How Long Bed Bugs Die

FAQ: How to Know When Bed Bugs Are Gone

At least 1 in 5 Americans have suffered from bed bug infestations. If you’re one of them and have recently finished a bed bug treatment, you may be worried that you didn’t quite get them all. Maybe you’ve gone some time without seeing any new bugs or bites, but you want a way to be sure that the coast is clear. Whatever the situation, the question is the same: how do you know when all the bed bugs are gone?

Good News and Bad News

First, the bad news: unfortunately, there’s no way to confirm without any doubt that all bed bugs in an area have been eradicated. While you can take careful steps through the whole process and come to a reasonable conclusion at the end, there’s no way to be 100% sure. Bed bugs are notoriously good at hiding, hibernating, and waiting, even for weeks at a time or longer.

Now for the good news: being “sure enough” is easy to do if you followed our 4-step treatment process. Not only is this a thorough, methodical treatment solution, but it includes the tools to monitor the bed bug population over time. Steps 1 and 2 of the solution involve isolating your bed and applying ClimbUp Interceptors, which are industry-standard bed bug monitors. With those Interceptors in place, you’ll be able to monitor for bed bugs during the treatment and long after.

Monitoring the Population During Treatment

As you progress through a bed bug treatment, you need a way to measure your progress and see if bed bugs are still active in the area that you’re treating. The best way to accomplish this is by monitoring the population directly to try and gauge how it changes over time.

If you’re treating for bed bugs in a room where you and/or someone else sleeps, the best way to monitor for bed bugs is with a passive monitor and trap, like ClimbUp Interceptors. When an interceptor is placed under each leg of the bed, they will trap bed bugs that try to enter or exit the bed. Inspect these traps regularly to see if bed bugs are still active in the room. Ideally, the number of bed bugs being captured will decline over time, eventually reaching a consistent zero.

If you’ve been treating an unoccupied room, like a living room or a vacated bedroom, monitoring the bed bug population becomes a bit more complicated. ClimbUp Interceptors won’t do you much good in this situation, since there isn’t a human body acting as a lure to draw the bed bugs to the interceptors. Instead, you’ll want to use an active monitor like the NightWatch. These have a lure of their own, so they can attract bed bugs without anyone present.

The 6-8 Week Timeline

Figuring out when to call the coast clear requires that you know how long bed bugs will be able to survive without feeding. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the web about how often bed bugs feed and how long they can live without a meal. That makes figuring out your post-treatment timeline harder. Let’s review the actual timing on bed bug feeding and how long they can live without a meal:

Most bed bugs live for two to six months, though some can live for over a year without food by hibernating. Pregnant females lay three to five eggs per day, totaling up to 500 in her short lifetime. Those eggs hatch within two weeks, and the newborn nymphs will be hungry for a blood meal right away.

Since eggs will hatch about two weeks apart, that’s a good time period to space apart treatment applications. Remember that almost no bed bug treatment is 100% successful on the first attempt — you’ll need to at least repeat the contact and residual spray applications to finish off the infestation. Wait two weeks after the first treatment to reapply the sprays, then repeat that in another two weeks. These follow-up treatments will hit any newly hatched bed bugs as well as adults that you may have missed before.

Once those follow-up treatments are done, you’ll know fairly quickly how effective your treatment was. Bed bugs want to eat every 5 to 10 days, so any hungry survivors should start appearing in your traps around two weeks after your last follow-up treatment. If the traps go about 6 to 8 weeks without any signs of bed bugs, you can probably call yourself bed bug free.

How to Confirm Bed Bugs are Gone

By now, we’ve covered the tools we need to monitor the bed bug population, as well as a rough timeline we need to monitor before giving the all-clear. Let’s review what an effective treatment and post-routine treatment looks like in order to be confident that the bed bugs are gone for good:

First, you need to completely treat the bed, ensuring that no bed bugs are on it and that they can’t get back in/on it. Begin by stripping the bedding and washing them on high heat, then drying on high heat if the beddings’ tags allow for it. While the laundry cycles are running, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bed bugs and eggs that might be along the seams of your mattress, box spring, pillows, and bed frame.

