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Can you pick them up from walking on street?

(5 posts)
  1. iamscared

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Nov 27 2011 14:08:28
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    I know a similar question is asked here already, but this one is bit more specific - I guess.

    On my way to the library, a bed mattress lied on the side of the street and it immediately raised a red flag and I could feel my heart beat going nuts.

    Is it possible to just pick them up while walking? Do they (or can they) climb moving objects (or people)?

    Thanks.

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Nov 27 2011 17:30:07
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    The answer to your question is pretty much the same as the answer to the similar question (if you and I are thinking of the same post.)

    It's important to understand the normal behavior of bed bugs when you're assessing how risky an activity or environment is.

    Normally, bed bugs hide for most of the day. They come out once every few days to feed. Other than that, they prefer to harbor somewhere near their food source. If they are left undisturbed, they will harbor *very close* to the food source. Mine were hanging out on the bed under the pillow on the side of the bed I wasn't sleeping on, on the curtains that touched the bed, on some clean sheets I had sitting on the side of the bed I wasn't sleeping on, and on the corners of the bed on top of the sheets.

    Despite frequent travel, the bugs didn't even really seem to migrate into the living room of my very small one bedroom apartment. I think it's because I didn't realize they were there, so I didn't do anything that might have encouraged them to move. My cat also sleeps on my bed, so when I was away, they were still able to eat without going very far.

    After my experience, frankly, I think of bed bugs as the insect world equivalent of video gamers who just got a brand new game they've been waiting for for months. I know that when games I've been waiting for come out, I leave the couch in front of the television long enough to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, and shower. Other than that, I'm in front of the television gaming.

    In larger populations or populations that have been established for longer, occasionally females will hie off from the colony. As far as I understand, researchers aren't 100% sure what drives this behavior--whether they are female adults fleeing after traumatic insemination, or it's some sort of instinct driven evolutionary response that helps increase the species.

    At any rate, that's a possibility.

    In addition, bed bugs that have been alarmed--because they've been disturbed or because they've been exposed to chemicals that have that effect, also behave differently.

    Finally, bed bugs removed from a food source will be looking for food.

    However, even those exceptions are not instances of things that would make bed bugs able to jump. They aren't fleas; they can't jump. In infestations with larger numbers or bugs that are very hungry, we have heard of bugs climbing walls to get to ceilings to drop onto a food source that they have been isolated from.

    All of that is important background to your question.

    If you stood very close to a mattress for several minutes, there's a chance a bug might hitch a ride.

    If you laid down on a mattress by the side of the road, you'd be in danger.

    And I don't think anyone can say with 100% certainty that there's no way a bug from a mattress could ever hitch a ride home with you.

    However, the bugs don't leap out from their hiding places. They don't generally harbor on people, or even rush to get on a conveyance of some sort.

    While it's statistically possible to pick up a hitch hiker that way, I would guess that the statistical chances of it happening are about as likely as getting struck by lightning. In other words, is it possible? Yes, but it's extremely unlikely that it would happen.

  3. iamscared

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Nov 27 2011 18:29:30
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    Thank you for your informative post. I did not stand there for minutes, I passed it within a second or two at most, but the paranoia set in much quicker (once I realised it was a mattress)

    I am also wondering how long do bed bugs "stick" to you if they hitch hike, if you are out and about for hours - walking running etc., can they still stick to your clothes or would they try to get off.

    It is extremely worrying to have the feeling that they could be ANYWHERE and can get to you anywhere anytime. Makes me even scared to go outside.

    Once again, thanks for your time.

  4. Jen27

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Nov 29 2011 21:22:17
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    I want to know that too! ^

    I had bed bugs over the summer and discovered them late August (i thought they were mosquito bites til I saw a bug). I put most of my belongings in storage and threw almost everything else out... when I moved I only brought my laptop, one guitar, and the clothing I was wearing.

    I haven't seen a bug or had tons of bites since I moved (which was Oct 1st) BUT I'm terrified when going places. Like you said they can be anywhere. I went out to dinner tonight and put all my clothing in the dryer when i got home.

    I also see one small light pink "bite" on my arm right now... but it's not itchy at all like my bites had been over the summer. Still, it freaks me out.

    So... I want to know too... should i be this paranoid?? Can you get them walking down the street? How long would one hitchhike??

  5. Jen27

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Nov 29 2011 21:23:02
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    (ignore this post... figured out how to edit my one above!)


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