Do Bed Bugs Jump? Do Bed Bugs Fly? A Quick Tutorial!

We can help you answer these two questions – Do Bed Bugs Jump? Do Bed Bugs Fly? Let’s turn to science to help us answer the questions. The good news is that bed bugs do not jump, and they do not fly.

If bed bugs could jump like fleas, they would spread rapidly and be very difficult to control. Their inability to jump or fly makes them much easier to manage.

Bed bugs can crawl quickly, but not as fast as a cockroach. However, they can travel long distances in a relatively short period. This is how they can spread from one infested location to another. Furthermore, they will often passively hitch a ride on clothing or luggage to get from one place to another.

Do Bed Bugs Jump?

No bed bugs, unlike fleas, do not jump. A bed bug does not have the type of legs that allow them to jump. Over the years, I have had a few clients insist that they saw a bed bug jump.

More than likely, what they saw was a bed bug climbing up a wall by using their tibial pads as grippers, and they lost their grip and fell off of the wall. A bed bug falling off of a wall can appear as if jumping.

We will go over why bed bugs do not jump below. Let’s get into the details!

Bed Bug Behavior

A bed bug spends large amounts of time hiding in cracks and crevices away from the light. Furthermore, bed bugs don’t usually come out during the day, but that’s not to say that they can’t come out. They travel by crawling and walking from place to place, not jumping.

The majority of the time they spend crawling is searching for a blood meal. Since bed bugs live in harborages near their hosts, they don’t usually have to travel too far to eat.

Anatomy of Bed Bug Legs

The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, has six legs that allow them to climb and not jump. Each of the adult bed bug legs has tarsal claws and tibial pads.

The bed bugs do not have an abundance of protein resilin in their legs like fleas. The bed bugs have tibial pads; this anatomical feature of the bed bug leg allows the bug to grip and crawl up surfaces.

When the bed bug is crawling up a smoother surface like a wall, it will use the tibial pads to help them stick. On the other hand, when they crawl on a rough surface with a lot of texture, like a mattress or box spring, they will use their tarsal claws.

You can check out this study comparing the common bed bug’s climbing abilities against the tropical bed bug. The tropical bed bug Cimex hemipterus demonstrates a more remarkable ability to climb on smooth surfaces. Furthermore, the tropical bed bug demonstrates a more extraordinary ability to escape the bed bug interceptor traps.

Bed Bugs vs. Fleas – Which One Jumps?

Fleas are one of nature’s best jumpers; every part of their body is designed for jumping! Their hind legs are extremely powerful and can propel them high into the air. A flea’s legs act like springs that shoot them into the air. The flea has a protein called resilin in its legs that helps compress and propel it into the air.

On the other hand, bed bugs have shorter legs that are not built for jumping. In addition, their bodies are relatively flat, which makes it difficult for them to generate the lift needed to jump like a flea.

Do Bed Bugs Jump onto Your Clothes?

No it’s not possible for bed bugs to jump on your clothes. If you see a bug that jumps onto your clothes, it might be a flea. More importantly, anatomically, bed bugs are not capable of jumping.

Can Bed Bugs Jump From Person to Person?

No, bed bugs do not jump from person to person. If you are in a crowded subway where your clothes touch the person next to you, a bed bug can crawl from their shirt to yours. However, they are not capable of jumping from person to person.

On the other hand, If your friend who has bed bugs sits in your car then it’s possible for one to crawl off and get into your car. However, they won’t jump off of your friend.

Do Bed Bugs Jump When You Touch Them?

No, a bed bug does not jump when you touch it. A bed bug might crawl away from you if you touch it or shine a light on it.

When you startle some bed bugs by exposing their harborage, you may see some of them quickly scattering. You can see at the 27 second mark in this video below; the bed bugs are moving fast when we point the flashlight at them.

Can Bed Bugs Jump Short Distances?

No, bed bugs do not have jumping legs like fleas. A bed bug’s legs allow them to crawl and walk on various surfaces, but they do not jump.

How Far Can Bed Bugs Jump?

Bed bugs do not jump at all, so they are not capable of even jumping a short distance. Therefore, they do not jump, even the slightest distance.

Do Bed bugs Jump? Do Bed Bugs Fly?

Do Bed Bugs Fly?

No bed bugs do not fly. However, they do have reduced forewings which are called hemelytral pads. Even though the adult bed bug isn’t wingless, it is flightless. Bed bugs do not have any hind wings.

In addition, the pads are grown between the 5th instar nymph stage and the adult stage. The wing pads are visible once the 5th instar sheds its skin. Even though the hemelytral pads are articulated, and the bed bug can move them, they still cannot use them to fly.

Do Bed Bugs Have Wings?

Bed bugs have vestigial wing pads, so technically, a bed bug does have wings. More importantly, bed bugs do not use their wings to fly. They are small pads that emerge once the 5th stage nymph turns into an adult bed bug.

Do Bed Bugs Fly? A bed bug has non functioning wing-pads

Almost all insects have wings (whether they work or not) at some stage. Although there are a few exceptions to this: mainly those bugs in the family Tricholepidiidae. Furthermore, this family includes insects in the silverfish and springtails family and are “primitively wingless.”

What Looks Like a Bed Bug but Can Fly?

Many bugs are mistaken for bed bugs; however, if you see bugs that fly, it may be a carpet beetle. Carpet beetles come in various colors; some are variegated, others are solid reddish-brown, and others are blackish. Remember that carpet beetles tend to be smaller than adult bed bugs.

Not only that, but they also have a hard shell with wings. In contrast, a bed bug does not have a hard outer shell with noticeable wings.

The reddish-brown ones may have you panicking and saying, “oh no, flying bed bug”! Other beetles fly that may look like a bed bug, keep in mind that if the bug is flying, you can be sure it’s not a bed bug.

Is There Such a Thing as a Flying Bed Bug?

No, even though bed bugs have wing pads, they are nonfunctioning. Bed bugs do not fly or jump. Instead, a bed bug moves around by crawling. If you see a flying bug that is shaped like a shield it may be a stink bug, learn about the differences between a stink bug vs a bed bug here.

How Do Bed Bugs Travel?

A bed bug walks around using its six legs as a mode of transportation. Often, bed bugs hitch a ride on our clothing, backpacks, or other belongings and get transported to new locations. For this reason, they are passive travelers. They do not actively jump or fly onto a new host. Instead, they get moved around passively.

A bed bug spends most of its day hiding in cracks and crevices until its next blood meal. However, if a bed bug crawls onto a shirt that you threw onto a bed, you may unknowingly transport the bed bug to a new location.

Final Thoughts for Do Bed Bugs Jump? Do Bed Bugs Fly?

So, the answer to do bed bugs jump or fly is….neither! Bed bugs are outstanding at crawling, and that’s how they move around. They will use their tibial pads and tarsal claws to grasp onto various surfaces, helping them move about.

Having these features on their legs allows them to travel quickly and easily from one place to another – including your mattress! If you are suspicious that you may have bed bugs, it’s best to call a bed bug specialist in to do a thorough inspection.


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