Follow up the vacuuming with a high pressure steamer to penetrate deep inside those same nooks and crannies to kill bed bugs and eggs on contact. Lastly, spray down the joints of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with contact and residual bed bug sprays that are labeled for use on the bed, and encase the mattress and box spring with sealed bed bug encasements once the bed is dry. Be sure to leave those encasements on for at least 18 months to ensure that any bed bugs that managed to survive stay trapped inside until they starve.

Next, you’ll need to isolate the bed to make sure bed bugs elsewhere in the room can’t get onto the bed and feed. Move the bed away from the walls and any nightstands or other furniture. Tuck in or remove any hanging skirts or sheets, and remove any storage under the bed that is touching any part of the frame. The only thing your bed should be touching is the floor via its legs. If you don’t have a bed frame with legs, you should purchase one to sleep in, at least until you are bed bug free.

To complete the isolation, place ClimbUp Interceptors under each leg of the bed. These traps will prevent bed bugs from climbing up your bed legs, stopping them from reaching you in your bed. As bed bugs attempt to get to you, they will climb up the edge of the interceptor and fall into the perimeter pitfall where they can’t escape. With the ClimbUps in place, you can monitor the population of bed bugs in the room over the next several weeks (and even longer to avoid future infestations).

As you proceed through the rest of our 4-step treatment solution, including the follow-up treatments over the next four weeks, that isolated and intercepted bed will act as a long-term monitoring system. Once both follow-up treatments are done, continue checking the ClimbUps daily for bed bugs. If the occupants of the room go at least 6 to 8 weeks without any new bite marks, and without any sightings in the interceptors, you can fairly safely declare that room bed bug free!

FAQ: How to Know When Bed Bugs Are Gone

At least 1 in 5 Americans have suffered from bed bug infestations. If you’re one of them and have recently finished a bed bug treatment, you may be worried that you didn’t quite get them all. Maybe you’ve gone some time without seeing any new bugs or bites, but you want a way to be sure that the coast is clear. Whatever the situation, the question is the same: how do you know when all the bed bugs are gone?

Good News and Bad News

First, the bad news: unfortunately, there’s no way to confirm without any doubt that all bed bugs in an area have been eradicated. While you can take careful steps through the whole process and come to a reasonable conclusion at the end, there’s no way to be 100% sure. Bed bugs are notoriously good at hiding, hibernating, and waiting, even for weeks at a time or longer.

Now for the good news: being “sure enough” is easy to do if you followed our 4-step treatment process. Not only is this a thorough, methodical treatment solution, but it includes the tools to monitor the bed bug population over time. Steps 1 and 2 of the solution involve isolating your bed and applying ClimbUp Interceptors, which are industry-standard bed bug monitors. With those Interceptors in place, you’ll be able to monitor for bed bugs during the treatment and long after.

Monitoring the Population During Treatment

As you progress through a bed bug treatment, you need a way to measure your progress and see if bed bugs are still active in the area that you’re treating. The best way to accomplish this is by monitoring the population directly to try and gauge how it changes over time.

If you’re treating for bed bugs in a room where you and/or someone else sleeps, the best way to monitor for bed bugs is with a passive monitor and trap, like ClimbUp Interceptors. When an interceptor is placed under each leg of the bed, they will trap bed bugs that try to enter or exit the bed. Inspect these traps regularly to see if bed bugs are still active in the room. Ideally, the number of bed bugs being captured will decline over time, eventually reaching a consistent zero.

If you’ve been treating an unoccupied room, like a living room or a vacated bedroom, monitoring the bed bug population becomes a bit more complicated. ClimbUp Interceptors won’t do you much good in this situation, since there isn’t a human body acting as a lure to draw the bed bugs to the interceptors. Instead, you’ll want to use an active monitor like the NightWatch. These have a lure of their own, so they can attract bed bugs without anyone present.

The 6-8 Week Timeline

Figuring out when to call the coast clear requires that you know how long bed bugs will be able to survive without feeding. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the web about how often bed bugs feed and how long they can live without a meal. That makes figuring out your post-treatment timeline harder. Let’s review the actual timing on bed bug feeding and how long they can live without a meal:

Most bed bugs live for two to six months, though some can live for over a year without food by hibernating. Pregnant females lay three to five eggs per day, totaling up to 500 in her short lifetime. Those eggs hatch within two weeks, and the newborn nymphs will be hungry for a blood meal right away.

