home on it.

How To Stop Bed Bugs From Climbing Your Bed

There are many preventative DIY methods for stopping a bed bug from climbing your bed. We will list some of these tactics below.

  • Use traps like interceptor cups on your bed posts. These bed bug bed leg traps work by trapping a bug in a pitfall-type trap. They prevent the bug from being able to climb up your bedpost from the floor.

The inner surface of the interceptor cup is slick, not allowing the common bed bug to get a grip. However, if you have the tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus), its wrist pad (fossula spongiosa) is better developed, allowing them to escape the interception cups.

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  • Isolate your bed away from the wall. Keep your bed as an island, with nothing touching the walls. If you have your pillows touching the walls, then a bed bug can easily crawl from the molding ➡️ onto your pillow ➡️ then onto your bed to bite.

  • Use bed bug lures under your bed. These can help you trap a bed bug crawling on the floor.

  • Place the double-sided sticky tape on your bed legs. Using heavy-duty, extremely sticky tape can help trap a bug that tries to climb up your metal bed frame.

Final Thoughts on Can Bed Bugs Climb on Metal?

Bed bugs can climb onto metal surfaces just like any other surface – despite some conflicting answers, the answer is yes. Though metal frames may not have as many bed bug hiding spots, these pests can still find a screw hole or seam to slip into.

Learning about how bed bugs move and where they hide is the first step in getting rid of an infestation. If you suspect you have bed bugs, contact a pest control professional immediately.