Online shopping is more popular now than ever before, with e-retail giants like Amazon shipping packages to over 100 countries all around the world every day.
The convenience of online shopping may have unexpected downsides, however, and sometimes that downside is bed bugs.
That’s right! more people than ever are receiving insect infestations in the mail.
Crowded warehouses are the ideal place for bed bugs to spread from one package to another and, with more people using these services every year, the problem is only getting bigger.
Is it possible to catch bed bugs from Amazon packages?
Yes, it is 100% possible to find bed bugs in Amazon packages.
Many people consider cheap motel rooms and public laundromats to be the sole source of bed bug infestations but, unfortunately, this is far from true. Bed bugs can be picked up just about anywhere, including fitting rooms, second-hand stores and even from your latest Amazon order.
These vampiric bugs love dark, enclosed spaces, and the cozy, insulated environment of a cardboard box is especially appealing. Bed bugs will happily stow away inside shipping packages that come into contact with infested items, only to be carried, Trojan-horse style, into your house. Once inside, they can easily be transferred to other items in your home and, if they reach your bed, it’s game over.
Mattresses and bedding are the preferred environment of the bed bug, as it gives them prime access to their favorite food source (i.e. your sleeping body).
The worst thing about bed bugs isn’t even their bite, it’s their persistence. A bed bug infestation can be very difficult to eradicate, and the process can be incredibly distressing (and itchy) for their victims.
How likely are you to get bed bugs from receiving a package?
The good news is that, overall, your chances of receiving bed bugs in shipping packages are pretty slim.
The bad news, however, is that incidents of insect-infested mail will almost certainly increase as the popularity of online shopping continues to rise.
What’s more, there’s no sure way to predict how likely any given package is to contain bed bugs, so there’s not a lot you can do to prevent it.
While it’s true that bed bugs favor clothes and bedding, you have no way of knowing if your package has come into contact with contaminated items (or other infested boxes) before being sent to your house.
This means that even orders for gardening supplies and kitchen utensils may come with unwelcome extras.
How do bed bugs get into shipping packages?
Bed bugs enter shipping packages when those packages come into contact with other infested items. They may already be living in whatever item you were unlucky enough to purchase, or they may crawl onto your package from another infested box.
Keep in mind!
As many items are shipped from crowded warehouses and delivered in vehicles carrying dozens of other packages, your box will probably come into contact with countless other objects on its way to your house.
This means your package has plenty of opportunities to pick up bed bugs (and a wide variety of other insect pests).
How do bed bugs survive in shipping packages?
Bed bugs are unlikely to lay eggs inside shipping packages, as the females must feed before they can do this.
Don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet, though! These hardy bugs can survive for long periods of time without a meal. In the right conditions, bed bugs can survive for up to 400 days without food, which is plenty of time for their chosen carriage to reach your front door.
Once you unpack that box, they’ve only to crawl onto your clothes to resume their feeding and breeding cycle and, before you know it, you have a booming bed bug population in your house.
Can you avoid getting bed bugs in your Amazon package?
There is no guaranteed way to prevent bed bugs from stowing away in your Amazon package. Yet, there are a few precautions you can take to lower your risk of a mail-order infestation.
Always read the reviews
Bed bugs can be picked up at almost every stage of the delivery process, so reading reviews of the product is by no means a guaranteed way to prevent them.
However, if the retailer has an ongoing problem with bed bugs in their products, you can be certain it will have been mentioned by other customers.
Open packages outside
Open all deliveries outside your house, and leave the packaging at the door. If there are any bed bugs hiding inside, this way they won’t get the chance to infest your house.
Examine any new purchases carefully
Once you’ve unpacked your goodies, inspect them carefully for signs of bed bugs. These may include:
- Living or dead bugs
- Bed bug droppings (these will look like small dark spots)
- Skin casks
- Crushed bugs (these will look like reddish or rust-colored stains)
Wash any new bedding or clothes before taking them to your room
If you’re buying clothes or bedding online, you should wash everything on a high temperature before taking your new purchases to your room. Bed bugs and their eggs will die at 130 F (55 C), so set your washing machine to a high temperature to kill them off.
Bed bugs usually travel from place to place by stowing away in bedding, clothing, and luggage that comes into contact with infested items. Therefore, most people get bed bugs after a vacation or a trip to the laundromat.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that bed bugs can be picked up almost anywhere, including from Amazon packages. So, if you want to avoid bed bugs in your mail package, make sure to open all new purchases outside, and don’t take anything to your bedroom until you’ve inspected it for signs of infestation!