Caught in a Trap Title of Bedbug Bandits comic | Rentokil

How to beat bed bugs at hide and seek


“What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.” – Harry Houdini

Caught in a Trap Title of Bedbug Bandits comic | Rentokil

So, what about the things you don’t see? Does that mean they don’t exist?

Houdini was a great man of mystery, in many people’s eyes at least. Bed bugs however need not be so mysterious.

You may not see live bed bugs, and you are unlikely to hear them, but don’t let this fool you into thinking they are not around. [Check out our latest BedBugBandits comic – Caught in a Trap]

As masters of hide and seek, bed bug infestations often develop out of sight and in unexpected areas.

So, what makes them so good at this game?

  • Their flattened bodies.
  • Their crawling skills.
  • Their ability to spread from bed to bed

In general though, they will live as close to a food source (human) as possible.

What’s the secret to beating them? Inspections!

If you know where and what to look for, you are more than halfway to beating them at their own game.

Knowing what the most attractive hiding spots might be, is the difference between good and bad bed bug control.

Where Do Bed Bugs Live & How Do They Spread?

In my previous post, I talked about how to tell if you have bedbugs.

Here I am going to focus on common questions that I come across relating to how bed bugs get about.  If you understand how they operate, you stand a much better chance of finding them.

People often wonder about how bed bugs get around and if they can jump or fly, or how fast they can crawl for example.

These are popular search queries and ones that can be addressed and laid to rest here once and for all.

Where Bedbugs Hide | Rentokil

Q: Can Bed Bugs Fly?

No, bed bugs have to crawl around to get to a food source. For this they do prefer non-polished, carpeted surfaces, which provide them with a better grip. They can crawl about a metre a minute, according to Stephen Kells, a bedbug researcher at the University of Minnesota.

Q: Do Bed Bugs Jump?

How Bedbugs Move Around | Rentokil
No, but they are fairly skilled climbers. They can climb up wooden bed frames and those made of metal- although they don’t like harbouring on them. They have small hooks in their feet, which grab onto small cracks and pores in textured surfaces. Smooth surfaces like glass or porcelain are their enemy.

In this way, they can use any loose bedding or nearby furniture and even walls to climb up into your bed for a bloodmeal.


  • Position your bed slightly further away from the wall and other furniture like night stands.
  • Reduce any clutter underneath your bed
  • Ensure all bedding is tucked in neatly and is not touching the floor.

Q: Will a metal bed frame prevent bed bugs and bites?

Sadly not. They can still climb up these for a feed but they will not use it as a harbourage site (place to hide). In fact, a metal bed frame just makes things a little bit more interesting / challenging.

It means that an inspection will have to focus on other possible hiding spots around your bedroom to locate bed bugs. Whereas if you have a wooden bed frame, chances are you or a professional will find evidence of bed bugs on it. (You could almost bet on this!)

Q: Will keeping the light on at night prevent bed bugs?

Technician Advice on Bedbugs | Rentokil

When I first came across this question I actually laughed out loud. In hindsight however, it is a valid question. Do bed bugs only bite at night? The simple answer, no! They move around both in the dark and day. The truth is, if they are hungry enough, they will come out to feed, especially if they have gone for a long period without a meal.

Bed bugs can be found day or night.

Why is this important to know for an inspection?

It means inspections in your home or business can take place at any time of day. In the case of some pests like rats, night time inspections are available to ensure higher chance of finding a pest. This is not necessary then for bed bugs.

Q: Where do bed bugs live?

Bedbugs Like Messy Bedrooms | Rentokil

You can be forgiven for assuming bed bugs only live in beds – their very name is a misnomer.  In fact, they can be found in multiple locations within your bedroom. For example:  bed frame, (under) skirting board, headboard, mattress, carpet, bedside furniture.

Oh and did you know……they love to hide inside screw holes too!

A cluttered, messy bedroom aids and abets a bed bug!

Why is this important to know for an inspection?

It tells us that all areas of a room need to be inspected for evidence and clues to their presence. Do not give bed bugs too many places to hide.

Tip: Declutter your room ahead of an inspection (and perhaps for the sake of your sanity too)!

Q: Do bed bugs live in your hair?

Simple answer, no. Unlike fleas, which we know can remain on your shaggy, furry pet dog for example, bed bugs will not even crawl onto a host to feed. After a bloodmeal they prefer to return to their hiding place (or harbourage sites).

Why is this important to know for an inspection?

Well, put simply it means your person does not need to be inspected for evidence (which can only be a good thing!).

 Q: How do bed bugs move from room to room?

Through the wonderful medium of cavity walls for example, and they are very good at it too unfortunately.

Oh…and yes, they will also crawl in and out of entry doors and move along corridors.

If you suspect a problem, it is always advised to check all surrounding rooms both to the side and above and below (if they exist).

This method of inspection, known as the cube approach, is employed both in commercial businesses and residential homes. It is important to check to this extent to ensure a full understanding of the level of infestation.

Each building will have to have a tailored approach, as the construction of your property will dictate which rooms bed bugs may have moved into.

For example:

  • A hotel with solid concrete floors will stop bed bugs moving vertically, so spread is more likely to occur on the same floor to rooms either side or across the corridors
  • An older hotel with wooden floors will promote the spread of bed bugs through pipe conduits and other holes.

 Using Bed Bug Dogs for Inspections

They say a dog is man’s best friend. When it comes to bed bug inspections this is quite literally the case.

With their keen sense of smell, specially trained bed bug sniffer dogs can further help with inspections to identify pest hotspots. They are a powerful tool when used in combination with the scientific knowledge of your pest controller. In fact, using dogs enables a much faster inspection of your home or business, and with less disruption.

These skilled canines can sniff out not only live bed bugs but even their eggs.

Follow all the adventures of the Bed Bug Bandits for similar related information and blogs.



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