Since eggs will hatch about two weeks apart, that’s a good time period to space apart treatment applications. Remember that almost no bed bug treatment is 100% successful on the first attempt — you’ll need to at least repeat the contact and residual spray applications to finish off the infestation. Wait two weeks after the first treatment to reapply the sprays, then repeat that in another two weeks. These follow-up treatments will hit any newly hatched bed bugs as well as adults that you may have missed before.

Once those follow-up treatments are done, you’ll know fairly quickly how effective your treatment was. Bed bugs want to eat every 5 to 10 days, so any hungry survivors should start appearing in your traps around two weeks after your last follow-up treatment. If the traps go about 6 to 8 weeks without any signs of bed bugs, you can probably call yourself bed bug free.

How to Confirm Bed Bugs are Gone

By now, we’ve covered the tools we need to monitor the bed bug population, as well as a rough timeline we need to monitor before giving the all-clear. Let’s review what an effective treatment and post-routine treatment looks like in order to be confident that the bed bugs are gone for good:

First, you need to completely treat the bed, ensuring that no bed bugs are on it and that they can’t get back in/on it. Begin by stripping the bedding and washing them on high heat, then drying on high heat if the beddings’ tags allow for it. While the laundry cycles are running, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bed bugs and eggs that might be along the seams of your mattress, box spring, pillows, and bed frame.

Follow up the vacuuming with a high pressure steamer to penetrate deep inside those same nooks and crannies to kill bed bugs and eggs on contact. Lastly, spray down the joints of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with contact and residual bed bug sprays that are labeled for use on the bed, and encase the mattress and box spring with sealed bed bug encasements once the bed is dry. Be sure to leave those encasements on for at least 18 months to ensure that any bed bugs that managed to survive stay trapped inside until they starve.

Next, you’ll need to isolate the bed to make sure bed bugs elsewhere in the room can’t get onto the bed and feed. Move the bed away from the walls and any nightstands or other furniture. Tuck in or remove any hanging skirts or sheets, and remove any storage under the bed that is touching any part of the frame. The only thing your bed should be touching is the floor via its legs. If you don’t have a bed frame with legs, you should purchase one to sleep in, at least until you are bed bug free.

To complete the isolation, place ClimbUp Interceptors under each leg of the bed. These traps will prevent bed bugs from climbing up your bed legs, stopping them from reaching you in your bed. As bed bugs attempt to get to you, they will climb up the edge of the interceptor and fall into the perimeter pitfall where they can’t escape. With the ClimbUps in place, you can monitor the population of bed bugs in the room over the next several weeks (and even longer to avoid future infestations).

As you proceed through the rest of our 4-step treatment solution, including the follow-up treatments over the next four weeks, that isolated and intercepted bed will act as a long-term monitoring system. Once both follow-up treatments are done, continue checking the ClimbUps daily for bed bugs. If the occupants of the room go at least 6 to 8 weeks without any new bite marks, and without any sightings in the interceptors, you can fairly safely declare that room bed bug free!

What Temperature Kills Bed Bugs?

Can Heat or Cold Kill Bed Bugs?

While bed bugs are sensitive to changes in temperature, there are plenty of myths about what temperature kills bed bugs.

The pests cannot be eliminated simply by turning off heaters in winter or sitting infested items outdoors on a sunny summer day. In fact, only extreme temperatures beyond what can be achieved naturally will get rid of them.

Temperature-Related Bed Bug Control

Using freezing cold temperatures to kill bed bugs is one option. Put an infested object, such as bedding or pillows, in a sealed plastic bag, then put it in a freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit for about four days.

Temperature That Kills Bed Bugs

A similar process can be used with heat. Adult bed bugs die at 119 degrees Fahrenheit, and their heat-resistant eggs require temperatures upwards of 125 degrees. Some infested objects can be safely baked in the oven at these temperatures for three to five hours to get rid of the pests.

Safety should always be considered in deciding whether to treat in this manner.

Frozen carbon dioxide sprays and heat distribution systems exist but require special equipment and expert monitoring.

