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Can Bed Bugs Travel From Upstairs to Downstairs?

When you have bed bugs, you need to work to keep them confined solely to the area they’ve already infested. 

But, to do so, you need to know how and where they can travel. 

Yes, bed bugs can move throughout an entire house, and traveling from upstairs to downstairs is no problem for them. Generally, bed bugs spread by hitching rides on your clothes or something you’re carrying. But, they can also crawl up and down stairs and inside a house’s framework by themselves. 

How Do Bed Bugs Travel Throughout a Building? 

Low-angle view of a building against the sky.

The primary way bed bugs travel throughout a building or between buildings is by clinging to a person or something that person is carrying. 

This method of travel is preferable to them because it is much faster and easier than walking themselves. 

Thus, if you have bed bugs and want to keep them from spreading, you will need to be careful about how you carry items from the infested room throughout the rest of the building. 

Also, although bed bugs don’t usually crawl long distances if they already have a host, they can travel throughout an entire building if they desire. 

And they usually do this by moving through the walls, floors, or ceilings. 

But, they can simply crawl out of a room and into another or even up and down most stairwells if it’s required to find a host. 

How Do Bed Bugs Travel Up and Down Stairs?

It may seem odd that bed bugs can travel up and down stairs since they’re so small and can’t hop or fly. 

However, bed bugs can walk vertically up most surfaces, especially carpets, so they don’t have a problem crawling up and down steps. 

How Fast Can Bed Bug Crawl?

Close-up photo of a bed bug on a white surface.

Bed bugs can crawl pretty fast relative to their size. 

On average, a bed bug can make it four feet every minute. 

Therefore, they can walk over 100 feet in just an hour. 

You should remember, though, that bed bugs usually only travel when they don’t have a host. 

So, bed bugs aren’t particularly interested in walking long distances if they don’t have a reason. 

How Do I Keep Bed Bugs From Traveling Throughout My House?

Bed bugs are tiny and flat creatures, so confining them to one area of your home or apartment is pretty challenging. 

However, there are a few methods you can use to help keep them in one room. 

Vacuum Your Carpets Often 

If you have carpet in your home, vacuuming can be a great way to stop bed bugs before they can migrate to another place. 

Ideally, you want to vacuum your entire home every day, but, obviously, this is a hassle and is simply impossible for many people. 

So, instead, you can just vacuum the carpets inside and outside the affected room once every day or two. 

Vacuuming inside the infected room will help you reduce the number of bed bugs there, which will mean there are fewer of them to spread to other places. 

Meanwhile, using the vacuum on the carpet outside the room will allow you to suck up any bed bugs that may be trying to make it to a new spot. 

Just remember, though, that merely sucking up bed bugs in the vacuum will not kill them. 

Therefore, after you finish vacuuming, you should empty its contents into a sealable plastic bag to prevent the insects from escaping. 

Then, just throw the bag in the trash. 

Seal Up Cracks in Your Walls, Ceilings, and Floors 

Sealing up cracks in your walls, ceilings, and floors will prevent bed bugs from using the structure of your home to travel. 

Also, sealing up cracks and holes will trap any bed bugs that are already inside. 

These insects will eventually starve and die because they can not access a host. 

Be Careful When Taking Items Out of an Infested Room

Since bed bugs travel primarily by hitching a ride on a person or something a person is carrying, you will need to be careful when removing items from an infested room. 

Overall, the best way to do this is to place any potentially infested objects in sealed plastic bags before bringing them to another part of your home. 

Then, after you move the items, you should inspect them for bed bugs before taking them out of the bags. 

And you should check them with a flashlight and magnifying glass because bed bugs are small and can easily hide. 

Overall, though, you should refrain from removing anything from the infested room to ensure you don’t accidentally transmit bed bugs to another area of your home or apartment. 

What Should I Do if My Apartment Neighbors Have Bed Bugs?

Two apartments with yellow and blue doors are depicted in a photo of an apartment complex.

One of the difficulties of living in an apartment is that insects can easily travel from one unit to another. 

And unfortunately, if your neighbor has bed bugs, there is a decent chance you will get them too. 

But, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent bed bugs from entering your apartment. 

Clean and Declutter Your Apartment 

Bed bugs aren’t attracted to unclean living conditions. 

Therefore, you may think cleaning will do nothing to keep bed bugs from coming over to your apartment. 

Yet, if you clean and declutter, you will give the insects fewer places to hide. 

Thus, you will have an easier time spotting them and eliminating them before their population swells. 

Don’t Enter a Neighbor’s Infested Unit

Many of us are friends with our neighbors. 

But, if they have bed bugs, you will want to be careful about visiting. 

Really, you shouldn’t go into their apartment at all because bed bugs can easily cling to your clothes, causing you to bring them back to your unit. 

However, bed bugs can’t hang onto humans well, and you are more likely to bring bed bugs home with you when they crawl onto or into one of your items. 

Therefore, you should never bring a bag or a similar object to your neighbor’s apartment if they have a bed bug infestation. 

If you do, there is a good chance you will be taking some of their bed bugs back to your unit. 


Bed bugs can easily travel between rooms or floors in a building. 

So, if there are bed bugs in your home or apartment, you will want to take some precautions to ensure they do not spread.