Bed Bugs in Clothing Store

I’ve heard of bed bugs in clothing at second-hand stores and even in hospitals, but at Hollister, a store owned by Abercrombie & Fitch?

CNN reported that Hollister Clothing, in the upscale SoHo neighborhood of New York, kept its doors shut to deal with bed bugs. It’s reported that in South Street Seaport, another Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store was closed for a time to deal with an infestation of its own.

Pest exterminator spraying a clothing store for bedbugs.

Pest exterminator spraying a clothing store for bedbugs.

So how does a clothing store end up with bed bugs?

According to the 2015 bugs without borders survey by the University of Kentucky and NPMA, Bed bug infestations are on the rise! 75% of the pest control companies surveyed stated their business grew from the previous year! It’s easy; people come to New York, spend the night at an infested hotel, then bring them into the clothing store.

Dirty homes, clutter, and people who are not clean cause bed bugs, or so people believe – this is NOT the case! Imagine you buy a shirt from a department store that, unbeknown to you, has bed bugs in the clothing; you take the shirt home and end up with an infestation.

Imagine how you would feel if they found out you had bed bugs. Only a small number of infestations get reported, and there are many, many more that go unreported!

As for Hollister, they have asked the City to help come up with a solution to ensure their customers don’t find bed bugs in clothing and do everything within their power to ensure this never happens again.

Moral of the story: When you buy clothing from a department store, no matter how reputable they are, ensure you vigorously shake out the merchandise BEFORE bringing it into your home (or car, for that matter!).

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22 replies
  1. Helen says:

    My son’s friend told him after the fact that she had bedbugs. My son stripped off his clothes upon returning home and put them in the clothes dryer. His efforts were of no account. We still ended up with bedbug infestation. My son got bit once. The bugs are eating me alive. This will be the second time that I’ve had to fight these vampire bugs. I am so frustrated. These bugs reproduce fast. Use two way tape around the foot of your bed. Keep your clothes and bed covers clean. Put your clothes in garbage bags after wash and dry and keep them sealed until use. Pour 90% alcohol down the legs of the bed. If you use spray, soak everything, especially the seams in your mattress, and the carpet. Bedbugs love wood cracks.

    Don’t let family and friends visit your home until you have the situation under control.
    If you leave out of the house, put the clothes you will wear in the dryer for 20 to 30 minutes on high heat before getting dressed. You have to fight these bugs as if you’re in a war. Use a paste of soda for the bites or a cortaid cream. These are a few of the things that I had to do to rid myself of these horrible bugs. I hope these suggestions help people that’s being infested.

  2. Buggin'out! says:

    I noticed a lot of people here use the word “nightmare”…. They couldn’t be more right!!! My husband and our 2 small children had to leave our beautiful apartment due to an injury and therefore a large drop in funds. So we moved into a shoe box of a “studio” (our landlord is a total slum lord, he makes people pay upwards of 800$ to live in tiny rooms with up to 5 people per room, most of us just don’t have the money or credit for a good apartment these days) anyway this jerk never told us that EVERY SINGLE UNIT HE MANAGES in ALL 4 BUILDINGS HAS BED BUGS!!!

    When we moved in it was ok or so we thought. After I spoke to him calmly on the phone and asked him to please take care of this problem and he refused until I paid rent for the upcoming month! I told him I would put the rent for the existing month (when I was talking to him) into escrow and I’d pay him when the bugs were taken care of. He still refuses to this day. We have been trying to get rid of them ourselves with store bought bug bombs and sprays and a ton of laundry. It’s gotten to where I have refused to pay rent while living in this NIGHTMARE month after month while these bugs spread and spread.

    Buggin' out! Bed bug bites on legI seem to be the only one getting bitten to this extent and believe me its EXTREME. I sleep about 2-4 hours a night tops and I wake up scratching so badly I’m bloody which I’m sure just attracts more bugs. I don’t know if we will ever get rid of them! I can’t wear short skirts anymore and because these critters got into my laptop bag I unknowingly brought them to work and to my friends house where they are bringing home a new baby any day and their child is 2 years old like mine. I find them falling off my clothes in public it’s so embarrassing! I hate this I hate bedbugs and I will DESTROY my landlord in court! He wants rent??? He should be paying US to move out and buying us new beds!

  3. Alyssa says:

    I work as a CNA and travel into patients’ houses. At one home they have bed bugs, I have been getting bite, can I bring them home also? If so, how may I avoid doing so? Thanks

  4. Jane Wood says:

    I have a mountain home in North Carolina, I have just found out that we have bats in the inclosed space in a loft area. I am being bit by bat bugs, animal control will remove the bats in aug. ( as there seems to be a law of removing bats in the summer. I have an exterminator coming on friday to spary my house. My question is? While all this is happening here I am going to stay with my son and daughter in law. I am taking my two dogs with me. Do I need to worry about caring there bats bugs with me?

  5. Barbara Landers says:

    my daughter may be coming back from a hotel with bed bugs not 100 percent sure. What do I do to prevent this from coming into my house. Do I bag her clothes and other items make-up, blow dryer etc. And lock them in the garage. What can I use to kill them . Do you think they would be in make-up.
    And what do I do with my daughter. I cant put her in a clothes dryer?

  6. Bugging right out says:

    Yes, they can not only move to you, buy infest the classroom as well! Check the students desk and surrounding areas for bed bugs! Remember that it is NOT the child’s fault, but if he had them in his clothing, it’s something that needs to be address for the sake of others!

