Fall is here, and soon the weather will be turning. Days will be getting shorter and cooler air will soon be gliding in from the north. It’s just about time to get the heavy blankets out of storage and drag those cold weather sweaters out from the back of the closet. Summer is in retreat and it’s taking all of those pesky summer pests with them. Or is it?
One thing we’re asked about fairly frequently is how colder weather impacts the bed bug population. It’s a good question. Normally, when the weather turns colder we expect to see a marked drop in insect populations. Mosquitos, fleas and beetles seem to disappear throughout the fall and winter and we can all enjoy a bit of a respite from their constant pestering. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same thing about bed bugs.
Colder Weather and Insect Populations
Of course, this is all something of an oversimplification. The majority of insect species don’t actually die off during the fall and winter. Some hibernate, while others look for warmer climes to wait out the winter. But for most of us, it matters little what happens to the mosquitos in the fall, we’re just pleased to have a few months away from their company.
When it comes to bed bugs you might be tempted to expect the same sort of reaction to the coming cold. You might be hoping that they’ll all die off, or at least go dormant for a few months out of the year. But, I hate to tell you – that’s not going to happen.
Cooler Weather has No Significant Impact on Bed Bugs
The reason cooler weather has no significant impact on the bed bug population is because they are primarily indoor pests. While other insects are braving the cold bed bugs are safely tucked up in our homes. If we’re comfy, they’re comfy. It’s really as simple as that.
Throughout the fall and winter seasons bed bugs continue to feed and breed, and given the opportunity they will happily invade new territories looking for fresh hosts. Bed bugs are extremely hardy pests, and can survive subzero temperatures for days before suffering an ill effects. Even though fall is here, and winter is on its heels, bed bugs have little to fear from the changing of the seasons.
Autumnal Spikes in Bed Bug Activity
Far from seeing a reduction in bed bug activity during the fall, some people actually report an uptick in infestations. This, however, has little to do with the weather and more to do with the time of year itself. Fall tends to coincide with the start of the school year, and we know that where people gather bed bugs are sure to follow.
The occasional spike in autumnal bed bug sightings is generally a sign that people are coming into contact with the pests and bringing them into their homes. It may be a matter of kids bringing them home from school, or families being exposed to the pests on their holiday travels. Either way, it has little to do with the weather.
Face it, Bed Bugs are a Year Round Pest
Bed bugs are a year round pest, and we can’t expect the weather to help us in our fight against them. But there are things you can do to minimize your risks of a bed bug invasion. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, the following tips are well worth remembering:
- This is the holiday season and you are likely to have visitors throughout the fall and winter months. After guests leave be sure to wash and dry their bedding on the hottest settings. Overnight guests may have unwittingly tracked stray bed bugs into your home, so you need to be proactive.
- You and your family may well be traveling this holiday season, and that puts you at a greater risk for encountering bed bugs. If you’re staying in a hotel be sure to carefully inspect the rooms before you unpack. Look for any signs of bed bug activity.
For added peace of mind check bedbugregistry.com to see if your hotel or motel has had a report of bed bug infestations in the past.
- Avoid leaving bags, purses and coats on the floors of public spaces. This is a sure way to pick up stray bed bugs.
- After returning home from any family trips be sure to wash and dry all of your clothes on the hottest possible settings. You should also carefully inspect your luggage for signs of bed bugs before you put anything back into storage.
Fall and Winter are no Protection from Bed Bugs
While the cooler weather of fall is a welcome relief from the dog days of summer it is no protection against bed bugs. Don’t let the cool autumn breezes fool you, these bloodthirsty pests are hardy creatures and more than happy to invade your home winter or summer. As always, the best defense is diligence.
If you should notice any signs of a bed bug infestation this holiday season contact a professional bed bug inspection and removal service at the earliest opportunity. The sooner you act the better off you’ll be.
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