What Is A Bed Bug?
Have you ever stayed in a hotel and woke up with severe itching and red marks on your body? Most probably, it is bed bugs that are to be blamed for this.
They get their name from their habit of making beds their home and feeding on humans while they sleep. I was really amazed to find out that bed bugs feed only on blood and require regular feedings to survive.
You can find them virtually in every place where people gather, be it homes, hotels, schools, public transportation, shops, etc. One unique thing that bed bugs do is ‘hitch-hike.’
They latch onto suitcases, clothes, linen, and many such items. Once I was bitten by a bug while I was out on the lawn. When the rashes spread extensively, I went to a doctor who identified the culprit as a bed bug.
I asked him, ‘can bed bugs live outside?’ He answered yes, and no! Let me share some more information about this. Watch this video for more information.
1. Can Bed Bugs Live Outside?
The problem is that there is some ambiguity about this fact because bed bugs cannot jump or fly and can only move a short distance.
However, they are very good at hitching on to anything which comes near humans like a jacket, purse, luggage, or bags. If you toss out an old mattress outside in your backyard, the bed bugs will also ride with it to the outside.
If they land on grass, they will try to find another way to get back as close to you as possible. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, either working on the lawn or just lazing around, then they would be happy to have you as a host.
2. How Long Can They Survive Outside?
Yes, they can survive outside, but it will mainly depend on
- Weather conditions
- Presence of predators
- How long they have to starve
Bed bugs won’t go outside by choice. They are mostly brought out unknowingly. Sometimes, a pest control treatment inside the house can make them run outside.
They will try to hide in the cracks of furniture, woodpiles, upholstered chairs, etc. lying outside. Though they are quite hardy and can stay outside, bed bugs are always looking for an opportunity to get back inside somehow or wherever you are.
These creatures are cold-blooded and can easily regulate their body temperature. You can find them surviving in extreme cold as well as in high temperatures.
If the temperature goes lower than -22 degrees Fahrenheit and higher than + 120 degrees Fahrenheit, only then they will die.
Moreover, because of their ability to control body temperature, it becomes easy for them to save energy and survive without food for up to 5 months.
Though they are tiny, and predators like cockroaches, spiders, and lizards can gobble them up, they can travel up to 20 feet. This means they can cross a small yard and re-enter your house.
3. Where Do the Bed Bugs Hide Outside?
You will not find bed bugs hiding among the flowers or in the grass of your garden. They may be traveling through these areas, but they prefer to find shelter in the nooks and crannies of planters, wooden beams, etc.
Bed bugs can happily wait outside for an opportunity to get inside or to a more hospitable place. Generally, the following places can be a temporary shelter.
- Patio Furniture: any upholstered furniture with cushions, blankets, and covers is good enough for bed bugs. Even wooden, wicker, & rattan furniture will have them snuggling in.
- Outdoor Structures: wooden exteriors, fixtures on walls, cracks, and holes can be infested with these pests. A structure made with some fabric is also welcoming to them.
- Vehicles: your car or a camper-van provides great protection to the bed bugs from cold. This way, they can move inside from outside. It is also possible that you bring the bed bugs through your travels.
- Firewood/ Wooden Logs: if there is any wooden building material or firewood stacked near your house, this is where you will find these little insects hiding.
- Rubbish or Clutter: if there is a lot of used or broken stuff lying around under a cover, the bed bugs will make full use of this and make a cozy home.
4. How to Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
- Regularly vacuum all items like cushions, pillows, and all furniture.
- Use insecticide but only read all instructions carefully. They can be harmful to you if you are not careful.
- Don’t be in a hurry to bring any furniture inside because some eggs could still be there. Wash and disinfect everything before you bring it back inside.
- Avoid getting second-hand furniture or make sure they are thoroughly cleaned. Check and inspect carefully.
- Call professionals if the infestation is high. They will know how to take care of the problem.
- Heat treatment with very high temperatures can work in specific areas like a storage unit or a vehicle.
- Sealing wooden or rattan furniture with strong varnish after the treatment can keep the bed bugs away.
Now, you know that bed bugs can survive outside, but they like to get back inside as soon as possible because they need blood to survive.
Apart from a few exceptions like some warm-blooded mammals, they live exclusively on human blood. So, if they are running away from any pesticide treatment or looking for a new food source, they may visit your place.
Though here we are talking about how the bed bugs can live outside, we should understand that they will try to make their way into your home sooner or later.
They always want to be around inhabited surroundings. Getting rid of them as soon as you notice them is the only way to control them. Inside or outside does not matter to these hardy pests.