The Whole-Home Bed Bug Solution

Homeowners can use extreme temperature to kill bed bugs in a limited sense, but DIY heat or cold treatments aren’t a practical solution for house-wide infestations. In addition to letting bed bugs in floorboard cracks and walls escape, this control method won’t work for infested items that aren’t safe in extreme conditions or too big to fit in the freezer or oven.

The pest specialists at Orkin have a wide variety of tools and knowledge at their disposal and are able to assess the situation to find the best bed bug solution for your home.

HOW LONG CAN BED BUGS LIVE WITHOUT FEEDING?

How long can bed bugs live without blood? The answer depends on the age of the bed bug, if it is resistant to certain pesticides and the temperature range it is exposed to. “How long can bed bugs live without feeding before becoming adults?” is the first question to ask yourself.

A newly hatched bed bug is called a nymph. Nymphs go through five stages before becoming mature adults. When a bug molts, it sheds its skin. Immature bed bugs molt five times before reaching maturity and must feed in between every molt. For that reason, nymphs must feed more often. Despite their young age, newly hatched bed bugs can still survive for at least a few weeks without feeding.

But if nymphs can survive weeks without feeding, how long can bed bugs live without blood after maturity? That depends. When living in warm conditions, bed bugs will usually try to feed at regular intervals. Adult bed bugs can survive for about five months without a blood meal.

Once the bed bug settles on a host, it will feed for a few minutes. Length of feeding depends on the stage of development, how much it ate last time and how long it’s been since it last fed. After the bed bug is full, it will leave the host and return to a crack or crevice, typically where other bed bugs are gathered.

Bed bugs usually feed every three to seven days, which means that most of the population is in the digesting state, and not feeding much of the time. However, because bed bug infestations can spread so rapidly, it can often feel like you are waking up with new bites every morning. This can lead to high stress levels and a lack of sleep.

Don’t let bed bugs get the best of you. A pest control specialist can help you kick bed bugs out of your house and keep them out.

Polanco AM, Miller DM, Brewster CC. Survivorship During Starvation for Cimex lectularius L.. Insects. 2011; 2(2):232-242.

How long does it take for bed bugs to die without human contact

Scientific studies have shown that bed bugs (cimex lectularius) adults can live as long as 400+ days without feeding in a laboratory at low temperatures.

Adult bed bugs can live for more than a year and it was found that there can be up to four successive generations per year. As for nymphs the life span is shorter than adults.

  • Adult bed bugs can live 14 months without feeding
  • Nymphs live 5 months without blood meal
  • Females need first blood meal to lay eggs

Starving a bed bug is not an effective strategy in removing an infestation.

Pest management professionals follow specific guidelines to get rid of bed bugs permanently . These procedures will help identify the necessary effort to quickly remove a bed bug infestation in any size property.

To help reduce outbreaks please share with friends and family.

Do bed bugs die if they do not feed?

Bed bugs do require to feed (blood meal) in order to survive, yet there is a 14 month life span of a adult bed bugs without human contact found in scientific studies.

The complete life cycle of a bed bug requires at least one blood meal before molting to the next stage, this again depends on temperature and availability of food/blood meal.

Keep in mind development occurs more rapidly at temperatures between 70° and 82°F.

Can bed bugs live in a vacant house?

Due to an adult bed bug life cycle can last 400+ days without a host. It’s very common bed bugs can live in a vacant home.

Due to the feeding cycle of bed bugs, they may migrate to where a blood meal can be found. This may be the cause of an infestation from a neighbors home that is in your living vicinity.

What is the average lifespan of bed bugs?

The life stages of a bed bug are based on five nymphal stages (not including the egg). Each stage requiring a blood meal before molting to the next stage.

  • Egg – Eggs are white and oval shaped (about 1/16 long)
  • Tiny white nymph – Difficult to see (about 1.5mm) Look like specs of dirt until they move
  • Light nymph with black spot – (about 2mm) Noticeable black spot in abdomen area
  • Light brown nymph – Lager in Size (about 2.5mm) Resembles an apple seed in shape
  • Medium brown nymph – Size increases (about 3mm) smaller version of the adult bed bug
  • Darker brown nymph – Larger in size (about 4.0mm) More pronounce black spot on abdomen
  • Adult – Reddish brown “rust color” flat oval shaped body (about 4.5mm)Egg

All data is based on scientific studies to offer you the facts and not opinions. Our data was collaborated with UC IPM.

