Do Bed Bugs Fly?

Do bed bugs fly? One of the biggest myths about bed bugs is that they can fly. Not only is this untrue, since the entire cimicidae family lacks any functional wings, but a flying bed bug is somewhat of a contradiction.

Bed bugs crawl from hiding place to hiding place. They are clandestine, private creatures that come out only at night when they can detect that you are fully asleep. According to Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management FAQ page, they like cramped, dark spaces and they almost never reveal themselves during the day. It’s in their nature to be invisible to their hosts.

Bed bugs are quiet insects whose survival depends on their host being unaware of their presence. Although the cimicidae family does have non-functional wing pads, bed bugs would not evolutionarily benefit from gaining the ability of flight. This would make them easier to detect.

Bed bugs rely on their flat, wingless bodies to be able to crawl into cramped hideouts, which include spaces like under baseboards and in thin slits in wooden furniture. If a credit card can be swiped through a crevice or opening, a bed bug can definitely fit into it.

According to Sniff K9s FAQ page, bed bugs can lodge themselves into “chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames.” Their tiny, thin, wingless bodies and their secretive nature keep bed bugs alive.

If you see a small flat insect that jumps or flies, you may ask yourself, do bed bugs fly? The answer is no. It’s definitely not a bed bug if it can fly or jump. It can be an adult flea, or a small mosquito or fly. Even if it’s not actively jumping or flying, there are several bug look-alikes. Carpet beetles, book lice, bat and bird bugs, and roach nymphs all bear a slight resemblance to bed bugs.

It’s always a good idea, though, to be completely sure. Take any non-flying or non-jumping sample to an entomologist or pest management expert, call in for an inspection by a certified bed bug professional, or ask for the service of a bed bug sniffing dog.

Photo source: Flickr

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