Recently a prominent retail chain disclosed to the public that bed bugs had been found at one of their stores in Florida. The disclosure was made after having received complaints and photographs from a few customers. Consumers should understand it is possible to find bed bugs in all types of clothing stores, not just thrift stores. In this article, we will outline tips for spotting bed bugs in stores as well as preventative measures retail stores can take to keep bed bugs out of their store.

Can You Get Bed Bugs in a Clothing Store?


Recent surveys conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), show incidents regarding bed bugs are on the rise. One in five people surveyed reported that they or someone they know has encountered an infestation of bed bugs in their homes or in a hotel they have stayed at. In 2015, the NPMA Bugs Without Borders survey revealed as many as 45 percent of professional pest control companies had been called on to deal with bugs in offices. The study outlined mattress and furniture retailers as particularly vulnerable to bed bug infestations. Pest control professionals suggest this is because the bugs hitch rides on clothing, in shoes, and in personal belongings. Bed bugs also hideaway on incoming retail stock and on items that have been returned to the store.

Can Bed Bugs Hurt You?

It seems that there is good reason to fear bed bugs. These pests like to feed on human blood while we are sleeping. While some people won’t notice bites, others will be left with itchy, raised red welts, like mosquito bites, which can be painful. Furthermore, bed bugs leave behind tiny, brown fecal spots. In addition to that, bed bugs lay translucent eggs and shed their nymph exoskeletons. The bad news is bed bugs are somewhat resistant to pesticides. As a result, this makes them difficult to control even after they are found.

Hunting Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to find, especially for non-professionals. Bed bugs only grow up to five millimeters long. The nymphs are also smaller and only semi-transparent. Bed bugs are also brilliant stowaways. In fact, they are excellent at hiding in cracks, crevices in furniture, walls, undersides of carpet, and various places that are difficult to access.

Bed Bug Prevention in Retail Stores

Similar to other pests, bed bugs can spread quickly. Therefore, immediate action is the key to eliminating bed bugs in a clothing store. Retail store staff members must be educated on recognizing bed bugs as well as how the bugs are able to get into the store.

To prevent a bed bug infestation, staff members should closely inspect the store on a regular basis. Staff members may conduct a thorough inspection by checking for bugs on clothing, in fitting rooms, waiting areas, and points where carpeting meets walls. To prevent bed bugs from overrunning the store furniture and carpets, have staff members vacuum and steam clean frequently. The same preventative measures apply to back offices and employee break rooms as well.

Retail stores must inspect all deliveries very closely. When bed bugs are found on merchandise, place the item in a plastic bag and seal it immediately. All items should then be disposed of.


Retail stores with masses of floor space and only a few staff members face a big challenge when it comes to preventing bed bug infestations. That’s where pest control professionals can help. Hiring a local pest control company to perform bed bug prevention services on a regular basis can help save owners and managers the headache of an infestation.

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