Do Bed Bugs Jump or Not?

Article on whether or not bed bugs can, in fact, jump. Includes a brief overview of how they feed and the different factors that influence their jumping ability.
By
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
reviewed
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: January 10, 2023
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Traveling is fun and all, but having to worry about bed bugs can put a severe damper on your enjoyment. How do you know if your current accommodation is bed bug-free or not? Even if you do all sorts of preliminary checks (e.g. checking underneath the mattress, keeping your luggage away from the bed), you’ll always have that niggling question: do bed bugs jump?

Thankfully, we’re here to help put your mind at ease. We’ll give you all the information you need about bed bugs so you can worry less about them and enjoy your trip more. Knowing beforehand how do bed bugs jump or fly can go a long way toward managing your stress.

Bed Bugs Movement

Do Bed Bugs Jump or Not?
Adult bed bugs are about ¼ inch long, oval, reddish-brown, and wingless. Their body is very flat, and they possess long, slender legs and antennae.

Even though they have six legs, bed bugs don’t jump or fly – they can only crawl. They don’t have wings, so they can’t fly, and their legs aren’t strong enough to jump. However, they can crawl quickly and easily get attached to non-slippery surfaces, such as your clothes or luggage bag.

Bed bugs can quickly spread from household to household, which gives the false impression that they can jump or fly. Have you ever wondered how do bed bugs jump from person to person? The short answer is they don’t; the long answer is they move by attaching themselves to you or your belongings.

Do Bed Bugs Jump?

Thinking about how far do bed bugs jump can be scary, especially if you’re about to travel. The good news for you is that they don’t jump. Their anatomy doesn’t enable them to jump, despite having six legs. They are excellent crawlers; they can crawl even on a 45-degree slope Trusted Source Climbing Ability of the Common Bed Bug Hemiptera Cimicidae Journal of Medical Entomology Oxford Academic Abstract. Little is known about what factors influence the climbing ability of bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. Hemiptera Cimicidae, in relation to the various. academic.oup.com as long as their legs have traction.

If you thought you saw a bed bug jump from one surface to another, it probably just lost grip and fell. Bed bugs don’t cope well with slippery surfaces, which is why the best bed bug traps are made of smooth plastic. The smooth surface exploits the bed bugs’ inability to crawl on non-textured areas.

However, if you definitely saw something jump from one place to another, it’s possible you saw a flea. Fleas can jump, but bed bugs can’t.

Do Bed Bugs Fly?

Bed bugs don’t have wings, so they’re unable to fly. They only have legs that enable them to crawl. Can you imagine a world where bed bugs can fly? Infestation in cities would be a lot worse.

If you’re confident you’ve seen a brown, flat-bodied bug fly around, you’re probably looking at a stink bug. Unlike bed bugs, stink bugs have wings and are adept fliers. They also don’t bite, but they are annoying when flying around. They also  emit a foul smell Trusted Source Alarm Odor Compounds of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Exhibit Antibacterial Activity PMC Some insects release scented compounds as a defense against predators that also exhibit antimicrobial activity. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov to protect themselves and deter predators, similar to how a skunk reacts.

How Do Bed Bugs Travel?

Do Bed Bugs Jump or Not?
Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel on their skin.

On their own, bed bugs do not travel. They like to stay where there’s a steady supply of food; in other words, they want to stay near you. They rely on their host’s blood to feed, so they like to hide in the crevices of your mattress. That’s why you should use one of the best bed bug mattress covers on the market to limit a bed bug’s ability to move and hide.

The bad news is that bed bugs can travel far distances with our help. They can easily attach to you or your belongings and stay there until it’s time for them to move and feed again. That’s why keeping your clothes and luggage bag away from hotel room floors, and beds is vital to avoid a nasty hitchhiker.

Bed bugs in crowded places such as trains or buses can seem unavoidable. After all, there’s no way to avoid getting in contact with other people. Proper hygiene and regularly washing your clothes can help minimize the chances of bed bugs settling in your home.

How Do Bed Bugs Move from Room to Room

Bed bugs don’t travel long distances Trusted Source Human Travel and Traveling Bedbugs Journal of Travel Medicine Oxford Academic AbstractBackground. A dramatic increase in reported bedbug Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus infestations has been observed worldwide over the past decade. academic.oup.com on their own; they only move around when looking for food and a new place to call home. After feeding, bed bugs can’t move much – they’re simply too full of blood to move effectively. They’ll most likely crawl back to their hiding spot to digest your blood before crawling out again.

