Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed bug science, "experiments," etc.

Bed bug ceiling drop phenomenon

(19 posts)
  1. P Bello

    oldtimer
    Joined: Nov '11
    Posts: 4,863

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 13 2013 18:01:09
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Dear Folks,

    Since this subject has been raised yet again, the community seems better served if it is addressed in under its own thread.

    Questions and issues to consider and discuss include:

    1. Do bed bugs in fact climb the walls, crawl upside down across the ceiling and drop upon sleeping hosts to attain a meal?

    2. If so, what is the frequency of this occurrence?

    3. Would such behavior be characterized as normal or unusual?

    4. What percentage of a bed bug population, if any, would be expected to do this?

    I look forward to your comments ! pjb

  2. theyareoutthere

    oldtimer
    Joined: Sep '11
    Posts: 3,255

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 13 2013 18:56:23
    #



    Login to Send PM

    1%

    They
    Are
    Out
    There
    = TAOT
  3. Nemo

    member
    Joined: Jul '13
    Posts: 264

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 13 2013 19:36:43
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I would probably consider it not routine, but not rare. Amusingly, I found a couple very old references to this behavior in the scientific literature!

    They effected their entrance by crawling up the walls and along the ceiling until over the bed, when they let themselves fall, probably aware that the shock would not be fatal. My attention was first drawn to the fact by the descent of one of the loathsome creatures into my mouth, while I was lying in a dose [sic] in the dim twilight of a summer morning: after this nauseous experience I several times observed the fall of bugs.

    Walter White, Esq. How to prevent the attacks of the bed-bug, Cimex lectularius. Journal of Natural History Series 2, Volume 2, Issue 12, 1848

    Unfortunately not free, but this excerpt is visible on the preview here.

    [The bed bug] is particularly active in its search for food. To illustrate this may be quoted the story of the ingenious traveler, who, in order to keep bedbugs out of his bed, set the legs of the bedstead in pans of water, whereupon the bedbugs climbed the walls, got out on the ceiling over the bed, and dropped down upon the victim. In order to thwart his enemies the traveler was obliged to raise his umbrella.

    W. C. Rucker. The Bedbug. Public Health Reports (1896-1970) Vol. 27, No. 46, Nov. 15, 1912

    Pdf available here.

  4. BBorNot2Bs

    newbite
    Joined: Jun '13
    Posts: 18

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 13 2013 19:51:07
    #



    Login to Send PM

    to crave blood is bound to make anything desperate and resilient. if they trek from one end of the house to the other through carpet fibers surely scaling the walls would be a piece of cake or should i say, a prick of skin.

  5. Finleyfoo1

    member
    Joined: Jul '13
    Posts: 149

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 13 2013 20:00:20
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I agree that this could be possible. Although I also admit to being awake some nights between 3-5 am and shining a flashlight up at the ceiling intermittently and I see nothing. I wonder if putting sticky tape along the top perimeter of the walls would result in anything?

  6. Alicew234

    junior member
    Joined: Aug '13
    Posts: 79

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 13 2013 20:40:39
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Ah, man, I wish I could "unread" this. An umbrella! I'll be having nightmares!

  7. endless_nightmare

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '12
    Posts: 769

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 13 2013 21:14:38
    #



    Login to Send PM

    when my floors where covered with pesticide, I have seen this happen several times, they would drop at me from the ceiling, I was told by the PCOs afterwards that the stuff that was put down was too strong of a repellent

    I had a major infestation mind you

    But I have seen this phenomenon with my own eyes

    Andrea
    not a PCO
    Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy/Volunteer
  8. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 15,666

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 14:51:12
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi,

    I have enjoyed seeing the responses and input on this one and thought it was worth a reply but its been busy here.

    1. Do bed bugs in fact climb the walls, crawl upside down across the ceiling and drop upon sleeping hosts to attain a meal?

    Well yes they clearly do because others have also noted it. I have seen it in heavy cases, I have seen it in light diffused cases, I have seen it due to the use of aerosol based products driving bedbugs towards the wall ceiling junction and I have seen it as a result of isolating beds with tapes and devices and I have seen it as a result of "professionals" "power washing" peoples homes with insecticides and using the "freeze dispersal" method known as Cry-All-Nite.

    2. If so, what is the frequency of this occurrence?

    This is a product of the level of infestation and what is done to force them to change their normal behavioural pattern. Given no intervention and a regular supply of food we know that bedbugs occupy an area within 3 foot of a regular source of food, in most cases this is the bed or the sofa. Should they become excluded from these areas or "isolated" from them then they are no longer behaving normally and must adapt to their environment in order to gain food. This is a well know principle with rats who are referred to as "neophobic" because to kill or trap them you leave the environment undisturbed until the killing is finished and then you tidy and optimise the area after.

