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If you’ve ever asked do bed bugs go away in winter?, then you are honestly not alone. Winter is a season that is loved by many. Everything turns into a winter wonderland and people only fall deeper in love with the season every year. Of course, there are also a ton of people who hate this season too – especially those who don’t enjoy the cold weather. Whether or not you like winter yourself, everyone can agree that there are many positives and negatives to the season. Many love the new activities that winter brings. Others hate the fact that winter also brings shoveling in the freezing cold.
Now, winter is a season where many different things may happen. One such thing is that many different species of bugs go into “hibernation”, much like many other animals and mammals around the globe. For example, you will notice a drop in the presence of mosquitoes – a welcome reprieve from the frequent bug bites that for sure can annoy you. Knowing this, it’s really no wonder ‘do bed bugs go away in winter’ is such a common question that many homeowners ask.
However, one of the most noteworthy things when it comes to bugs is basically that they do not hibernate quite in the same way that other animals do. Today, we are here to discuss everything about bed bugs so that we can then answer the question “do bed bugs go away in winter?”
If you want to know more about this pests and find out how you ended up with them, stick around for this informative article!
What Are Bed Bugs?
Surely, you have heard of them before. Bed bugs are the annoying little insects that take up residence in your home – most frequently, in your bed. They look like small little oval insects, brownish in color. They essentially live off blood, feeding off both animals and humans alike. These bed bugs have a flat body, roughly the size of the seed of an apple. However, after they eat their bodies do swell up. Their color will also change to a slightly more reddish tint.
These tiny little terrors can wreak havoc on your home and on you. If you’ve never had them before, pray that you never do! And if you suspect that you have an infestation, then we completely sympathize. After all, bed bugs are a nightmare to live with – and to deal with. The one consolation is that bed bugs do not fly, so take some comfort in that. Because bed bug infestations can grow in population to the hundreds or even thousands, it’s truly fortunate that you don’t have to deal with them flying around too. Imagine the nightmare that would be.
Though these bugs do not fly, they do move really fast. Chances are you won’t see any bed bugs because they’re really sneaky creatures. However, they will run really quickly through your home – on your walls, and over your floors. Sometimes, even over your ceilings (yikes!).
How Fast Do Bed Bugs Reproduce?
Nymphs are basically the immature bed bugs. They will shed five times before they mature, and before every shedding they will need to have a blood meal. If they are able to feed and mature at this rate, they can completely develop in as little as one month. Furthermore, in the right conditions, bed bugs can produce up to three generations a year!
Thankfully, although these pests are a nuisance, they are not known to be disease transmitters.
Where Do I Get Bed Bugs From?
Bed bugs don’t just spring up out of nowhere in a previously uninfected home. Chances are, you brought the bugs home yourself. The fact is, you may not even notice that you have unwelcome passengers coming along with you. Bed bugs will often hide in things such as luggage, used furniture, clothing, and many other items. Yep, you may be unknowingly bringing home the pests. They’re so undetectable because their bodies are so tiny – and so flat – that they will literally fit in every crack and crevice. Also, all it really takes is a few bed bugs to begin an infestation.
Bed bugs don’t build nests like other bugs such as bees or ants. However, they do live in large groups in just about any hiding place they can find. Their favorite initial hiding spots are in box springs, mattresses, bed frames, and even headboards. The reason why they love hiding in these spots so much is basically the fact that they love having easy access to humans they can feed off.
However, you will find that eventually, these little critters will spread out. They will first scatter through your bedroom, before they begin to spread to other rooms. If you live in an apartment building, you might find that these bugs will begin to spread out too. Therefore, if someone in your apartment building has a particularly bad infestation, you might get it too! Similarly, if you are the one with the horrible infestation, you can pass it on to others who also live in your building. This is sad but true – and so, it’s always important to immediately try to nip the infestation in the bud.
How Can I Tell if I Have Bed Bugs?
If you’ve been noticing some small welts on your skin that suddenly began to get itchy, don’t be so quick to think that it might be just a mosquito bite. Even though it may look like a mosquito bite, or basically any other insect bite, it could be bed bugs! Bed bugs will bite you on just about any exposed area of skin while you are sleeping, and you won’t even notice it. They are nocturnal and feed at night, when you’re completely passed out and in dreamland.
If you find yourself waking up with itchy spots that you didn’t have before you went to bed, the simple answer might just be that you have bed bugs. This honestly might be the reason especially if you have recently been traveling, or if you have just recently bought some secondhand furniture. Furthermore, if you notice any of the below, then you might want to call an exterminator.
Here are some signs you might have bedbugs:
- Sheets or pillowcases that have some blood stains on them.
- Rusty or dark spots on your sheets, mattresses, and even your walls – these spots may very well be bed bug feces.
- If you notice things like shed skin, feces, and even egg shells in places like the corner of your mattress or on your bed springs… beware. You might just have bed bugs.
- If you notice an offensive odor that is slightly musty – an odor that wasn’t there before – investigate!
