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Bed Bugs in Walls? Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Wall

Bed bugs are a nightmare for any homeowner. These true bugs in the Cimicidae family come out at night and bite you while you’re sleeping, hiding away again by morning. Despite their name, bed bugs don’t just live in and around beds – they can live all over the house, though usually live within 10 feet of where you sleep.

It’s important to track down bed bugs wherever they are because they can be a very difficult pest to get rid of completely. They breed quickly, so just a few bugs left behind after treatment can breed into a new population.

They also spread really easily through clothes, luggage, and furniture. If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, do not wait – act immediately! We’re here to help you learn how to identify and get rid of bed bugs hiding in the walls by answering some of the questions you might have.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Walls?

Yes, bed bugs can live inside walls and behind your walls. Bed bugs can live almost anywhere as long as they can find a crack or a crevice to get into. These cracks give bed bugs a safe place to rest during the day so they can feed at night. They can live in any type of wall, whether it be made of wood, plaster, or brick.

A wall void can be a pretty sweet setup for a bed bug harborage if they have an easy way in and out. The most common way they move in and out of your wall would be through an electric outlet opening, or from a crack where the wall meets the floor.

The most important thing for a bed bug is the cracks and crevices, so you’re more likely to find bed bugs in walls made of a series of panels, drywall, or walls that are a bit older and worn down. A freshly-laid brick wall may not have enough spaces for many bed bugs to live, but a fifty-year-old wooden wall could be crawling with them.

How to Tell There are Bed Bugs in the Walls?

It’s difficult to tell just by looking if there are bed bugs in the wall – in fact, it’s not really possible. You’re better off looking for evidence of bed bug activity and examining your walls to see if they could harbor the bugs.

The EPA advises using a credit card to confirm whether a crack is the right size for a bed bug, since bed bugs are about the same width. Try taking a credit card and see if you can swipe in between your floor and the wall near your bed. If so, then there’s a chance you have bed bugs living back there.

You can also look for the typical signs of a bed bug infestation around your walls. Look for small blood stains on your bedding, as well as little bits of feces, and shed skins in and around your bed and near any cracks and crevices in the wall and floor.

If you have signs of a bedbug infestation and the walls have suitable cracks, there’s a good chance they’ve set up shop there.

How to Kill Bed Bugs in the Walls?

Actually killing the bed bugs within the wall alone isn’t the wisest plan of action even if they are living inside. Bed bugs are likely to be living in other places in your room as well, so only treat this as one part of the overall strategy for getting rid of bed bugs.

When treating with a bed bug spray, spray along the baseboards and any other places with cracks and crevices around the wall. The bed bugs will need to cross the pesticide when they come out to feed, which should eventually kill them off.

Another good product to use around the walls is CimeXa dust. This is a nontoxic dust similar to diatomaceous earth insofar as it works to kill bed bugs physically instead of chemically. The dust damages their exoskeletons, which caused death by dehydration.

My best tip for treating bed bugs inside a wall void would be to use CimeXa dust and a duster with a rubber tip, like the one below.

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You can easily work this narrow tip into cracks and crevices like those under the wall or into a wall void after taking off an outlet cover.

Unlike a liquid spray, a duster can puff the dust up into the air since it’s so light. By temporarily getting a cloud of dust airborne back in the wall void, you can cover a lot of area including many of the bed bugs potentially living back there.

Should I Drill a Hole In my Wall to Treat for Bed Bugs?

If bed bugs are in your walls, they were able to get there through a crack, so you shouldn’t need to drill any additional holes to treat for bed bugs. Bed bugs also have to come out of the wall to feed, so If you are treating the whole room, the bed bugs in the wall should eventually die as well, even if you can’t get your treatment into every nook and cranny.

Rather than drilling into the wall, treat around the floorboard with bed bug interceptor traps and keep your bed away from the wall to make it harder for bugs living in the wall to feed at night.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in the Walls?

Bed bugs do need to emerge from the walls in order to feed to reproduce, so they can’t stay hidden in the walls forever. Without feeding, bed bugs in a wall can live for anywhere from 20-400 days, depending on temperature and humidity.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Electrical Outlets?

A bed bug is unlikely to live inside an actual live electrical outlet. A bed bug is more likely to live in the void where the outlet sits. This is something you can check while inspecting and treating for bed bugs though, just remove the plastic covering. You can apply CimeXa dust to this space too, since it’s safe for electrical components. Just don’t put the dust directly in the outlet itself.

Can a Heat Treatment Kill Bed Bugs in The Wall?

Yes. While heat treatment is inconvenient and expensive, it should kill bed bugs everywhere in your home, including the walls. However, make sure to check with the pest control specialist doing the treatment, as they can more specifically answer your questions and concern about heat treatments.

The wall voids need to be kept at a very high temperature in order to kill any bed bugs in there.

Will an Ultrasonic Pest Repeller Make Bed Bugs Leave my Walls?

No. These devices do not work. This has been documented extensively in studies across different insect species.  Don’t buy these devices and if you already have, feel free to toss them in the trash!

Can Bed Bugs Travel Through the Walls of an Apartment or Hotel?

Yes, this is how bed bugs spread through buildings to infest multiple units. Bed bugs are small enough that they can crawl through the same gaps that wiring and plumbing go throughout a building, so if you live in an apartment building it is imperative that you inform your landlord the instant you suspect you may have bed bugs so they can take action to protect the rest of the building.

If you live in an apartment the best thing you can do is use bed bug interceptors under your bed legs all year long and your bed/bedding from touching all floors and walls. If the bed bugs aren’t able to get a meal in your unit, they won’t multiply there.

How Can I Prevent Bed Bugs from Coming Through my Walls?

Unfortunately, if bed bugs are around, they’ll find a way into your room. You can’t really prevent them from coming through walls because they are able to go through extremely small cracks – down to the thickness of a credit card.

The best thing you can do is treat your spaces with CimeXa around any suspected cracks and crevices the bugs may be traveling through and use interceptor traps.

Can Bed Bugs Chew Through a Wall?

Thankfully, no. Unlike other pests like carpenter ants or termites, the mouths of bed bugs are not designed for chewing through solid material. The only way bed bugs enter and exit through walls is through existing cracks or holes.

Can Bed Bugs Crawl up Walls?

Yes. Like most insects, bed bugs are great crawlers. They crawl up and down walls and bed frames to access your bed at night, especially if your bed is touching the wall. So one way to minimize how well the bed bugs can access you at night is to move your bed away from the wall. However, this is not foolproof, so you should be treating for bed bugs as well.  

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Written by Miles Martin

Miles is a professional science writer with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Rhode Island and a Masters of Science in Science Communication and Public Engagement from the University of Edinburgh.

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