    3. Would such behavior be characterized as normal or unusual?

    No it is not normal, the normal behaviour allows them access to the "normal" places they would occupy. The behaviour is an adaptation as a result of the environment that they find themselves in. Given mans history with bedbugs means that as a species we have lived with them for 99.9999% of our existence they are proven to be nothing if not well adapted to what we through at them be that isolation or chemical control.

    4. What percentage of a bed bug population, if any, would be expected to do this?

    Well if left alone and int he natural state none at the early stage but as things progress or are made worse a percentage of the displaced or surviving bedbugs will adapt to the environment.

    I strongly believe that the exceptionally highly clear up rate that we have is down to fundamental differences such as this and the fact that our museum of bedbug ephemera has taught us a lot about what has been tried before and field observation has allowed us to integrate the current environment.

    A valuable discussion though.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  9. endless_nightmare

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '12
    Posts: 769

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 15:33:03
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Just to add to the point of isolation,

    when I saw this occur, my bed was seriously isolated, I had climb ups, Vaseline, Double sided tape, everything was away from the wall by at least three feet

    I hardly had anything in the room but a small plastic bin and a bunch of plastic bags, so I was wondering why I was still getting bitten at night, until I saw a bed bug drop one night as I flip the light on to go to the washroom in the middle of the night

    again, I had a very heavy infestation, not a small one

    I remember when I decided to finally un-isolate my bed after the last PCO suggested it

    It felt more normal, I was less preoccupied by the infestation, the bed away from the wall and the climb ups and the Vaseline were constant reminders that I was infested by bugs, it ruined my sleeping environment, my bed room was no longer a safe place

    The passive monitor placed behind the bed, out of sight, was a more healthy situation for me, just set up the bed as normal, place the monitor, forget about it and check it later

    If you have a mice issue you'll see that they always follow the same trails, mice PCOs will place traps along those trails because they know that the mice will eventually go there, if you disrupt that trail or make it inaccessible for the mice, they'll never go in the trap

    I sometimes wonder if my infestation would have lasted so freaking long, if I didn't isolate my bed

  10. KillerQueen

    oldtimer
    Joined: Mar '08
    Posts: 3,989

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 17:34:36
    #



    Login to Send PM

    1. Do bed bugs in fact climb the walls, crawl upside down across the ceiling and drop upon sleeping hosts to attain a meal?

    NO ... not intentionally anyway. Can they be seen climbing walls? - YES. Can they be seen crawling upside down? - YES. The rest is BS.

    2. If so, what is the frequency of this occurrence?

    [rude comment deleted]

    3. Would such behavior be characterized as normal or unusual?

    Unusual at best because it's not an inherit behavior.

    [rude comment deleted]

    4. What percentage of a bed bug population, if any, would be expected to do this?

    If one was to fall off the ceiling I would say 1 in 5000 lost their grip.

  11. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 21,891

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Aug 17 2013 2:25:11
    #



    Login to Send PM

    This is a valuable discussion. However, it has escalated into an ugly fight, which has led to posts above this one being edited or deleted.

    • Rude comments from KillerQueen's most recent post above were deleted, with the remainder of his points left intact.
    • Subsequent posts from endless_nightmare and KillerQueen were also deleted due to uncivil behavior.
    • (Nemo's subsequent post was deleted for quoting some of the uncivility-- sorry, Nemo-- I just wanted to remove the ugly.)

    There are three things everyone needs to remember here:

    (1) The forum rules require you to be civil. Name-calling is not permitted. Insulting people-- even if you think they may be misguided or have the wrong idea-- is not permitted.

    This applies in private messages as well as in forum posts.

    (2) Rule #1 holds even if someone else insults you (or a class of people you belong to) first.

    If this happens, please do not respond! Instead, report the post (by clicking the link to the left of the post), or send me an email with a copy of the PM.

    (3) We have three bed bug experts -- who I think would all agree they are all experienced bed bug experts -- who do not agree on this topic.

    Therefore, discussing this topic seems very valuable.

    I hope everyone who has participated so far in this discussion will be able to continue doing so. Both KillerQueen and endless_nightmare are valuable members of the forum, and both have been helpful to others in their time here.

    However, and this goes for anyone-- please opt yourself out of a discussion if you cannot take part in a civil manner. Name-calling or attacks on people who do not share one's opinions are not going to be tolerated.

    Thanks, everyone!

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  12. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 21,891

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 17:41:11
    #



    Login to Send PM

    As I said, I think this is a valuable conversation.

    We've heard David respond that it can happen. We've heard KillerQueen quite adamantly respond that it can't happen.

    We haven't, however, heard anything from the third expert who started the thread-- Paul. Your thoughts, Paul?

