Bed Bug Nests [Complete Guide]

Bed bugs are abundant and cause numerous complaints. They seem to come out of nowhere and are rarely sighted. But how do bed bugs actually live together? Is there a nest in which they hide and reproduce together or are they solitary?

In this article, we’ll explain everything there is to know about bed bug nests, how they arise, where to find them, and what to do about them.

Bed Bugs Don’t Have Nests – Here’s Why 

When we think of a nest, we imagine the colony that helps each other to survive by bringing food to each other and helping to feed the larvae to grow the next population. In the case of bed bugs, it is not the truth. They do not form colonies and don’t create nests, where they support each other and the future population.

They have quite solitary behavior, however, they try to stay together in one safe place, where it’s going to be best to hide and closest to the food source. (And it is not YOUR food, see this: Bed Bugs and Food) These insects are able to find the safest places in the house to create their so-called nests. 

Bed bugs can hide in walls, or in the wall’s cracks, near the wall. The main criteria for the place where bed bugs like to settle are that the place should not be close to the bed, and it should be dark and hard to reach. (Maybe you don’t know if Bed Bugs Are Blind?)

Advantages of Nests

In nature, nests are a common sight. Insects in particular use this form of coexistence to take advantage of it.

In such colonies, reproduction of the species is supported by large numbers of individuals. The offspring are fed and cared for by countless members.

In a nest, there is great protection for all members. This enables a dedicated distribution of tasks and further development of the entire colony.

This protection is sometimes guaranteed by a special construction. This nest offers optimal conditions for the state and protects against external influences

Despite all these advantages, Bed bugs don’t have a hive or nests.

However, these insects are also not completely solitary. They live together in a safe place and then go on a hunt to find the food source and fill themselves. The main advantage for bed bugs to live together in one place is that they are safe (because it’s a hidden spot) and they can reproduce.

The reproduction process is very unique in bed bugs. It is called traumatic insemination. One female bed bug is able to lay up to 500 eggs within its lifetime. Usually, the bed bugs lay their eggs in one place.

Disadvantages of Nests 

However, the use of nests also has disadvantages in nature.

A nest requires good collaboration and a complex structure within the colony. Tasks have to be distributed and various functions have to be fulfilled. This often results in a complex morphology with a lot of dependencies.

In addition, a nest is a potential weak point that could endanger large numbers of individuals if they do not have adequate defense skills.

A nest also requires more space than individual insects which is often not available.

Bed Bugs cannot make up for these disadvantages of nests.

Bed bugs have a hard risky life with a lot of potential dangers. They are weak, don’t have much space for their living and are constantly short on food. Building a nest would jeopardize their existence and they would quickly become extinct.

Do Bed Bugs Live or Nest Together Nevertheless?

Bed bugs have solitary behaviors, however, prefer to stay in one safe place together, as it’s easy for them to reproduce and hide there. Also, bed bugs are not able to travel long distances, that’s why they choose one place closest to the food source, stay there and grow their population.

Due to their small size and not very developed legs, bed bugs can not travel long distances, so when it comes to choosing their hideaway, they prefer it to be close to their hosts, but also safe. Bed bugs can even travel through walls to your home from your neighbors. But still, walls are not the most common spaces where they live. (If you are concerned about your walls, here’s a nice read: Does Painting the Walls Help Get Rid of Bed Bugs?)

So, bed bugs don’t form a nest together. They just tend to live in the same hideouts, where they can easily access the sources of food (I wondered if: Bed Bugs Bite in the Same Spot?). It’s also important to mention that they don’t support each other, so they just stay in one place but keep a solitary lifestyle.

How Does a Bed Bug Accumulation (Nest) Arise?

Bed bugs congregate, however you will still be able to find one or two bugs somewhere not far from the main population. Bed bugs can be found anywhere near the areas where humans spend the most time. 

You also need to be careful when using public transportation or sitting in public spaces, as you can bring bed bugs to your home from these places. Especially, if you’re staying in a hotel room, you need to inspect the bed before sleeping to make sure there are no bugs. 

The bed bug accumulation arises, as they start reproducing.

Firstly, they find the most suitable place to hide. And then the typical life cycle appears and bed bugs reproduce, increasing the population.

How To: Find a Bed Bug Accumulation (Nest)?

For better and quicker examination of your home to find bed bug accumulation, you can use the services of certain companies that have specially trained canines, which help find small, dispersed infestations. This works well especially in places such as hotels, libraries, theaters, and offices. 

The companies can also use properly trained dogs, as they can be very effective in detecting bed bugs accumulation. However, this is not very common among companies, as it requires special training, which can be quite expensive. Here the issue can lay in reliability, as it may vary from one canine inspection to the next.  