- The small welts that you are getting are growing in number, and are starting to resemble rashes. Usually, these welts are grouped up in some areas on your skin.
All of these things that I have mentioned are normally very good ways to tell if you have bed bugs. If you have one or more of these signs, it might be time to call an exterminator.
Do Bed Bugs Go Away in Winter?
And now, for the question you’ve been wanting to know the answer to this entire time: do bed bugs go away in winter?
Well, to be honest, we hate to be the bearer of bad news. However, the honest truth is that bed bugs don’t just go into hibernation mode like other animals or insects do. They do not sleep through the winter and then wake up in spring like other hibernating creatures do. Because of this, you will very likely still have to be dealing with them in the winter. They also do not die due to the season, and they don’t migrate to warmer climes either.
The most that could realistically happen if you keep your home cool enough is that the bed bugs will slow down in activity. They may feed less or reproduce at a slower rate. However, if you like to keep your home warmer in the winter…well. You’ll find out below.
Why Do Bed Bugs Survive?
So why exactly do bed bugs survive in the winter? The reason behind this is basically that bed bugs don’t exactly live outside, and because of this they do not have to deal with the weather there either. Chances are, you keep your home temperature-controlled (because who wants to be freezing in winter, right?), so you’re essentially making a warm and cozy environment for bed bugs to flourish in.
Furthermore, bed bugs are very resilient little creatures. They can die in sub-zero temperatures, but the fact is that they can survive in it for a short time too. And, if the temperature in the environment does drop, adult bed bugs can survive for months without feeding. All they have to do is enter a state similar to hibernation.
Winter may also be quite a wlecome time to bed bugs. Reason being their hosts (aka humans, or even their pets) usually prefer to stay indoors to avoid the cold. On top of that, human’s clothes (and even bedclothes) tend to get thicker in this weather, which also means more hiding spots for the pests.
So how exactly do you deal with bed bugs? Do you have any recourse?
How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
Fortunately, you don’t simply have to live with your bed bug problems – you do have some options when it comes to getting rid of them. But be ready for a LOT of work to be done, because getting rid of bed bugs requires a ton of effort. You’ll also need to set aside a significant amount of time to do this. Therefore, you may want to wait for the weekend, or even for a long weekend, before you begin your bed bug squashing endeavors. Sadly, even if you do hire an exterminator to get rid of your infestation, chances are they will still advice you to do the things that we are about to list below.
Are you ready for the huge amount of work you’re going to have to do? If so, let’s get right to it.
Clean EVERYTHING Fabric-like
The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure that you clean everything that is even similar to fabric. This means linens, beddings, curtains, and even pieces of clothing. Be ready to empty your closets and your laundry baskets. Set aside a day for washing the laundry. Thankfully, you can do the laundry while you also do the other things on this list.
Once you’ve gotten all of your fabric items together, you will have to wash ALL of them in hot temperature water. Then, you will have to toss them in the dryer on the highest possible setting. Because of this, any delicate items may become a write-off. You may also lose a few things to shrinkage. However, if you really want to get rid of these bugs, you will need to accept that you will have many losses.
Another thing that you will have to do is to also throw any unwashable items in the dryer. Things like shoes, stuffed animals and things of the sort will need to be in the dryer on high for half an hour.
Scrub Mattress Seams and Vacuum
For this step, you will need a brush with stiffer bristles. With the brush, scrub the seams of your mattress in order to dislodge and remove the bed bugs along with their eggs. Don’t hesitate to really get in there and get all of them out, and then you can vacuum everything. It’s important to do this step because bed bugs will go into every nook and cranny – and you will most definitely want all of them out of there.
Once you’ve finished brushing everything, you’ll want a vacuum with a bag that is disposable. After all, you won’t want to keep the bag with all of the bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs in there. Vacuum the area around your bed, then immediately put the vacuum bag in a plastic bag before you throw it in a trash can outside. For the next few weeks – even months – you’re going to want to do this on a regular basis.
Seal Everything Away
One more thing that you will want to do is to find a cover that will go around your mattress and your box springs. It will have to be a zippered cover that is woven very tightly. Doing this will keep the bedbugs inside, preventing them from entering and also escaping. You will have to keep the cover on the mattress for at least one year, since bed bugs can live that long without having any blood to feed on. Keeping the cover for a year is a good way to make sure that all of the bugs die in the mattress.
On the other hand, if you don’t particularly feel like holding on to an infested mattress, you can then instead throw your mattress away. However, you have to make sure that your home is completely free of bed bugs before you get a new one. Otherwise, the bugs will just infest the new mattress too.
On top of all of the tips we’ve given above, you can also make sure that you get rid of clutter around your bed. Doing so will decrease the possible hiding places for the bed bugs. At the same time, you can also repair any cracks in your plaster, and glue peeling wallpaper back down. Eliminating hiding places is a truly good way of cracking down on bed bug infestations all year round.
So that’s it for our guide today. We hope that we have answered the question “do bed bugs go away in winter”. Finally, we hope that all of the advice we have given you will help you to get rid of the infestation in your home. Good luck with the bugs!