How Bed Bugs Spread

Bed bugs are prolific breeders. In their brief one-year lifespan, they can lay as many as 500 eggs. It doesn’t take long for a little problem to become a major infestation. Once in a building they can spread from room to room on people’s clothing, on mail delivery and housekeeping carts or inside briefcases, luggage or backpacks. They move easily through wall voids, electrical and plumbing conduits, vents and ducts, infecting first the rooms next door and above and below the originally infected room. It’s easy to see how bed bugs carried in by an employee or visitor can quickly become a major headache, particularly in apartment buildings, hotels, condos and businesses.

The recent bed bug suit at Fox News Channel (see our May 30 post) is a case in point. The bed bug infestation there likely started with one individual bringing bed bugs into one room in the building. In a place where employees and visitors come and go daily, it can be incredibly difficult to eradicate bed bugs. If an infested room is treated, the little blood suckers simply migrate to another room. They can be transported home by employees who then bring them back to work with them the next day. In fact, in a similar case a persistent infestation at one company was eventually tracked back to an employee’s home. It wasn’t until the bed bugs were eradicated from this staffer’s home that the problem at his workplace could be successfully eliminated.

Next time: How to eliminate bed bugs