How not to spread bed bugs when you travel

by parakeets on November 2, 2006 · 132 comments

in bed bugs and travel

This FAQ was updated in June 2009 and now has two parts: the first covers how not to spread bed bugs when you travel, the second covers how to avoid spreading bed bugs to others in your daily life.

Note: the section of the FAQ below on travel was originally written before the invention of a tool which many readers will find useful. The Packtite allows people to remove bed bugs from items such as unwashable clothing, books, papers, shoes, etc. This may help someone with an active infestation avoid taking bed bugs to other places (and, once bed bugs are gone, items brought in may be treated — even the suitcase itself!) This is quite a game-changer, and if you can obtain and use one, you may find a lot of the recommendations below don’t apply, since you will be able to reliably kill bed bugs in most of your belongings. You can read more in the Packtite FAQ.

How not to spread bed bugs when you travel

by Parakeets

I have bed bugs and I sometimes stay overnight with friends and relatives. What a dilemma! How can I make sure I don’t take bed bugs with me to my host? (Ha ha, that’s a switch. With bed bugs I’m usually referring to MYSELF as the “host.”) They are so small, such good hiders, such good hitchhikers. It seems almost impossible, but here are some tips on what I do to avoid spreading bed bugs:

1) I take the absolute least amount of things with me as possible. The less you take, the less hiding places there are. This means repeating outfits, mixing and matching, and wearing the same piece of clothing or shoes over and over. Again, the less you take, the less chance of taking bedbugs. We have to be stark minimalists. It reminds me of when I traveled in Europe with a pack on my back and carried very little.

2) Whenever possible, I won’t even take a suitcase. I pack my clothes hot from the dryer into ziploc bags. I then put the zip-lock bags of clothes into a clear plastic larger bag and carry my clothes in that. (Ladies, first tuck your lingerie inside something else. Otherwise you’ll find you’re walking down the street with your “underwear showing”–literally). When I travel, I wear an outfit that I take straight out of the dryer or out of a ziploc bag.

3) I tossed out all my cosmetic bags and all those “travel totes for toiletries” (okay, I didn’t throw out my love of alliteration). I carry such items in zip-lock sandwich baggies. I don’t take hairdryers, travel irons, etc. with me. I borrow shamelessly when I get to the place I’m staying.

4) Again, when possible, I won’t even take the clear plastic larger bag into the house I am visiting if I’m using my car. I leave all my stuff in the car and use the car as my closet. The less I bring into the house, the better. I’d rather infect my own car than someone else’s house. I leave my coat in the car, too.

5) I won’t take books or magazines with me that have been in my apartment. I buy them “fresh” for the trip.

6) I never take gifts with me that have been kept in my home. Instead I have any gifts shipped ahead of time, straight from wherever I ordered them online, or buy them along the way.

I don’t know if I’ve spread bed bugs or not. I certainly hope not. I take as much care as possible. I really care about the family and friends I stay with. Most of them don’t know about bedbugs, so even if I tell them, it doesn’t sink in how terrible they can be. I somehow think that precautions like this might help since hotels are not yet reporting bed bugs in 100% of the rooms and not everyone who stays in a hotel with bed bugs gets bed bugs, so there must be a way not to take them with you. However, I think the only way to be absolutely certain you won’t take bedbugs when you visit is if you are visiting a nudist camp.

I eagerly welcome more comments and suggestions on how to do this. It’s a learning process and stuff like this is not written anywhere else. Most of the bedbug articles I find in the media are soooo out of date, often cheeky in tone. They seem to think you just have to cover your mattress and spray, and your problems will go away. They couldn’t even imagine the horror we’ve gone through and we continue to go through on a daily basis.

How not to spread bed bugs to others on a daily basis (added 6/2009)

by Nobugsonme

Most of the tips above are also relevant to your daily life, if you are someone who has bed bugs in your home.

The idea is to avoid taking bed bugs out of your home and infesting your workplace, your car, or other places.

Washing and dressing in clothing known to be bed bug-free immediately before leaving the home is a good rule to follow.  (You can ensure clothing is bed bug-free by washing/drying it or running it through a Packtite, and keeping it bagged until wearing; this FAQ and this one may help.)

Think about where other items rest in your home which are only used outside.  Why not keep a bed bug-free purse or backpack inside a sealed Ziploc while you’re at home?  (The same rule would apply at work if the workplace is infested, and your home is not.)

Removing shoes at your own door and wearing something else on your feet inside the house is another good idea.  The shoes, again, can be kept safely somewhere, in sealed bags.  (Remember never to store damp shoes in a sealed bag!)

Shoes, hats, coats, etc. can also be run through a Packtite before storing or before use.

The important thing is to think about what you’re taking outside of the home, and ensure it is bed bug-free.

A little bit of common sense, and a little bit of annoyance, will help you avoid spreading bed bugs to others.  The reward?  Go where you want to, visit friends and family, enjoy your life, even while battling bed bugs!

See other FAQs about travel and more FAQs about getting bed bugs out of your stuff.

1 nobugsonme November 3, 2006 at 1:32 am

HI Parakeets! Great FAQ.

(By the way, I changed the title to a question, added the word FAQ, and linked to it from the FAQ page–I hope that’s all good with you.)

If anyone has suggestions about both visiting people’s homes overnight OR just regular visiting, we can add that too. Even going to someone’s home for dinner is a frightening prospect. If you use a car, and they’re in your car, it’s especially dangerous.

When you realize that they can hitch a ride in a purse or wallet, let alone a pocket, jacket or book, it’s enough to become a bit obsessive-compulsive.

2 mgdecombe November 4, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Wonderful FAQ! This kind of information is going to be vital to help stop the spread of BBs. It is especially scary to think of spreading them to those we love.

Thanks for a thorough, practical guide!


3 nobugsonme November 4, 2006 at 10:07 pm

Hi M,
Isn’t is amazing how many procedures we Bedbuggers have built up, amongst us? And so many things are similar ideas we independently come up with. It’s great to share these with people new to the problem.
Let us know if you have anything to add.

4 hopingIdon't March 7, 2007 at 9:09 pm

If you are not sure and have had an inspection that was useless, what to do next when there is endless clutter. What type of coat is cheap and can be put in the dry to avoid all this dry cleaning. How do you even get the coat to the dry cleaners?

5 nobugsonme March 7, 2007 at 10:34 pm

Hi hopingidont!
We’re happy to answer any questions you have, but please repost this in the correct spot so people will see it and respond. (The comments on this page are just about the FAQ). Here’s what to do: please click on “Need advice?” in the links at the top, and copy and repost your message this following the directions there.

6 everythingsbuggerintexas March 22, 2007 at 9:50 pm

When my apartment was infected with bedbugs, I used rubbing alcohol in a spritz bottle. If you spray the suspected areas and items with rubbing alcohol and cover them with a sheet or seal them in a plastic bag, the bugs usually die out.

I sprayed around the floor of my bed after cleaning everything (bugs were getting in through the air ducts) and before I would get into bed, I sprayed my feet too.

I have read that placing plastic lids containing water under the bed posts (creating a sort of mote) drowns them on their way up to the bed.

Did you know that bed bugs find you by detecting the carbon dioxide you emit, especially while breathing in a deep sleep?

At any rate, they are awful, and some times I fear they have been dormant and will even come into my new home. I pray they don’t!

One last note, a washer and dryer are not usually conveniently located in a person’s apartment. Many times, I had to store clothes in the freezer until I could wash them, but as you know, the cold does not kill them (neither does water), it is the heat that kills them.

Grandma once gave me the strangest look when she saw me remove my bra from the freezer!

Fortunately, our bed-bugs-buddies did not spread to our family and friends.

7 willow-the-wisp March 30, 2007 at 4:35 pm

THINGS I would never be able to bring with me becasue I’ve tossed them:
any and all velcro–including my wallet (with the exception of my hand braces) which I try to keep on my “sterile” note the quotes bed.
Considering the insdiousness and tenacity (size hiding and breeding) I rarely go anywhere anymore anyway. I even want to hug people who want to hug me.

8 willow-the-wisp March 30, 2007 at 4:37 pm


9 Butz May 22, 2007 at 4:15 pm

What if you are someone visiting an infested home?? Can you follow the same procedures to get away “clean”, without taking the bugs home with you??

10 everythingsbuggerintexas May 22, 2007 at 4:39 pm

Great question, Butz. I would avoid sitting on anything with cushions and/or fabric while in the bed-bug suspected home. You can spray off around your pants legs, and body to help keep the bugs off you.

When you leave, spray your car seat with off (many times they will stay in the car for months and hitch-hike on you to your work place). Once you get home, wash the clothes and shoes that you were wearing with hot water, and take a warm shower. If you don’t have a washing machine, store the clothes in the freezer in an air tight plastic bag until you can wash them in hot water (the cold may not kill them).

I hope that helps 🙂

11 parakeets May 22, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Good question, Butz, and good answer, Everythings.

I would add that you can get extra-large ziploc bags and seal everything you take into the house in bags while you are there: Boots, coats, small suitcases, etc.

There are professional people who prepare homes for bedbug treatments in New York City called Diamond Girls (thank heavens for people brave enough to do that). I asked on another bedbug support group how these folks avoided bringing bedbugs home–since they go into infested homes daily, before the homes are treated–and the answer I got was the shower and washing machine/dryer technique that Everythings referred to here. It certainly works. Yet some PCOs and clutter consultants won’t go into a bedbug-infested home without wearing a Hasmat Tyvek suit with Tyvek booties over their shoes.

12 nobugsonme May 22, 2007 at 5:32 pm

I would add to Everything that the hot wash should be followed with a hot dry. If you can, shower and change into clean clothing from a sealed bag right before leaving the infested home. And spray your shoes before getting in the car (if relevant).

13 upat5am June 9, 2007 at 5:20 am

Hi – parakeets – can you give me the information for Diamond Girls? I can’t find it anywhere and may be interested in hiring them/getting their advice.


14 nobugsonme June 9, 2007 at 10:30 am

we heard people who hired Pest Away in NYC were sometimes encouraged to hire Diamond Girls to help them prep for treatment. They may or may not work for just anyone (you might have to be using that PCO), but it is worth a shot. I’d call Pest Away to get their number.
Alternatively, I think it has been posted on the Bedbugger Yahoo Group, click the link in the sidebar and search there (you do not have to be a member).

