Why Would Bed Bugs Be On The Ceiling?

If you see bed bugs on the ceiling, then it’s a clear sign you have a severe infestation.

Bed bugs are small, flat, wingless insects that feed on human blood. They typically live in mattresses, bed frames, box springs, and other furniture close to where you sleep.

As the infestation grows, their population levels get out of control, and the bed bugs run out of places to hide, so they start spreading to other areas of the room, including the ceiling.

During my experience in treating countless bed bug infestations, I have found that in the more severe cases, bed bugs are nearly always seen on the ceiling and in light fixtures.

It is also possible that the bugs on the ceiling are not bed bugs but their close relatives, bat bugs, or bird bugs. Both pests look almost identical to bed bugs and can be found on ceilings and walls.

We’ll look at these and other reasons in more detail below.

Written by: A O’Neill, Licensed Pest Management Professional

Bed bugs on ceiling - recently fed bed bug next to shed skin on ceiling
Recently fed bed bug next to shed skin on ceiling

You Have a Severe Bed Bug Infestation

Don’t take it lightly if you spot bed bugs on your ceiling.

As I said above, this is a significant problem that has been growing over time and means that their harborage areas, such as your mattress, box spring, and bed frame are overcrowded, forcing them to find new hiding spots.

The female will search for new areas, such as the ceiling, to avoid over-mating and for somewhere to lay her eggs and ensure the survival of her offspring.

The ceiling area near or above your bed is a great place for bed bugs to hide, as they’re close to a meal.

It’s Bat Bugs or Bird Bugs Instead of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are not the only species of Cimicid that can infest your home and crawl on ceilings and walls.

Bat bugs and bird bugs often get mistaken for bed bugs due to their similar appearance and behaviors, making it difficult to differentiate them without a professional opinion.

While each species has a primary host, they will feed on other warm-blooded animals, including people, if they need a blood meal.

The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, primarily feeds on people but can also feed on bats, birds, rodents, and even your dog or cat.

Bat Bugs

The key difference between bat bugs and bed bugs is where they live.

Bat bugs are found in attics, basements, and other areas where bats roost.

As their name suggests, bat bugs typically feed on bats, but they will also feed on people if the bats have left the space or been removed.

Unlike bed bugs, bat bugs do not typically gather in large numbers on beds, couches, or recliners.

Instead, they are often found on the ceilings and walls in the upper rooms near attics where their preferred animal hosts live.

Once inside your home, they will look for a new food source which can be people.

Bird Bugs

Bird bugs are also similar to bat bugs in appearance and behavior.

They primarily feed on birds but also people.

These pests are often found in nests or roosting areas of birds, such as in chimneys or attics.

While bed bugs, bat bugs, and bird bugs require similar treatment methods, identifying the correct bug can help identify and eliminate them faster.

A professional pest control company or entomologist can help with this.

Bed Bugs Are Coming From a Nearby Apartment

Another reason bed bugs are on the ceiling is if you live in an apartment building or shared housing and your neighbor has an infestation spreading out to new places to hide and feed.

Bed bugs can travel between units through pipes, ducts, electrical outlets, floorboards, and numerous other routes.

If the nearby apartment is empty, the bed bugs no longer have a food source, so they migrate to another looking for a new host, and start a new infestation.

If you suspect that bed bugs are coming from a neighboring apartment, the first step is to inform the building manager or landlord. They should take action and reach out to a pest control company immediately to address the issue.

A pest professional will check all nearby apartments (if they can gain entry) to identify if bed bugs are present and suggest the necessary steps to prevent their spread.

Bed Bugs on Ceiling After Treatment

Bed bugs may crawl on the ceiling to escape treatment.

For instance, if you use pesticide treatments or other pest control methods, bed bugs may try to escape them by moving to other areas of your home, including ceilings.

These parasitic insects will hide in cracks and crevices that can provide an ideal environment for them to avoid treatment.

Signs You Have Bed Bugs

Seeing bed bugs on your ceiling means that they are also hiding elsewhere in the room, and there are several signs to look for that indicate their presence.

One of the most common signs is dark spots and stains on your bedding or mattress. This is fecal matter and also blood that bed bugs have ingested.

These spots are usually found near the seams and corners of mattresses and are a sure sign that bed bugs are nearby.

Another telltale sign is itchy bites on your skin. Although not everyone reacts to bed bug bites.

Molted bed bug skins are an indicator of a growing problem. They shed their skin as they grow, so molted bed bug skins mean they are reproducing, and that’s a problem.

Shed skins can also be found on the ceiling, as you can see in the photo I took at the top of this article.

You might also notice a musty odor. The scent is caused by the pheromones bed bugs produce, and although it might be subtle, it is another clear signal that there is a large population of these bugs.

Bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye, and they are about the size of an apple seed, reddish-brown in color, with a flat and oval-shaped body.

Eggshells may also be visible in infested areas. They are usually hidden in dark cracks and crevices on the bed and are so small that they are easily missed.

Take a look at my page as it goes into much more detail about the signs of bed bugs.

harborage site adult bed bugs and eggs
Tiny translucent white bed bug eggs in a bed

Bed Bug Inspection

Bed bug infestations can be difficult to detect in the early stages and are harder to eradicate once they have taken hold. This is why it’s essential to conduct regular inspections.

The earlier you catch a bed bug problem, the easier it is to address it.

