Technically, yes, you can get bed bugs from hugging someone, but it is very unlikely to happen. Unlike bacteria or viruses, there is no need to worry about getting bed bugs from another person from a couple of seconds of physical contact.
The risk of catching bugs through hugging is extremely low, as long as you keep your clothes away from beds or furniture when you are at another person’s house.
If you want to know more about how bed bugs are transferred from one person to another, whether through physical contact or not, then keep on reading.
Can I get bed bugs from hugging someone?
Yes, you can get bed bugs from hugging someone who has bed bugs on their clothes. But chances are very minimal for this to happen because it is not like bed bugs are just sitting around waiting to jump on you while you are hugging.
Bed bugs have minimal movement while you are active. They love to hide during the day, and move around during the night because that is when their host is asleep.
If you hug someone who has bed bugs on their clothes, there are chances that you get the bed bugs, but it will definitely depend on how long you have hugged the person who has them.
For you to get bed bugs from hugging, it means that the bugs from the other person must be very hungry for them to be desperate enough to move and put themselves in danger.
Bed bugs are very aggressive when they are hungry and will move no matter what time of day just so they can feed.
How can I tell if my friend has bed bugs?
It is understandable why most people do not disclose to others that they have a bed bug problem at home. This is because most people associate the pest with poor hygiene and dirty homes. There is a good chance that someone close to you has bed bugs but you just do not know.
It can be difficult to tell if a person has bed bugs. Sometimes the only way to be sure is to inspect their bed.
Other signs are bite marks on your friend’s arms and legs, but those can be mistaken for other insect bites, so those are never definitive.
You can also spot the bug themselves. If you ride in their car or go inside their house. Look for apple seed sized, reddish-brown, six-legged insects. They are flat and barrel-shaped with two antennae. If they have recently fed, their bodies may be bloated and rounder.
If you are concerned and have a good relationship with said friend, you can always ask them about it. Do it in a gentle manner, with no judgment or condescension. Maybe they have always known and are looking for someone to confide in.
What are the signs to look for if I suspect a friend’s home is infested?
Bed bugs set up hiding spots, or harborages, in the bedroom. It is their favorite place to live, because it provides them with easy access to their food source.
During the day, bed bugs hide in tiny cracks and crevices where they are out of sight. Focus your search on the mattress, headboard, and box spring. Examine any grooves, cracks, or folds, such as the piping along the mattress edge. Do not forget to look underneath.
Aside from the actual bugs, be on the lookout for fecal spots, or bed bug poop. It will look like black ink spots. They are flat and cannot be rubbed off easily.
Bed bug exoskeletons are translucent and look like pale brown insects that do not move. These exoskeletons are shed by the nymphs when they molt while transitioning into an adult bed bug.
Bed bug eggs are very small and difficult to see without a flashlight and a magnifying glass. They are white, oval shaped and about 1mm long
Bed bugs are most likely to be found within eight feet of the bed, but they can be found in other rooms of the house.
Can you get bed bugs from a friend?
It is normal to feel quite worried and uncomfortable at this prospect. After all, bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to deal with. You never want these bugs to spread to you or your home.
It is possible to catch bed bugs directly from a person whose home is infested, but they cannot clint to your skin or hair. When you move around, they fall off. That is why they wait until you are asleep to climb on you to feed, after which they hide again.
However, bed bugs can set up harborages in clothes and bags. If your friend leaves his coat on his bed, a bug could crawl into one of the pockets. So, when he visits your home, that bug may crawl out and set up shop in your home.
Unfortunately, it only takes one or two bed bugs to find their way into your home, and soon you will be infested.
How to avoid getting bed bugs from another person
Communicate with your friend
- Remember that your friend may become embarrassed about the issue, so approach the conversation calmly and without judgment.
- Advise them to launder all of their clothes at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and to store their clean clothes inside sealed plastic bags.
- Before leaving their house, tell them they should change into a clean set of clothes.
- Tell them to clean and store their backpacks, purses, and suitcases in sealed plastic bags.
- They should vacuum the whole house and empty the vacuum into an outdoor trash can.
- They should avoid taking things from their bedroom and placing it in other rooms in the house.
- If they can afford to, tell them to seek professional pest control help to completely clean their home from any bugs, nymph, and eggs.
Avoid having your friend over to your house
While your friend is still sorting out their bed bug problem, politely tell them to avoid coming over to your house. Because no matter how diligent they are with their laundry, one or two bugs could still make their way on their clothes.
- Explain to your friend that until their bed bugs are gone, you would prefer to not have them around. Instead, go to a public place like a movie theater, cafe, bar, or park.
- If you really need to have your friend over you can buy furniture slipcovers for your couches and chairs.
- When they get to your house, ask them to remove their shoes, clothes, and bag. Store their things in an empty closet that contains none of your belongings.
- If you have a spare bedroom, ask your friend to stay there.
- After they leave, remove the furniture slipcovers and wash and dry them at the highest heat setting.
- Inspect the areas they occupied to check if they left some bed bugs after they left.
Yes, you can get bed bugs from hugging someone, but it is very unlikely.
Feel free to hug someone with a bug infestation at home. Do not keep the fact from showing affection through a hug.
It does not mean, of course, that there is zero possibility that you will get a bed bug issue. If the person is wearing a garment with bed bugs on it, some of them may crawl onto your clothes and end up inside your home. Just keep in mind that the risk of that happening is very low.
A two second hug is probably okay, but12 just remember to not leave your coat on the person’s bed or couch to avoid taking the bed bugs home with you.
Image: istockphoto.com / kaipong