If you suspect a bed bug infestation and want to prevent them from moving to another room, consider using one of the best bed bug foggers. Doing so during the early stages of infestation slows down their spread and can completely eliminate them. Just make sure you’re using the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or it won’t be as effective.

How to Stop Bed Bugs from Moving Around

Do Bed Bugs Jump or Not?
One of the best ways to get rid of bed bugs is to make or buy traps for each leg of your bed or sofa so that they won’t be able to reach you during sleeping.

Have bed bugs invaded your home? Before panicking about how do baby bed bugs jump, remember that they can only crawl and not jump or fly. That means you only need to limit their movement to eradicate them effectively.

If you have an emergency bed bug kit in hand, use them. Remember that bed bugs like to crawl to and from their food source, so place any traps you have around your bed. You can also place them between the mattress and the wall.

Next, you must move furniture, clothes, and luggage away from the walls. You don’t want bed bugs to use you or your clothes as their taxi to their next destination. If you forget whether do bed bugs jump or crawl, remember that they can only crawl.

However, if you notice the infestation is worsening despite your home remedies, it might be time to call the professionals. They will evaluate your situation and use the appropriate products based on the severity. Once the initial treatment is over, they will likely advise you to use Nuvan ProStrips to kill any remaining bed bugs.

Bed Bugs vs. Fleas

Do Bed Bugs Jump or Not?
Fleas and bed bugs have different body types and movement speeds. Fleas tend to be smaller than bed bugs and have more of an oval-shaped body.

Answering “do bed bugs hop or jump” for yourself should be easy because bed bugs are too flat and wide to jump. Their legs are also not strong enough to launch themselves forward. They can only crawl or hitch a ride with you.

Fleas, on the other hand, can jump from one place to another. They secrete a protein on their legs called “resilin”, which helps their legs become elastic to aid with their jumping. Bed bugs can’t produce this protein, so they can’t jump. If you see a small critter jumping from place to place, that’s a flea.

FAQ

How far can bed bugs jump?

Bed bugs cannot jump, so there’s no need to worry whether bed bugs have wings or jump. They only know how to crawl and are pretty good at it. If you notice something jumping around in your bedroom, that’s not a bed bug. That’s probably a flea, and you need to get rid of it immediately before it causes any problems.

Can bed bugs jump short distances?

Bed bugs cannot jump short distances because they do not have legs that are powerful enough to launch themselves. Their bodies are also too wide for them to be able to jump properly. Instead, they rely on their six legs to crawl from one place to another.

Do bed bugs jump onto your clothes?

Bed bugs don’t jump onto your clothes; instead, they attach to them. If you come into contact with someone battling a bed bug infestation, chances are high that you’ll have an unwelcome guest with you when you come home. Bed bugs can also attach themselves to you after sitting on a public seat with upholstery, such as public transport and movie theater seats.

Can bed bugs jump from person to person?

Bed bugs can’t jump from person to person, but they are good at clinging to your clothes. Contact is unavoidable in crowded places, so your best prevention is regularly changing and washing your clothes. Bed bugs do not survive heat, so wash your clothes and bedding with hot water or run them in the dryer for longer than usual.

Conclusion

Worrying about bed bugs can be stressful, especially if you like to travel. They are troublesome pests that can be hard to remove without professional help. Even though they don’t bring you diseases, having a bed bug infestation in your home is unhygienic and problematic.

Now that you know the answer to whether bed bugs jump or not, you can hopefully start making plans to minimize your risk of taking them home. By reducing their contact points and being proactive in keeping them out, you shouldn’t have any problems with them anytime soon. And remember, if you see a brown bug flying or jumping around, that’s not a bedbug. That’s either a flea or a stink bug.

References

1.
Climbing Ability of the Common Bed Bug Hemiptera Cimicidae Journal of Medical Entomology Oxford Academic
2.
Alarm Odor Compounds of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Exhibit Antibacterial Activity PMC
3.
Human Travel and Traveling Bedbugs Journal of Travel Medicine Oxford Academic
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