As you know, the bed is the most common place for bed bugs to hide, so the bed bug inspection should start there.

In a heavy infestation, it won’t take long to find any evidence.

Check the seams, folds, and any crevices of both the mattress and box spring for the presence of bed bugs.

Make sure you examine the bed frames, headboards, bed posts, and any surrounding area, including walls and rugs.

You’ll need a few tools to do a proper bed bug inspection – click the link to see what you need.

Other Bed Bug Hiding Places

Apart from lurking in your bed, bed bugs can hide in many other places.

This is a brief list of some of the other areas I look to find bed bugs:

  • Wall panels
  • Baseboards
  • Drop Ceiling
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Curtains and curtain tracks
  • Electrical outlets
  • Cracks and crevices in walls, baseboards, and moldings.

Treating The Infestation

Identifying the problem is just the first step in dealing with these unwanted guests. The next crucial step is finding an effective way to eliminate them.

From selecting the right treatment to following up after the initial process, there are options available for treating the blood-sucking critters.

Brush on Cimexa Dust

Traditional pesticide treatments are a widely popular and effective method of bed bug extermination.

One such treatment solution is the use of Cimexa dust.

This natural fine silica powder works by dehydrating bed bugs and causes them to die within 24 to 48 hours of contact.

Cimexa Dust is simple to apply and can be used on surfaces where bed bugs are known to hide.

Here is how to apply Cimexa for bed bug treatment.

Use Apprehend

When dealing with a significant bed bug infestation, pesticides are often the treatment option of choice for pest control companies.

Insecticides are a commonly used type of pesticide that works by killing bed bugs on contact or affecting their central nervous system.

One such insecticide commonly used in the industry, and the one I use myself to treat bed bugs is Apprehend.

Before using any pesticide, it’s crucial to carefully read and follow the instructions on the label. This includes directions for use, precautions, and potential hazards.

Box Spring and Mattress Encasements

Box spring and mattress encasements are preventive measures that stop bed bugs from infesting your bed.

These encasements act as a barrier, making it difficult for bed bugs to reach the mattress or box spring. While they’re not a treatment solution, they are an effective way to keep them out in the future.

Bed Bug Interceptors

Bed bug interceptor traps help detect and monitor bed bug levels.

These traps create a barrier around the legs of a bed or furniture, preventing bed bugs from climbing up to your bed.

They are placed under the legs of a bed or other furniture, and bed bugs that are already present will become trapped inside the well.

This allows you or your pest control technician to monitor the situation.

Call A Pest Professional

When dealing with a bed bug outbreak, it’s important to weigh up the benefits of getting professional help versus doing it yourself.

While minor infestations can often be handled with the DIY treatments mentioned above, severe ones should always be left to a reputable pest management professional.

They have experience in treating even the most stubborn bed bug infestations and know which insecticides are most effective.

Pest control companies also have specialized equipment to effectively treat infestations.

How Did Bed Bugs Infest Your Home?

You know you have bed bugs, but do you know how they got into your home?

Bed bugs are challenging to get rid of once they have established a foothold and may still return if the underlying problems are not addressed, which means you must look at how they got into your home to begin with.

If you can find that out, you can prevent a future problem.

So, are they coming from an adjacent apartment?

Have you traveled or stayed in a hotel recently?

Have you brought used furniture into your home?

Do you use public transport?

These are just some ways they get into your home and start an infestation.

When it comes to bed bugs, prevention is key.

It’s important to be aware and take preventive steps to reduce the risk of an invasion.

Bed Bugs On Ceiling

You now know why bed bugs would be on a ceiling, and that’s because there is a severe infestation that is out of control and needs treatment immediately.

However, if you know you have bats or birds nesting in the roof or attic space, you shouldn’t rule out bat bugs or bird bugs. These will also need treating.

If you think the bed bugs are making their way into your home from a neighboring unit, let your landlord or building manager know as soon as possible.

If bed bugs are on the ceiling after your home has been treated, don’t panic!

Bed bugs don’t die straight away, and it’s normal to still see them after a pesticide treatment.

However, you shouldn’t see any live bugs after heat treatment. If you do, contact the pest control company that carried out the treatment.

It’s vital to take immediate action when you spot these pests on the ceiling, so contact a professional pest control company to eliminate them and prevent future problems.

bed bug poop and infestation on ceiling
Bed bug poop on ceiling

FAQs: Why are bed bugs on the ceiling?

Can Bed Bugs Lay Eggs On the Ceiling?

Yes, bed bugs can lay eggs on the ceiling, including popcorn ceilings, and in the corners where the wall meets the ceiling.

While bed bugs prefer to live in the dark cracks and crevices of a bed, finding bed bugs or bed bug eggs on the ceiling indicates a severe infestation that has been growing for some time.

Can bed bugs poop on the ceiling?

bed bug poop and infestation on ceiling

Yes, bed bugs can poop on the ceiling as you can see in the picture I took.
They leave behind small black fecal spots that can be found on any surface, including ceilings, walls, floors, and furniture.

The presence of bed bug fecal spots on the ceiling is a sign of a significant infestation that has been growing for some time.

Why do bed bugs go to the ceiling?

Although the bed is the most favorable habitat for these pests, as the infestation grows, the bed bugs spread out due to overcrowding and have to search for new hiding spots. This can lead to their migration to ceilings, where they find new hiding places.