Can Bed Bugs Fly?

Can bed bugs fly?

Bed bugs are small, reddish/brownish parasitic insects that do not fly. They are wingless creatures, having six legs to scutter at least 20 feet from their hiding spot to feed on their human host for a blood meal.  Once they feed on a human, they appear more red.

Structure of a bed bug

  • Wingless
  • Six legs
  • Small insects, at around 1mm-7mm
  • Flat and oval-shaped
  • Light brown, rusty/red after blood meal
  • Large antennae and mandibles (mouth part)

Even though bed bugs are wingless, adult bed bugs may have ‘vestiges’ i.e., traces of wing pads which are not developed or functional to use to fly.

Their size may also increase after a blood meal, as well as their colour changing where they have fed or not. For example, if they have not fed, they can be almost invisible and colourless to the naked eye. Bed bugs will also appear more reddish post blood meal too.

How do bed bugs fly around the world?

Bed bugs are wingless creatures, so cannot fly. As they don’t fly, you may think they don’t travel long distances, but in fact they travel vast distances by hitching a ride through human clothing, luggage, bags, backpacks and can end up as far as their human traveller intends to go! This makes these wingless creatures easily transportable and likely to infest many homes through human activity which is both unintentional for the bed bug and human.

Bed bugs are found in many places around the world, including the United Kingdom, United States, North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are becoming more prevalent in Unites States and United Kingdom.

Do bed bugs jump or fly? 

No, bed bugs can’t jump or fly. They use their six legs to crawl distances up to 20 feet to reach a human for feeding. They crawl very fast too, at around 4 feet in one minute which is quite impressive for a small creature, helping them to navigate from room to room, and quickly hide if needed!

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