With the rise in bed bug numbers, many people are wondering if bed bugs can live outside, and if so how that could be used to get rid of them or prevent them from entering the home. Maybe you’re among those who have wondered whether bed bugs will live outdoors, which temperatures might kill them outside, what natural predators exist for these pests, or how long they can go without feeding on human blood.
Will Bed Bugs Ever Choose To Live Outside?
Bed bugs tend to hide, and their favorite hiding places are in dark areas like cracks and crevices, under cushions, in wooden sideboards, or around clutter. It seems like there are many hiding places outdoors for such a tiny creature, so do bed bugs live outside when they aren’t invading homes?
Unfortunately for those hopeful that their bed bugs will just go outside and leave them alone, it’s unlikely for these insects to live outdoors in large numbers. They have adapted to living with their food source (us), and for now that’s where they will stay given any choice.
That being said, if people are spending large quantities of time outdoors in a particular area, then yes, bed bugs will live outside near their hosts, especially in places where people sleep or stay in one place for extended periods, such as stationary tents and cars.
The outdoors does not tend to affect bed bugs negatively, though they prefer warm areas to those with colder temperatures. That makes campsites particularly susceptible to bed bug infestations.
There is a big caveat to this information, however. Just because bed bugs don’t prefer to live outside, regardless of temperature or location, does not mean they won’t. This is precisely where people tend to mess up when treating their homes for bed bugs. They think that once they’ve treated the building, any bed bugs that were forced outdoors will die or leave.
That’s not true. The unfortunate truth is that bed bugs that are forced outdoors during treatment can and will re-enter the building as soon as they get an opportunity, and that means that if you don’t thoroughly destroy all of them, or you don’t use prevention tactics after treatment, you can get a new infestation after spending lots of time, effort, and money on getting rid of bed bugs.
You may be wondering, though, aren’t there some ways you can kill bed bugs by sending them outdoors? If you do treatments in freezing temperatures or extreme heat, is it less likely that any escaped bugs will survive outside?
How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive Outside?
The answer to that question depends on several factors, but generally, you’re not going to, for instance, get rid of bed bugs in sheets by hanging the sheets outdoors in freezing temperatures.
You may have heard that bed bugs can be killed at high heats, and that is true. One of those most effective ways to get rid of a big bed bug infestation is to request help from a bed bug heat treatment professional (Like Burnin’ Bugs). Unfortunately, it is never going to get hot enough outside to destroy bed bugs. Hanging garments or bedding outside in the sun will not destroy the bugs or their eggs.
For anyone currently living in a cold area or season, bed bugs are really good at surviving the cold. In fact, when their body temperature drops, they can survive even longer between meals, up to a year. That means you’re not going to have much luck trying to clean them out of your items by putting them outside in the cold. Even putting them in your freezer is not particularly efficient. It can sometimes take up to 2 weeks to destroy bed bugs and their eggs inside a standard freezer.
Bottom line… If you’re wondering if bed bugs can live outdoors, the answer is, yes they can. Putting affected items outside is unlikely to help in your treatment plan. Long-term, bed bugs may succumb to extreme temperatures or lack of food, but those extremes are unlikely to be helpful to someone treating an infestation.
If you need a free estimate or have any questions, please call or text Burnin’ Bugs at (716) 499-3817.
**Courtesy of PestSeek