Do Bed Bugs Build Nests?

There is one simple truth about bed bugs: if you find one, there are certainly more lurking in the shadows. How do they live together?

Do bed bugs build nests?

No, bed bugs don’t build nest structures in the sense that ants and bees do. But they congregate together in specific areas to live and reproduce, which in a sense could be considered nests.

If you are dealing with an infestation, you’re probably wondering whether or not they build nests, and how to target the nest. In this article, I’ll go over the details of bed bug nests, and give you some pointers to get rid of them.

Bed Bugs and Nests: Do Bed Bugs Build Nests?

Technically, bed bugs do not build nests.

That is, they don’t construct living structures in the same way that bees or ants do. Therefore, when looking for bed bug hiding spots, you’re not looking for a physical structure like a hive or an anthill. 

The ‘nests’ that bed bugs occupy are really just areas where many bugs have congregated to reproduce and lay eggs. You might be able to find one of these nests by shining a light into a potential bed bug hiding area. When they aren’t actively feeding, they will usually be at their nests. 

The ‘nests’ that bed bugs occupy are really just areas where many bugs have congregated to reproduce and lay eggs.

While they are small, you should spot the adults fairly easily. Nymphs and eggs, on the other hand, are usually translucent, making them difficult to spot.

If you think there might be a bed bug nest somewhere in your home, the first place that you should search is the room where you spotted bed bug activity. If you noticed bed bugs or their droppings in a certain area, then they’re likely hiding nearby. 

And unfortunately, they don’t just nest on beds, despite the name. Bed bugs could be hiding anywhere in the room, including in the gaps in the baseboards, behind picture frames, on furniture, or even in electrical outlets.

Are Any Rooms Safe From Bed Bugs?

Interestingly, there are a few rooms in the house where you are less likely to notice bed bug activity. The kitchen is one of them.

Bed bugs don’t eat the same food as many other insects (they’re vampires), so unless you’re sitting still in your kitchen for extended periods of time, you aren’t going to find many bed bugs.

Bathrooms are also unfavorable to bed bugs. And if you’re treating an infestation, you likely won’t even have to look at the bathroom.

Unfinished basements, garages, and other rooms that you seldom use are unlikely to harbor any bed bugs. 

Of course, this isn’t to say that bed bugs cannot nest in these rooms. However, unless you spend a substantial amount of time in these rooms, you will not likely see any in them.

The lesser the human activity, the lower the chance of bed bugs being present.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Unfortunately, bed bugs are excellent hiders. It’s how they survive. And being extremely tiny helps when looking for good places to hide.

Even the smallest openings in your home might provide enough space for bed bugs to lay their eggs and settle down. 

Some of the more common bed bug hiding places include crevices and cracks along baseboards and wallboards. Baseboards offer plenty of warmth and shelter while keeping the bugs out of sight, offering a secure spot to settle down when they aren’t feeding.

You’ll also find bed bugs in spaces within headboards or the framework of beds. Bedroom furniture is particularly favorable for bed bugs to hide in, as they can easily find a meal. They can’t jump or fly, so they aren’t that good at getting around quickly.

Their limited mobility is why they prefer to stay close to their meals. 

Bed Bugs – the Hitchhiking Insects

Unfortunately, you can find bed bugs in places that aren’t your home, including hotels, motels, restaurants, and more. Not only that, but they can also travel from these places to your home.

But don’t worry, they don’t really enjoy hitching rides on human bodies. 

They do, however, enjoy finding ways into your bags and suitcases and hitchhiking to your homes that way. Bed bugs can last a long time without feeding, so they’re unlikely to starve before they make it to your home. 

What’s worse is that an infestation can begin with far less than a full bed bug colony. If you only find one or two bed bugs in your home, you should deal with them immediately or face a full-blown infestation. 

When Do Bed Bugs Leave Their Hiding Places?

One of the most common misconceptions about bed bugs is that they are nocturnal creatures who only leave their nests when the sun sets. In reality, they leave their hideouts whenever they get hungry and sense that a meal is nearby. 

So, changing your sleeping hours to avoid bites won’t work.

After bed bugs have eaten, they retreat to their hideouts to avoid predators and humans while still keeping as close to their food source as possible. The exception to this is when the infestation becomes large enough that bed bugs split up into different areas of the home. 

When Do Bed Bugs Bite?

Bed bugs are most active when you’re asleep; for most people, that’s at night. So, when you tuck yourself in and fall asleep, any nearby bed bugs will come out and begin eating. They feed by piercing the skin and drawing blood via an elongated beak. 

They can feed for up to 10 minutes, after which they’ll crawl back to their hiding place. At first, bed bug bites are rather painless, though they quickly develop into itchy welts.

Unlike bites from fleas – which are generally contained around the ankles – bed bug bites appear on any area of exposed skin, often in a zig-zag pattern

It’s easy to mistake bed bug bites for other things, like mosquito bites or allergic reactions. If you want to confirm that bed bugs are biting you, you’ll first have to visually identify the bugs themselves.

How to Detect an Infestation

If you consistently wake up with itchy spots that weren’t there before you slept, you might be dealing with a bedbug infestation. Infection is especially likely to be the culprit if you purchased a second-hand bed or piece of furniture around the same time that the bites started. 

Here are some other signs of a bed bug infestation:

If you think that you may have an infestation on your hands, remove all of your bedding and examine it carefully. Also, remove dust covers and examine the seams of the wooden framing. Peel the fabric back in places where it is stapled to the frame, and check for bed bugs there. 

Wash and dry everything on high temperature. Preferably nuclear temperature.

Examine the space around your bed as well. The thorough inspection should include inside telephones, books, radios, carpets, and even electrical outlets. Check your cupboards and closet as well, as bed bugs can latch onto clothing. 

What Causes Bed Bugs?

Unfortunately, bed bugs are quite adaptable creatures, and there are plenty of ways in which an infestation can take place. 

Bed bugs may find their way into your home after latching onto your luggage or new bedding and furniture being moved in. You’ll need to be careful when buying second-hand furniture and always avoid purchasing used mattresses. 

Even homes that appear empty or clean can contain bed bugs. These insects can live as long as five months without food and can even make their way between apartments through holes and hollows in the walls. 

Where Do Bed Bugs Bite

Bed bug bites can appear anywhere on the skin and usually occur in areas exposed when we sleep. Some common areas include:

  • Hands
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Shoulders

Many people do not feel the bite or develop symptoms other than the small marks that the bite leaves. In fact, most people only experience mild irritation and itchiness, though it is possible to develop more symptoms, or more severe symptoms if you have hypersensitivity. 

Symptoms generally manifest immediately after the bite, though they can progress over the course of the following days. Without any additional irritation, symptoms will disappear in a week or so. Pretty much all bed bug bites will cause some level of discomfort. 

Some other signs of bed bug bites include:

  • An itchy raised bump
  • Painful burning sensation
  • Several bites appear in a line or zigzag pattern
  • Small spots of blood
  • Tiny blood stains on fabrics

Although it is quite rare, some people develop serious reactions and symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs. Some serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling nauseous or flu-like
  • Blisters
  • Swollen tongue

If you experience these symptoms after being bitten by a bed bug, you may be having an allergic reaction. While not life-threatening, it’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible so that they can administer the proper treatments and prevent further discomfort. 

If you experience these symptoms after being bitten by a bed bug, you may be having an allergic reaction.

There are a few treatment options when it comes to uncomplicated bed bug bites. Antihistamines and over-the-counter hydrocortisone can help relieve minor symptoms and itching. 

If you experience these symptoms after being bitten by a bed bug, you may be having an allergic reaction.