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There are many ways that people pick up bed bugs.

This pest does not discriminate. Anyone can get them.

used mattress leaning against an old couch on the side of a parking lot
Not all bed bug infestations are as obvious as this one. It's best to leave discarded furniture to be picked up as trash.  Photo: NYSIPM. Click photo to see enlarged version.

In the early days of the bed bug resurgence, their appearance was attributed to travel. Bed bugs were commonly found in hotels and at that time, hotel workers, as well as their pest management firms, were unfamiliar with them which allowed their spread.

In multifamily housing, bed bugs move easily from one apartment to another, especially when one unit is heavily infested.

People move bed bugs on their belongings, such as luggage, bags, coats, and sometimes clothing.

Some fields of work have higher risk of exposure to bed bugs, including home health care, child care, and anyone who enters or works in the homes of others.