Solutions that get rid of bed bugs

Bed bug questions. don’t be shy ask below

We know this is a stressful situation and we appreciate you allowing us to help you thru this. In hopes of showing you are commitment and good faith as your supplier of pest control products.

We are happy to offer any advice we can to help you. We will do our best to reply, but please be patient as we are helping a large number of customers around the globe.

This Post Has 13 Comments

Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have. We are here to help you finally get rid of these pests. Just leave a comment or questions and we will be happy to help!

How long can a bed bug live with a host

Can bed bugs or eggs travel on the botshoesr to of your shoes

Yes they can, it is very common they travel from suitcases into your home. Another way we have a lot of readers get them is from their kids backpacks in school. They then come home with the bed bug in the back pack and that night, they begin burrowing into the beds and start feasting. A week later you begin to start noticing the bites.

So its very common these bed bugs migrate on shoes, luggage, clothing, etc.

I had a K 9 detect bed bugs in 1 room in my apartment. I had to pack up the entire apartment in plastic bags in the middle of the flood. I had 3 treatments. The last treatment was in November. there has been no known activity since. We can I finish unpacking and know that the treatments were successful

AWESOME. to hear your bed bug issue is gone. If your not feeling bites for a two week period or so, you can assume a success.

Although… please be aware, neighbors, public transportation, kids backpacks… other external things outside your home. This can bring back bed bugs. It’s possible… not always likely but it happens.

So its always recommended, while you do a monthly cleaning, simply SPOT-Treat your beds, couches, and walls, clothing areas with GreenBeanBuddy residual bed bug spray. This will prevent the pests from migrating from any outside sources.

Thankyou for sharing your story, we’re so thrilled you got rid of your bed bugs! We love it when customers tell us this.

Nobody seems to address specifically: Can bedbug EGGS lie dormant to hatch at a later time, when conditions are more favorable? How long can they last? Will adding moisture to dry old bedbug eggs reactivate them?

Hi Tom, thanks for reaching out. I will be happy to answer your questions. We have bed bug specialist on staff that confirm the answers as well.

As for EGGS being dormant and hatching, yes nymphs(hatchling bed bugs) do lay dormant then hatch later. This is why we recommend a re-treatment around the 7 day point, because this 2nd treatment cycle will get the nymphs that look to feed. These are usually very tiny ones you cannot see very well, yet you feel the bites. (And their bites are usually the more painful ones because they do not inject you with the numbing agent that the large bed bugs do when feeding.).

EGGS cycle usually hatch every 7 to 14 days.

Adding moisture to dry eggs will not re-activate them. In fact, Green Bean Buddy is so effective because the formulation kills bed bugs using a dehydration method that seals out the bed bugs moisture from the inside out, thus causing them to die without becoming immune to our formulation. So the nymphs are affected in the same way.

Thanks for contributing, your questions will help the community and assist us in which guides we should add to help more of bed bug victims and our clients.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

I noticed there are bed bugs in my house and I used pesticides on them, though most of them died but I realized their eggs were still there, my question is, can the pesticide kiilbthe eggs? If it can’t how long can I one use the pesticides on d nymph

Most pesticides will not kills the eggs.

You will notice after a treatment, another cycle occurs of bites a few days later… likely 5 to 7 days. This is the hatchlings from the eggs and these are the most painful bites. The little nymphs do not have a numbing agent like the larger adults when they bite, so you feel it.

What You Want To Do For The Eggs:

We found a way to get rid of the hatchlings and egg cycle with our residual bed bug treatment. You simply spray Green Bean Buddy bed bug killer on any surface (clothing, bed, boxspring, and around the bed on the floor). This will prevent and kill these pests from reaching you. In fact most will avoid the area of treatment and if hatchlings get near it they die. So we recommend a nice barrier every few days until all the hatchlings are gone.

Let us know if you have other questions and thanks for contributing to the community.

which is the most efficient pestside for bedbugs…Iv treated mine for 6months with no success

Hi Lizzy, it’s a process. I would advise the following steps below. It’s important to do a treatment and stay consistent. The reason of being consistent is because these bed bugs can hide in many locations. So it’s important to treat all the areas. To combat this difficulty, you may wish to consider a residual bed bug treatment spray. This allows you to spray the areas, then it leaves a clear residual to protect from re-infestations. This is how health facilities, resorts, and pest managers are using the bed bug treatment sprays.

