Do bed bugs transfer outside?

One of my big fears where I live is the multitudes of infested mattresses that are dumped into the back lane unwrapped. In fact there is a slum rooming house across the lane from where I live that constantly dumps infested mattresses and furniture into the back lane. Would these bugs travel and find me in my own home?

I have become an unwilling participant in an experiment in this regard. The dumping spot for these mattresses and pieces of furniture for the last 5 years is about 100 feet from my back door. My apartment block, which is located beside my home, is perhaps 80 feet from the dumping spot. My excellent neighbour who lives beside the slum rooming house has his back door about 70 feet from the dumping spot. Over the last 5 years my good neighbour across the lane and my own home have remained bug free. My apartment block suites closest to the dumping spot also showed no signs of infestation beyond the average. As such, for my own little neighbourhood experiment I concluded that dumping live bed bugs at least 70 feet away from your own home results in no additional risk for infestation. Whew!! On the other hand this is a very small study and the idea of dumping live bed bugs into the back lane is not smart.

One thing I have noted in inspecting these mattresses is that a freshly dumped mattress would have, lets say for example, 1000 bugs easily visible. If I come back a week later (in summer time) there would be perhaps 250 bugs. Where did all those missing bugs go? I have no idea. But it sure does bother me.

Now lets talk about mattresses dumped within 10 feet of an apartment block. When tenants lean infested mattresses against a building or dump mattresses very close to the building there is a much greater risk of the closest suites becoming infested. We see this often in practice.

So for now my theory, which is open to revision, is thus: bed bugs dumped 70 feet away from a building are unlikely to find their way back inside. At least a portion of bed bugs dumped within 10 feet of a building are likely to find their way inside the building.

Where I live also has a redeeming feature. Winnipeg has extended freezing temperatures in winter which are likely to kill all bed bugs left in the back lanes. Every spring we start fresh. Cities in more temperate climates would have additional risk of outside infestation. This is one of the great things about living in Winnipeg.

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