15 helly June 14, 2007 at 4:46 pm

I think the measures listed aboved are pretty extreme if you only have very light infestation. I find there is not much info out there with people with light/mild infestation. All the info I’ve read is so black and white

16 hopelessnomo June 14, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Hi Helly,

It may be good to think you have a mild infestation if that helps you keep calm and get a sense of control. However, I think it is very unlikely that you can be a very good judge of the level of your infestation. Bedbugs hide very well. Actually, they could be described as unbelievably stealthy. Some of us never see them. Most people don’t have infestations that require PCOs to come in wearing hazmat suits. Does that mean that they therefore have “light” infestations? It depends. I never see my bugs so I may think that anyone who does see them, by definition, has a larger infestation than mine. But I would be wrong if it turns out that I have a lot of bugs but they are just living in non-obvious places. All infestations are controllable. That is the best way to think of them.

As for precautions. Everyone needs to take very careful steps to not spread bugs. Whether you have a mild infestation or not. It doesn’t matter really. All you need is a pregnant female. A single bug and you could give your nightmare to others. You need to follow the laundry protocol, keep your clothes in sealed bags and take all precautions when you leave home for any reason, to go to work, to go visit friends, to go away for the weekend. We’ve heard from a lot of people who have spread their bugs to others or have seen one on themselves in a public place, in their office, say.

Parakeets’ recommendations are quite sensible. You’ll see when you have done more research. Please read the other FAQs and visit the forums if you need any help.

17 helly June 14, 2007 at 5:44 pm

I’m judging my infestation on how many or little bites I have now. I haven’t been bitten for 2 weeks. Before that, I was getting bites almost every night for a week. See what I mean? Trust me I’ve read 100s of posts and blogs regarding this including this website. I’m only saying that there shoulbe a varying degree of suggestions and recommendations. I’m not saying I’m somehow disillusioned by this whole infestation issue.

18 helly June 14, 2007 at 5:59 pm

FYI, I had 2 PCO treaments, and living off plastic bags last 3 weeks. Nothing touches the walls, all my furniture (what’s left of it) are all isolated. Most of my clothes are in plastic bags washed. I inspect everything before I leave my apt. I got rid of almost all my furniture and most of my clothes. I’m moving to a new apt at the end of the month, only with kitchen and computer stuff and my clean clothes in plastic bags. I’m still doing all this; even though, I haven’t got bites for 2 weeks. I’m not gonna relax until I move out of here.

If you see a beg bug(s) in your place, see evidence of them (feces and blodd splatters), and still getting bites, you should definitely take every measure possible to not to spread them.

It is very atypical for a bed bug to be travelling with you on your clothes you are wearing at the moment. This is mostly true. I always check my pockets, seams and cuffs, even my shoes before I go out even though it’s very unlikely they are living in them when you don’t have medium to heavy infestation. They also don’t like to lay eggs in open space (compare to dark crevices and corners) unless infestation is severe.

I know there will be people who will argue with me on these points; that’s fine with me.

19 nobugsonme June 15, 2007 at 12:38 am


it sounds like your bed bugs are almost gone–or may be gone (though it’s wise to wait a bit to be sure). These recommendations are not for people whose bed bugs are gone, they’re for people with bed bugs, period, and Parakeets wrote them as someone with bed bugs. As hopelessnomo says, it is hard to judge the seriousness of infestations, though you are right that it seems your bed bugs are being killed off.

Although it’s true that the more bed bugs you have, the more likely you are to spread them, if bed bugs rarely hitchhiked on clothing or bags, then people would not bring them home from hotels, cruises, and others’ homes so easily. It’s also worth pointing out that many people here had what they might think were “light” infestations since they only saw one bug, and yet they managed to spread bed bugs either to others, or to move them (while taking extreme precautions). That’s where some of us are coming from.

At the end of the day, we all have to decide what we’re willing to do to make sure we get rid of or don’t spread bed bugs. It sounds like you yourself are taking pretty serious measures to keep from moving them to a new home.

20 parakeets June 15, 2007 at 9:12 am

Good points raised here, everybody. Helly, you’re right in that someone who has a very light infestation probably won’t take all these measures when visiting someone overnight, and might not have to. For example, before I knew I had bedbugs, I had stayed overnight with people many times taking no precautions at whatsoever. Though my infestation was not light, I fortunately didn’t spread bedbugs. But those of us with active infestations will relate to the issues raised here by hopelessnomo and nobugs. Behaviors to take when visiting someone when you have bedbugs can be rated on a scale–from “not visiting someone at all when you have bedbugs” on one end, to taking no specific precautions on the other end. We all fall somewhere inbetween. Many of the behaviors we take are to reassure ourselves as much as anything, and that is an important when we deal with bedbugs and anxiety.

A related example came up at the Boston Bedbug Conference. The panel of PCOs and inspectors talked about visiting homes with bedbugs which they do daily, often visiting homes with severe infestations. They said some PCOs wore Tyvek Suits when they visited homes, some also wore Tyvek boots, some just made sure their pants didn’t have cuffs. So even professionals who do this everyday haven’t established their protocols yet.

21 helly June 15, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Thank you your follow up posts. nobugsonme, if you read my post, I do not talk about bags or luggages because I do believe this is one of the easiest way to bring bed bugs with you. I’m only talking about clothes you are wearing; literally on your back. My brother in law works at a homeless shelter, and he’s been battling bed bug infestation for last 2 years there. He often goes into these rooms – with severe infestation – and he hasn’t brought one into his home, knock on wood. Of course, he takes every precaution. I wanted to post my view here because some of the posts here are so severe. ie. like the one who says she/he doesn’t even want to hug people anymore. I think this is too sad and extreme.

22 hopelessnomo June 15, 2007 at 1:33 pm

So, in reality, you were reacting in your original comment not to Parakeets’ travel recommendations but to the anguished expression of one reader of this FAQ?

It seems I always find myself saying this again and again: you cannot expect everyone to have a moderate, calm reaction in the face of bedbugs. For some, it’s like a bulldozer in our lives. Just because you are possessed of equanimity and feel comfortable that you have a light infestation under control, it does not mean that somehow those who react differently and come here to express themselves freely are blowing things out of proportion. Extreme measures and reactions are in the eye of the beholder. I think that throwing away your furniture and moving away to escape an infestation is pretty extreme. Must I judge you because of it? Must I say the equivalent of “get a grip?”

I’m sorry if I’m coming on too strong on this point but I am personally offended every time this type of comment comes up. Yes, I offend easily.

23 everythingsbuggerintexas June 15, 2007 at 1:41 pm

You know, bed bugs are really just a nuisance. They are not known to spread disease and most of the time you don’t see them. If you’re cool with that, ignore the small infestation and let it grow, share the little buggers with your friends and family.

I was not cool with it and I got rid of mine. I chose to take every precaution I could until the problem was resolved. As a result, no one I know “contracted” them.

24 helly June 15, 2007 at 1:49 pm

I’m sorry I offended you.

25 hopelessnomo June 15, 2007 at 1:59 pm

No, please, no need, like I said, it’s me, I’m very sensitive to this. And anxious that people don’t misinterpret and not take the precautions we all take. (We’re all counting on the people we work with, ride subways with, etc.) I’m glad you’re adding to the conversation. That’s the way to do it.

26 everythingsbuggerintexas June 15, 2007 at 3:00 pm

No, no offence. I know the measures that we go through to avoid the nuisance seem extreem, but when you wake up to find a fat bedbug engorged and red with your own blood crawling in your sheets to get away, or talk to your roommate and find your gaze drifting to the bed bug crawling from his shirt collar and up to his neck, you kind of don’t want to take any risks. They reproduce extremly fast and foggers dont usually kill them; cleanliness doesn’t kill them.

They hide all day until you sleep, then they creep up like little vampires to feed on you while your asleep. Gross, eh?

We did the following:

1. wash all of your clothes in hot water and dry in hot heat (bag and seal when finished). Wash bedding often 1-2 x or more a week. Move bed away from the wall.
2. minimal infestation (can’t see blood spots on matress): cover your matress and pillows with plastic (to lock the bugs and eggs until they die…6 months to 1 year); heavy infestation: disgard matress.
3. Raid Ant & Roach killer (Country Fresh scent) worked for us when we sprayed it in the corners of room and around furniture. For some reason this one works better than the others (I don’t know why). I wouldn’t try it if you have infants or small animals in the house.
4. Find a new place to live.
5. When moving to new place spray legs and shoes with OFF and wash (as mentioned in 1) clothes immediately after entering the new place (1 pregnant bug can start the whole infestation all over again).
6. Discard as much of the infested furniture as you can aford to disgard(especially couches). Spray what you can keep and let dry before bringing into the new home.
7. Of course, let the property owners know about the infestation (mild or not). If you live in an apartment, they are responsible for getting rid of the bugs, but usually the bugs spread through the air ducts until the whole building is infested. Our apartment complex treated out unit twice, but we still woke up with the bugs despite our cleanliness and effort. A month ago, I visited the manager and was informed that they found the source: the neighbor downstairs had a grossly large swarm of them under the cooling unit in the bathroom!

I hope this helps.

27 nobugsonme June 15, 2007 at 11:11 pm

Hi Everything,

I am glad your methods worked for you, and I am glad you stopped by.

I’d personally recommend people get a PCO and treat professionally. Not only will they solve the problem more efficiently and surely, but they can usually help you retain your furniture and even mattresses (they treat them). I’d venture that most people who go the professional route spend less money than those who self treat and, as you recommend, “Discard as much of the infested furniture as you can… especially couches”. Sometimes things need to be tossed, but usually not. What’s more, if you toss, your neighbors and community are likely to take in your stuff, no matter what warnings you attach to them. If they do, your problems can keep coming back. If you move, they can spread to your old neighbors.

Again, I am not trying to criticize you, but just pointing out why our FAQs disagree with you on the ant/roach spray and on the tossing furniture.



I think a lot of us thought you were disagreeing with the FAQ and not just with the comment about hugging by one reader, Willow. You only mentioned “the measures listed above,” so this was a fair assumption.

I am glad you clarified, and we can all move on 🙂

28 P McFarland July 18, 2007 at 6:19 pm

We just found out my husband’s ex has bedbugs at her house. My stepson is at our house quite often. I am wondering what I can do to prevent him from bringing bedbugs into our home – poor little guy! Thanks!

29 nobugsonme July 18, 2007 at 6:35 pm

The FAQ above should be helpful as should the FAQ on how to deal with clothing.

But the bottom line is everyone needs to understand that the bed bugs can easily spread from her home to yours via things your stepson wears or brings with him. Bed bugs don’t live on people, but they “hitchhike” in clothing and stuff.

Is her home being treated properly?

