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How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In The Cold? Solved

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Alene Schill

Bed bugs are little, copper-hued bugs that subsist on the blood of humans and animals.

They are known to be resilient pests but can be affected by environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. 

In cold weather, bed bugs can slow down their activity and survival rates, but it’s essential to understand how long they can survive in the cold. 

But how long can bed bugs live in the cold? Let’s find out.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive In The Cold?

Close Up Shot of a Bed Bug

In general, bed bugs can survive for several days at temperatures around 32°F (0°C), but they can die within a few hours at temperatures around 0°F (-18°C).

Low temperatures can cause bed bugs to lose moisture, leading to dehydration and death.

Bed bugs [1] are known for their ability to adapt and survive in various environments, but their survival in cold temperatures is limited.

“Nature is my church. The wind in the trees and the bugs and the frogs. All those things are a comfort to me.”

– Sissy Spacek, American Actress

The duration that bed bugs can stay in the cold depends on several factors, such as temperature, humidity, and the stage of development of the bed bugs. 

However, bed bugs in a dormant stage can survive for several months in cold temperatures.

This is because they can reduce their metabolic rate, allowing them to conserve energy and extend their survival. 

It is also important to note that bed bugs are better adapted to survive in moderate temperatures (70-90°F) with high humidity.

In these conditions, they can thrive and reproduce rapidly, making it essential to control infestations as soon as possible. 

How Does Temperature Impact Bed Bug Survival?

The temperature has a significant impact on bed bug survival.

Bed bugs are ectothermic, meaning the environment regulates their body temperature. They cannot control their body temperature internally, so they are vulnerable to temperature fluctuations. 

Extreme hot and cold temperatures can affect bed bug survival by causing dehydration and disrupting their metabolic processes.

In cold temperatures, bed bugs can slow their activity and reduce their metabolic rate to conserve energy and extend their survival.

However, if the temperature drops too low, it can cause the bed bugs to lose moisture and eventually lead to death. 

On the other hand, high temperatures can cause bed bugs to dehydrate and die more quickly. The optimal temperature range for bed bug survival is between 70-90°F with high humidity. 

What Other Factors Affect Bed Bug Survival In The Cold?

Bed bug on a white table
  1. Humidity: High humidity [2] can help bed bugs maintain moisture and extend their survival in cold temperatures.
  2. Developmental stage: Bed bugs in different stages of development have varying levels of tolerance to cold temperatures. Nymphs and eggs are more susceptible to cold temperatures than adult bed bugs.
  3. Shelter: Bed bugs with access to shelter and insulation, such as cracks and crevices in walls and furniture, can extend their survival in cold temperatures.
  4. Heat sources: Access to heat sources, such as radiators or heating ducts, can help bed bugs regulate their body temperature and extend their survival in cold temperatures.
  5. Pesticides: Certain pesticides can impact bed bug survival in the cold. Some pesticides can increase bed bug susceptibility to cold temperatures, while others can reduce their survival ability.

Can It Become Dormant In The Cold & Resume Activity When Temperatures Rise?

Yes. Bed bugs can become dormant in the cold and resume activity when temperatures rise.

Bed bugs can reduce their metabolic rate in cold temperatures, allowing them to conserve energy and extend their survival. 

When temperatures rise, bed bugs can resume their normal activity levels, including feeding and reproduction.

This ability to become dormant and resume activity in response to temperature changes makes it more difficult to control bed bug infestations.

It is also important to note that bed bugs in a dormant stage can survive for several months in cold temperatures.

This is because they can reduce their metabolic rate and conserve energy, making it more challenging to eliminate the infestation. 

FAQs

How long can bed bugs live without food?

Bed bugs can live without food for several months, but their survival time decreases as they age. Bed bugs can survive for up to 5 months without a blood meal as nymphs or newly hatched bugs. 

However, adult bed bugs can only survive for about 2 to 3 months without a blood meal.

Do bed bugs like cold rooms?

No, bed bugs do not prefer cold rooms. Bed bugs thrive in warm and humid environments, with a preferred temperature range of 70-90°F (21-32°C). 

Cold temperatures can slow their activity and survival rates and can cause them to become dormant. 

Do bed bugs die with alcohol?

Yes, bed bugs can die when exposed to high concentrations of alcohol.

Alcohol, specifically isopropyl alcohol, is a commonly used household chemical that can be used to kill bed bugs on contact. 

When applied directly to bed bugs, high concentrations of alcohol can cause desiccation or drying out, leading to death.

Key Takeaways

Bed bugs can survive in cold temperatures. Still, the length of time they can stay depends on several factors, such as temperature, humidity, stage of development, and access to shelter and heat sources. 

While cold temperatures can slow down their activity and survival rates, they can become dormant and resume activity when temperatures rise.

It is also essential to understand that bed bugs can survive for several months without food and that alcohol can kill them on contact, but its effectiveness depends on several factors. 

Overall, bed bugs are resilient pests that require a multi-faceted approach to control and elimination.

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/bedbugs-infestation
  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/humidity/

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