Your home is your castle, and there's nothing worse than having unwanted guests on your turf — especially the insect kind. A bedbug infestation in particular is bad news because the insects' flattened bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces — roughly the width of a credit card, according toWebMD. That means there are many ways you can bring bedbugs into your home. Here are 17 of them.
Secondhand furniture is a common way for bedbugs to spread.
Bringing home secondhand furniture is a risk because, if the items are infested, the bedbugs will spread through your home, according to the EPA. And, despite their name, bedbugs don't only reside in beds. They can hide between cushions on sofas and in the seams of chairs and couches.
Secondhand clothing poses a bedbug risk.
Thrift shoppers, take note: Bedbugs can reside in used clothing. Put any secondhand garments in the dryer on a medium or high setting for one cycle once you bring them home, according to Scientific American. This will zap the bugs.
Hospitals can be havens for bedbugs.
If you think hospitals are gross, here's another reason to be skeeved out: According to a survey by the National Pest Management Association, more than a third of US pest-management companies responded to bedbug infestations in hospitals in 2012.
Your gym could be infested with the insects.
When you leave the gym, you might be bringing home more than ripped abs: You could pick up bedbugs from other gym-goers' personal belongings, like gym bags, yoga mats, and clothing in lockers.
Even movie theaters can be hot spots for the insects.
Cushions in movie theaters may also be home to bedbugs — as well as the clothing and belongings of other theatergoers — which can, in turn, spread to you, according to the Travel Channel.
Bedbugs can hide on airplanes, too.
Speaking of upholstery, the seats on airplanes — as well as the belongings of other passengers can harbor bedbugs and allow them to spread to you and your stuff, according to MentalFloss.
Bedbugs can sometimes hide in the folds of curtains.
Secondhand curtains may also be a culprit, as bedbugs may hide in the folds and hitch a ride into your home, according to the EPA.
The insects love to hitch a ride in luggage.
Borrowing your buddy's suitcase for your upcoming Europe trip? Make sure you inquire if he's had any bedbug issues lately, because the insects can hide in luggage, according to WebMD. Likewise, if you bring luggage into an infested hotel room, the bugs can get inside and come home with you.
Shared laundry facilities can spread bedbugs.
If you use a laundromat or a shared laundry room in a dorm or apartment building, we've got bad news: Bedbugs can jump ship from other peoples clothing and infest yours, according to the EPA.
Bedbugs love to hang out in college dorms.
College dorms in general are another hotspot for bedbugs, according to Scientific American.
Cracks in your home could allow bedbugs to spread from other units.
An apartment or condo that's not properly maintained — whether by you or your landlord — could invite a bedbug infestation. If a nearby unit is infested, the bugs can move through wall voids and enter your home through crevices and cracks around light sockets and baseboards, according to the EPA.
Bedbugs can spread through vacuums.
Some people think vacuuming up bedbugs and their eggs is an easy way to get rid of them. However, a vacuum can spread bedbugs to other rooms or homes — say, if a house cleaner uses a vacuum in an infested home and then uses it in yours, according to Scientific American.
Even electronics like phones and radios can harbor bedbugs.
It's not just soft materials that bedbugs call home. Surprisingly, they can stow away in telephones and radios, according to WebMD.
Coat closets can be bedbug havens.
Be careful where you hang your jacket. Coat closets in offices, schools, and other public places can allow bedbugs to spread from one person's infested item to those of others, according to the EPA.
Taking home a library book could mean taking home bedbugs.
Say it isn't so: Although it's not common, it is possible to bring home bedbugs in a library book, according to Bustle.
Break rooms and office lounges can spell bad news.
You might want to skip your next coffee break. If your break room or office lounge has upholstered furniture, bedbugs may be hiding in the furniture — and could then spread to you, according to the EPA.
The insects stow away in footwear, too.
Even shoes are a potential hiding spot, according to Scientific American. Whether you're buying used shoes, borrowing a pair from a friend, or walking through an infested location, your kicks can bring bedbugs back home with you.