30 ihateBB July 22, 2007 at 3:57 pm

I often go back to my parents apartment. Every time I come in, I go straight to the bathroom and take a shower and soak the clothes that I wore in hot water. I handwash my clothes and put on a new outfit after the shower. I really don’t want to spread the BBs to other people, so I won’t allow visitors to my apartment anymore, other than my immediate family like my brothers and father, who help me with the preparation treatment and other stuff. I wish that I don’t need them to come, but I can’t do everything myself, so I ask for their help. Given the choice, I would rather do everything myself, so this way my family don’t have to come to apt either.

31 hopelessnomo July 23, 2007 at 7:32 pm

With a few precautions, your brothers and father will be fine. I’m glad you have their support. It’s very hard to fight bedbugs alone.

I wish more families were understanding and supporting in this way.

Anyway, it will get better, you’ll see.

Good luck.

32 learningalot_bb August 13, 2007 at 3:03 pm

If you know your friends have recently travelled and don’t take bedbug precautions AND they are coming to stay with you, how do you get them to be careful while staying at your place? But, also doing this without insulting them as guests to your home, or making them think you’re over-reacting?

33 hopelessnomo August 13, 2007 at 4:25 pm


The above precautions are suggested for people who already know they have bedbugs and need to stay with friends or family.

I’m afraid your situation is very different. Your friends are either the types of friends you can talk about bedbugs with or they’re not. It sounds like they’re not. I think if they see your anxiety, it won’t be a happy visit. In any case, do you think that your friends would visit you and put you at risk if they knew they had bedbugs?

I suggest you don’t assume that everyone who travels will acquire bedbugs. Unless you have reason to suspect that your friends have been exposed to them, I’m not sure where your concern stems from.

34 learningalot_bb August 13, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Thanks for your response, hopelessnomo. You’re right in saying that friends staying over will either be ones we can talk frankly about bedbugs (BBs) or not; honestly I don’t know how they’d react to such a conversation as we’ll be meeting our friend’s new spouse for the first time.

I think you hit the nail on the head, when you comment that I’m assuming people who travel will acquire BBs or that my friends have been exposed to BBs on their travels. Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable about taking your suggestion, above. And, my concern stems from the fact that I am assuming travelling and staying at hotels without taking precautions is asking for trouble whether people realize what BBs are or not. I guess my ignorant attitude comes from thinking we should take responsiblity for things on a global trend; I think that assuming we perpetuate this particular problem when we don’t take the proactive steps of being careful on travels as habit, will eventually help towards limiting the spread of BBs.

Of course, people aren’t going to stay at their friends’ houses to deliberately put them at risk of BBs…I’m not an idiot and that’s not my question. I was hoping for some constructive comments about how to sensitively broach the subject with people that might not be aware of the real effects of BBs without making them think they are unwelcome in my home. Of course my friends are welcome that’s why they are invited.

Yet, I still want to know how to broach this sensitive subject, though. Hope you have suggestions for this point, instead of: assuming you know who my friends are, believe it won’t be a happy visit, or devalue my question by wondering what my concern is about.

35 hopelessnomo August 13, 2007 at 10:59 pm


I regret that I caused offense. Believe it or not, I was trying to reassure you. You were evidently a person who has never suffered bedbugs, as there’s no other way that you could have asked such a question. Therefore, since I really believe that there is NO way to tell your friends that you want them to launder their clothes and bag their luggage when they arrive in your home without making them feel unwelcome, I was simply trying to assuage your fears.

If you had suffered from bedbugs, your friends would do anything not to cause you any anxiety and you could ask them anything! As it is, no, I don’t think there is any way to ask without causing offense. You can raise the subject at the dinner table, it’s always good to share bedbug knowledge, but by then it’s too late: they’re in your guest room and the fat lady has sung.

Therefore, I am completely out of advice. I am sure that other people who are more respectful and up on the finer points of etiquette than I am will come to lend a hand.

Good night.

36 nobugsonme August 13, 2007 at 11:45 pm


Tone is sometimes hard to read on the internet, but I don’t think hopelessnomo meant you any offence. In fact I know hopelessnomo didn’t, cause we go way back (8 months or so, which is a long time in the bed bug blog world).

You asked, “how do you get them (traveling friends) to be careful while staying at your place? But, also doing this without insulting them as guests to your home, or making them think you’re over-reacting?”

My own response to your question would be that if your friends had bed bugs, it’s what your friends do BEFORE coming to your place, not once they’re there, that would put you in jeopardy. (The FAQ outlines how they could avoid that: laundering clothes, etc.)

Once they’re in your home, I don’t see what precautions they need to take.

It is my sense that if your friends had picked up bed bugs in their travels, you’re at more risk if they come straight to your home from a hotel, rather than if they come from their home. This is because if they did pick up bed bugs, they’re more likely to “deposit” them where they unpack first.

I agree with hopelessnomo that the odds on your friends having caught bed bugs while traveling is not that great. In addition, even if they had them, they have a good shot at figuring that out before they visit you.

I have stayed in many hotel rooms since becoming aware of bed bugs, and I can honestly say I have searched many times and found no signs–and I am pretty attuned to the signs. So it is possible to travel bed bug free, at least now.

I have one other recommendation: encourage all your friends and relatives to watch the 15 minute CBC video here:

Not only does it drive home the risks of bed bugs in hotels and how awful they can be back at home, it also shows, in detail, how to search a hotel room for them. I think sharing with friends in an email how you found it useful might encourage them to watch it too.

Good luck!

37 learningalot_bb August 14, 2007 at 9:42 am

nobugsonme, I appreciate your weighing in without sounding patrionizing. The video and your point (about there being more risk if my friends come to my place directly from their hotel to my place) were very helpful. The information was also more along the lines of knowledge-sharing I was hoping to get from this forum.

I think passing along the CBC clip with friends who travel is an excellent way to raise awareness. Thanks for suggesting that method. And, thanks for not saying that evidently I had never experienced BBs or I wouldn’t be asking my questions in the first place. I had thought that the more questions the general public asks about reducing BB spread the better. I hadn’t travelled for 10yrs, and then suddenly this year I went on business trips and stayed in Auckland, Sydney, and Saskatoon (and next Narita). I’m trying to learn about the problem and not spread it, so I tried to follow the precautions posted by Betty_Woo on TripAdvisor.

I know that’s not what everybody’ll do, especially if they’ve never been infested with BBs, but I tried because I’m very allergic to insect bites (the BB bites I got so far on my trips itched for 2 months…), and I didn’t want to bring back unwanted souvenirs. I know it’s awful to live with biting insects from living as a student in 2 places with fleas. The first place, the previous tenants had 12 dogs and cats, and when the 6 of us moved in to the now empty house I was the only one getting bitten. No one believed me that there were bugs (and so the landlord refused to do anything), and that on top of the bugs, the disbelief, and the summer heat, were all making me feel like I was going to go mad. I ended up sleeping in the tub wrapped in saranwrap, and finally, when I went home for a visit the other roommates got bit in my absence and that’s when the landlord (she lived upstairs and also got bitten once I went home for the visit) decided to get rid of the fleas. The second time I moved into a place and found fleas, I moved out immediately. So, now I try to avoid bug-infestations whenever I can, and, I ask questions that seem inappropriate, perhaps.

Anyway, if you’ll be kind enough to comment: To follow-up on your point about the unpacking, I’m just wondering what the likelihood of BBs staying on fabric suitcases are over the BBs getting off the case and depositing themselves closer to the bed–i.e. if people transport the BBs from their trip to their home on their suitcases, will BBs usually get off the suitcase right away, or stay on them for a few months?

Cheers, and still trying to learn,


38 nobugsonme August 14, 2007 at 11:47 am


I am kind of saddened that you are persisting with jabs at hopelessnomo, who I’ve already stated I do not think was trying to be unkind or unhelpful. You might try and remember that she was taking her time to answer your question, for free, on the internet. And as I said, tone is sometimes hard to read. That puts the onus not just on the writer, but also the reader. Remember also that hopelessnomo did not have all the information you’re providing now.

About Betty Woo,
Although we may disagree on a few points, most all of her recommendations are found in our Travel FAQs here:

I don’t think anyone can speculate on how long a bug will stay in a suitcase, except that adult bugs normally feed every week or so, and newly hatched eggs yield hungry nymphs, who also want to eat (probably right away). So they’re likely to walk away from that suitcase within a week after their last meal, or when they’re born. I don’t think you can count on your visitors’ bugs, if any, staying put.

Good luck and try not to worry. Bed bugs are spreading, but they are not everywhere yet. I have had many happy hotel stays since I first learned about bed bugs.

39 nobugsonme August 14, 2007 at 11:50 am

ps If you want to do something preventative, protect your mattresses and box springs with encasements (as per our faq on protecting the bed).

Also, you might lightly dust some DE (diatomaceous earth) around the edges of the room, and around the legs of furniture, and in corners. Use it with caution–you don’t want it to be breathed. But freshwater FOOD GRADE DE is a mechanical killer of bed bugs. Should a few come out of a suitcase, they could be nipped in the bud. If you dust as lightly as you should, your guests will be none the wiser. Read our FAQ on DE in the pest control section.

40 learningalot_bb August 14, 2007 at 3:54 pm

nobugsonme, very thought-provoking comments, thanks. I also passed on the cbc clip via email to the friend, so thanks for that suggestion, too.

I’ll look into the DE, but what do you think about sprinkling borax? And, I just heard some interesting research in using scents as repellent. Currently, there’s research into plastic bags infused with mint-scent, which is unpleasant to rodents (and perhaps roaches). Have you heard of any scents unpleasant to bedbugs?


41 nobugsonme August 14, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Borax is not effective from what I hear.

Fresh water, food grade (NOT POOL GRADE) DE is the thing.

Also lavender, tea tree–none of these will get rid of your bed bugs if you have them. They have a strong survival instinct. Once in your home, it is hard to kill them. Repellents, those that do exist (and I do not mean scents or herbs) may make your problems worse by driving them into the walls.

This is all covered in the FAQs!

42 learningalot_bb August 15, 2007 at 7:07 am

nobugsonme, THANKS! You’ve been a great help.

43 nobugsonme August 15, 2007 at 11:23 am

You’re welcome.

44 troubled August 17, 2007 at 3:12 pm

i’m dating someone who has let a friend of his w/bed begs stay at his apartment for at least two nights. i have no idea about the level of infestation, although i agree with others that it probably doesn’t matter b/c all you really need is one, especially a female. i have no idea what kind of precautions the friend took before coming to his place. i’m deadly terrified about getting infected by visiting his apartment. any recommendations besides not visiting his apartment again or having him visit mine.

