Family building a snowman in the winter

Are Bed Bugs Less Active in the Winter?

Now that winter is officially here, things feel a bit gloomier. As the weather gets colder and the holidays roll around, bugs might be the furthest thing from your mind. After all, summer is over and most of the bugs that swarm around you when you step outside have gone away for the winter. However, it’s nice and warm inside your home, and this can lead to bugs seeking shelter inside. You might end up brushing away a few extra spiderwebs in your house over the wintertime. But are bed bugs more likely to invade your home in the winter? Can they survive the cold temperatures outside?

Can Bed Bugs Survive the Cold?

Thermometer determining if bed bugs can survive through winterThe short answer to the question “Can bed bugs survive cold temperatures?” is yes. Bed bugs are unfortunately extremely hardy creatures. Once it gets below 46 degrees Fahrenheit, the bugs will start to slow down and go into a hibernation-like state in order to save their energy. Extreme cold will eventually kill bed bugs, but it has to be below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 or 4 days before they die. For the record, heat will also kill bed bugs, but being outside in the heat during the summer will most likely not kill them – bed bugs die at temperatures upwards of 130-145 degrees Fahrenheit after about an hour, so your average summer day will not be enough to fry them. 

So Are They Less Active in the Winter or Not?

Bed bugs are not necessarily more or less active during the winter. Outside temperatures don’t typically affect their movements a great deal, since their main habitat is inside buildings such as homes and businesses. They can even live inside cars or means of public transportation. However, during the winter, there are plenty of ways to spread bed bugs and/or take them home by accident. 

An Unwelcome Holiday Surprise

Family celebrating New Years togetherMany holidays happen to fall during the winter, meaning you’ll likely be spending lots of time with your family and friends. Of course, that can be a lot of fun and a way to make lots of precious memories. However, it could also be a way to accidentally get bed bugs! If you go to a friend or relative’s house and they have bed bugs, it’s not difficult at all for them to end up on your clothes or belongings, stowing away on a trip to your house. You could pick them up from furniture, especially upholstered furniture like couches or armchairs, or you could even pick them up from the carpet. The same kind of thing could happen if someone whose home has bed bugs comes over to your home. The bugs could get onto their clothes or belongings, such as a purse, and get into your furniture when they come over. When your guest leaves, the bugs will stay behind and you’ll have an infestation before you know it. 

Traditions and Risks

Some families have winter traditions, such as going to see a movie on New Year’s Day. These traditions can be fun to participate in and bring you closer to your family, but one should always exercise caution. If you do go see a movie this winter, you could bring home bed bugs. If someone has brought them into the movie theater on their clothing or purse, they could leave the bugs on their theater seat, and those bugs could then climb onto you or your belongings. 

How to Avoid the Bug Blues

Never fear- bed bugs can be avoided and prevented. First off, you need to know how to spot bed bugs. If you see any small dark brown, black, or rust-colored spots or smears on a piece of furniture, the floor, or any items of clothing, this could be a sign of bed bugs. These spots or smears are their feces. There are bound to be more bugs than usual in your home during the winter, due to many species retreating indoors, but if you see small brown bugs running around, they could be bed bugs. If you see any signs of bed bugs in homes or businesses you’ve visited, wash and dry your clothes immediately upon getting home. Leave your shoes outside or in the garage, and take a shower just in case any have managed to stow away in your hair. Also, if you’re comfortable enough to ask your family members if they’ve had any bed bug problems before a party or gathering, do so.

How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

If you do end up with bed bugs in your home this winter, don’t worry. We can help! Bed Bug BBQ uses heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs. This bed bug extermination process gets rid of bed bugs in just one day, is safe for all types of homes and businesses, and won’t fill your home with chemicals! Contact Bed Bug BBQ today for a FREE quote and inspection at (216) 221-1227 or through our website! Check out our other bed bug informational resources on identification, prevention, and eradication.

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