Bed bugs, unlike other insects, aren’t built for the wild. Instead, they’d rather stay cosied up in your bed where they have easier access to your blood. You may then wonder, “Are bed bugs influenced by the weather?”
Broadly speaking, bed bugs favour warm and humid temperatures, which is why they often thrive in the spring and summer months. Meanwhile, the winter weather could inhibit their breeding routine, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely eradicated.
Bed bugs are an all-year pest problem. If it’s cold, they can simply hibernate for up to six months and regain their mojo when spring peaks in.
Stick around to learn more about how the weather influences bed bugs.
How are Bed Bugs Influenced by the Weather?
Bed bugs are highly influenced by their surrounding environment. The weather can decide when they mate, feed, or breed. That being so, these little critters can withstand a lot of weather changes, except when temperatures hit extreme highs or lows.
How Does Heat Affect Bed Bugs?
Despite bed bugs’ fondness for warm weather, exposure to heat stress is an effective method to decrease their population. If these blood-suckers are exposed to 35 to 50 degrees C weather for about three weeks, you’ll notice their numbers deteriorating.
In addition to this, the bugs that do survive the heat stress are less prone to reproduce and increase their population.
Besides that, regular summer temperatures reaching 25 to 35 degrees C are far better for bed bug development. During the hot and humid months, bed bugs tend to be thirsty and receive their dose of hydration from our blood.
In dryer weather, adult bed bugs are exceptionally resistant compared to their younger nymph counterparts. So much so that they can preserve nutrients from their last feed for about a year. To become adults, bed bugs normally need about five feeds to move through their life stages.
How Does Cold Affect Bed Bugs?
On the other hand, cold temperatures could also become lethal to bed bugs with prolonged exposure. If the temperature is under 0 degrees C, the beg bugs will freeze after about four days. The lower the temperature, the faster the bugs will freeze.
If temperatures reach 15 degrees C or below, then their breeding and feeding activity may temporarily stop. Additionally, their eggs could hatch later than average. Normally, bed bug eggs hatch after 10 to 16 days, but with freezing temperatures, they can hatch after 45 days.
Cold weather also affect bed bugs’ feeding routine. Instead of their normal bite every three to four days, they resort to one or two bites every three weeks or so.
Nevertheless, this freezing technique might not be logistically possible to do at your home. Having said that, heat stress may be more successful since there are heating tools available in the market to control bed bug populations.
This is why using heat is one of the most effective methods of controlling a bed bug infestation. Insecticides could do the job but miss a few spots and cracks. Plus, some of these bugs develop tolerance to the chemicals.
What Happens to Bed Bugs in Winter?
Although extreme cold temperatures can be deadly to bed bugs, your home’s heating system may be keeping the pests alive. Your mattress isn’t likely to reach these freezing temperatures as well. Plus, they’re likely to find refuge in the warmth of your carpets.
Unlike other summertime bugs like flies, mosquitos, and gnats, bed bugs tend to overstay their welcome in your home all year round. These clingy bugs can hibernate or go into a state of diapause. During this state, they basically hit the pause button on their body’s development. They conserve their energy levels until they feel the heat of summer come back to restart their blood-sucking and breeding routine.
In other cases, if your home’s heating system works too well, bed bugs may still think it’s summer and resume their activity.
How to Use Weather to Control Bed Bug Infestations
The good news is that there are some ways you can use the weather to kill off the unwelcomed critters. That being said, bed bugs aren’t killed by only using one method. In some cases, you may need to consult a professional to get the infestation under control.
Heat Stress Technique
Using this method of removal is sometimes more powerful than using insecticides, since bed bugs may resist these chemical solutions. The trick is to maintain a 55 degrees C temperature in the infested room for around a couple of hours. This can potentially kill off the bugs and their eggs.
You can also keep the room’s temperature at a lower 40 degrees C for about two days to get rid of all the bugs. If you want the pests gone in only a few minutes, you can leave them to steam at 60 degrees C. Alternatively, 50 degrees C can kill them all in about an hour.
You’re probably already sweating from hearing about these temperatures. This is why we recommend asking an expert to use professional-grade heating tools to capture every corner and crevice in the room.
Use the Thermostat
If you’re looking for a way to slow down their growth, you can use the thermostat to lower the room’s temperature. The colder the room, the less likely they’ll mate, breed, and feed.
This method is particularly ideal during the summer months when they’re more inclined to develop.
Nonetheless, if you’re trying to kill the bugs with cool weather, your room will need to be at least 15 degrees C for around 80 hours. Now, unless you want your room to turn into a freezer, you may probably need to resort to a professional’s help.
Are bed bugs influenced by weather? In short, yes, bed bugs’ feeding, breeding, and mating habits are affected by surrounding temperature levels. Despite weather changes, bed bugs are highly resilient insects. They can handle extra heat and cold. For instance, in cool temperatures, they can hibernate to conserve their energy levels. Meanwhile, in heat, they can mate and breed more efficiently.
Luckily, there are ways you can manipulate the weather to get rid of these pests. Along with weather control, a professional bed bug exterminator should be able to eradicate your bed bug infestation in about three to six weeks.