45 Hatebugs September 27, 2007 at 2:03 pm

I jsut moved into my very first apartment on Sept. 7th and then 10 days later I start getting bites. Then 8 days later I kill one of these beetle looking things on the wall, this is the third one I have killed since I had moved in. So I went and looked on the internet and freak out because it looked exactly like the image of a bed bug. I went to management and they sent in a exterminator the next day to look through my place and confirmed that it was bed bugs. I didn’t have at the house I was at before I moved and my sister moved at the same time I did to a different complex and she doesn’t have bed bugs. So to me, I think the bed bugs were already in the apartment. Management is accusing me of bringing them in a threatening to break my lease if the bugs aren’t gone by the second spraying. What should I do? Should I stick it out for 12 months or should I let them do the spraying and move and hope that I don’t take any bugs with me? I am also paranoid that I could have spread bed bugs to my friends and family before I knew I had them. It they do a through cleaning like what I have to do to my apartment they should be ok, right? Please help!

46 persona-non-bugga September 27, 2007 at 11:58 pm

I’m outraged on your behalf. Management is full of crap. They’re so lucky that an army of contingency-fee lawyers haven’t brought suits against landlords for renting out bedbug-infested apartments.

I’m sorry. Bedbugs like to hide. If you see bedbugs crawling around freely in the apartment, then that indicates a heavier infestation. Chances are they’ve been there multiplying for a while. Not just for the few weeks you’ve been there.

– The previous tenant might not have been allergic to bites. Lots of people don’t react to bites. So the last tenant might’ve never complained to management, simply because he didn’t know they were there. Doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

– It frequently takes more than two treatments to get rid of an infestation. That ultimatum of two sprayings or else is … wow! I just don’t have the words ….

– Talk to your neighbors – especially in units that adjoin yours. Perhaps they have bedbug problems that management is in denial about.

– If there’s someone on your management staff that’s not a total jerk, could it be worthwhile to try to educate them about bedbugs? Print out a few FAQs on this site or scientific info linked about non-reaction to bites, typical length of treatment, etc. Whatever you think might help your case.

– On the other hand, maybe it’s good that you have a chance to get away from such hostile building management. If you decide to move, check out the forum and search for messages on how to move house without taking the bedbugs with you. Lots of good and lengthy advice there.

47 nobugsonme September 28, 2007 at 2:20 am


It is probable that the prior tenants had them. It could also be that the current neighbors have them and they are coming over. In either case, as persona says, they could be unaware (because not allergic).

It is impossible for your landlord to prove that you brought them in. It’s also impossible for you to prove you did not. (It’s not likely that such a large infestation was brought in by a few stray bugs from a shopping trip, or a few bugs in your moving truck.)

I agree that should should try to talk to others among the management. We have heard from one tenant who had a hard time with management, and so went over their heads and got great treatment. Landlords and managers who are higher up may be more aware.

You should educate yourself about local housing laws. It may be illegal for the landlord to break your lease for this reason.

Also, your friends and family should read about bed bugs (lots of information linked from here) and be on the alert for signs of bed bugs. (Click photos of bed bugs and signs of bed bugs above to start!)

48 buggyinli September 29, 2007 at 11:16 pm

Hi I have to stay with a friend every time my PCO treats, as I am a cancer survivor and am recommended to not come in for 24 hours after they spray. I am in agonies of fear of spreading the bugs to my kind friends who take me in under these conditions. This leads me to a side question: is there any statistic about what kind of people experience the worst reactions. In other words, I wonder if I get such bad bites just because I’m immune compromised.

Maybe I should ask about this in another forum, but I don’t know which one!

49 Mandalynn October 2, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Hi…I just found out that a guy that works for my husband, is infested with bed bugs. The whole apartment complex is. Aparently, this has been an ongoing problem for them (unknowingly) for many months. What are the chances that we might inherit these critters? The worker sometimes travels short distances with him in his truck and they obvioulsy work together so that is the extent of contact. Im soo concerned about this. Thanks

50 October 2, 2007 at 9:18 pm

I had the same issue. I have bed bugs in my new apartment, and I carpool to work every other day with my coworker. She was really paranoid that it may have got into her car. I told her to vacuum really well and wash her car seat covers. I live in Colorado, so the heat or the cold here soon will kill off anything that maybe left. Once I found out that I had the bugs I makes sure everything is in plastic and don’t take it out until I am ready to get dressed, which is right before I leave to go to her house or she comes to mine, just to make sure there is nothing on them. Check out the forums too, there is a lot of advice on there. Good luck!

51 LML November 14, 2007 at 2:28 pm

My uncle is elderly, and living in a building which is INFESTED with bedbugs. He brought them to my house…and i have since eradicated (I hope!) them from my home, with much effort, money and turmoil to my household. The only question remaining is, how to handle his infestation? He’s too old to “stay on top of this” issue, with plastic bags, and washing…not to mention the expense. He won’t even engage in a conversation about it with me. It’s heartbreaking, but iIcan’t have him to my home anymore. Even for the holidays! Any suggestions short of leaving town for the holidays?

52 hopelessnomo November 15, 2007 at 10:33 am


The elderly need help in battling their infestations. From friends, family, social services. The obvious first step is to get help from an experienced pest control company. If the infestations in the building where he lives are widespread, and efforts to control them have not been effective, the tenants need to organize and consider complaining to the health and/or housing authorities.

There are many helpful things that can be done. Shunning him is not one of them. You can learn about how to limit your exposure when you see him. Please keep reading the FAQs and visit the forums (blue bug above) if you have further questions.

53 parakeets November 16, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Maybe you could take him out to eat at a restaurant? I can understand why you would not want him to come into your home, but I do hope you get to see him since he is elderly and very much in need of support and education if he is suffering from bedbugs.

If he did come to your house, could you bring new (or washed and dried on hot) set of clothes to his place, have him shower and dress in the new clothes, and then immediately bring him over to your place? Maybe you could time when you pick him up to right after he takes his shower. Keep his coats and bags in the car. Have EVERYONE take off their shoes outside, including him, and shoes won’t be a problem, either. Some elderly folks love to wear new clothes (particulalry if they are after his favorite football team).

Diamond Girls is the name of a cleaning service in Brooklyn that goes daily into highly infested homes to prepare them before they are treated by PCOs. I once asked how they could do that without getting infested themselves. They said they came home, washed their clothes and dried them in a hot dryer and took a shower. If that works for people who are exposed to bedbugs daily, it should work for your uncle, but I think the new clothes might be a nice surprise rather than handing him a set of his clothes that you had washed and dried and stored in ziplocks.

54 hopelessnomo November 16, 2007 at 5:36 pm

These are great suggestions, Parakeets. I hope LML takes them to heart.

55 Winston O. Buggy November 16, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Follow up on Bed Bug Float for Thnksgiving.

Tyvek it’s not just for turkeys.

56 LML November 17, 2007 at 12:29 am

Yes. All of this advice is smart and accurate, and I would never think of abandoning him. This is why this situation is so impossible. I would have never been able to imagine a more difficult and impossible scenario. I am between a rock and a hard place. He is in complete denial. He denies that he has bedbugs. He becomes very animated and defensive when i try to discuss possible solutions with him…and he has sworn off me. I understand that dignity is essential to his survival at this point in his life especially.

I even suggested trying to relocate him to another city, start fresh, so to speak. We (our family) would take care of relocation costs…he wants to move to a warmer climate where some of his close friends have relocated to. It would be easier than trying to have him comply to the necessary procedures….which would never be possible for him to adhere to because he is too stubborn. He’s too set in his ways and too defensive.

Anyhow, thanks for all of your input…but I think we’re going to be stuck to meeting in public places. (not very reassuring for the general public!) This is a terrible thing.
I had to spend months and thousands of dollars dealing with the bedbugs he brought into my home…I can’t do it again. Such a shame since it was so nice to offer time away from the city…spending time at my home…he loved it at my house…and i/we always enjoyed his company.

57 nobugsonme November 17, 2007 at 3:44 pm


I hope you can indeed convince him to make the move he always dreamed of. But keep in mind if you do, you’ll need to take steps to de-bug his stuff before or while he is going. There are ways to do this.

Bed bugs are spreading around the country. Unfortunately, when someone is in denial, it is hard to help (other than the ways others have mentioned). When people are badly bitten, for a long time, they can develop anemia. I wonder if there are any social workers or social service agencies who could help? Maybe hearing that the building is infested (as it surely is) and that everyone will be treated will be more convincing? I don’t personally think living with bed bugs is an option.

58 goingaway November 17, 2007 at 9:50 pm

As far as precautions, I take everything I’m packing and put it in a laundromat drier for at least 30min, then pack right there at the laundromat, bagging everything in plastic before I go home and only removing the outer plastic bag from the outside of my duffel as I leave.
I have also been spraying my day to day bag with sterifab before leaving the house. No idea if this works, but one can hope.

59 John November 20, 2007 at 6:03 pm

If you discard upholstered furniture that may have bed bugs, rip open all the fabric. That will preven others from using it.

60 nobugsonme November 20, 2007 at 9:39 pm

Good idea, John. We often recommend slashing it with a boxcutter.

61 John November 21, 2007 at 12:01 am

Bed bugs can apparently be picked up on buses and airliners. I once had a raincoat made of thin non-woven vinyl, with welded seams. It was very cheap. This would be good for public transportation.

It doesn’t seem likely that bed bugs could cling to the outside of it, but after an airliner trip it could be discarded after a single use. For daily bus use, it could be hung outside a person’s home.

However, these raincoats are now to find, except as women’s fashions which are rather costly. Perhaps some clothing manufacurer could start making them again as low-cost items. The raincoat should be long (about knee length), and should have no pockets and no slash pockets, and maybe with a zipper up the front.

They would also be useful when it rains!

62 nobugsonme November 21, 2007 at 2:27 pm


I don’t think a raincoat is going to protect you from bed bugs on public transit. Bed bugs can crawl up your leg if they want to.

63 John November 21, 2007 at 2:57 pm

I read a report from England about several women who were bitten on the back of their calves by bed bugs. The source was traced to a street car.

Did the bed bugs crawl down from the seat, or up from the floor? If they came up from the floor, would patent-leather shoes have stopped them? I have seen patent leather boots for women that were nearly knee high.

At any rate, a non-woven rain coat would be considerably better than nothing at all.

64 John November 21, 2007 at 3:12 pm

In reply to Parakeet’s concern about carrying bed bugs to other people’s homes, bed bugs are reported to be killed at a temperature of 120 degrees F. Before leaving home, put the clothes and shoes you will wear in a hot dryer and take a very hot shower. Then put on the clothes from the dryer. Then it will be OK unless some of the critters are in your car.