Usually, a good thorough inspection and treatment take up to a few hours. If a proper canine detection team or a professional exterminator is way above your budget, then you should take this task of identifying the location of the nest on your own. 

It’s good to know that bed bug nests are usually located right next to the bed, where people sleep or relax, so they are unlikely to hide in the bathroom or kitchen. Due to its small size and flat shape, it’s easy for bed bugs to hide in wall cracks, folds, holes.

Examining these suspicious areas with a magnifying glass or pocket microscope is a good way to identify an infestation.

You can recognize bed bugs by the fact that they leave small crumbly droppings behind. These fine crumbs look inconspicuous but contain blood residues. If they are moistened and rubbed, a reddish spot is created. This is a sure sign of a bed bug infestation.

Here are the most common questions we see when it comes to Bed Bug hideaways:

Can Bed Bugs Live in Hair? 

It is a common misconception that bed bugs can live in hair. But actually, it’s not the truth, as they prefer to live in dark places, like walls, between furniture, in the wall or floor cracks.

Hair is also a very dangerous place for bed bugs. There is a lot of contact with other items and they are washed frequently.

It is a difficult place to reproduce and safely lay eggs. And it is even hard to feed on the scalp since it’s full of obstacles and not as soft as preferred.

Also interesing: Does Lice Shampoo Kill Bed Bugs?

Do Bed Bugs Hide in the Carpet?

Bed bugs may hide in the carpet, so you need to peel back the carpeting from the tack strip to see if it’s the place where the bugs are coming from. Bed bugs can even hide in the glue line of the carpeting, so it’s recommended to check that as well during your inspection. Also, check the carpets behind beds and sofas, as bed bugs can hide there too.

Loose carpets should be inspected and cleaned too. Especially carpets in dog baskets and those being close to humans and their beds.

Knocking the carpet out and vacuuming isn’t sufficient to get rid of the bed bugs. You should try to steam your carpet as hot as possible since they don’t survive heat.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Wood? 

Bed bugs can also live in grooves in hardwood flooring, especially near your bed. To inspect the flooring beneath or around the bed. You can visually inspect the exterior of all dressers and bedside tables, they can hide there as well.

It’s recommended to remove your drawers from the tracks and check if there are bed bugs inside, as you are removing all items from the drawers during the process. Also, make sure you have Inspected the crevice between the baseboard and the flooring, as it can also be the place for a bed bug hideaway.

Is It Possible for Bed Bugs to Nest in Books? 

Bed bugs are small and flat, making them easy to hide in books. That’s why you need to look closely at any books in your room and focus especially on the binding, as it can be the most preferred place for bugs to hide.

As bed bugs are not feeding on paper they don’t hide between single pages. They only use books as a dark hiding place if they are not moved for a long time.

If you find small insects inside of your books and the paper is damaged it is possible you have a paper silverfish infestation.

Do Bed Bugs Live in Leather?

Bed bugs can live in materials, such as leather, suede, or vinyl; however, they are less likely to hide there. Leather is not a very climber-friendly material, so it is hard for bed bugs to hide there, and bed bugs choose the places where it’s easy for them to move to and from.

There are many items with leather covers, especially furniture items. They often have upholstery underneath made of different materials. And that also can be the place for bed bugs to hide and accumulate.

The common tips for inspecting your bedroom include inspecting your bed in detail including the headboard, frame, box springs, and mattress. It’s important, as some places in your bed are perfect for bed bugs.

Get Rid of a Bed Bug Nest Soon 

You can find hundreds of different chemical sprays for killing bed bugs on the market. You can also use a multi insect killer. However, you need to take into consideration your tolerance to these chemicals. If you’re allergic to some of these products, you need to seek other methods of killing bed bugs.

When using chemical products it’s important to identify the place where the bed bugs are coming from. Then just spray the chemicals into their hiding spots. Here you need to be very careful. If you decide to use insecticides it is very important to strictly hold to the manufactor’s instruction.

We don’t recommend using those chemicals if you have kids or free-running pets in your house. And even in their absence, we suggest taking other treatments into account.

An alternative method, which helps to get rid of bed bugs, is to take all of the bedding, blankets, and mattresses outside. You need to leave them under the sun for at least 2-3 hours when it’s really hot.

The bed bugs can’t withstand heat and will die eventually. As it is not costly at all, it is also not as effective as a professional heating treatment, since you have to repeat it and have no guarantee to get rid of all bed bugs.

Another possibility is steam vacuuming. It works quite well and doesn’t require harsh chemicals. It is not as effective as a professional heat treatment but the best low-cost method you have.

Extra Tip: The Popular Method of Ultrasound and why it doesn’t work.

And a Must-See: the most complete list of ALL remedies against Bed Bugs.

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