If One Room Has Bed Bugs Do They All? Plus How To Prevent The Spread

An important question we often get is, “if one room has bed bugs, do they all?”. Bed bugs can travel room to room by crawling. Additionally, it is a fact that bed bugs will disperse to other rooms. Therefore it is best to treat the entire home comprehensively.

Furthermore, they will also move from room to room because you transport them on your clothing, books, backpacks, toys, or other objects that you move around. We will review the ins and outs of whether or not bed bugs can be isolated to one room.

So “if one room has bed bugs do they all?” deserves a complete answer with actionable tips on how to slow the spread. Many of our clients find bed bugs in one room. Then they want our bed bug sniffing dog to let them know if there are bugs in the other rooms.

If you live in the general NYC area and are finding bed bugs in one room, send us a message. We can help you figure out if you should just get treatment or get a bed bug dog.

How Fast Can Bed Bugs Spread From Room to Room?

How Fast Can Bed Bugs Spread From Room to Room

How fast bed bugs spread from room to room depends on many factors. In 2015 they did a study on bed bug movement and dispersal: Cooper, Richard et al. “Mark-Release-Recapture Reveals Extensive Movement of Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) within and between apartments.” PloS one vol. 10,9 e0136462. 9 Sep. 2015, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0136462

In this study, they marked bed bugs with a colored dot and released them into various apartments, both occupied and vacant. The study shows that the female bed bug is more likely to move away from the host’s bed to other home areas. However, the male bed bugs and nymphs also spread from room to room.

Furthermore, the results demonstrate an extensive movement of bed bugs within an apartment or home. It is a fact that bed bugs will disperse to other rooms, and this study proves it.

Lastly, this study shows how marked bed bugs were captured in hallways outside infested apartments. It demonstrates that when treating bed bugs, you must take a holistic approach to eradicate any wandering bed bugs.

Factors that affect how quickly bed bugs spread are:

  • Do you bring a lot of items from one room to another? If you read a book in your bed and then get that book onto the couch, you may transfer a bed bug to the living room. Learn about bed bugs in leather couches here.
  • Is there someone sleeping in the infested room every night? If the bedroom is vacant on some nights, then a hungry bed bug may wander to another room in search of a blood meal. Learn where to sleep if you just found bed bugs.
  • Do you frequently go straight from your bed, with your pajamas on to other rooms in the house? If so, then you can carry a bed bug to another room.

More Factors that affect how quickly bed bugs spread are:

  • Some bed bugs wander around looking either for a mate or blood.
  • If the bedroom is overrun with bed bugs, some bugs may wander off and spread out. Doing this ensures that they will have an ample supply of blood.
  • Do you ever get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom? If so, you may accidentally transfer a bed bug into the bathroom.
  • Did you spray any pesticides you bought in a hardware store or online? Bed bugs build up a generational resistance to cypermethrin and pyrethroids. Some of these bed bug sprays are not strong enough to kill the bugs, but they will make them disperse. Spraying permethrin-based bed bug sprays like Hot Shot is not recommended.
  • Do you have interceptor cups on the bed and along the walls of the infested room? Bed bug interceptor cups can help catch any wandering bed bugs. However, they are just one tool in the whole arsenal against bed bugs.
  • Did you spray a bed bug repellent, like orange oil or spearmint oil? A bed bug repellent will cause bed bugs to move away from the oil scent. Furthermore, repellents are how bed bugs can disperse into more challenging to find areas and even end up in the crown molding on a ceiling. 

How Common Is It to Have Bed Bugs in One Room of an Apartment?

It is more common for bed bugs to be in multiple rooms of an apartment. Usually, when we do a bed bug inspection in the NYC area, we find bed bugs in more than one room.

However, if it’s an early-stage bed bug issue, the bed bugs may be isolated to one room. Additionally, someone who has bed bugs can easily bring them to your house, if you are not careful.

If One Room Has Bed Bugs, Do They All? Bed bugs in a room with bunk beds and 2 twin beds.

How to Slow Down Bed Bugs From Spreading to Other Rooms

You can do things to make it less likely that bed bugs will travel from room to room. However, preventing every bed bug from moving to another room is impossible.

First and foremost, if you find bed bugs in one room, treating the entire home is a good idea. Do bed bugs jump? The answer is no, so the only way they can spread from room to room is by crawling or you carry one on an object or clothing.

Here is a list of things you can do to help prevent bed bugs from spreading: These tips are what you can do before you schedule a treatment company.

  • Change your clothes when you leave the room with the bed bugs. Ensure you only put clothing on that has gone through a high heat dryer.
  • Isolate the bed and place interceptor cups on the posts.
  • Do not bring books and other items in and out of the room with bed bugs.
  • Contact a bed bug professional in your area. If you live in New York, NJ, or CT, call us, and we will help you find a bed bug treatment company.
  • Place all of your bedding into the high heat dryer every day.
  • Vacuum as much as possible. Make sure you isolate the vacuum in a sealed bin or bag so bed bugs don’t crawl out.