A human being can stand a temperature of 120 degrees F. In hot-weather regions of the world, the temperature gets to that level occasionally. When I lived in Arizona I remember the temperature reaching 115 degrees F in the shade, and I often went out in the sun where it was higher.

Are there any reports of bed bugs from hot-weather regions? They could be brought in duringcool weather, but would probably disappear when it gets hot.

A bed bug map of the world would be useful. Hey you medical people, how about it? You already have maps showing the occurrence or absence of many diseases.

65 parakeets November 21, 2007 at 4:38 pm

I was in Phoenix, Arizona, this summer and it was 116 degrees F during the day, even at 6 at night. Yet Phoenix has a bedbug problem! Sadly, you have to heat the bedbug *itself* up to 120 degrees, not just the ambient air. If the bedbug is surrounded by insulation of any sort, it might not be 120 degrees where the bedbug is hiding. I’ve been told that historically people in Central America would take their bedbug-infested household goods and bake them out in the sun in the summer, when it was similar temperatures, just to get rid of bedbugs. So, yes there are reports of hot-weather bedbugs, but there are ways to make them disappear when it gets hot. I don’t know if the heat would kill the eggs. I heard a talk by a person who lived in Bangladesh, where it was always steamy hot, and he said they always had bedbugs growing up. Go figure.

66 parakeets November 21, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Re England: I’ve never heard that patent leather shoes would stop bedbugs. I’ve seen bedbugs in my apartment crawl up simlarly smooth and slippery things, so I am pretty sure they could climb up patent leather boots, too. When I was a little girl, we would put Vaseline on our patent leather shoes, and Vaseline stops bedbugs so maybe that would work? My take is that the bedbugs came from the seat, not the floor, but that’s only a guess. Bedbugs like harbourages where it is dark and they are not disturbed. I think the floor would be cleaned regularly (at least I hope it would) and would not be dark. The seats, particularly if they are upholstered, provide many places for a bedbug to hide. They have found bedbugs in airplane seats. I once was bitten while sitting in a plastic airport seat about 3:00 am in the morning and there were places where the legs were locked into the floor and I thought the bedbugs could have hidden there.

67 John November 21, 2007 at 6:11 pm

Parakeets, your sarcastic comment “Go figure” was uncalled for.

The method I suggested, a very hot shower and putting clothes in a hot clothes dryer, should work as well as putting household goods under a hot tropical sun. The only question is, how long do the bed bugs themselves have to be exposed to the heat?

As well as 120 F, I have seen the figure 113 F as sufficient to kill them.

“Steamy hot” in Bangladesh is not necessarily 120 F throughout a residence and its contents. “Steamy” humidity also makes the temperature seem higher than it is.

As for the plastic airport seat, the bed bug may have got on you earlier.

What is needed is not anecdotal evidence, but scientific investigation.

68 hopelessnomo November 21, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Go figure is simply conversational and Parakeets was actually being kind.

There is a ton of interesting and useful scientific research discussed and linked to in the FAQs and other posts here. Really, an embarrassment of ideas and thoughts based in science and careful thought.

I would advise you to read a bit more before posting. Recommending that children be bathed with scalding water, for example, is thoroughly misguided, and a few minutes of reading here might persuade you of it.

69 John November 22, 2007 at 2:39 pm

With regard to scientific investigation, I had in mind whether bed bugs can climb up very smooth surfaces like sheet vinyl and chrome-plated chair legs.

With regard to bed bugs in the tropics, there is a tropical species of bed bug, scientifically called Cimex hemipterus. It is not found in temperate regions, although it does occur in Florida.

The temperate-region bedbugs are Cimex lectularius. I don’t know whether these can live in the tropics. If they don’t, geographical maps of their occurrence, together with temperature data, would show how much heat it takes to kill them off. This would take professional scientific investigation. For one thing, the investigators would need to know how to tell the two species apart. Air-conditioned hotels and homes would be left out of the investigation. The places to check would be simple native huts that become thoroughly baked under the sun.

70 John November 22, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Of course, the heat tolerance of Cimex lectularius can also be tested in temperature chambers in labs. Some college students in the US would be glad to spend a weekend in a 120-degree chamber to earn some tuition money! And maybe the temperature need only be 113 degrees.

71 hopelessnomo November 22, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Bedbugs do not live on human skin.

Washing possibly infested clothes in hot water (at 60dC/140dF and above) kills all life stages. (Naylor)

There have been two laundry experiments that we know of. Dr. Potter (Univ. of Kentucky) found that tumble-drying (already dry items) in high heat (above 175dF) for 5 minutes kills all life stages. Richard Naylor (Univ. of Sheffield, UK) found that tumble-drying in hot for 30 minutes and above kills all life stages. (Apparently the dryer reached 45dC).

While the thermal death point is 113dF, structural thermal treatments, like Parakeets already mentioned, must take into account that bedbugs may be insulated in their hiding locations, and so, we are told, the aim is to raise the temperature to 120dF for four hours.

Did I already mention that bedbugs do not live on human skin?

72 John November 23, 2007 at 12:17 am

Bed bugs spend most of their time in cracks and crevices. But people do carry bed bugs about on their clothing or body. Therefore, if they are known to have them in their home, they are not welcome guests in the homes of others. And the bug carriers themselves do not want to spread them. I suggested to Parakeets how to temporarily get rid of them.

Before the days of air conditioning, many babies were raised in places like Arizona and were perfectly all right.

Also, the bugs get carried onto public transportation and air liners on people’s bodies or clothing.

73 nobugsonme November 24, 2007 at 7:49 pm

No, John,

Bed bugs can be carried onto buses on or in people’s clothing or bags. They can also LIVE in the buses if they find a harborage. But bed bugs do not live on people’s skin per se.

Further, it is simply not necessary to scald your children. Any kind of shower would remove a bed bug that remained on someone once their clothing was removed, however, I seriously do not think people will experience this. Bed bugs do not harbor on people unless they never remove their clothing and wash it.

I think you will find that people did not force their children to hang around in a 120dF sun in Arizona. It is not impossible to create liveable conditions for families. I ask, again, that people not scald themselves or children in overly hot water.

74 parakeets November 26, 2007 at 10:25 am

John, As Hopelessnomo spoke up, I absolutely meant no offense or sarcasm by ending my post to you with the phrase “Go figure.” I simply meant it in the tone “Who can figure this crazy world out!” Or “Who could could possibly figure out that one!” I have to remember that people on this board come from many backgrounds and countries and coloquial phrases can unfortunately be misintreprested here. This is a very intelligent and kindly group and people are trying to help. Being bedbug sufferers, we are united in a bond we never wanted to share.

75 John November 26, 2007 at 11:00 pm

OK Parakeets. It seemed you were saying I was dumb, but I see your meaning now.

76 mary November 27, 2007 at 11:43 am

We stayed at a hotel last weekend. My sons bed was infested because when we woke in the morning there was blood all over his arms hands, neck , sheets and pillowcase.
When I pulled the blanket off the bed there were numerous bugs crawling all over the bed. I aws horrified!!!! I have never seen bed bugs before, but after investigating this and other websites, I am 100% sure they were bedbugs.
These are my questions:
1. My son was bitten Sat/Sun, but the but the symptoms (bumps and bite marks with itching) did not show up until 5-6 days later.On waking and seeing the bugs, he immediately took a shower. After showering, there was not a mark on him nor was he itchy after showering!!! I kept asking him for the next few days if he saw any bite marks or had any itching. There was none until the following Fri/Sat. Then he woke COVERED in bite marks on his hands, wrists, neck and ankles that were VERY itchy.
Does anyone have any informaton on why he was obviously bitten many times but had no reaction to the bites until several days later?

77 nobugsonme November 27, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Yes–this happens. Some people react immediately, some hours later, some up to nine days later (we’re told). Several days seems common. Did you take any steps to avoid bringing them home? Please consider writing a review on and also reporting the hotel on the bed bug registry (see sidebar at right: “Report Infested Addresses.”

78 mary November 27, 2007 at 3:52 pm

Thank you “nobugsonme” for the reply about reaction time and info. The hotel manager refused to believe the bugs were from the room, despite the evidence, so I am relieved that there is somewhere I can write a review and report this incident. Perhaps I can save someone else from this grief.
Since I had no experience with this issue, I tried to do what I thought would be preventative. The minute we arrived home (12-14 hours later) we all showered and put all clothes were wore during the trip in the wash(and dryer-for long enough, I hope). Any remaining bags, luggage, etc, I left in the car in bags until I could empty them outdoors, shake them out and launder them. In retrospect, this may not have been ideal, since now, I realize that my car may now be infested.
I purchased mattress covers as recommended on this site and covered his matress, boxspring. I have washed all bedding, blankets, daily. I have relaundered all clothing we wore or packed for the trip, including coats. I have not waSHED
shoes yet-
Im not sure what to do about shoes.
Im not sure what to do about the CAR.
Can any one give me suggestions about what to do with the car,???? (besides vaccuming it, which I will do tomorrow)
I have vaccumed our house(floors, carpet and couches) and shampooed the carpet with a small portable Bissel unit we own.
I am considering buying a small steamer to steam our couch, because everyone in the family sits on the couch, often immediately after getting out of the car.
Its only been a week, but I feel like I am loosing it already.
Am I doing too much or not enough?
Do any of the “natural products” work as a preventative measure while I sit and wait?
Thank you for any advise !!!!!

79 mary November 27, 2007 at 3:57 pm

And what about pets?
We have a dog, cat and parakeet.

80 nobugsonme November 28, 2007 at 12:37 am

Hi MAry, you should re-post your comment on the forum:

Just copy and paste it.
Also, read the FAQs first, as they should help somewhat. There are lots of folks in the forums and we will answer your questions there.

don’t panic. You can’t be certain you have bed bugs. It is possible to be exposed and not bring them home.

81 mary November 28, 2007 at 11:28 pm

thank you, nobugsonme.

82 John December 2, 2007 at 3:31 pm

I live in bugless bliss. I am a bedbug virgin. Not a virgin bedbug, but a bedbug virgin. In other words, I have never been bitten by them. In fact, I have never even seen one.

I did have carpet beetles once. At least, I think that was what they were. They appeared only in my carpeted living room, never in the kitchen or bedroom which have linoleum floors. The beetles were about 3 sixteenths inch long, and had several black and light-tan stripes sideways across the body.

An occasional spider also appeared, including a few of the daddy longlegs variety. I squashed all beetles and spiders with a paper towel.

