To properly dispose of pests, one must be knowledgeable of their habitat, lifecycle, and preferences.
It’s especially important with bed bugs, due to their persistent parasitic nature.
And if they can migrate from outside of your house into your couches and bed? That’s deeply disturbing.
Let’s take a look at the dark underbelly of this bloodsucking pest to better understand how it operates and survives. This information just might help you sleep tight tonight, without any bed bug bites!
Can Bed Bugs Live Outside?
Let’s begin with the outdoors and work our way in.
Bed bugs can live outdoors, but they much prefer to be inside with human hosts to feed on. If they are outside, they typically are living in outdoor furniture, clothing or dark, cluttered spaces, coming from other infected properties.
There are a few precautions homeowners can take to eliminate the threat of bed bugs lurking around their houses.
Bed bugs are attracted to the fabric and cushions of patio furniture, wood of raised beds and other small spaces around the home, where they detect human life and wait to sneak in.
It’s a good idea to inspect all outdoor furniture if you suspect any pest intruders. Keeping the perimeter of the house and garden area tidy and clean will go a long way to preventing bed bugs from encroaching on your property.
Repair or replace any rotting wood and remove brush, weeds and fallen leaves away from the house. Dilute some lavender or lemon essential oils into water and spray your patio furniture with it. Not only will it smell fantastic, but it will contribute antibacterial effects and drive away bedbugs.
Do Bed Bugs Live in the Grass During the Summertime?
Bed bugs won’t typically reside in your lawn, which is a relief. It doesn’t offer them much protection or hiding space from predators. They love to hide out during the daylight hours, among clutter in sheds or garages, or buried into cracks and crevices around the house in wood beams and baseboards.
So no, they won’t make a home in your grass, but they will happily traverse it if it leads them to a human host or an entryway into a house.
Be wary of storing items from your household outside in a storage space, especially if you’ll be bringing the stuff back in at some point.
Given their tendency to hang out in hidden, low-traffic areas, bed bugs might just gravitate from a previously infected place to your items in storage. Used furniture and boxes of old clothes are the perfect invitation for bed bugs. They’ll detect the human scent and naturally be drawn to it.
If storing items like this outdoors, check them thoroughly before selling, donating or bringing them back inside.
Bed bugs are much more active in warm weather, 70-80 degrees being their preferred climate, but they unfortunately are resilient to cold temperatures.
Bed bugs desire to be indoors, especially once the weather turns cold. If they are forced to endure the winter season outdoors, they can survive by going dormant.
Studies have shown that a four-day exposure of 0 degrees or lower will kill off bed bugs. So they can most likely survive outdoors for the winter season in most regions.
Cold treatment and cold exposure certainly inhibit the activity and proliferation of bed bugs, but it will be difficult to rely on cold temperatures to eradicate them completely. Bed bugs can survive for a year or more outdoors without feeding.
Inside your home is the last place you want to find bed bugs. Because where you see one, you can be sure there are more.
They are small, brown bugs with flat bodies, about the shape and size of an apple seed. However, after biting and feeding, they swell up and turn red.
Any used furniture, especially mattresses, bed frames, box springs, headboards, couches as well as sheets, blankets and clothes, should be fully inspected before being brought into the home.
Once in the home, they will hide in furniture, piles of dirty laundry and just about any crevice or tight space they can find.
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs do their best to emulate the vampire lifestyle. They are most active at night, and want to suck your blood!
When people are sleeping and mostly motionless is an opportune time for them to feed. They pierce the skin with beak-like mouthpieces, feed for a few minutes and then scurry away fat and happy.
Bites will turn red and become itchy. They occur on any part of the body that is exposed while sleeping.
If you suspect bed bugs have invaded your home, check for these tell-tale signs.
Indications of Infestation
- Blood stains on pillowcases and sheets
- Dark, rusty spots from squished bugs
- Bedbug excrement, egg shells or skins
- Foul, musty odor from the scent glands of the bugs
If there is an infestation, strip your bed and check the mattress, box spring and the frame. Look around the bed, in closets, through clothes and around the edge of carpets.
Treating Bed Bugs
Any place that bed bugs might hide needs to be inspected and cleaned. The necessary steps are as follows:
- Wash bedding, linens clothes and curtains with hot water and put them into the dryer at the hottest setting. Any items that can’t be washed put in the dryer for at least 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff, coarse brush to scour the mattress seams to remove bugs and their eggs.
- Vacuum the mattress thoroughly and repeatedly. Vacuum the area around the bed and any other area where bugs may be hiding. Waste from the vacuum should be immediately discarded in an outdoor trash can.
- Cover the mattress and boxspring with a zippered cover to keep bed bugs from escaping or entering.
- Repair any cracks in molding or baseboard and keep the area tidy, don’t let clutter build up. Minimizing hiding spaces helps a great deal.
- If all else fails, contact an exterminator to professionally take care of the infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What immediately kills bed bugs?
Bed bugs and their eggs can be wiped out completely if they are exposed to 118 degrees for 20 minutes or more.
Why are bed bugs so hard to exterminate?
Bed bugs can multiply rapidly. Female bed bugs lay an egg per day, but they are not easily killed off. Surviving eggs and bugs will continue to multiply exponentially.
What leads to bed bug infestation?
Bed bugs move in from other infested places like used furniture. They can hitchhike in luggage, backpacks and purses, then travel to soft, upholstered surfaces. Bed bugs can move from room to room in apartment buildings and hotels searching for human hosts.
What is the lifespan of bed bugs?
Bed bugs typically live for 4-6 months, but they have been known to live over a year and survive for months without feeding.