Can Bed Bugs Jump?

Many people assume that bed bugs jump

If one observes bed bugs climbing on a wall, bed bugs might fall onto another surface like a bed. People might think that bed bugs jumped onto their bed. The truth is that bed bugs cannot jump. The bed bug legs are not developed for jumping. Flea legs, on the other hand, are well developed to jump many times the flea’s height.

Even small nymphs or the juvenile form of bed bugs cannot jump. These nymphs will readily feed on humans but they cannot jump onto their hosts. Sometimes, if a nearly invisible nymph is picked up, it can easily be dropped. People then assume that the bed bug has jumped, but this is not possible.

When bed bugs fall from a vertical surface such as a wall that is not best suited for them to climb or when they are alarmed, they will fall from the surface. This gives the appearance that the bed bug is “jumping from the wall” but this is not true as well. As early as 1829, bed bug “falling” from ceilings was reported by scientists and attributed to the alarm mechanism. When they drop, they make efforts to right themselves.

Another situation which appears that bed bugs are jumping is when linens are changed on a bed. If the bed bugs are infesting a bed and they are on a sheet that is being changed, the bed bugs may be catapulted into the air from the snapping of the sheets. The bed bug is not jumping but is being tossed into the air by the unwary person changing the sheets. If the person has not seen the bed bugs prior, it appears that the bed bug is jumping onto the floor.

So while there are situations which make bed bugs appear to jump, they are physically incapable of jumping.

Bed bugs crawl and climb, but cannot jump.