  13. P Bello

    oldtimer
    Joined: Nov '11
    Posts: 4,863

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 17:49:42
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Dear Folks,

    While I do have my own observations and commentary on these issues, I've been in communications with several of my industry colleagues who have provided their own comments on this matter.

    However, I am waiting on a reply from two individuals.

    Once these have been received I will share with you all on the BBRF (Bed BuggeR Forum).

    Have a great bug free day ! paul b.

  14. Alicew234

    junior member
    Joined: Aug '13
    Posts: 79

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 17:58:44
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I would like to quote from my new FAVORITE book- the Bed Bug Combat Manual by P. Bello:

    On page 7 of the Bed Bug Combat Manual by Paul Bello he writes: "In the 1930s, people would place the legs of their beds in bowls containing various liquids such as soapy water or even kerosene , to prevent bed bugs biting them as they slept; however, it was observed that bed bugs might simply climb the walls and ceiling to drop down upon the sleeping victim."

    LOVING Chapter 14! It' s a real page turner!

  15. loubugs

    old timer
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 8,953

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 18:06:48
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I responded to Paul directly when he emailed us and as he said, he's waiting for all the responses to be in, but I concur with David's response. Except to question #3 to say that it is not an abnormal behavior, their climbing behavior is in their repertoire of behaviors. Large infestations also make them crawl around more because many are displaced from the best accommodations. It could be a behavior that is not necessarily performed. They will crawl up and down walls and can crawl upside down in doing so. I've seen them crawl on walls and sort of jump off the vertical surface, although it's possible that in moving so quickly, they lost their footing. There is a wrist pad that helps with holding onto smooth surfaces and they don't rely solely on their tarsal claws. See some movies to show how well they can grip surfaces.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/lougentpix

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  16. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 15,666

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 18:28:04
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi,

    The first interception devices date back to patents held by E B Lake of 1866, it's not new technology but the approach has also not been in continual use throughout. I am not sure we will ever know why something from 1866 was not used into the 1930's but the fact remains it wasn't.

    David

  17. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 21,891

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 19:05:01
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Thanks everyone, I look forward to further input.

  18. deathbypie

    newbite
    Joined: Aug '13
    Posts: 3

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Aug 29 2013 4:36:00
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I've been interested in this ceiling drop thing since I first started reading about bed bugs. Sadly, I have never actually seen any crawling on the ceiling...but I do not usually look up there very often.
    However, I have been lying in bed reading, when a bed bug suddenly seems to drop out of nowhere right on to my pillow, in front of my face. It is possible that it dropped from my face or hair, but these haven't looked full of blood, and I am able to feel them crawl on skin while I am awake. I have seen this happen several times.

    Also, they can definitely climb walls. I have seen them climb vertical surfaces. Also, I have captured a bed bug on a piece of paper and turned it upside down, and they very rarely fall from this. They are then able to crawl upside down along the paper (or stay still if they just don't care). So I'd say they definitely can walk on ceilings. I don't think it is common though. Especially considering I have not seen it, despite seeing them walking around on horizontal surfaces often. I have no idea how anyone is expected to guess at a percentage. I can't even tell how many bed bugs are around, or how many feed each night, let alone how many decide to practice diving.

  19. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 15,666

    offline

    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Aug 29 2013 7:37:49
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi,

    Coming back to this as I needed to clarify this point.

    loubugs - 1 week ago  » 
    ...... I concur with David's response. Except to question #3 to say that it is not an abnormal behavior, their climbing behavior is in their repertoire of behaviors.

    Thanks Lou, "my bad" on this one it was a poor choice of phrases. Yes you are correct that bedbugs have the ability to climb, that in certain environments they will happily climb upside down to gain access and to follow some of the bat bug type behavioural patterns.

    My point was more accurately the fact that if bedbugs don't need to go through steps that mean they will need to walk over the ceiling and drop down that they would choice alternatives. The primer real estate being harbourage points within 3 foot of the occupant of the bed.

    Over the years of entering tens of thousands of homes and locations for bedbugs we have built a good database of patterns and as such have mapped out the most likely harbourages given room configuration and furniture type. Its something of a parlor trick but it explains why we are able to find them so quickly in a location when they are present and others may have missed them in previous inspections.

    But it appears we are now 7 to 1 in favor of them being able to do this based on field observations. I actually first observed it long before I formed the company to design a better way of dealing with infestations. As such and knowing the distress it has caused people we made it a main focus of our approach to avoid it occurring. I think the weight of evidence of how quickly we resolve even the heavier infestations shows that it works and we will not be going down the isolation route anytime soon.

    David


RSS feed for this topic


Reply

You must log in to post.

265,567 posts in 43,045 topics over 129 months by 18,887 of 19,446 members. Latest: bugbedder, RDM16, UStraveler1234