I think one reason they been around for 6 months is you may not know the true source of the problem. This is very common. We’ve found the bed bugs hiding in picture frames way up on the wall. Then other times they were in electrical outlets. And of course… neighbors or when you travel on public transportation. They literally can hitch a ride.

We had someone who was a mechanic, and they worked in a car which had bed bugs. He didn’t know that they were jumping on his clothes from the vehicle he was working on. So they can come from multiple sources. This is why we have had such great success in residual bed bug spray. The simple fact that is kills and then spray along your doors, windows, walls, bed, couches, linens, etc. This will be like a shield which these bed bugs will either come near and die or simply evacuate due to the formulation.

Steps To Follow & Products To Use:

1. Identify what a bed bug looks like – so you can identify the different sizes of them.

2. Where do bed bugs hide – so you know where to treat.

3. How to treat bed bugs yourself – You can use these procedures during treatment.

Lastly, how to keep bed bugs away permanently with re-treatment. This is because re-infestations can come from external sources.

You can consider a Residual Bed Bug Spray to combat the problem. You may also want to consider a bed bug steamer as well.

Thanks for sharing with the community. Let me know if you have other questions. I think the guides will definitely help, just be consistent and remember when doing a treatment, SPOT TREAT… don’t drench. This will give you more product to use later on just in case you need to re-treat or want to prevent the infestation after its gone.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live In A Plastic Bag?

Love to travel? Many of us do—until a chance encounter with dreaded bed bugs leaves us wishing we’d never set foot outside our homes. “Dread” is not too strong a word when it comes to these pests, which are the bane of travelers and hoteliers alike. Travel isn’t the only way these pests can come into your home.

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they infest a sleeping area, or any other part of your home, for that matter. If you’ve ever encountered them and suffered their incredibly itchy bites, you may have taken a DIY approach to handle the problem. You may have read that bagging your luggage, linens or clothing and leaving it in the hot sun is an effective do-it-yourself technique. But how long do bed bugs live in a plastic bag?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is that it depends. Bed bugs can live for quite some time without a blood meal, so it’s really the prolonged exposure to heat that kills both live bed bugs and eggs. Questions like these are paramount to understanding how to manage a bed bug infestation, and better yet, how to avoid one in the first place.

In this post, we’ll answer the most common questions homeowners have about handling and preventing a bed bug infestation.

Can Bed Bugs Survive Outside?

The trouble with bed bugs is, if you’re a traveler, you and your luggage could come into contact with these insects in any number of places—and not just in bed. In fact, bed bug infestations can occur in armchairs, bus or train seats, the trunks of taxis and more. How “nice” or expensive a hotel is has little to do with its bed bug status. Even the fanciest of lodgings can be infested with bed bugs.

These critters are reviled across the world precisely because they are so hard to get rid of—and because their bites are so irritating. They feed only on blood and only the blood of humans (lucky us!), which makes us their top target for survival. Most people who are bitten by bed bugs will have at least a mild allergic reaction, resulting in small, red, raised welts that may blister and are incredibly itchy.

Bed bug bites are similar to the bites of some outdoor critters, such as chiggers, which are tiny, reddish-orange mites that live outside in the grass. If you’ve ever spent a day in the yard or at the park and then found yourself covered in intensely itchy red welts—and especially if those welts were clustered around areas where your clothing was tight on your body, such as the tops of your socks or around the elastic bands of your shorts or undergarments—it’s likely that you had an encounter not with bed bugs, but with chiggers.

The fact is, bed bugs stay mostly indoors because humans stay mostly indoors. That does not mean, however, that bed bugs have never been known to make a home outside. Again, their primary motivator in choosing a place to live is access to food—that is, humans. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for bed bugs to infest outdoor areas like campsites, where humans spend lots of time. If you go camping, be sure to take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings from bed bugs, along with any other critters or wild animals that might pose a threat.

At What Temperature Do Bed Bugs Die?

