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Do Bed Bugs Hibernate?

two bed bugs

Did your bed bug infestation seem to go away in the winter months? It can be confusing to know whether the cold weather killed off the unwelcome pests or if they are simply hibernating.

The truth is that bed bugs do not hibernate, but they may enter a dormant state when it’s cold to conserve their energy. Homeowners should not take their momentary disappearance as a sign that the infestation is gone forever.

Next, it’s normal to see dead bed bugs around your home before and after professional treatments. Seeing them before a treatment indicates that there are more nearby, and seeing them after treatment means that the treatment is working, but follow-up treatments may be needed.

Lastly, it’s important to understand the life cycle of bed bugs. They go through five stages before maturing into adulthood. Keep reading for everything you need to know about bed bugs.

Do Bed Bugs Hibernate?

While bed bugs do not technically hibernate, they can go dormant for periods of time. It’s important for homeowners to learn bed bug habits so that they can properly control them.

When the weather turns cold, bed bugs can enter a condition called diapause. This hibernation-like state slows down the bed bugs’ metabolism so they can conserve their energy. Once the weather is warm again, they leave the diapause state and resume normal activity.

It is commonly believed that cold weather kills bed bugs. Technically, freezing temperatures can control bed bugs. However, you would need to put bedbug-infested items in your freezer for at least four days to get rid of them. Therefore, homeowners should not rely on lower temperatures to completely get rid of their bed bug infestation. As long as your home is comfortably warm, bed bugs can maintain regular activity without going into the diapause state.

In fact, most homes offer ideal conditions for bed bugs to survive and remain active through various seasons. They can feed on their hosts for their blood meals and seek shelter in crevices of the house.

Bed bugs can go without a blood meal for 6 to 12 months. Since they do not need to eat when they are in their diapause state, they can stay dormant for equally as long.

Again, it’s important to remember that bed bug colonies living in homes will not face extreme freezing temperatures. Indoor colonies have no problems surviving their diapause state. They can remain active all year if their host home is warm enough.

If you have a bed bug infestation in your home that seems to go away when the temperatures drop, do not assume they are dead. The bed bugs could be in their diapause state and will resume activity as soon as it is warm again.

Additionally, even if you aren’t having reactions to bed bug bites, you could still have bed bugs. Over time, your body may stop reacting to bed bug bites. This can happen if you have been repeatedly bitten over a period of time.

Bed bugs are annoying pests that bite you while you sleep. They are also prolific breeders, and their colonies multiply rapidly. Do not hesitate to contact a pest control expert to control them as soon as possible. An expert can locate any bed bug hiding places and control these pests.

a dead bed bug on a mattress

What to Do About Dead Bed Bugs

Spotting a dead bed bug in your home is alarming, especially if you did not see signs of an infestation before. Bed bugs are discreet pests because they hide during the day and use a special anesthetic in their saliva to ensure you don’t notice them feeding on you at night. While it’s normal to hope that the dead bed bug was a lone wolf, the odds are that if you see one, there are more hiding in your home.

Bed bugs live in colonies and reproduce rapidly. Even though they only live for up to a year, they can quickly overtake your home as they continuously reproduce. Female bed bugs can lay between one to seven eggs a day after a blood meal, and they may lay up to 250 eggs in their lifetime.

Even if you only see one dead bed bug, you should take it seriously and contact a pest control specialist. They can inspect for bed bugs and use professional-grade treatments.

Homeowners often want to try getting rid of bed bugs on their own. While there are some home remedies people claim to be effective, like using rubbing alcohol, there is no scientific proof to back them up. Bed bugs are skilled hiders who can fit into cracks the width of a credit card. In addition, bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to products currently on the market. Leave it to a professional to control them effectively.

It is common to see dead bed bugs after professional pest treatment. The best way to get rid of any dead bed bugs you see is to vacuum them up. You should also wash your sheets and wipe down your furniture.

For any live bed bugs, wash and dry your bedding and clothes on high heat. It’s also a good idea to put your mattress in a mattress cover that will suffocate any remaining pests.

bed bug larvae and eggs

What Do Bed Bug Larvae Look Like?

Technically, bed bugs do not have a larval stage, but they do have nymph stages. By definition, an insect in a larvae stage looks different than how they look in their adult stage. Conversely, an insect in their nymph stage looks like a smaller version of an adult. This is good news because if you know how to identify an adult bed bug, you will also have a good chance of identifying a nymph bed bug.

Bed bugs go through seven life cycle stages, five of which are nymph stages. They start as eggs and then transition to the nymph stages before becoming a mature adult.

Bed bug nymphs are tiny insects that can usually only be seen through a microscope. Their bodies look the same as adult bed bugs but much smaller. They look like small grains of brown pepper to the naked eye without a microscope.

Bed bug nymphs and adults are oval-shaped insects with flat bodies before feeding. After feeding, their bodies swell up and become more rounded. Bed bug body color also changes from light brown to reddish brown. Adult bed bugs are visible to the naked eye and are the same size as an apple seed.

Bed bug eggs are a pearl white color, and the nymphs start out as a pale yellow color. However, as they continue to feed, grow and shed their skins, they get darker. It’s easiest to see a bed bug nymph after it has eaten, as it looks similar to a raspberry seed.

Bed bug nymphs must have a blood meal to shed their skin and molt into their next phase. Bed bug eggs hatch 6 to 10 days after laying, and they immediately look for their first blood meal to molt into their first nymph state.

A bed bug with regular access to a blood meal spends about one week in each life cycle stage before molting again. However, bed bug nymphs that have to search for their food will take longer to mature into adulthood.

Controlling a Bed Bug Infestation

There are several ways that homeowners can help slow down the growth of a bed bug infestation. First, limit their hiding places. Bed bugs like to hide in cluttered areas, especially in fabric. You may find them in piles of laundry, the folds of your curtains or in your sheets.

Keep your room free from clutter by keeping your clothes off the floor. Regularly open and close fabric drapes to shake out bed bugs if you have fabric drapes. Wash and dry your bedding on high heat to kill off bed bugs.

It’s also important to remember that bed bugs can be transported on clothing and fabric from one room to another. To limit their spread, do not take any items from a bed bug-infested room to other areas of your house unless it is straight to the laundry room. Put all items in a sealed plastic bag before removing them from the original room.

These efforts to slow the spread of bed bugs are a helpful complement to professional treatments. They should not be your only line of defense. Contact a pest control specialist to control an infestation quickly and effectively.

Get Rid of Bed Bugs Today

Bed bugs are unwelcome house guests that can cause serious problems for homeowners. Whether you see one bed bug or a group of them, an infestation should not be taken lightly.

Contact a professional pest control service as soon as you notice the signs of a bed bug infestation. They will identify the colony and control them for you so that you can sleep peacefully again.

ABC Can Control Your Bed Bug Problem

Bed bugs are annoying pests that are hard to control on your own. When you notice an infestation, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services for pest control services. We have multiple strategies to control bed bugs, so you and your family can be comfortable again.

Russell Jenkins

Russell Jenkins is the Chief Communications Officer for ABC Home and Commercial Services in North Texas. Russell has been working as part of the ABC Family since he was 12 years old under the direction of his father, Owner Dennis Jenkins, and has since held several leadership roles at ABC. Russell holds a degree in Agricultural Leadership from Texas A&M University, and is a Food Safety Specialist. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and two children, playing tennis, and gaming.

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