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Do Bed Bugs Jump?

Do you ever feel a sharp pinch and itch on your skin as you drift off to sleep? You may be wondering if what’s causing that sensation is bed bugs.

Many people know that bed bugs bite, but do they jump too? Read on to find out the answer and learn more about the behavior of these pesky little critters!

bed bugs crawling on top of a blanket on a bed

What Do Bed Bugs Do?

Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that prefer darkness. They come out to feed on your blood, typically while you are sleeping.

They primarily move by crawling. Not only that, but they can traverse many surfaces quickly.

Despite their mobility, bed bugs cannot jump like fleas. Bed bugs lack the anatomical structures necessary for leaping. Unlike fleas, which have powerful legs designed for jumping.


  • Crawling: Bed bugs move by crawling rapidly over floors, walls, and ceilings.

  • Cannot Jump: They can’t jump from surface to surface.

  • No Flying: Bed bugs are wingless and, hence, incapable of flying .

Bed bugs can move quickly across surfaces but are not considered fast when compared to other insects like fleas. They are skilled at hiding and can travel between rooms searching for a new host.

When it comes to how they spread, bed bugs can hitch a ride on clothing, luggage, furniture, and other items to infest new areas.

Trait Bed Bugs Fleas
Wings No wings No wings (but have large hind legs for jumping)
Movement Style Crawling Jumping
Activity Period Nocturnal Nocturnal

How To Know If You Have A Bed Bug Infestation?

Detecting a bed bug infestation requires vigilance and knowledge of the signs. Here’s how you can identify if you’re dealing with these pests:

  • Visual Evidence: You might spot the adults, which are small, reddish-brown insects about the size of an apple seed. Additionally, after molting, bed bugs leave behind exoskeletons.

  • Bite MarksBed bug bites often appear as small red marks on the skin, typically on exposed areas while sleeping, and can cause itching.

  • Unexplained Spots: Check your sheets and mattress for minute dark spots that could be bed bug excrement or blood spots left from crushed bed bugs.

Here is a simple checklist:

Sign of Infestation Description
Fecal Spots Small, dark stains on bedding or furniture.
Blood Smears Rusty or reddish smears on sheets when bugs are crushed.
Egg Shells / Shed Skins Tiny, pale yellow skins found around their hideouts.
Live Bed Bugs Adults are visible upon thorough inspection, especially in seams.
Bites Itchy welts on skin, often in a line or cluster, awakening to find them.

close-up of a single bed bug crawling on a white background

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs are master hitchhikers. They travel far and wide by latching onto your belongings. Hotels, a traveler’s regular stop, are notorious for bed bug outbreaks.

While staying at a hotel, these pests can crawl into your luggage. They may then inadvertently be transported to your home.

When you travel, you’re in shared environments like cruise ships, shelters, or public transportation. Bed bugs are often found in these places.

These environments facilitate the spread of bed bugs. They move through various carriers.

The movement of second-hand furniture or items into your living spaces can also be a source of bed bugs.

Whether you’re moving into a new apartment or updating your home, it’s crucial to inspect these items thoroughly. This will help prevent an infestation.

Do Bed Bugs Jump?

When you’re dealing with bed bugs, it’s essential to understand their movement patterns. Bed bugs cannot jump.

They are different from other insects like fleas. They do not have the physical capability to spring into the air.

This limitation is due to their anatomy:

  • Leg structure: Their legs are designed for crawling, not jumping.

  • Absence of wings: Bed bugs lack wings, hence they cannot fly.

They typically crawl from one place to another, even from host to host.

In environments such as bedrooms, where their common hiding places – mattresses – are above the ground, it might seem like they have jumped onto the bed.

However, these pests simply use their adept crawling abilities to reach elevated areas.

Bed bugs are excellent at staying hidden. They exploit cracks, crevices, and folds in fabrics.

Their flat, oval bodies – roughly 1/4 inch in length – are well-adapted to fit into tiny spaces close to a human host.

Bed bugs can’t leap or fly. You usually find them within a few feet of their feeding area, unless they’re inadvertently transported elsewhere.

bed bugs on a human drinking blood

How Do Bed Bugs Transfer From Person To Person?

Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to hitchhike from one location to another. However, they do not transfer directly from person to person, like lice or ticks.

Below is an explanation of how they move between individuals indirectly.

Personal Belongings

Your luggage, bags, and personal items can become carriers for bed bugs.

When your belongings are placed on or near an infested area, bed bugs can latch on. They can then travel with you.

  • Luggage: After staying in infested hotels or homes, inspect and vacuum before bringing inside your house.

  • Clothing: Be cautious of second-hand or stored clothing, which could be bed bug carriers.

Shared Environments

Bed bugs can migrate between people through shared spaces.

  • Furniture: Be wary of shared seating or used furniture acquisitions.

  • Public Transportation: They can hitch a ride on buses or trains from someone’s infested belongings.

Close Proximity

Bed bugs can’t jump or fly. They can crawl onto your belongings if you are in close contact with someone who has an infestation.

  • Physical Contact: While minimal, there’s still a small chance during close interactions.

  • Shared Spaces: Lockers, closets, or drawers at work or school increase risks.

How To Minimize The Risks Of Bed Bugs Getting On You

How To Minimize The Risks Of Bed Bugs Getting On You

Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers and can cling onto your clothes and belongings.

However, they do not actually jump like fleas. To keep these pests away from you, follow these preventative measures:

Inspect Your Accommodations: When staying away from home, inspect the bed, headboard, and furniture for signs of bed bugs. Look for small, brownish insects or rust-colored stains.

Handle Second-Hand Items with Care: Second-hand furniture and clothing can harbor bed bugs. Examine them thoroughly before bringing them into your home.

Regular Cleaning: Vacuum your home frequently to pick up any stray bed bugs. Focus especially on areas where they might crawl to hide, such as crevices and baseboards.

Bed Bug Protectors:

  • Use mattress and pillow protectors.

  • Opt for light-colored bedding to easily spot any bed bug signs.

Travel Smart:

  • Keep luggage off the floor using a metal luggage rack.

  • Store your clothing in vacuum-sealed bags while traveling.

Laundry Precautions:

  • Wash and dry your clothes and bedding on high heat, preferably above 122 °F to kill bed bugs.

  • After traveling, immediately launder all clothing in hot water.


Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that prefer darkness and come out to feed on your blood while you sleep. These pests cannot jump like fleas, regardless of how agile they appear to be.

They primarily crawl, and can move quickly over many surfaces within your bedroom. Bed bugs spread by hitching a ride on clothing, luggage, furniture, and other items – like secondhand furniture, or thrift shop clothing.

You can minimize the risk of bringing bed bugs into your home. Inspect accommodations before staying there. Also, handle second-hand items with care.

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