bed bug

Where do bed bugs originate from?

Bed bugs originated in the Middle East and have been around for at least 3,550 years. Even ancient Egyptians dealt with these pests. Since they require blood to survive and reproduce, they've been feeding off of human blood for about as long as they've been around. Over time, they've evolved into different subspecies and spread across the world.

Where do bed bugs originate from?

Bed bugs originated in the Middle East and have been around for at least 3,550 years. Even ancient Egyptians dealt with these pests. Since they require blood to survive and reproduce, they've been feeding off of human blood for about as long as they've been around. Over time, they've evolved into different subspecies and spread across the world.

Bed bugs today can be found all across the United States, exhibiting many of the same tendencies they've shown for thousands of years: hiding in cracks and crevices on beds (or other furniture) and feeding on humans. While bed bugs don't spread harmful diseases like ticks are known to do, they can still cause itchy bites, rashes and mild allergic reactions in many people.

Where are the most common places bed bugs live in your house?

Bed bugs get their name because of where they like to live: your bed. But that doesn't mean they're lurking on the surface. They like to hide from light and only emerge when it's time to feed. It also doesn't mean they can't spread to other furniture in your home. They can if the population grows quickly enough.

That said, there are three main places where bed bugs tend to spend their time between feedings:

1. The box springs beneath your mattress

2. In the bed frame and headboard

3. All over the mattress, including the tufts, folds and buttons

If you're concerned about a bed bug infestation in your home, check these locations first. If you notice any living bed bugs or see signs that could indicate an infestation (more on that below), contact a pest control specialist right away.

Though bed bugs are most commonly found on and around your bed, they're not afraid to invade other areas of your home. They can hide:


  • behind electrical outlet covers
  • in furniture
  • inside drawers and storage areas
  • in clutter surrounding your bed
  • along the fold of curtains
  • inside your luggage
  • inside clothing and linens
  • in the pleats of lampshades
  • behind wallpaper
  • along baseboards
  • under the edge of carpet
  • inside shoes
  • on the fore-edge, binding, and protective cover of books and magazines
  • even tiny openings in electronics
  • The truth is that bed bugs can be found just about anywhere in your home. They may prefer to stay close to your bed, but as they reproduce and their numbers grow, they'll spread into other areas.

    Where do bed bugs live in mattresses?

    Bed bugs like to live in hidden areas around your bed where light doesn't reach them. That's why they most commonly live in the seams of your mattress and in crevices in the bed frame and headboard.

    It's rare that you'll see them crawling on the surface, especially during daylight hours. If they make it inside the mattress, they may stay there between feedings if there is a rip or tear in the mattress that provides access to the inside.

    Bed bugs are also commonly found in box springs just beneath the mattress. Most box spring covers are easy to tear, which means it's more likely for bed bugs to be able to get inside. They love to lay their eggs in the seams and hidden crevices in and around your bed. This is because the eggs will be safer in those hidden spots so they can hatch and continue the infestation throughout your home.

    Where do bed bugs hide during the day?

    Bed bugs are primarily active at night and prefer to feed on human blood. During the daytime, they will typically hide in close proximity to their host.

    Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into even the tiniest of places, making it nearly impossible to see bed bugs during the day if you don't know the warning signs.

    If you know what to look for, you can spot bed bugs in your home. The sooner you find them, the easier it will be to deal with an impending infestation. Look for these common signs:

  • Rusty or reddish smears on your sheets and/or pajamas
  • Dark spotting and staining, which is dried bed bug fecal matter
  • Adult bugs or bug carcasses on the mattress
  • Strange, musty odors in your room
  • Learn more about signs of bed bugs.

    4 ways to find bed bugs during the day

    While it is not recommended to attempt to treat bed bugs on your own, as these pests can multiply quickly and can be quite difficult to find, there are a few ways you can confirm your suspicions of a bed bug infestation.

    Bed bugs are typically inactive during the day, but here are some ways you can spot them and make bed bugs come out of hiding:

    1. Check for bed bugs in cracks with a card

    Due to their small size, bed bugs can hide in areas as narrow as 2mm wide. It can be difficult, even with a concentrated light source, to see any activity in such a small space. However, you may be able to prod them from their hiding places with the aid of a credit card.

