My clients are often concerned about bed bugs hiding in the carpet fibers. To date I have yet to find a harbourage in a carpet and, as such, find myself reassuring the clients that carpets do not typically harbour bed bugs. But which types of floors are best and worst for bed bugs? The following is a listing of my preferences:
My favourite floors are the commercial vinyl tiles that are waxed to a glossy shine. The benefits are that the tiles are very durable and do not curl on the edges like linoleum. The regular waxing also eliminates any potential crack or crevice. The floors can be easily washed. The down side of these tiles occurs when the tiles shrink and curl as they age. Bugs can get into the spaces. But as long as these floors are in good shape they are excellent
My next favourite are the linoleum floors. They can be washed easily and have no potential crevices that an aging vinyl tile might have. On the other hand they are more easily damaged and more likely to have cuts, rips and curling at the edges which could harbour bugs. As long as these floors are in good condition they are excellent.
Ceramic tile can also be a good choice. When they are new there are no cracks or crevices in which bugs can harbour. But as the floor ages the mortar between the tiles can chip out leaving space for the bugs.
Carpet, while I detest the product for hygiene reasons, is a reasonable choice for excluding bed bugs. I have yet to find a harbourage on a carpet. However, carpet edges are usually fastened with a wooden strip with nails and these edges can harbour bugs. And typically the carpets are stretch fitted into place and the exterminator can not lift those edges to access those great hiding spots. As such carpets fall on my list of preferences but other floors are much worse.
The least desirable floor in my estimation is hardwood. Hardwood floors have endless miles of cracks and joints that bed bugs like. The unfinished wood in the cracks are preferred substrates and hiding spots for bugs. The older the floor gets the bigger the cracks get and the more bugs they contain. As an exterminator I pay special attention to knot holes or other imperfections in the floor – they seem to be favoured areas. As an exterminator I can not treat an entire floor – I am limited to spot treating as per label directions. As such hardwood floors are a terrible choice when you have bed bugs.