More Tips on Slowing Down the Spread of Bed Bugs

  • Use bed bug covers for the mattresses and box springs. Doing this will help seal up any bed bugs on the mattress or box spring. It will not solve your problem, but it will help to diminish the number of bed bugs biting you.
  • Place bed bug traps and monitors in all other rooms of the apartment or house.
  • Sleep in the bed. If you decide not to sleep in the bed once you discover the bed bugs, there is a greater chance of bed bugs moving. A study by Dini Miller: Host Searching and Aggregation Activity of Recently Fed and Unfed Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L., talks about how unfed bed bugs are more likely to travel farther searcher for a blood meal.

How Far Can Bed Bugs Travel?

A bed bug can travel far by walking or being carried on an article/object. According to Philippe Parola, MD, Ph.D., and Arezki Izri, MD, Ph.D. in the New England Journal of Medicine, a bed bug can walk 3 to 4 feet per minute.

How far can bed bugs travel? They can travel worldwide if you carry them in your luggage from one country to another. However, if they are walking, you can expect a bed bug to travel from one room to another in under 15 minutes.

If you live in an apartment building, there are many ways a bed bug can travel. A bed bug can travel along the steam pipe and get into apartments above or below you, which is why bed bugs are one of the more common NYC bugs.

If one of your neighbors drops bed bugs in the hallway, then those bed bugs will wander around looking for a blood source. Additionally, they can also get into your apartment through the door. Furthermore, a bed bug can travel into another apartment through cracks and crevices in the walls. This is why it’s essential to seal all gaps in your floors, ceilings, and walls.

Typically bed bugs will travel between 2-15 meters (6-49 feet) from where they feed to a harborage.

Can Bed Bugs Come From Another Apartment?

The answer is yes, bed bugs can travel between apartments through a variety of means. They can crawl through cracks in walls, electrical outlets, steam pipes, and along with radiator pipes. It all depends on the internal construction of the building and how many pathways there are between apartments.

They can also hitch a ride on luggage or clothes, making it easy for them to spread from one unit to another. For instance, if one resident in a building has a bed bug on their pant leg, there is a chance that they drop it off in the elevator or hallway.

In fact, bed bug infestations are often found in multiple units within the same apartment building. Many times they travel to other apartments above or below. However, it’s not unheard of for them to travel to other apartments on the same floor.

Do Bed Bugs Travel in Groups?

No bed bugs do not travel in groups. When bed bugs leave a harborage area, it’s often because a female has mated too often. Sometimes nymphs also go exploring and leave a harborage site. However, they are not known to travel in groups; they travel solo.

Can Bed Bugs Travel on People?

Yes, bed bugs are great hitchhikers. They can travel on your clothing, your luggage, and even your shoes. Unfortunately, bed bugs can quickly spread from one place to another if you are not careful.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent bed bugs from hitchhiking on you. When traveling, be sure to inspect your hotel room for bed bugs and learn how not to bring bed bugs home from a hotel. If you have bed bugs at home, but all of your clothing into a high heat dryer or bed bug heater before leaving the house.

By taking some simple precautions, you can help prevent bed bugs from traveling on you and spreading. In answering “If one room has bed bugs do they all?”, we hope that you get some actionable advice.

How Long Will It Take for Bed Bugs To Infest?

Bed bug infestations develop slowly at first; then, they ramp up once you have 5-10 adults. A female bed bug will lay a few eggs per day.

Each egg takes 10-14 days to hatch; then, each baby takes 5-7 weeks to become an adult. So if you only bring in one pregnant bed bug, it will take many months before an infestation sets in. Since bed bugs typically bite every 4-7 days and can even go longer without a blood meal, you may not notice you have a problem right away.

If One Hotel Room Has Bed Bugs, Do They All?

No, if one hotel room has bed bugs, it does not mean they all do. However, if one room has bed bugs, the chances of other rooms having them is much greater. Recently we searched a hotel in NJ, and over half of the rooms we searched had bed bugs.

Bed bugs can travel to other rooms of a hotel on staff’s clothing, on the linens, or through the walls. If a staff member takes the sheets off of one bed and enters a new room, they can drop a bed bug off in the next room. Furthermore, the answer to “If One Room Has Bed Bugs Do They All?” is often a “yes.”

Final Thoughts for “If One Room Has Bed Bugs Do They All?”

So, what’s the answer? If one room has bed bugs, do they all? The short answer is yes. Bed bugs will travel room to room by crawling or hitchhiking, so it’s best to treat the entire home comprehensively.

Bed bug treatment includes not just your bedroom and living spaces but also hallways, closets, and other potential hiding spots for these pesky critters. So it’s essential to take action and eradicate them before they can spread.