How Do Bed Bugs Move?
Bed bugs have only one mode of transportation without help from humans and that is to crawl. They cannot jump since they have no legs developed for jumping. Also they are not aerodynamically developed so if they could jump, they would be very inefficient jumpers.
Bed bugs have vestigial wings, meaning that they have undeveloped pads incapable of supporting the bed bug in flight. Many true bugs, in the hemiptera order common with bed bugs have these vestigial wings incapable of flight. Therefore, bed bugs do not jump and they do not fly.
So how do bed bugs end up well above the floor in beds, on chairs, in couches, or in lights? They only way that they can move on their own is to crawl. They are excellent hitchhikers so they can walk onto luggage and catch a ride to that family trip. They can hide in backpacks brought home from school. They can crawl off a coat and onto a seat in an airplane or train. They conserve energy when possible but they cannot jump.
Bed bugs do not make a straight movement to hosts in many cases and this is not fully understood. Perhaps there are scent trails that they follow or heat gradients vary and are more suitable to a less direct path. Bed bugs will travel up to 60 feet to a host but will usually stay within 20 feet of a host and can best sense a host within five feet. Juvenile bed bugs can move at a pace of up to just over an inch per minute. Adults can travel about five inches per minute. Temperature of the bed bug probably plays a role.
While bed bugs are not the fastest insect, they move remarkably consistently and well. As crawling insects, they are persistent in finding their hosts.
Bed bug movement: crawling across skin