Most people are under the impression that they can only get bed bugs by coming in direct contact with them. That is just a common fallacy because these dreadful bugs can clasp on anything and hitch a ride to your home. With the rise of online shopping, shipping packages are increasingly becoming ideal hitchhiking tools.

That is right! The risk of getting bed bugs from shipping packages is at an all-time high. Crowded warehouses belonging to E-retail giants like Amazon are ideal spots for bed bugs to spread from. To secure your home from bed bugs in shipping packages, read on.

Can you get Bed Bugs from Shipping Packages?

Whenever you order an item online, it’s the retailer’s responsibility to ship it to your listed destination from the warehouse. Some luggage may be infested with bugs, spreading them to other transit luggage. It is, therefore, 100% possible to get bed bugs from shipping packages.

That said, the chance of getting bed bugs from packages is slim. Most shipping containers undergo extensive fumigation to protect cargo and reduce the transmission of pests. This does not mean you should let your guard down when dealing with shipping packages. Bed bugs like dark spaces; hence, the inside of a shipping cardboard box is appealing. It is in your best interest to always keep a watchful eye for signs of bed bugs when receiving a package.

The increase of e-retail platforms such as Amazon and E-bay has seen a shoot up in bed bugs transmission via packages is a common occurrence. The fact that some of those e-retail platforms trade second items worsens the situation further. Second-hand items are more likely to have bed bugs compared to new ones.

How do Bed bugs get into Shipping Packages?

Bed bugs get into shipping packages by crawling. Even without human facilitation, these pesky critters can crawl on their own from one box to another in search of favorable conditions for breeding. They can crawl as far as a 20-foot radius at any given time and can move through tiny cracks and crevices.

E-retailers often store goods from heavily packed warehouses that act as shipping points. If you are unlucky, bed bugs may crawl onto your package and hitch a free ride to your home. There is also a chance that your package is already contaminated, especially if you bought a second-hand item.

E-retail houses are ideal spots for bed bugs to spread

Also, Most shipping packages are stacked closely and tightly to avoid shifting and to save cost on idle space during transit. This increases the likelihood of bed bug transmission if one of the items in the transport vehicle has bed bugs. The rate of infestation will depend on the stage of development of the bed bugs.

Do Bed Bugs survive in shipping packages that take long to arrive?

The history of bed bugs points to the fact that they survived the extinction of dinosaurs, a testament to their resilience. These vampiric critters can live for an extended period without food, offering enough time for the package to reach your home. The University of California’s IPM program advises that they can survive for up to 400 days without feeding.

It might seem like all is gloom, but there is an upside when dealing with bed bugs in shipping packages. Bed bugs are unlikely to lay eggs and multiply inside a shipping package. According to an entomology report by the University of Kentucky, female bed bugs must feed before they lay eggs. Also, Nymphs, the second stage of a bed bug’s life cycle, do not shade exoskeletons and continue their growth before feeding.

That said, you must be keen and careful when handling shipped items. A single bed bug that escapes your watchful eye can trigger a full-scale infestation sooner than you can imagine. If one of these pesky critters makes its way to your house, it will resume feeding and breeding.

How to Avoid Getting Bedbugs from Shipping Packages

There is no fail-safe way to avoid getting bed bugs from shipping packages. Nonetheless, some safety measures can be taken to minimize the risk of getting bed bugs from shipping packages. Here are a few that you should know:

Read reviews before buying from any online retailer

Do prior research on the potential seller and shipping company. Most retailers provide platforms where their users can leave their comments. If a retailer has a bed bug problem, you can rest assured that complaints will appear in the comments or review section. Reading reviews does not guarantee that you will avoid bed bugs, but it will give you a fighting chance.

Open shipping packages outside

Most people receive their packages and excitedly rush back into the house to open them. It is in your best interest to make a habit of opening shipped items outside. Opening all deliveries and leaving packaging outside reduces the chance of getting bed bugs.

If there are any bed bugs inside the packaging material, they will not get a chance to enter your home. It would be best if you also destroyed all shipping boxes. Do not store them for reuse as they are likely to carry any hitchhiker bed bug from the containers.

Inspect all deliveries keenly

Once you’ve unpacked your package, do not rush back into the house. You should inspect it thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs. Take special care and attention in examining second-hand items, especially furniture and clothing. Some of the main signs of bed bug infestations include:

  • Tiny dark or rusty spots
  • Bed bug exoskeletons
  • Live bed bugs
  • A sweet, musty smell

Wash all washable items before storing them

If you receive clothes and bedding items, it is best to wash them in hot water before taking them to storage. Heat treatment is one of the most effective non-hazardous methods of getting rid of bed bugs. To kill any potential lingering bed bugs, you must set your washing machine at 130°F (55°C).

What to Do If You Find Bed Bugs in Your Shipping Packages

We all try to take precautionary measures to avoid bed bugs, but they don’t always work. If you find a bed bug in your shipping package, you must take immediate action to remedy the situation. Here are some tips on what to do:

Break down the shipping box and discard it

The first thing you need to do if you find bed bugs is to break down the shipping box and discard it. Discard the box appropriately because the bugs can hitch rides on your children or pets and find their way to your home. It would be best to burn the contaminated box or container.

Unwrap the packaging and examine the items inside

If you find bed bugs inside a shipping container or box, there is a big chance that the items inside are contaminated. You must remove the packaging and examine all items inside. If you are dealing with washable items, wash them in hot water even if you don’t find any signs of bed bugs. Heat treatment is an affordable, risk-free method of getting rid of bed bugs.

Treat your home

Finding bed bugs on a shipping package does not mean your home is infested, but you should treat your house. It is wise to assume that these pesky critters have gotten past you and found their way into your home. There are several ways to get rid of bed bugs without over-spending your hard-earned money. It would also help to monitor your home for any bed bugs when you find bed them on your package.

Final Thoughts

Despite the threat of getting bed bugs from e-retailers’ shipping packages, you do not have to give up online shopping. Instead, take time to ensure that you don’t inadvertently bring bed bugs into your home via shipping packages. The tips expressed in this post will ensure that you stay safe from bed bugs.


Can you get bed bugs from Amazon?

Amazon packages are susceptible to bed bugs like any other online retail company packages. Goods before and after shipping are out of the control of the Amazon Company.

Can bed bugs live in Cardboards used to ship items bought online?

Avoid shared or used cardboard boxes to reduce the chances of getting bed bugs. Cardboard boxes are as good a hiding place for bed bugs as other places. Always check out for infestation outside before bringing the cardboard into the house.

How long can bed bugs live in a shipping package?

Even without food, bed bugs can live for up to five months. Always keep your luggage in sealed boxes, open the package out on the driveway, and discard the boxes immediately.

Are plastic shipping containers safe against bed bugs?

Bed bugs can still exist in plastic containers as much as in card boxes. The primary role of using tightly sealed plastic containers is not to kill them but to prevent them from accessing the items transported inside the containers.