    Simply slide an old credit card along any narrow crevices, including:

  • Baseboards
  • Headboards
  • Dresser drawers
  • Bookshelves
  • Furnishings

  • 2. Check for small spots on bedding

    Bed bugs are small, but the after-effects of their blood meal can be even smaller. To confirm the presence of bed bugs, inspect your bed sheets, linens, duvet, and comforter for small brown or rust-colored specks. This can indicate either blood droplets from where they may have bitten you, or bed bug droppings. Use a magnifying glass to inspect bedding and other upholstered items (such as pillows, cushions, or curtains) for these markings.

    3. Check for shed bed bug skins

    Bed bugs will shed their skin, replacing it with a new, larger version after a blood meal at various points throughout their life cycle. Spotting a collection of exoskeletons gathered along mattress seams, headboards, baseboards, or other cracks and crevices may indicate the presence of live and thriving bed bugs in your home.

    4. Vacuum or steam for bed bugs

    Vacuuming or using a steamer can also potentially jar them out of hiding. If live bed bugs are present in areas we've noted at the time of your search, they may attempt to escape. Be sure to have a vacuum cleaner ready to immediately capture them.

    Please take care to properly dispose of any vacuum cleaner bags in the garbage away from your home. Otherwise, you run the risk of contaminating other areas of your home while the vacuum cleaner is in storage or the next time you vacuum in a different room.

    How to find bed bugs at night

    Bed bugs typically come out at night. What actively attracts them is the carbon dioxide and body heat emitted from humans and animals. Sleeping (or sitting) means that a person is still long enough for a bed bug to emerge from hiding and have an easy source of sustenance, sucking blood.

    While it can be pretty difficult to find bed bugs while you're sleeping yourself, a partner or housemate may be able to see bed bugs come out to feed if they happen to be awake. But let's face it, sleeping in shifts to confirm the presence of bed bugs can be a bit extreme and, likely, ineffective.

    Where do bed bugs hide in public places?

    While bedrooms tend to harbor more bed bugs than other household locations, it should be noted that they can hide anywhere people tend to sleep or rest.

    Some examples of other hiding spots include:

  • hotel rooms
  • cushions in movie theaters and airplanes
  • seats in buses and cabs
  • chairs in break rooms
  • storage areas
  • offices or lounges with upholstered furniture.
  • To minimize the risk of a bed bug infestation, consider taking precautions such as putting your purse on your lap instead of on the ground at an airport, and placing luggage in the bathroom on a hard, uncarpeted service in hotel rooms until you inspect the room for any potential signs of bed bug activity.

    Where do bed bugs hide on your body?

    Bed bugs gravitate towards people who remain inactive (e.g., sleeping) long enough to provide a blood meal, though you don't need to worry about where bed bugs hide on your body for long term periods.

    Unlike ticks, bed bugs don't attach themselves to a human host, but can be transported by humans in their belongings such as a coat, luggage or furniture. Once established, bed bugs will instead travel from a hiding spot 5-20 feet away to blood feed. The blood feeding process usually lasts three to 10 minutes.

    While most people don't know they're being bitten during blood feeding, bites for some people can result in itchy welts caused by a reaction to bed bug saliva and this can cause discomfort for up to a week or more. Once the blood feeding is complete, bed bugs retreat to their hiding spots to digest the blood.

    Where do bed bugs hide their eggs?

    Knowing where bed bugs hide their eggs can help investigators identify a potential issue and help stop the issue from becoming an infestation.

    After mating, adult female bed bugs hide their eggs in secluded places. They'll try getting as close to a food source as they can, and look for cracks and crevices, even seams of mattresses, mattress tags, and other hard to reach areas. A sticky substance produced by the female bed bug helps eggs stick to surfaces and each female can potentially produce hundreds of eggs during her lifetime.

    Bed bug eggs are tiny and white, a little larger than a grain of salt, and are difficult to observe closely without magnification. When temperatures are above 70°F, eggs can hatch in 7-10 days and this process takes longer at lower temperatures. Newly hatched nymphs (immature bed bugs) immediately go in search of a blood meal.

    Where do bed bugs live FAQ

    Where do bed bugs originate from?

    Bed bugs originated in the Middle East and have been around for at least 3,550 years. Even ancient Egyptians dealt with these pests. Since they require blood to survive and reproduce, they've been feeding off of human blood for about as long as they've been around. Over time, they've evolved into different subspecies and spread across the world.

