Do Bed Bugs Hibernate?

Posted: September 30, 2022

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a notoriously unpleasant pest to find in your home, and unfortunately, they are fairly widespread across the United States. Bed bugs are also hardy, resilient insects that can withstand a variety of conditions, including very cold temperatures. In this article, we address a commonly asked question: do bed bugs hibernate?

Bed Bug Season

While bed bugs don’t technically have an active season and can be found year-round, they are more active in certain regions and during certain months. Bed bugs survive off blood meals, and aside from requiring a reliable food source, they are not particularly picky about their living conditions. Because of this, their behavior is not as tied to seasonal markers as other pests, though there are some factors that can contribute to increased or decreased activity.

Insects and Diapause (Bed Bug Hibernation)

While bed bugs don’t technically hibernate, they can enter a dormant state called diapause. Certain insects enter diapause if they are exposed to inappropriate temperature ranges for prolonged periods of time.

When temperatures drop below approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit, bed bugs may slow their heart rates as a survival mechanism. During this state of minimized metabolic activity, bed bugs can survive for months without feeding. As a result of diapause, bed bug activity can be decreased in the winter months due to their temporary dormancy. However, most homes are temperature controlled, so bed bugs that are comfortably inside may not enter diapause at all.

Bed Bugs Are More Active the More People Travel

Since bed bugs are hitchhikers, we tend to see an uptick in infestations during summer months and the holiday season. As people visit their favorite destinations and loved ones, they can unknowingly shuttle bed bugs from one location to another. In fact, it wasn’t many decades ago when experts thought bed bugs were near extinction. When international travel became more popular in the 80s, bed bugs resurged. Similarly, bed bug activity was reduced in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as people become accustomed to traveling again, bed bug outbreaks may increase.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs

Since bed bugs can be active any time of the year, it’s important to stay diligent about preventing an infestation. Bed bugs can be found in any environment, from the most affordable motels to the most luxurious hotels. When you travel, regardless of where you are staying, check the bed frame, boxspring, and mattress for signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs like to hide in tiny crevices and only emerge late at night, so try to move quickly as you check your bed. You may notice live insects, blood stains, or tiny specks of bed bug droppings – all of these are solid signs you may be staying somewhere with bed bugs. If you suspect your room has bed bugs, notify management immediately so they can follow protocol.

Even if you don’t see signs of bed bugs, when you get home from a trip, make sure you wash all your clothes in hot water. You should also thoroughly vacuum your luggage. These two tasks take very little time and will drastically reduce the likelihood of creating a new infestation in your home.

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Bed Bug Treatment Options

DIY solutions, like over-the-counter bed bug spray, may seem appealing. They are readily available at any home improvement store, and are even carried by most grocery stores and pharmacies. The pesticides contained in these products are not as effective as what a professional pest control company would use. These kinds of treatments may reduce the activity of live bed bugs, but will rarely penetrate bed bug eggs. You may think the bedbugs are gone only to notice they are back days or weeks later.

Professional Bed Bug Control

The two best ways to eradicate a bed bug infestation are fumigation and concentrated heat treatments. These methods are only available through professional exterminators. Dodson Pest Control experts can provide you with a free bed bug inspection to evaluate what kind of treatment strategy will work best in your unique situation.

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