My policy was kill-em-all. However, it occurred to me that the spiders might be killing the carpet beetles. So I left the spiders alone. It took a while, but the carpet beetles finally disappeared. I never used insecticide of any kind during that period.

When I was convinced the carpet beetles were gone for good, I used cat flea and tick spray to abolish the spiders. Ticks have 8 legs, like spiders. I did not want to use any kind of insecticide that would harm cats, possibly much later. I like cats and do not want to harm them.

If the spiders really exterminated the carpet beetles, maybe spiders will go for bedbugs too, especially the small nymphs.

A spider can be your best friend. Leave them alone and see if that affects the local BB population. You could even catch spiders elsewhere and release them in your house or apartment.

Gardening supply stores sell containers of insects, such as ladybugs, that are beneficial to the garden. Who knows, maybe some day we will see containers of spiders for sale.

83 hopelessnomo December 2, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Well, that explains everything.

84 nobugsonme December 3, 2007 at 1:39 am

Your posts are this close to being deleted as “spam.”

Readers: please DO NOT try and obtain spiders, ladybugs, or any other insects and release them into your home. Read our FAQs for researched and sensible information about bed bugs.

85 John December 7, 2007 at 10:06 pm

I have a suggestion for the Clear Contractor Bags thread. I forgot my password, so I will post the suggestion here.

For sealing clothes in bags, one poster suggested the heavy clear plastic bags that are used in the fashion business. These have the advantage that they can be hung from a rod in a closet. But the garment bags like that which I have seen were made of several sheets of plastic stitched together to form a 3 dimensional bag. A folded cloth tape was stitched over the edges of the plastic sheets. I think the cloth tape is to prevent the sheet plastic from tearing at the stitch holes. However, bedbugs could probably creep through the stitches and come out inside the bag. They seek out narrow openings.

I think a better solution would be the vacuum storage bags that are intended for long-term storage of clothes and blankets. These are made of sheets of heavy clear plastic that are welded together along the edges to form a bag. One edge has a ziploc closure.

The bag has a fitting to which the hose from a home vacuum cleaner can be attached. The fitting takes the place of the various nozzles that can be attached to the hose. After clothes or blankets are placed in the bag, the zipper is closed and the vacuum cleaner pulls out the air. The fitting can then be sealed by turning it, and the hose is removed.

The bag then has a squashed appearance due to external air pressure.

If the bag keeps out air, it should certainly keep out the smallest bedbug instar. Of course, what is put in the bag should be free of bedbugs to start with.

These bags are available in various sizes. Some of them have a heavy wire device which allows them to be hung on a closet rod.

For short-term storage, the bags could be used without pumping out the air. But be sure the hose fitting is closed.

For long-term storage the bags have the advantage that if an air leak develops, it can be seen because the bag no longer has a squashed appearance. Other types of plastic bags do not have this advantage.

To find these bags advertised online, go to and search for vacuum seal storage bag. This will yield many, many web sites that sell the bags. The great majority of the sites listed are duplicates, but there will still be a variety to choose from.

86 nobugsonme December 7, 2007 at 10:55 pm

Yes, this is discussed in another FAQ.

87 John December 8, 2007 at 3:26 pm

These bags are also available on ebay. To find them, go to and do a search for vacuum storage bags.

88 nobugsonme December 8, 2007 at 7:23 pm

I am interested in why you are so interested in our site and in providing advice, when you do not have bed bugs?

By the way, eBay, like Craigslist, is a bit of a Bedbugger no-no.

89 pidju January 16, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I am living in an appartment building with a communal laundry and I am terrified of spreading bugs there whenever I bring my washing. I thought of steaming our clothes before, bringing them to the laundry in a bag, putting them in the machine and throwing away the bag outside. Having a washing machine in our appartment is not really a possibility unfortunately.
Thank you for your suggestions

90 nobugsonme January 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Use a large, thick garbage bag. Tie it in one single pass-through knot (so air can’t get through) and take the items to the laundry. Rip open the top over/into the washing machine. After doing laundry, use a fresh, clean bag to bring laundry home. (You can reuse them, as long as you only use them for cleaned clothing.) Toss dirty clothes bag after use. But this can be very wasteful and environmentally unfriendly.

Greener method: use a reclosable XL ziploc to keep the dirty clothes isolated until treatment. There are not likely to be so many bugs in your laundry that they remain in the bag, but these bags are see-through and bed bugs are small (1-6 mm depending on life stage) but not invisible. Use a clean recloseable bag for cleaned clothing. Both can be reused (label them carefully!)

I hope this helps.

If you have other questions, please come to the forums (blue button at top right)!

91 parakeets January 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I agree with Nobugs. I use a large ziploc as my laundry bag during the week, re-sealing it everytime I put clothes in it (one for dark, one for light) and I just bring the big ziplocs to the laundromat as my plastic luandry bags. Since my clothes always go from a hot washer/dryer straight into sealed ziploc bags, they are never exposed to bedbugs except when I wear them, which is mostly outside of my apartment anyway. I never had a problem with this method.

92 Susanne April 22, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Here’s a horror story for you. My boyfriend has bedbugs, and we have become obsessive about trying to prevent my apartment from being infested. When I arrive at his apartment, everything I’m wearing (shoes, purse, coat, clothes, underclothes) get put in ziplocs and I change into my “bedbug” clothes that I keep at his place. He takes similar steps in my apartment, changing into clean heat dried clothes that I keep at my place, everything else he brings is sealed in bags. 5 months and no signs of bugs in my place!

Just yesterday, on my way home from his place, I found a bedbug crawling on my pants! I’d worn those pants minimum of 30 seconds in his apartment, and they’d spent the rest of the time sealed away.

Could they be traveling in my hair? I have a long, thick, curly hair, and while I’ve never heard of bedbugs in hair, I can’t help thinking that a little nymph could hitch a ride pretty easily. Not really ready to consider shaving my head! I’m certainly not ready to consider celibacy.

93 RWJ May 17, 2008 at 3:45 am

I live on the 2nd floor of an apartment building. The building, to my knowledge, had never had a bedbug problem previously- however as I was moving, I checked websites that note bedbug infestations.

To my horror, my current building (until July 1st) was listed as having bedbugs. I called the rental office, and they admitted they’d had the 5th floor sprayed. I live on the 2nd. I’ve gone from feeling free of them, to this unbelievable fear of them.

I live in a bachelor apartment, so there isn’t a lot of room. I have bought so many varied sizes of Ziploc bags that I ought to have stock in the company. I washed 8 loads of laundry with hot water and put them in a hot dryer; some other clothing I inspected seams, tags, etc… I’ve had NO blood spots/stains on my matress, and I’ve never seen a bedbug…yet the fact that someone in the building reported them has left me with this stalked feeling.

I don’t have too many friends…no significant other…my slight pleasure in life is spent either going to a movie, going out for a walk, or seeing my family. I’m faced with the reality that even my DVD’s, which thus far I’ve inspected one by one, my DVD player, my VCR, my TV, my laptop, sofa, bed…all of it will have to go.

Do you guys understand? I will literally have nothing left in this life! I will be too afraid to visit my family, I won’t have the money to replace everything that I have to in essence get rid of, and whenever I’m out in public, the thought of these bugs is all that is on my mind. And I may not even have them!

94 Bharathi May 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

We found bed bugs couple of days back and the treatment do not start for another 3 days.
Our problem is we are scheduled to visit our family in Detroit next week which will be 3 days after the treatment. Any advises on how we can avoid taking the bed bugs all the way from Florida to Michigan?

95 hopelessnomo May 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Hi Bharathi,

This FAQ contains very good advice and the principles you need to apply. Your best bet is to be very methodical in how you launder and pack what you will bring and how you limit what you bring. No matter the size of your infestation, you will feel confident and prepared if you don’t underestimate the risk. You should re-read this FAQ and consult the other FAQs about how to handle clothes. In addition to the recommendations above, people rely on different things: some choose washable duffel bags, others use hardcase luggage. Please visit the forums (blue button above right) to interact with others who are experienced if you have more questions.

96 eoj July 13, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I have a friend coming to visit who has bedbugs. How can I make sure that they aren’t brought into my home?

97 nobugsonme July 13, 2008 at 11:57 pm


Did you read the post you responded to? I’d suggest your friend should follow the recommendations above to avoid spreading bed bugs to you and others.

They hitchhike easily. If a friend is infested and not willing to take such precautions, I would think twice about having them stay at this time.

98 ihatebedbugs August 3, 2008 at 1:04 am

Speaking from someone who was kind enough to let her friend stay with me when we knew he had had a bed bug infestation, discussing bed bugs is a very tricky subject, but incredibly important to broach before they arrive. We unknowingly thought that he was free of the bugs as he had bagged everything and washed them and dried them on hot three times before arriving at our place (that was all his PCO told him to do). He has been living with us for two weeks and none of us have gotten bitten (yet) but two nights ago, he found one in the bathroom. Because we hadn’t educated ourselves on the proper procedure for hosting someone who had bedbugs (the FAQ about traveling to someone’s house and the comments above about keeping everything in a ziploc bag) we now have a bed bug problem ourselves. So my best advice would be to require any visitors (no exceptions!!!) who has had bed bugs to take EVERY precaution (including living out of ziploc bags and doing the whole washing/drying thing)and that is that. The bottom line: it is your home/apt and while it might offend them because it implies you are untrusting of their preparation, it is better to offend a friend who might be upset for a couple of hours than to have an infestation.

99 WORRIED SICK! August 26, 2008 at 4:20 am

Alright guys I need major help.

So I went to someone house who had a bed bug infestation a month ago from an old mattress some moron decided to bring in. The place had been fumigated once or twice. However there were still live ones crawling around (one was in the cubboard) and it was big.

The only thing I sat on was a wooden chair. I leaned against a wall as well. I stayed there maybe 15 minutes or so. After I left i was paranoid so I took off my t shirt and fully inspected it and saw no signs of any bugs. I also checked my jeans out and saw nothing out of the ordinary.

2 hours later I was on my way home..before I got home, I took off my shoes and sox and left them in the car, I went inside and immedietly unclothed and put them in the washer. I ran upstairs, inspected my body and took a shower.

Right now im feeling VERY itchy like bugs are crawling on me but thats just a mental thing.

Is there a large chance I brought them home or do you believe my precautions were enough, and how exactly will I know if im in the clear?


100 nobugsonme August 26, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Worried Sick,

I suggest you learn how to search a room for bed bugs, and do this carefully. Maybe now and maybe again in a few months if you see no signs. Why? Because you may not react to bed bug bites, and would then need to rely on visual cues, which are hard to spot.

