How Long Can a Bed Bug Stay Dormant?
Bears hibernate, but what about bed bugs? Believe it or not, bed bugs can enter a hibernation-like state.
Bed bugs react to temperature simply because they are cold-blooded. When the temperature drops, these pests enter a dormant state that slows down their metabolism and allows them to conserve energy until conditions are more favorable. Only adult bed bugs can survive cold temperatures.
When bed bugs are in their dormant state, they do not need to feed. According to the University of Kentucky, bed bugs can survive 2 to 6 months without a meal. In extreme cases, when the temperature drops to 55°F or lower, they may survive a year or longer.
However, bed bugs like people and people like comfortable temperatures. When these pests are in homes, they will typically remain active most of the year. That’s because the temperature will stay relatively stable and they will have access to hosts, meaning meals are easy to come by.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, flat and reddish-brown in color. They are nocturnal ectoparasites, meaning they’re active at night and live outside of their hosts.
Bed bugs are biologically designed to hide in cracks and crevices. They’re most frequently found, as their name implies, on or around beds, including in headboards, under box springs, under mattresses, on upholstered furniture and in carpet.
Bed bugs mature in about 45 days, and their average lifespan is 7-12 months. However, this can be temperature and feeding dependent. They survive on the blood of their hosts, known as “blood meals,” and they are attracted to hosts through biological signatures such as body heat and carbon dioxide from exhaled breath. Meals only take about 10 minutes each, and bed bugs feed roughly every 5 to 10 days.
Signs of a bed bug infestation in your home may include shed skins, fecal stains on mattresses and bedding, and blood stains on sheets and pajamas.
How to Treat Bed Bugs
Terminix® recently crowned these resilient little insects the 2017 Pest of the Year, and with good reason. They are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and as they become more prevalent, homeowners are becoming more aware of bed bugs.
Bed bugs feed and reproduce constantly, and they can move to other areas of your house. Additionally, because they’re active at night, infestations can be difficult to spot until the insects have reached large numbers.
If you spot bed bugs, then do-it-yourself methods of control are by and large ineffective, so it’s best to contact a professional. Bed bug control professionals from Terminix® will inspect your home for the pests and customize a treatment plan to remove them from infested areas.
If you think you may have bed bugs in your home, call Terminix® today to schedule your FREE bed bug inspection.