Bed bugs are hearty creatures. They can live in temperatures up to about 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Above that, live bed bugs, larvae and eggs perish. That’s why many homeowners who are faced with an infestation put all their textiles into plastic bags and leave them out in the sun or put items into the clothes dryer on the hottest setting to eliminate these pesky creatures.

If you can’t take the heat, you can also try cold temperatures to treat bed bug infested materials. To make sure eggs and live bugs don’t survive, you’ll need to place an item in a bag in a freezer that is at zero degrees Fahrenheit for three and a half days, or for 48 hours in a freezer with a temperature of -20 degrees Celsius.

One of the reasons that heat is often the treatment method of choice for bed bug exterminators is that it’s easier to pump hot air into your home than to introduce very cold air. In addition, if you are trying to control bed bugs on your own, you’ll need a lot of room in your freezer to treat all the potentially infested items. Then, what about your furniture? Whole house treatments can often be the most effective way to reach all these tiny creatures, wherever they might be hiding in your home.

Now that we know about under what temperatures and conditions bed bugs will die, let’s explore how to tell if you’ve been bitten by bed bugs or, worse, if you have an actual bed bug infestation. Bed bugs typically feed in the darkness of night, while their human hosts are asleep and essentially defenseless. This is, in fact, why they’re called “bed bugs.” It’s not that they particularly prefer beds as their homes; beds are simply the place where humans can be found for a nice stretch of hours, every single day, and usually in darkness. These are the perfect conditions for a colony of bed bugs to feed to their hearts’ content.

Where do bed bugs hide on your body? During the light of day, while most people are awake and away from their beds, bed bugs actually hide in cracks, crevices and other dark, difficult-to-see spots, which makes them hard to find unless you know what to look for.

Here are some telltale signs that point to the presence of bed bugs in your bed or any other area of your home:

  • Spotting an actual bed bug, whether it’s alive or dead; this can include shed exoskeletons. Look for a small, brown insect with an oval-shaped body, six legs and a pair of tiny antennae. Adult bed bugs grow to only about 4 or 5 mm. long, and their bodies are very flat—slender enough to fit easily into a crack between the baseboard and the wall, for example. Newborn bed bug nymphs are tiny and white, and only as big as the head of a pin. Needless to say, these are quite difficult to spot, especially against a white or pale-colored mattress.
  • Tiny black spotsabout the size of poppy seeds, which could be bed bug excrement. Bed bug droppings sometimes bleed onto the mattress or sheets, just as an ink spot from a marker would spread.
  • Dark red, brown or rust-colored spotson a mattress or pillow. These discolorations could be spots of dried blood that resulted from a bed bug being crushed.
  • Clusters or lines of intensely itchy bites on your skin. Bed bug bites are likely to develop into small red welts or even blisters, and multiple bites will often show up in lines on your skin, since bed bugs have the habit of taking a bite, moving a millimeter or two away to take another bite, and so on.

If you’re on vacation and you spot any of the above signs in your hotel room, what should you do? It is true that high temperatures can kill off bed bugs; this is why one of the most effective treatments for a bed bug infestation, as we’ve already mentioned, is a whole-house heat remediation treatment. This method is based on simple, proven scientific principles regarding the best way to kill off bed bugs at every stage of life, from eggs to adults.

If travelers find bed bugs in a hotel room or other area, they can’t expect to rely on a whole-room heat treatment for protection. One thing you can do is to wash all your clothes (and your luggage too, if possible) and then dry them on your dryer’s hottest setting. Another way to create the same effect as a clothes dryer, as we covered earlier, is to place your clothing and suitcase inside a plastic garbage bag, seal off the bag and set it outside in the sun or inside a hot car for a day or two. This method works best, of course, if it’s summertime and the sun is out! Some studies have found this method to be ineffective, however, so your results may vary.

Perhaps you find an effective way to make sure your clothing and luggage are bed bug-free, but how should you deal with the possibility of bed bugs moving into your home later on? What if you unknowingly bring along a few unwanted insect hitchhikers, despite your best efforts and intentions?

That brings us to our next question —and answer.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In An Empty House?