This presentation, “The Nitty Gritty of Bed Bug Inspections,” from the California Dept of Public Health shows how to inspect a room for bed bugs. (Click here to load a PDF).

Don’t forget to inspect the car the same way, since you left you clothes in there at the time.

Other resources in our links will be of help as well.

If you see any signs of bed bugs, I’d get a professional in at once. Amd don’t panic: it is possible to be exposed to bed bugs and not bring them home, moreso if you take some precautions.

101 WORRIED SICK August 26, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Alright thankyou so much for the quick reply.

I honestly do not believe that I brought any into the house. Since I was in different places for a couple hours after exposure and didnt go home right away and I took every precaution. I even disposed of the clothing I was wearing immedietly after washing out of paranoia, and hey, better safe then sorry.

However, I will continue to search for signs of them as time progresses. This is a disaster I am doing everything in my power to avert.

My BIGGEST concern right now is my car! Its still summer (sort of) and my question is :

If I dont go into my car for a few days will the heat that accumulates throughout the day be enough to kill off any that may be hiding inside the vehicle?

Im too worried to even step foot inside my car. I left my sox and shoes in there and plan on disposing of them as well. Again I dont THINK I brought any into my car as I inspected myself before I went in. But STILL the risk is there. What can I do about THAT?

Thanks again all help is appreciated

102 newbeebugger September 6, 2008 at 10:13 pm

I washed a friends clothing once and now I have to wash mine a million times. I’m new to the blog and I’m having a very emotional time with all of this. I feel like a leper and I wonder how long will this terror last. I don’t want to throw out everything I’ve worked so hard for because I have cronic illness in my life and my material possessions represent triumph to me. And my family and friends…are beyond priceless. And I can’t be near them. How long must I feel this way. I’m very spiritual and that helps me cope but I’m inexperienced in this bb plague. I know God is with us but how and when does it all end? You know…the washing, spraying, vacuuming, bagging, anxiety, lonliness, going to bed with a flashlight…etc. Thank you.


103 nobugsonme September 7, 2008 at 1:48 am

Please come to our forums, where everyone will understand where you’re coming from. I think you’ll find many helpful responses:

104 newbeebugger September 7, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Thank you Nobugsonme. I’m new at this and it’s actually the first time I’ve ever blogged, so forgive me if I make mistakes. I’m learning a lot from everyone but it’s all so extreme and financially draining. Do you guys see the light at the end of the tunnel that I’m beginning at? Has anyone tried the “Best Yet” spray/fogger. It’s an all natural Texas Red Cedar and Silica mix. Any feed back? It’s in the mail and will arrive on Wednesday. I’ve had a professional come (Orkin) 2x’s so far. I confess I’ve been spraying as well like a madman under my couches, clothing closets, cracks, crevaces, natural wood floors with splits in the planks from here to China….if there is anything more annoying than bb’s it’s a new blogger who is not in the right place….sorry guys…I’ll learn about the forum etiqutte as well as these little bugs who try to take our whole world away from us. Newbeebugger

105 nobugsonme September 8, 2008 at 12:24 am

Hi Newbeebugger,
You are welcome. Please click the “Forums” button at top right or below:

In the forum, you can add a new thread, re-posting what you just posted here. I know you will get more responses there.

106 toots September 23, 2008 at 9:15 am

When I go to someone’s house for an overnight stay, I wash everything, including the canvas bag it’s all in, as soon I get there. So far, I haven’t

107 boweevil98 December 16, 2008 at 8:32 pm


I have bed bugs..I have to move out of my place..I have tossed all my furnitures.. my cameras have to bagged for a year or so (i am photographer). I have washed and doubled bagged all my clothes. How i can salvage my shoes? I am pretty much left with NOTHING!

108 Manicoverbedbugs December 18, 2008 at 12:09 am

The way I treat my shoes is by baking them in the oven. Set your oven to the lowest setting it will go (mine is 170), and put a pan of warm or hot water on the lower rack for humidity. Let the stove preheat for about 3-5 minutes or until you see steam coming from the water pan. Put your shoes on the top rack. I let my shoes bake between 1 to 2 hrs. depending on how the shoes are made. If they are of lesser quality, they probably cannot stay in there that long. So far, this has worked for me, but I cannot say how it would work for you. Just keep an eye on the shoes, as well as the water in the pan. You can also look at section for treating books as a reference (thats were I got the idea to bake my shoes).

109 MMV March 21, 2009 at 7:55 am

I have been reading the FAQ’s- How do I solve the bed bug infestation problem – I do not know if it is light or moderate – I live in an aprtment with 2 children – they love to read books and play with toys they are all over the house and have friends come over to play or go to thier friends houses. It is not possible to bag everything up! The tiling in the whole apartment is brown wooden tiles – how the hell am I going to control the infestation?
Where do I move stuff there is no place to move everything – neither can I bag everything uup – I cannot stop the children from playing with friends? reading all the posts at this website seems like I have an impossible task at hand! What do I do – please help

110 nobugsonme March 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm


Please come to our Bedbugger Forums and repost your message there:

You will get many more replies and lots of support.

111 itchyscratchy April 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Hi everyone,
I’m wondering how common car infestation is and what to do about it? I feel as though it would be pretty common for an infestation to spread to a car (and then back into the house) but have never heard anyone mention it…I ask because I’m trying to figure out how we got re-infested and this seems likely. Also no idea how to handle it apart from steaming the seats, though there are tons of cracks and crevices and it would be tough to get every single spot.
Thanks for any ideas.

112 debbie echternkamp May 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm


113 nobugsonme June 15, 2009 at 6:44 pm

itchyscratchy, sorry I missed your comment. Car infestations do happen, though not to everyone. In my opinion, it’s well worth avoiding by taking simple steps. If you have infested your car, a good PCO should be able to inspect it as they would your home. Some PCOs may treat a car, and others may refer you to a Vikane gas fumigator if available.

debbie, sorry I missed your post also. Bed bugs live in the home, not on a “carrier.” While it might be possible for a bed bug to hitch a ride on a cat and so go from one room to another, or onto the bed, it is highly unlikely for cats to pick bed bugs up outside. Bed bugs prefer to live with and bite people, so it is likely your bed bugs either walked in (as from an attached property) or came in on a person’s clothing or in their bag or a parcel.

114 nobugsonme June 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Since it was written originally by Parakeets, we’ve been sending people to this FAQ even if they wanted to learn how not to spread bed bugs in their daily life. Some readers have not found it obvious how these suggestions are applicable to life outside of travel.

Now, I have finally added a separate section at the bottom specifically addressing how the points made may be applied to avoiding the spread of bed bugs to the workplace, car, etc.

115 MA?? July 21, 2009 at 1:49 pm

?? ? ???, ???? ????????? ?

116 Need answers July 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I was bit by what my dermatologist has determined as bed bugs even though no exterminator is yet to find any signs of the bugs. I have some questions that I am hoping to get answers to here.

I travel a lot for work and was wondering how long bugs can be in your apartment before you get bit? I last traveled on June 29 and was bit for the first time on July 18.

I also want to know how easily they you can spread them from one place to another. If I want to sleep at my boyfriend’s home could I easily transport them to his apartment through my clothing. Or if he slept at my apartment can he easily bring them back to his apartment?

If no one has seen any bugs but I am still getting bit, does that mean my infestation is minimal? How quickly do they reproduce?

I washed all my bedding in hot water and dried it in the dryer for an hour, and I still got bit last night, does that mean they are probably living in cracks rather than in my bed?

Could I be infesting my office space by wearing clothes from home that I could potentially bring back to my apartment even after it is fogged and all that?

Do you have to throw out anything that can’t be washed and dried?

If they can live up to 18months without feeding how do you know if you have ever really gotten rid of them. What if you move apartments in that amount of time, could you potentially think they are gone and move them into your next apartment?

If I am getting bit by them, isn’t that more proof than actually spotting one?

If I changed out of all my clothing into new items bought at a store and left my soiled clothes outside my boyfriends apartment would that assure that i didn’t bring them into his apartment or could larvae attach to your body or hair from your soiled clothing?

I need some peace of mind. Please help!!

117 Bedbug free...for now September 18, 2009 at 11:42 am

I’m so very sorry, I’ve been living in a bubble and till this point in time I didn’t know very much about bed bugs or realize how common they are becoming in North America. But that has changed as I have a relative who has a bed bug infestation. This person didn’t tell anyone in the family or their caretaker for months what was occurring in their apartment, so the infestation has apparently gotten quite bad. The landlord of the building is not being very supportive or helpful, but they have called in a professional to come and spray the apartment. From what I’ve been researching lately, that is not an entirely succesful approach. It’s fallen on me to go over to my relative’s apartment and try to help them with the cleaning and laundry that will have to be done to supplement the extermination process. My mother spoke to the landlord and he is insisting that the laundry can’t be done in the building because he doesn’t want the bugs to spread, but he admited that he knows of another suite that has them. I’m not really sure where to start, and I’m feeling a little scared by the task at hand. It doesn’t help that my relative has mental health issues that makes it difficult for me to impress upon them how much work needs to be done and will continue to have be maintained in order to help control the problem. They are quite upset by the infestation, but are convinced that the spraying will solve everything and that I’m just being ridiculous by suggestions that thier belongings may have to be thrown out or cleaned by special measures. I’m also feel a little selfish becasue I’m so scared about bring the bedbugs home with me and am not sure what is the best way to try and prevent infesting my own home. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions about this type of situation? Thank-you so much for all of the posts on this site, I’ve received quite an educations and I appreciate it more then you know.

118 nobugsonme September 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Bedbug free,

So sorry you’re going through this — both of you.

The possibility of infesting your own home is a real one but with some effort, you should be able to minimize the risk. The Travel FAQs include information about how to avoid carrying bed bugs from place to place which may be helpful to you.

As for helping your relative do what needs to be done to get rid of bed bugs, this is not easy. One thing to consider would be whether there is a social worker or caseworker who can help you support your relative on this issue.

Please come to our Bedbugger Forums (you might consider reposting your message there) where you will get more responses and support, perhaps from others in the same boat.

119 Itchy and Paranoid September 22, 2009 at 11:04 pm

My grandfather is in a Rehabilitation Home that use to be a nursing home. Last night I slept in a recliner in his room and when I woke up this morning I noticed a few bites on my legs and neck. I have never encountered bed bugs so I had no idea they might have been an option. I showed them to my mother who is a nurse and she told me what they were. We quickly washed ALL of my clothes that I took in hot water and dried them for about an hour so I’m not too worried about that. My biggest concern is my truck!!!! I drove home in the clothes i slept in overnight! I was in my truck about 15 minutes…should I be worried about infestation???? I just bought a new leather purse a few days ago that I sat in the chair for a few minutes, should I be worried about it? It was expensive and I would hate to throw it away. One last thing, I slept with a sheet on top of the recliner, could this have helped eliminate the spreading some? I’m not 100% sure they are actual bug bites but they look like bites I saw in pictures on this website.

