Knowing how you could get bed bugs is the foundation of an effective bed bug control and prevention strategy. It is also the foundation on which to build public awareness of the problem. Unfortunately there is a stigma associated with having a bed bug problem. People think bed bugs come from being dirty or bad hygiene. This is not the case though.
It’s true that dirty conditions can make it easier for the bugs to hide. A lot of items lying around, a room in disrepair with cracks and bubbles in the wallpaper, gaps between the walls and trim, a box spring that is falling apart with holes leading to the inside. All of these become good places for them to hide.
Such conditions not only make it easier for the bugs to hide, they can make inspection and treatment more difficult. Bed bugs are hard enough to eradicate as it is. When they are thoroughly hidden and protected the job becomes that much more difficult.
Regardless, dirty conditions are not the cause.
You get bed bugs in a few different ways:
You or a guest pick them up while traveling and bring them into your home.
Example: You stayed in a hotel that was infested and didn’t know it. You put your suitcase on the bed and unpacked the clean clothes into your closet and the dirty clothes into the hamper.
You bring goods into your home that are already infested.
Example: You picked up a framed painting you bought used from an online classified. You mounted the painting above your bed.
You live in a multi-unit dwelling (condos, apartments, hotels, motels) and they come in from other units.
Example: You just moved into a large apartment building in the city. Your unit doesn’t have any bed bugs but after a while you hear that other tenants have been complaining to management.
You moved into a new place that already had bed bugs.
Example: You bought a new house. The old owners never mentioned an infestation (you never thought to ask) and even though the building inspector checked for termites, he never checked for bed bugs.
If you or somebody you know gets bed bugs, keep in mind that it is not due to poor hygiene or dirty habits. They have been found in homes, hostels, dorms, apartments and even the finest hotels. The important thing is to learn about them, help spread awareness and do the right things to protect yourself.