Bed bugs often live for about a year, which is unfortunate for us humans, since they don’t die off very quickly on their own. Worse still, bed bugs have actually been known to live for about the same time period without food, given the right temperature and humidity conditions—which means bed bugs can even live in an empty house for quite some time before dying due to lack of food.

Clearly, this is a potential issue for home buyers who have, knowingly or unknowingly, purchased a house that had a bed bug infestation. It’s also an issue for tenants moving into a vacant house or apartment; even if the space is clean, it could be hosting live, hungry bed bugs.

For these reasons, it’s very important not just for travelers to inspect their hotel rooms for bed bugs, but also for homeowners and renters to inspect any home or apartment they are considering moving into. If you want to be on the safe side, request a pest control specialist conduct an in-depth inspection if you’re concerned about the presence of bed bugs.

Even worse, homeowners with an infestation cannot just move out for a weekend and expect to return to a bed bug-free home. This is one of the many DIY approaches that is simply not effective.

How Long Can Baby Bed Bugs Live Without Feeding?

Adult bed bugs can live up to half a year without feeding on human blood, if the ambient temperature and humidity conditions are right. When going without feedings, bed bugs are more likely to survive in a room or area that is cool but not too cold, and not too dry.

Baby bed bugs—meaning bed bug nymphs, which are newly hatched eggs—can survive for quite some time without feeding. Bed bug nymphs actually go through five life cycle stages before hatching into full-fledged adult bed bugs, and each stage of nymph requires a blood feeding before it can hatch into the next-larger stage. The older a bed bug nymph is, the longer it can live without a blood meal; while newly hatched nymphs can survive for several weeks or even months without a meal, older nymphs can survive even longer. Some reports show that later-stage bed bug nymphs can survive for over a year without a blood meal.

Preventing A Bed Bug Encounter

As with so many issues homeowners (and travelers) can face, preventing a problem is far easier than treating one after it develops, and this is certainly true of bed bug infestations. To avoid a nasty bed bug encounter while traveling, your best bet is to inspect everything—your hotel room’s walls, carpet and furniture and your luggage—both when you’re traveling and when you return home again.

Savvy travelers will carry a small flashlight with them when traveling. Use the light to inspect your bed and other furniture when checking into a hotel. Here’s how to check for bed bugs:

  • Pull the bedding back at the head and the foot of the bed and use your light to search for any evidence of bed bugs: bug bodies, feces or telltale spots of blood.
  • Inspect the seams of the mattress and all around any tags that may be attached to it.
  • Check behind the headboard, as bed bugs sometimes hide in the dark spaces behind furniture or on the wall.
  • Check your pillows as well, beneath their pillowcases.
  • Inspect any furniture in the room in the same manner, making sure to look between couch cushions, in the crevices between the arm and seat of a recliner and so on.
  • If possible, place your luggage on the luggage rack rather than directly on the carpet or furniture, and be sure to pull the rack away from the wall so your luggage is as free-standing as possible.
  • Don’t unpack your bags and place clothing in drawers; instead, use your suitcase as a dresser, or hang clothing in the closet—but only after checking the closet thoroughly for evidence of bed bugs.

When you return home, inspect your luggage and its contents very thoroughly before you bring it inside your house, if possible. If you must bring it inside to inspect it, do the inspection someplace well-lit and on a hard, light-colored surface, such as on white paper spread out over your kitchen table or laundry room floor. Use a flashlight, and be sure to check in the cracks between seams and around any piping on your suitcase.

The unfortunate truth is that bed bug infestations can be extremely difficult to manage on your own. Some homeowners hope that a combination of bed bugs and dryer sheets will be deadly, while others mistakenly believe that bright light will keep bed bugs away.

ABC Can Banish Your Bed Bugs

If you see any evidence of bed bugs, it’s best to take a proactive approach by treating it as a potential infestation. The problem is, trying to treat bed bugs on your own is a time-consuming, difficult process and it may not work out the way you’d hope. Instead of expending lots of time and fruitless frustration, call on ABC Home & Commercial Services to help. Our pest control specialists are experienced in eliminating all kinds of pests, including bed bugs. We can recommend a method to eliminate bed bugs from your home, at all stages of their life cycle, based on the extent of your problem. Most importantly, our specialists can advise you on how to prevent a reoccurrence so you won’t be inconvenienced with a bed bug problem in the future.

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