120 BronxBugged April 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

this just feels like no way to live. ugh.

121 PS'ed May 5, 2010 at 1:25 am


I have some questions very similar to Need Answers’s, and I would really appreciate it if some of you with experience could give some guidance. Specifically related to how to control transfers with a partner who lives outside my home and who has stayed over recently. I’ve read LOTS of the forums and have read all of this article and every other thing I could find.

My infestation is light, and we are taking immediate action (details below). However, my boyfriend stayed over the night before I first spotted a bug. He has taken home the clothes and bag he had here, and it has touched all of his other stuff. He is going to do an inspection of his room tonight, and if there are no signs will bring his clothing over bagged to wash here. However, before doing some extra reading tonight, I had assumed the worst he could have was eggs. Now it occurs to me that even though my infestation is light and new, it is possible that a bug crawled into his clothes/bag.
However, as much as I want to avoid having to go through the expense and process of cleaning everything and spraying again, it doesn’t seem reasonable for him to get his space treated if there is no sign of bugs.
I’m also not sure how to arrange him cleaning his backpack – he lives rather minimalistically and only has one. And carries a lot of stuff often. Unfortunately, I live in Canada so ordering a packlite to treat is not an option.
How do I make sure that I haven’t transferred eggs or bugs to him that he will transfer back to me? What is a reasonable course of action and precautions for us to take (ones that still allow us to stay over)?

I have had a few bites starting 2 weeks ago (two bites two weeks ago, and three one week ago), have inspected my mattress and around bed and have found almost no possible signs of bedbugs, but have seen two bugs. I live in one of three apartments in an old old house, and my landlords are having bed-bug specialists come in in a few days to spray and treat the whole house. I’m currently bagging up everything washable, and will spray boots and purses, and have coats drycleaned.

Your guidance and thoughts will be *very* much appreciated.

Thank you

122 nobugsonme May 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm


Your boyfriend may have carried bed bugs to his home (or you may have) much before you actually spotted one. It’s even possible his home is the source of the infestation. I say all of this not to freak you out, but because seeing bed bugs is really not that common. He should inspect his home for obvious signs such as fecal stains (which usually look a bit like someone took a black marker and got ink on your mattress or other areas).

You can’t be sure he does not have bed bugs. Since you react to bites, you may have a better sense of his situation once your bed bugs are gone. You should continue to take precautions in both directions (per this FAQ) until you’re free of bites for some time.

He could also consider other detection methods. (See the Detection FAQ.) There are some inexpensive methods, like running a Bed Bug Beacon for 2 weeks, which may help turn up a sample. On the other hand, you may want to wait on that and take precautions in the meantime.

In your case, you may have a small infestation. This is good news as it means less chance they’ve spread.

If his backpack has no hard frame, it can probably go in a hot dryer. Open it up and run it through for 20 minutes or so. Do not wash it first. Items can often be dried on hot without damage even if machine washing and drying would be disastrous. This can be done for many items you might run through a Packtite — it’s basically the same concept, though there’s movement which can further stress your stuff, and of course you don’t want anything banging around in a dryer like a metal backpack frame. There may be a slight risk of damage with anything, so keep it in mind.

If you have further questions, please post them in the forums, where you’ll get more feedback. Feel free to repost this question there also, or to link from here to your forum thread, if you add one later, so I can follow up there.

123 Laura May 8, 2010 at 2:53 am

If you really want to know about bedbugs feel free to contact me. Once you have one in your place of residence. For those who say you only have one…unless you are a licensed pest control person you will not be able to get rid of bedbugs from your dwelling. Unless you live in country where you can obtain the chemicals and powder required to erradicate bedbugs then y0u must consult a professional. I live in the US and the stuff you need is about as expensive (and well not legal for us to purchase) as just calling and making sure that the company is specalized in bedbugs. And well guess what we dont have access to these chemicals (highly regulated) In case you think these are only bugs which live in some other place not familar to us (don’t belive what you read) they are rampid, opportunist, and can live without a meal (that would be humans) 18 months. They travel very well and continue to on the rise throughtout the world since the ban on DDT. This killed not only them but us. Both survived but they seem to have survived unharmed if not more immune. We however cannot say the same.

124 PS'ed May 13, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Hi nobugsonme,

Thanks very much for your quick reply. Much appreciated! The fact that we have no idea where the infestation came from, or if it was passed between us already does freak me out – but it is just a fact and thank you for mentioning it and making sure I was aware. I will try to figure out the forum thing and post something more there. I haven’t cracked the forums thing yet – and wanted to say thank you.

125 Nick May 31, 2010 at 12:28 am

I recently moved to a larger city while I complete an internship for the university that I currently attend. To save money, since I am a student after all, I decided to move in with a friend. A few nights into my first week in the city, I felt something crawling on me. I brushed it off, and felt a moist feeling on my skin. A little freaked out, I turned on the light to see it was blood smeared across my arm. Within 5 minutes of searching the web, I found this problem to be bed bugs. The next morning, I washed all of my clothes and the exterminator was called. I followed each requirement that was listed on the sheet that the landlord gave to all of the tenants, and the exterminator arrived the following week. Later that day, one of the tenants told me that another tenant brought in a used couch from the street, which was later found out to be infested with bed bugs. Prior to my arrival, the tenants apartment was treated at least 3-4 times, I learned, and the problem was thought to be absolved. Had I known that there was an issue with bed bugs in the apartment complex, I would not have moved in. I know that they are extremely difficult to remove, and the tenant seems to completely ignore the fact that bed bugs are an issue, and has not followed any of the precautions given to us. Seeing that this tenant is elderly, and on the day of the extermination, the exterminator had to help move everything and bag things for the tenant, I am worried that while I am living here, the bed bugs will still exist. Furthermore, as I mentioned previously, I am a student, and upon the completion of this internship at the end of this summer, I was planning to reside with my parents once more while I finish school. I am petrified that I will bring the bed bugs back with me, and instill costs on my parents if the bed bugs attach to my belongings. To have your landlord hire an exterminator to come to your apartment to kill these pests is one thing, but living in a larger house and spreading the bed bugs in my parents home is another. Is there anything that can be done to prevent the infestation from spreading, without having to throw away all of the things that I have worked so hard for as a young adult? It is quite unfortunate to see more bed bugs 2 weeks after the exterminator’s initial visit, and I feel that this is going to be a lost cause, seeing as how the other tenants are not participating in prevention measures. Sure the exterminator can come back, multiple times even, but I think that the bed bugs will keep on showing up if there is a source, aka the other tenants and their disgusting furniture.

126 nobugsonme May 31, 2010 at 11:10 am

Hi Nick,

Sorry you’re going through this. Unfortunately, the situation of a neighbor who (for whatever reason) is not 100% on board with bed bug prep and/or treatment, is not an unusual one.

Bed bugs can easily be moved, so you absolutely must take steps to avoid taking the bed bugs to your parents’ home.

The only really reliable method is heat (thermal) treatment or commodity fumigation. There are various methods depending on what kind of stuff you have and how much.

You can heat treat small things in a Packtite and then seal them up in airtight bags, or have larger items thermally treated by a company that does this.

You can also have your things packed in a moving truck (or pallet, for a smaller amount) and treated with Vikane gas (sulfuryl fluoride), a process known as commodity fumigation. (Thermal treatment of a truck is not unheard of, but much less common.) Although houses are often treated with Vikane, entire companies like Bed Bugs and Beyond are now focusing on commodity fumigation, for people who want to move away from an infestation, or in some cases, who want to gas their belongings while their home is sprayed and dusted.

Items like vinyl records can’t be heat treated, and electronics may not be able to be put through either process (ask your provider), but for most items, these processes are a big help.

If you have a car, I would take precautions against infesting it., if you’re not already doing so.

Please come to the forums if you would like more feedback or support — you will get more responses, more quickly.

127 Sandra Ansaldi July 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

My husband & I have been battling bedbugs since Jan 2010. We signed on with an exterminator for a course of 3 treatments followed by a 6 month warranty period after the last treatment. We are now currently in the warranty period and the exterminators have had to come back twice. Yesterday they brought in trained dogs to sniff out the exact location of the holdouts on the infestation, at their expense. The areas identified by the dogs were dressers in our bedroom, the lower part of a china hutch where I had stored tablecloths and napkins (and which my cat had crawled into to sleep a couple of times) and a leather type chair in our home office. This is after a total of 5 treatments. The exterminators are coming back again Tuesday to treat the house again. It was definitely worth it to take the hit and sign up for a course of treatment with a warranty.

Reading all these blogs, I felt compelled to respond to the people who have commented that they haven’t actually seen a bedbug. I can definitely confirm that it is not that often you will actually see a readily identifiable bedbug. The fact that you don’t see an adult bedbug does not mean you don’t have them. The signs in the beds, such as little specks on your sheets, little smears of blood on your sheets, the itching and feeling of being bitten or crawled on as you are nearly asleep are much more common than sightings of bugs. I am very sensitive to the bites and wake up feeling the darn things on me, but my husband can sleep right through it most of the time. Now that I know what to look for on the sheets, I can confirm my fears. In addition to the dark dots all over, especially in the leg area, I sometimes find little pale things that look like skin. I learned from this site that the bb’s shed their skin as they grow and apparently that’s what the pale things are. Also, when the bugs are very young and have not fed yet, they are quite pale in color, almost translucent and very, very small. I did see some of those on a plastic mattress protector that had failed. (Cheap plastic mattress protectors aren’t worth it. They rip very easily.)

We made a decision early on to inform our family & closest friends that we had the problem and to tell them that our house was under treatment. We were afraid of being ostracized, but that has not happened and over time has proven to have been the best course of action, especially as we needed repeated treatments. These treatments are so disruptive of our lives I don’t know how we would have kept it hidden in the long run. It only would have added to our stress. We have even possibly helped others avoid infestation – a friend of a friend brought home a used sofa and started feeling itchy. My friend told her of our experience and she got the couch right out of her house, treated her cats with pyrethin-based flea killers and has had no problems.

128 nobugsonme July 24, 2010 at 12:07 am


Please come to the active user forums if you would like to discuss this further and get feedback from those in a similar boat. (I suggest choosing a username there besides your real name, however.)

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