Can You Get Bed Bugs From Moving Vans?

J. Lang Wood

Bed bugs can hitch a ride in any box or bag and take up residence in your home or apartment when you least expect it. Bed bugs do not necessarily mean an area is dirty, only that the bugs have found a way into your home by some clever method, such as from a moving van.

About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs easily hitch rides in moving vans to breed in new locations.

Bed bugs are small, brown, hard-covered insects about 3/16-inch long, according to University of Kentucky entomologist Michael F. Potter. They are oval in shape with a flattened appearance. The nymphs, or young, are similar in appearance but smaller. They hide during the daylight hours and come out at night to feed. You should suspect bed bugs if you go to sleep unbitten and wake up with bites. You may also see flecks of blood on bedding from the bugs' feeding.

Females lay their sticky eggs on hidden areas of mattresses and cushions. Nymphs can survive for months without feeding, making it possible for them to lie in wait in moving vans ready to infest new locations.

How Bed Bugs Migrate

Bed bugs conceal themselves in folds of boxes, piping around mattress covers, deep in cushions, in luggage or in any conveyance that allows them a small crevice in which to hide. It is even possible to pick up a bed bug in theaters, on buses or on trains. Once inside your home, these bugs are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide and other factors given off by their hosts and quickly find their way to the human food source.

Problems in Moving Vans

One of the ways bed bugs can enter your home is in the moving van transporting your household goods. Since these vans handle a high volume of items over periods of time, the opportunities for bed bugs to move from one household's mattress to the truck and then to the next customer's mattress or moving box multiply rapidly. Many moving companies now have their trucks inspected by bug-sniffing dogs with certification for these inspections, according to the American Moving & Storage Association.

Preventing Bed Bugs Infestations

To prevent accidentally carrying bed bugs from one location to another, shower and change clothes before the move. Place possibly infested clothing and bedding in plastic bags until they can be laundered in hot water. Remove items from dressers and nightstands, and inspect them thoroughly. Clean furniture and upholstered items thoroughly, steam cleaning if necessary. Inspect and treat furniture as soon as items are removed from the moving trucks. Professional pest control companies can treat your entire home with steam or heat without your having to remove personal items from your home.