top of page
  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

Impact of COVID-19 and Bed Bug Behavior


Nothing in our lifetimes has created such a fundamental shift in human behavior as the current Covid-19 pandemic the world is experiencing. From the way children learn to the way adults work, this global pandemic has impacted every person.

The pest control industry is no different. While pest control professionals have typically practiced extreme safety measures while performing their functions, this has increased exponentially to decrease the spread of Covid-19.

One important thing to be aware of is that there is no evidence that bed bugs help spread Covid-19 or become infected with it. One of the unintended consequences of the social distancing practices that have been put in place is that bed bug infestations may slow during this time. Bed bugs act almost like a virus as they can jump from person to person, and with people now social distancing, they do not have as much opportunity to do so.

Bed Bug on a bed

We field a variety of different questions regarding pests, bugs, and other nuisances to your home or business. One of the most common pests that we deal with and get questions about is bed bugs. Awareness of bed bugs is fueled by frequent media coverage and the ease in which bed bug infestations can spread. In recent months, as media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic dominated news headlines, we have also been inundated with questions related to Covid-19 and bed bugs. The experts at Unified Pest Control, which is a Grand Rapids Pest Control company, have gathered the most common questions we have been asked about bed bugs and Covid-19.

Since people aren’t traveling as much, they aren’t using hotels. Because of that, will bed bugs eventually die off?

While it is true that travel is down significantly and hotel occupancy rates are up against when it comes to hotels and other multi-unit buildings, most bed bug professionals are concerned that there may be an uptick in infestations. Many hotels have been repurposed to allow for housing for COVID-19 patients, medical workers, or other front line essential employees. With new people coming into rooms, there is always a chance that they also bring in bed bugs with them. While under regular times, these rooms are cleaned daily, and any bed bugs are reported quickly by cleaning staff or guests. However, now with COVID-19, early detection may be less likely as cleaning staff may not be as frequent, and treatment by a pest control professional may be delayed because of this delay. This delay in the time that a bed bug infestation is reported to the time that a pest control expert can address the problem allows for additional outbreaks to proliferate.

Do the current locks downs, and lower occupancy rates provide hotels and other communal facilities enough time to get rid of their bed bug infestations?

bed bug closeup

Since occupancy rates are lower now, this time does allow for pest control professionals to enter a facility and treat it properly to eliminate infestations. However, a common problem that many pest control professionals have experienced and are reporting is that because of concern regarding exposure to COVID-19 from other people, many tenants (apartment residents, nursing home residents, etc.) are refusing to allow entry to the unit to be treated. If there is a suspected or confirmed bed bug infestation case, we highly recommend that a pest control professional be allowed to address the situation. Pest control professionals are well versed in proper Covid-19 safety measures and practice appropriate social distancing and wearing or personal protective equipment (PPE)

How long can bed bugs go without a meal?

Since there may not be any humans in a hotel or other buildings that will not feed for a prolonged period, weaken them at all?

Bed bugs feed off of the blood of humans and sometimes mammals. They are a very hardy pest and can survive anywhere from a few weeks to up to a year or more. Without having a host, they do become weaker and may eventually starve.

Are they getting harder to kill because of Covid-19?

Bed bugs are very resilient and can be a tricky pest to treat. There is no evidence yet to suggest that COVID-19 has strengthened them even more.

Other thoughts:

Pest control service has been deemed an essential service by many states. However, many people have put off treatments because of concerns. Pest control technicians are trained professionals who employ the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) regularly. There is evidence to suggest that bed bugs may contribute to asthma and other breathing issues, which could undoubtedly have an impact as it relates to COVID-19. This blog post was written by Mike Charles the Owner of Unified Pest Control located in Grand Rapids, MI as a featured guest blog post.



bottom of page