Do Bed Bugs Hibernate in Winter?
When the cold winter months come, the vast majority of insects become dormant, or will go into full hibernation. Many people wonder if bed bugs, like other insects, will hibernate through the winter months. The short answer to this question is no, they don't hibernate. Keep reading to learn more about bed bug behavior, and if you're dealing with bed bugs in your home, no matter the season, look for bed bugs extermination services in St. Louis, MO.
Why Do Other Bugs Hibernate?
The vast majority of the insect kingdom lives outdoors -- even if it sometimes seems like they're all moving into your home. So, when the cold strikes and snows fall, bugs need to find a way to cope with the sub-optimal temperatures and limited access to food. They do this by hibernating, which is also known as diapause. This state of inactivity, the bug becomes dormant in order to survive the unfriendly living conditions. In this state, they can survive for months on limited food.
Why Don't Bed Bugs Hibernate?
When you consider the reasons why other insects hibernate -- namely, the drastic change in temperature and living conditions -- it starts to make sense that bed bugs wouldn't hibernate. Bed bugs typically live in a building that has a relatively consistent temperature and doesn't experience weather changes. In fact, the temperature that you're comfortable living at is the same temperature range that bed bugs prefer.
And, of course, unlike with outdoor insects, the bed bugs' preferred source of food (you) doesn't typically disappear for months at a time. Essentially, unless you spend the entire winter away from home, and set your thermostat to very low temperatures while you're away, there's little chance any bed bugs in your house are going to hibernate until spring.
So, because the bed bugs' environment and food source doesn't change with the seasons, there is typically no reason for bed bugs to hibernate through the winter.
Are Bed Bugs Capable of Hibernation?
While bed bugs don't typically hibernate, it's not impossible for them to do so. If, for some reason, the bed bugs are exposed to sub-optimal temperatures or humidity levels, they can and will enter diapause in order to survive for longer in the hostile living environment.
So, as an example, assume you put a bed bug-infested mattress into storage throughout the winter. The unit is not temperature controlled, so the temperature inside drops significantly. The bed bugs in that mattress may hibernate until you take it out of storage and return the insects to a more livable environment.
Can the Cold Kill Bed Bugs?
The short answer to this question is yes, it can. However, it is extremely difficult. Bed bugs are very hardy, especially when in diapause. The bed bugs would have to be exposed to temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, and held at that temperature for roughly 4 days before the cold will kill them.
Heat is usually a much more effective manner for ridding your home of these pests, which is why we use thermal treatments to remove bed bugs from your mattresses and other furnishings. If you're looking for a bed bugs exterminator in St. Louis, MO, contact Gateway Thermal Solutions to learn more about our services.