On the Curious Concept of Bed Bug Dormancy

curious bed bug dormancy

There are certain pests or insects that are known for only appearing at certain times of the year, largely based on weather patterns, and others that can be a risk throughout the year. There are also certain pests that have some unique and curious behaviors within the seasonal realm, and a great example here is the well-known bed bug. 

At A-1 Exterminators, bed bug control and extermination is one of the key programs we offer to clients — a range that also includes insect control, bird control and every other form of pest control you might be in need of. Do bed bugs go dormant? Well…kind of! Let’s explain why this is a more difficult question with this pest than with certain other types, plus how bed bug activity works throughout the seasons and when you might have to deal with them.

How Bed Bugs Survive

Before we get into specifics on seasonal activity, it’s important to understand how bed bugs manage on a daily basis. They aren’t known for being particularly picky about where they live and who their hosts are–and in fact, this is one of the reasons why they thrive so easily.

Bed bugs subsist off of blood, and they need it to stay alive. They’ll typically operate in groups or sometimes alone, and will feed on whoever is available to them–humans, dogs, cats, you name it.

Temperature Does Play a Role — But Not a Final One

Now, part of what makes bed bugs and “dormancy” such a tough concept is the fact that temperature is involved in their behavior — just not as centrally as many other insects. That is, when the temperature drops below about 60 degrees Fahrenheit or so, bed bugs tend to slow down their heart rates as a survival mechanism. While in this survival mode, they can survive for weeks or even months at a time without feeding.

However, some of our readers may have already thought of the issue here: Most problematic bed bugs take up residence inside temperature-controlled homes, where 60 degrees isn’t an issue. And while it may be true that they slow down during this kind of temperature drop, they don’t actually go “dormant” in the sense that some other insects do.

In fact, most experts agree that bed bugs actively stay active throughout the year. The difference comes down to their speed and urgency — and again, this is something we’ll get into in greater detail below.

Increases in Travel

In addition to the above, bed bug behavior and feeding frequency can also change based on things like human behavior around them. Bed bugs are known to be hitchhikers in the insect world, and this is especially true when it comes to people traveling from one location to another.

So, for example, let’s say temperatures start dropping around the late fall and winter months — but you’ve still got family coming in for Christmas visits or some business travelers with tight travel schedules. In these cases, bed bugs are likely to become more active, since they’re more likely to end up in close proximity with their preferred food source (humans) for longer periods of time.

Now, this isn’t a prediction that everyone is going to get bed bugs in the coming months — but if you do find yourself battling these pests during any point in the year, you’ll need to work with experienced professionals to take care of the issue — especially if they’re in a more hidden, isolated location.

Avoiding Bed Bug Risks

Based on the above information, avoiding bed bugs can be easily enough achieved through some simple approaches. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Be cognizant of crevices and cracks: Many bed bugs will hide in the crevices or cracks of furniture or walls, since they’re known to nest inside these kinds of areas. If you’re trying to avoid an infestation, be sure to check for any signs of these bugs or their droppings- and if there are, take care of it right away.
  • Be careful when traveling: This is one that most travelers should already know — but it’s worth noting that the higher your chances of being exposed to bed bugs, the more vigilant you’ll need to be. So pack some mattress and pillow covers, as well as other kinds of protective gear that will help prevent bed bugs from making their way into your home.
  • Communicate with landlords: If you’re renting a space or an apartment, this is especially important — since it’s possible that the person who owns the building can help with implementing some preventative measures or even getting professional extermination services for common areas.
  • Look for bed bug signs: Especially if you’ve dealt with bed bugs in your space before and are concerned about a recurrence, it’s wise to look for any signs that may indicate you’re dealing with these pests again. This could include tiny blood stains on sheets or bedding, fecal matter in hidden areas like cracks in walls or furniture, and the presence of live bugs themselves.

And above all else, be sure to work with a team of experienced professionals if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation. That way, you can get the most effective treatment possible and prevent these pests from coming back in the long run.

For more on how bed bugs work in terms of dormancy and active seasons, or to learn about any of our bed bug or other pest control services, speak to our team at A-1 Exterminators today.

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