    Where do bed bugs live in nature?

    Bed bugs want to be near their food source, so they're most commonly found in homes. But long before humans started sleeping in cushy beds, bed bugs lived in caves with healthy bat populations. They fed off bat blood and gradually evolved to feeding on human blood.

    If a home isn't available, bed bugs can live outside, typically in areas with high levels of human activity. They can be found in busy campsites, on furniture left outside on street corners, in homeless encampments, and even in taxis, buses, trains and planes.

    Can bed bugs live on air mattresses?

    Bed bugs can easily climb on an air mattress to feed, but they can't live or nest inside it. This is because most modern air mattresses are made of puncture-resistant materials. Bed bugs can't gnaw through the surface to hide inside the mattress. And, even if they did manage to find a way inside the mattress, the bed itself wouldn't provide much shelter.

    That doesn't mean they can't bite you if you're sleeping on an air mattress. Bed bugs can detect the carbon dioxide on your breath from three feet away. If they need to feed, they'll find a way to do it. 

    Can bed bugs live on memory foam mattresses?

    Though memory foam mattresses are relatively new, they still make a possible habitat for bed bugs. The material is easy for bed bugs to climb on, but it's not their ideal place to make a shelter. As previously mentioned, though, bed bugs are determined parasites and will happily feed on you regardless of bed type.

    Can bed bugs live on plastic mattresses?

    Plastic or vinyl mattresses are especially common in medical facilities, dormitories and summer camp bunks. They're easy to clean, durable and don't crush down easily even after repeated use. And, like other types of mattresses, bed bugs can easily climb onto them and feed on sleeping humans. They can't live on or in plastic mattresses, but they can still hide along the seams for short periods of time.

    Can bed bugs live in books?

    If you've noticed black spots on the fore edge of a book, it may be bed bugs. Due to their small size, bed bugs can fit into several different parts of a book. This includes the binding, fore-edge and protective covering. Bed bugs can be found in or on books or magazines that are found near your resting areas.

    To determine if bed bugs are hiding in your books, first conduct a thorough inspection. Since bed bugs can be hard to see, lay the book against a white sheet or bathtub. It is possible that bed bugs may try to escape upon detection. To avoid migration, keep a vacuum and plastic bags close by. Seal infested books within a plastic bag immediately.

    Can bed bugs live in luggage?

    When traveling, bed bugs might hitch a ride on your luggage. If bed bugs are not detected before you arrive at your destination, you risk spreading the infestation. Use a flashlight to check all areas of your bag, including pockets and seams. If you find bed bugs in your luggage, there are ways that you can remove them.

    Vacuuming with a crevice tool attachment can move them into the vacuum bag. This may not not kill bed bugs, but it may contain them within the sealed vacuum bag. When emptying the bag, it is important that you remove all bed bugs. If left inside the bag, they could escape. Put in an outdoor trash receptacle away from the home. If saving a few specimens for the PMP to identify, put them in an old medicine bottle or other tightly sealed container.

    Can bed bugs live in shoes?

    Do you have a closet full of barely-worn shoes? They may be housing bed bugs. In shoes, bed bugs can hide under soles, between fabrics and in crevices. This includes boots, heels, sneakers and sandals. Before inspecting the shoe, make sure you wear protective gloves as you will need to be hands-on. Examine all materials, layers, laces, zippers and mesh. If you find bed bugs or suspect their presence, move shoes into a plastic bag or container.

    Can bed bugs live in electronics?

    Like with other household items, bed bugs can find their way into electronics with small openings. Think TV's, phones, remotes, gaming consoles, computers and printers. To inspect your device, use a magnifying glass and make sure you're aware of the common bed bug signs. If you spot bed bugs in electronics, you may not want to take matters into your own hands. Attempting any do-it-yourself solutions can put both you and your electronics at risk.

    Terminix can nix your bed bug problem

    The last thing anyone wants to think about are bed bugs hiding just out of plain sight, but it's a reality. They don't discriminate between clean/organized and dirty/messy environments, or public and personal spaces.

    Don't wait to find out where bed bugs may be hiding in your house. If you suspect that you may have a bed bug issue, consider contacting a Terminix® pest control professional to schedule an inspection.

    Get Bed Bug Treatment