  7. linda bruce says:

    i work in a school and a child in my class has severe bed bug bites on his body. when he comes to school can these bed bugs be on his clothes and if he is close to me can i get them also? i scratch every time he is near me. someone help please

  8. barb says:

    After our trip to the hotel where we fear we may have picked up bedbugs (not sure yet), we stored our suitcases in our storage shed which is over 100′ from our house or any other buildings (out in the country). will the bed bugs die if they’re unable to reach a food source (i.e., us, our cats), or will they leave that building to eat (rats, neighbor’s cats, etc)? we spend some time in the “shed” as it also serves as a second living room but only in the day time. if we stopped doing that and surrounded the building with diatomaceaous earth, would that help eliminate the potential of bed bugs getting out (or staying in) and reproducing? last question: if bed bugs will die in that environment, should we put clothing that we took on our trip in that building while we treat our main house? thanks so much for all the helpful info.

  9. barb says:

    is the phermone/diatomaceous earth mixture available to purchase and where? do you think it’s effective?

  10. Melissa m says:

    I just moved into a furnished unit and have been itching like crazy! I found one bite on my upper leg which looks like a bed bug bite, but it’s only one so far. I have so many expensive clothing items that can’t be thrown in the dryer. If I get a bed big cover and pillow cover will that keep them away? It may be a tiny mosquito bite, but it doesn’t itch. I just know the mattress has been used a million times so it is a possibility. help!

  11. Bugged says:

    All you have to do is spray them with 90% alcohol, heat on 120 degree Fahrenheit water and put your clothes in the dryer for at least 5 minutes, the bugs will die.

    Jlaysonne, you can’t make a statement that bed bugs in clothing are due to third world countries, that is just not fair.

  12. chris says:

    Just buying clothes made in USA is not a solution, Any store with fabrics that has bugs from china and stocked with USA made clothes will still transmit as Bed Bugs like to trek a lot lol…. Prevention is better than cure wash or dry @ 120 or more Fahrenheit when u bring them in . Vacuum the house properly and at first sign of a bug infestation take professional help.

  13. sillygal says:

    bedbugs do NOT LIVE on the BODY.
    they might hide in a persons clothing if they didn’t have a chance to creep away to their hiding place at dawn. yes they can infest places, clothing furniture on so forth.
    but they do absolutely not live on the body.

  14. monique says:

    We discovered we had a bedbug problem ( nightmare) about a week ago….to answer some of the questions here….my husband and I share our bed and he has not had one bite, whereas my upper arms and lower legs were driving me CRAZY for a few days before i thought to check for bedbugs ( and, there was no sign of bites visually until I scratched and then they puffed up, much like a mosquito bite)

    There’s a major outbreak in my city, Calgary…and ignorance really was bliss, don’t know if I’ll ever get over this even if we do get rid of them. I didn’t pay attention to the tiny black-ink-point-like spots on my sheets and pillows….NOW i know what a huge clue this is. we even had a couple of the rust-colored blood smears, but again, assumed it was my husband ( cut himself shaving, who knows…very easy to overlook if you’re not searching for signs) .

    So yes, totally possible for one person to get bitten many times and the other none. I also have 4 kids and only one has exhibited any itching…and I’m wondering when the bites occurred…as I’ve heard there can be a delayed reaction of up to 9 days…is this true???I’d like to know so that i can see if we are still getting bugs.

    We threw out our mattress ( does anyone know, does the mattress still have to be sealed before it goes to the dump?) and since then , after picking off just a few ( 3-ish) off the kids beds, no signs anywhere. But i am so worried about the eggs, I’m sure this is not the end of it.

    Also, we’ve chosen to get a bed-bug dog in to check our house, its very big and brand new, and I don’t want to miss a source. keep hoping I’ll wake up from the nightmare….

  15. KariLynn says:

    I was raised that you ALWAYS let new clothes air or be washed before you wear them. Bed bugs in clothes is just one of the problems with new fabrics. If you have ever been in a warehouse you understand bed bugs, rat droppings roaches, and all kind of other creep crawlers are in clothes.

  16. Don McLane says:

    Try ordering clothes on line where you can still buy US made clothing. Been doing it for years and never had a problem

  17. laura says:

    how can u not see the bugs in the fabric? we had flee infestations twice in my home due to stray cats in the neighborhood and let me tell you that you saw those little poppy, black dots of bugs all over the place! bedbugs r bigger than flees so how can u not see them? i don’t understand but i will definately wash all clothes prior to wearing/putting them in my closets/drawers from now on!

  18. Jlaysonne says:

    The bugs can come in from China or any other Third World Country who manufacture and sew clothing! So, word of advice, check out what you buy for bedbugs hidden in clothing!

  19. sandy says:

    I think it is even more important to note that even if you don’t have bed bugs, if you know someone who does, because they are brought in on clothing unaware, encase your beds, and have someone come in and treat anyway! Don’t wait! Chances are that person DID bring bugs into your home without knowing.

  20. InviuctusX says:

    I live in a hotel,small,in midtown Manhattan and deal with the problem,I never had to deal with it before and it’s not terrible yet.My question is:Do they go away in cold weather?

  21. announamous says:

    That is nasty. Also make sure you wash it too. I can’t believe new clothes now. i guess that goes for new sheets as well. I am going to start washing everything. This makes not want to buy anything ever again. They probably got them from someone trying on clothes that brought them from there house. Remember if they have bed bugs at home that means that it is on there clothes and body as well.

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