Can Bed Bugs Live in Cardboard Boxes?

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Bed bug infestation is common in almost every home. You will also find bed bugs in a luxury hotel if you know where to look for. People typically discover bed bugs in cracks, mattresses, furniture, bed seams, etc. But, could your stacked packaging cardboard boxes be affected? I’ve done some research and has found out if bed bugs can make cardboard boxes their habitat?

Can Bed Bugs Live in Cardboard Boxes? Yes, bed bugs can live in cardboard boxes. To a normal eye, it may seem unaffected, but as you tear off the upper liner you will find bed bugs have made the corrugated flute their home.

Bed bugs are the pesky and worst part they feed on blood, unlike termites who feed on paper products. Although they don’t cause any serious disease but make things very uncomfortable. Where do they come from? Where they infest? How do they grow? How to get rid of them? We are going to discuss a lot of this on this blog.

Bed Bugs Living in Cardboard Boxes

Bed bugs typically hitchhikers and are ironically transported by humans themselves. If you have been on a trip and have stayed in a hotel, chances are you have brought home some bed bugs along in your luggage. Once they reach your home, they will find out hidden spots such as stacked away cardboard boxes, bed seams, etc and will nest. They grow and spread really fast, where a female bed bug can lay over 5 eggs each day. So, if you already have a bed bug situation and are not aware of it, you have to do some serious pest control when you find out. If you have used cardboard boxes in your house, take away your stuff and check if there is any bed bug infestation. However, you may not notice because they may be residing between the layers in the corrugated part of the cardboard box. To find that, you have torn down your cardboard boxes in a few places to investigate. You will know you have a bed bug problem when you find their bite marks on your arms and shoulders.

Where else do bed bugs hide?

They can be found behind baseboards, wallpapers, furniture, cardboard boxes, etc. However, they do have a liking to a few objects as they want to be as close as possible to a blood source, which means you!

Bed seams and box springs:

If you want to raid on bed bug infestation, start with the bed. For them, the bed is the best place to hide and grow. It is close to the human host and humans don’t inspect their bed often, so they grow and nest undetected. They are tiny and slip into tight spaces and are nocturnal creatures who feed at night on human blood. Our body heat is what attracts them in the first place and makes it easy for them to find a blood source. They can easily fit and live under mattress tags, box springs, bed frame, headboards, and other cracks. If the infestation has grown, you will find them in other parts of the bedroom as well such as carpets, electrical outlets, etc.


Don’t think that they nest only in the bedroom. Humans don’t spend time in the bedroom alone. Other rooms are as good as a bedroom for the bed bugs. You will find them in living rooms and dining rooms, especially under the carpet or rug, in couches, furniture seams, chairs, etc. A couple of bed bugs could be taking a good bite on you while you and your family are having dinner. Bed bugs are nocturnal, but they do feed in daytime especially when there is high human traffic; it could be while on the couch watching a movie, having dinner, or when you are working at your desk. You will find blood stains, little pellets, shed skin and other signs if you have an infestation in that furniture.


They get into the smallest of cracks and start nesting. And you will find cracks all around the house. They can even dwell in the furniture joints, and electrical outlets as well. This makes it hard for the house owners to find and prevent their growth. Wall frames, curtains, cracks, behind the wallpaper and a few hot spots, where they hide and grow away from sight. They can live for months without feeding, which is why they could sometimes be found in places away from a human host.

How will I Know if the Cardboard Box is Infested with Bed Bugs?

The first obvious symptom is having bed bug bites on your body. You will have little red dots that are itchy. This is a clear sign that you have a bed bug infestation problem. One of their favorite place to hide is the corrugated ripples in the cardboard boxes between the surface liners.

  • Look for a dark spot with excrement pellets in the cardboard box
  • There can be occasional blood stains
  • They will be shed skin, egg shells, and fecal spots
  • There will be an uneasy odor which is secreted from their glands
  • If they are in the cardboard box, chances are they are also on the shelves where you had stacked your boxes.
  • Check for cracks in the shelves, look for bed bug signs in the furniture joints, seams, and frames.
  • Also inspect the items that were stored in boxes such as books, old electronics items, toys, stuffed animals, etc.

Bed Bug Treatment

The best thing would be to simply throw away the cardboard boxes and purchase new ones from the store. However, don’t forget to disinfect the area before buying new boxes for your items. Bed bug treatment starts with tidiness. Start by decluttering your house.

  • Get all your beddings, curtains, linens and other infested fabric or apparel in hot water to remove any stain of bed bugs. Then dry them on the highest dryer setting. For items such as animals, shoes and other items that can’t be washed, you could put them in the dryer on the highest setting and leave it for half an hour.
  • Get a new bush and scrub off bed bug infestation from the mattress and then vacuum for any remains. Vacuum the surrounding area of the bed, curtains, carpets, etc and dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag away from the house.
  • Repair all cracks in the wall and glue down wallpaper after scraping off the bed bug nest.
  • If the mattress is infested you could simply let them be by encasing it with a zipped cover. Leave it that way for over a year and then take it out to dust off dead bed bugs. If the infestation is serious, you have no choice but to dispose of the mattress and get a new one. However, you have to make sure your bed is completely free of bed bugs before getting a new one.

Bed Bug Extermination

Using Insecticides

Start by vacuuming the bed bug infested area. If it’s the mattress, look for their hiding spots such as folds and seams, headboard, footboard, box spring, etc. After you have vacuumed out any bed bug residue, begin your insecticide treatment. There are aerosol sprays, dust, and other insecticide products in the market such as CrossFire Aerosol, Steri-Fab Bed Bug Spray, Cimexa dust, etc.

Typically dusts last longer than aerosols, as they get a longer saturation time to have their effects and even prevent further infestation. If it’s a flat surface, dust work as a great alternative, but if the infestation is in the cracks, electrical outlets and other hard to reach places, then the aerosol spray proves to be a much better option. However, we advise using both dust and sprays for confirmed extermination.

Using Aerosols

  • Use Aerosol spray around and the under the bed. Disassemble the bed and spray on bed joints. Give attention along the baseboards and other items near the bed.
  • Spray in and around the cardboard box and they proceed to the shelves or the furniture where the cardboard box was stored. Remove drawers from the furniture and spray the inside of the cabinets. Don’t forget to spray on the bottom of the furniture. But, do avoid places where you store your clothes and items such as the inside of the drawer as you don’t want poisonous insecticide on your clothes and items.
  • Spray around the closets, door frames, doors, windows, window frames, and other furniture.
  • Treat all baseboards, behind bed frames, under the bed and where the furniture touches the ground. Also, take care of the cracks between the frames and wall.
  • If you want to treat the surface of the furniture and mattresses, then we suggest you purchase sprays that are unreactive to human skin.
  • Heavily infested items should be sealed off in a plastic bag and removed out of the house.
  • Small items can be dried under the sun at a high temperature to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs.


The bed bug doesn’t carry any disease but they are pesky and irritating. They feed on blood and grow like wildfire. It’s not uncommon to find bed bugs in your cardboard boxes, especially if it’s old and used. The complete extermination of bed bugs can only come after a professional pest control treatment. These hitchhikers go along with you and may just spread out to other places while you are attempting to get rid of them. So, do take a look at your old cardboard boxes every weekend and see if there are any signs of bed bug infestation. The aforementioned tips should be enough to deal with these pesky creatures.

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