If you’re currently dealing with a bed bug infestation and the colder months are coming around, you may be curious if it’s going to help or hurt your pest situation.
Are the bed bugs going to slow down like so many other creatures do during winter months, or are they going to huddle for warmth in your facility or home and make the infestation an even larger problem?
Insects in the Winter
You don’t often run into mosquitoes or bees during the cold season, so why should bed bugs be any different? Most bugs that bite or sting take the winter off by going into a state known as diapause. This is basically like power saver mode on an electronic device, but for bugs.
During diapause, unfavorable weather conditions will cause the insect to suspend its development, lower its metabolism, and become unresponsive to changes in their environment. Once the conditions become favorable again, the bugs will exit diapause and resume being pests.
What About Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are no different than most other insects, they too enter diapause during the winter. Once cold weather hits, their activity is significantly lowered in order for them to survive. That is, if they’re actually exposed to cold weather.
Bed bugs make their nests indoors where temperatures can remain warm year-round. This means that bed bugs don’t necessarily have to worry about surviving through harsh winters. In fact, they can easily remain active enough to spread when it’s cold.
If it’s any relief, it is slightly more difficult for bed bug infestations to spread during the winter than in the summer. Sub-freezing temperatures can kill bed bugs relatively quickly, meaning if they’re going to spread they need to luck out and remain safe from the outdoors for any extended periods.
Then How Do Bed Bugs Spread?
There are a few ways in which bed bugs spread from one place to another. It usually involves you or someone you live with bringing an infestation along with them after a vacation.
Hotels can be hot spots for bed bugs, and it isn’t hard for them to find their way on to you or your luggage where they can hitch a ride to your house or lay eggs for you to carry home.
It is trickier for them to make it to your house when it’s cold out, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. If they make it on to one of your belongings that you then stuff away in a suitcase, they can easily remain warm enough to make it back.
Kids returning home on winter break from college stand a chance at spreading bed bugs in cold weather, as well. College dorms are known to harbor bed bug infestations.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide During the Winter?
You can find bed bugs hiding in all of their usual places when it gets cold out. The only difference is that they will tend towards any of these areas that are closer to your house’s heating system.
If you’re looking for where your bed bug infestation is, check the following:
- Cracks and crevices throughout your home but especially near beds
- Cluttered areas of the house
- Items stored under the bed
- Inside mattress seams, bed frames, and headboards
Remember that bed bugs are going to gravitate to anywhere that’s warm. Your attic or basement may not be cold enough to kill them off, but they won’t be interested in nesting there if there’s somewhere warmer to go.
What Do I Do if I Have a Bed Bug Infestation?
Well, definitely don’t expect them to just disappear because winter has rolled around. Bed bugs don’t need to hibernate because they take residence in your nice warm house.
If you find yourself with an infestation this winter, you can start by wrapping anything that may be harboring bed bugs in a tightly closed plastic bag with no holes. Wash all of your bed linens frequently and try to clear out any clutter that might give them a place to dwell. Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to get rid of, no matter the season. If your problem persists you will likely need to contact professional pest control.
Other Helpful Bed Bug Resources
- How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in a Plastic Bag?
- Do Bed Bugs Go Dormant in Winter?
- Bed Bugs vs. Ticks: The Differences Between Ticks & Bed Bugs
- 4 Early Signs of Bed Bugs on Mattresses
- Do Bed Bugs Hide in Metal Bed Frames?
- How to Find Bed Bugs During the Day
- Bed Bug Prevention Tips: How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Property
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