Even the harshest of winters do not guarantee that your bed bug problem will be eliminated. Bed bugs are an annual problem and they are going global too. So no matter where you live in the world- bed bugs are likely to be around. However, all is not lost. Simply follow precautions all year round to prevent your bed bug problem from escalating. Let us take a look at how to get rid of bed bugs and precautions to take for preventing bed bugs in winters and summers.
Bed bugs-What are they?
Bed bugs are tiny insects measuring no more than an apple seed. They are reddish brown in color and come out only at night to feed on humans. In absence of human hosts, they may even bite your pets or domesticated animals. It is possible for anyone anywhere to experience a bed bug problem. So just because you live in the Northern most states of US or Canada, it does not mean that you are safe from bed bugs, even in harsh winters. Let us study the reasons why bed bugs tend to survive in winters.
Why are bed bugs becoming resistant to the cold?
The main reason why bed bugs can survive in winters is because of their ability to withstand cold temperatures. Bed bugs usually freeze off at – 5 degrees F and lower but you need to expose them to these low temperatures for at least 5 to 6 days. Secondly, we all use central heating in our homes and offices. This makes it very comfortable and cozy for bed bugs even in winters to not just survive but also thrive and reproduce. Thirdly, adult bed bugs can live without blood meals for many months. They just remain dormant in your environment until favorable conditions arise. So you need to be vigilant and keep an eye out for bed bugs all year round. This is especially the case if you happen to travel a lot and stay in infested motels etc. You might unknowingly bring bed bugs into your home.
Do bed bugs travel from room to room?
Yes, certainly. Bed bugs can hitchhike their way into your home through backpacks and your luggage. So traveling from room to room within the same home is a piece of cake for them. If you are planning a pest control treatment in just one room, make sure you seal off all other rooms during the treatment. Also, you will eventually need to treat all the other rooms in the house including your kitchen. Perhaps the only place which bed bugs do not like in your home is the bathroom. Bed bugs are not fond of water and will try to avoid it. It is therefore safe to keep the all your disinfected stuff in the bathroom while you treat the other rooms. You can also place infested items outside in the snow or in a freezer for 3-4 days. This is necessary to freeze the buggers off to death. As stated above though, this is not a fool proof method of eliminating bed bugs and you need to also use other treatment options and an integrated pest management plan to get rid of all of the bugs.
At what temperatures do bed bugs die?
Bed bugs in all life-cycle stages (eggs, larvae and adults) usually cannot withstand extreme heat and extreme cold. The best way to eliminate bed bugs and their eggs from your bed sheets and clothes is to toss them in the washer dryer and use their highest heat settings. Heat kills bed bugs quickly and is one of the most effective tools in your fight against bed bugs. Bed bugs quickly die at temperatures between 110 F and 125 F. Here is a bed bug temperature chart for reference.
How do bed bugs die naturally?
Bed bugs can live for 4-6 months without feeding. There are many natural ways to kill bed bugs. You can use rubbing alcohol, essential oils, diatomaceous earth and borax powder. These methods are safe and non toxic. Female bed bugs also die naturally sometimes die during the mating process as the male bed bugs pierce their exoskeleton and injure the females in the process. However, with access to meals, a single female can lay up to hundreds of eggs which reach maturity within weeks. Therefore, it is very important to use proper precautions in order to curb the infestation from getting out of hand. There are also many natural predators of bed bugs, but you definitely won’t want to bring them in your home.
Do bed bugs die with alcohol?
Many of our readers have used rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs. However, you must use caution when using this technique. Check out my article on how to use alcohol to kill bed bugs.
Bed bugs do not like cold rooms and they especially hate negative temperatures. However, these are not the surefire ways of getting rid of bugs in winters. You can freeze infested items but this method will not work on electronics and delicate objects. The only way to keep your home bug free is to be vigilant all the time. Keep vacuuming your home and wash all bed clothes/linen every few days. Do read up other resources available on this website for important tips on keeping your home bug free.