Are bed bug infestations worse during the summer?
It’s a common question, and the answer is somewhat complicated. First, it’s important to understand that bed bugs are active all year round. Unlike some insects they do not hibernate during the winter months. Having said that many pest control services do report seeing an uptick in bed bug call-outs during spring and summer. There are a couple of possible reasons for this that have more to do with human behavior than the weather.
Like the Rest of Us, Bed Bugs Enjoy Summer Travel
Bed bugs are hitchhiking pests. That’s their primary method of moving through communities to find new hosts and more amenable environments. They travel in bags and backpacks; on pillows and bedding; and on clothing and fabrics. One of the reasons we see more reports of bed bugs in the summer is simply because more people are traveling during the summer months. This gives bed bugs a greater opportunity to move through communities and infest new homes.
It’s worth noting, however, that the majority of bed bug infestations aren’t spotted right away. Early signs of bed bug activity can often be missed or mistaken for other pests. Young bed bugs (nymphs) can feed on hosts for months without being detected. Bed bug bites can be mistaken for the bites of mosquitos or other insects. So a summer bed bug infestation may well have its roots in the winter holiday season.
Bed Bugs Love the Heat (Up to a Point)
Another reason bed bugs calls go up in the summer is the heat. The warmer it gets the more active bed bugs become. At least, up to a point. Anything over 120°F can be lethal to bed bugs. In fact, extreme heat is one of the methods exterminators use to kill bed bugs. But a hot summer day (and more importantly a warm summer night) can have bed bugs breeding and biting at alarming rates. Making them harder to ignore and driving home owners to call out professional bed bug inspection and removal services.
Summer Bed Bug Prevention Tips
Bed bugs are active all year long. But as we’ve seen there are reasons you and your family may be more likely to encounter them during the spring and summer. So, to help you protect yourself and your home from a potential infestation we’ve put together a short list of bed bug prevention tips to help you stay bed bug free throughout the summer months.
- Protective Covers – Fitting protective plastic covers under bed linen and around mattresses and box springs will help eliminate potential bed bug entry and exit points. Also, the plastic will keep air from entering the mattress helping to suffocate any bed bugs that may have already found their way inside.
- Remove Clutter – A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide. It also makes hunting them down more difficult. Keep clutter to a minimum and keep linens and blankets on your bed and off the floor.
- Regular Laundering – Regularly was and heat-dry your bed linen. That includes blankets, bedspreads and duvets. When washing your bedding take the time to inspect mattresses and box springs for signs of bed bug activity.
- Regularly Vacuum Your Home – Thoroughly vacuuming rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture will help reduce the likelihood that any stray bed bugs have a chance to set up shop. Don’t neglect vacuuming under beds, arounds bed posts, and along any cracks and crevices. Safely empty or change the bag after each vacuuming so the bed bugs don’t escape back into your home.
- Don’t Ignore the Rest of Your Home – Bed bugs will go anywhere their hosts go. That means they’re typically found throughout the home and not just in bedrooms. Common places in the home to monitor include upholstered furniture (chairs, couches, etc), drapes, electrical outlets, wallpaper, wall hangings, and cracks in floors and baseboards.
- Avoid Being a Bed Bug Spreader – Bed bugs hitchhike on personal items. If you are throwing our an old chair or mattress that has been exposed to bed bugs destroy it so that it doesn’t end up in someone else’s home.
- Do-It-Yourself Treatments Aren’t Reliable – While it’s always tempting to take matters in your own home DIY bed bug treatments are rarely effective. At best they only postpone a bigger problem. If you see evidence of bed bug activity in your home call in a professional.
A Bed Bug Free Summer
Spending your summer bed bug free begins and ends with you. Bed bugs are intrepid pests and they’ll stop at nothing looking for new hosts and new environments to infest. Be alert to the signs of bed bug activity in your home and take steps to protect yourself and your family from bed bug invaders.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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