A white and brown hotel set back into snow covered mountains on a sunny day.

What happens to bed bugs when it gets cold?

Throughout the west coast, temperatures can drop below freezing during the colder months. With colder temps, you may think that bed bugs can’t survive in the cold and are no longer an issue, and especially not a problem when traveling. Unfortunately, those tiny biting pests are pretty resilient. 

Bed bugs have found ways to adapt to varying degrees of temperatures and environments, making them hard to get rid of. Whether you live in one of those colder states or are traveling to any of the beautiful mountain ranges on the west coast, bed bugs may be a cause for concern, no matter the temperature outside.

A Family of four walking through hotel doors during the winter months carrying their luggage.

Don’t worry about bringing back bed bugs to your home with our bed bug control

Bed bugs and temperature

Bed bugs are persistent. Hitchhiking to your home after your stay at a hotel, or biting you while you’re in your home, bed bugs are worried about nothing more than a blood-sucking meal. They are not ones to say no to a meal based on the temperature and can adapt to multiple environments. As long as there is something for them to feed on, bed bugs will do what they can to survive, which is why they still infest homes and hotels in the colder months.

A thermometer stuck in the snow showing the temperature is below freezing.

Do bed bugs like the cold?

Much like most of the human population, bed bugs prefer an environment that is between 70℉ and 80℉. They feed off of human blood and mostly come out at night when you are warm and cozy in your bed. (Though, the main reason they come out then is because you are laying still and are less likely to notice them.) A warmer environment provides bed bugs with the perfect atmosphere to quickly and successfully reproduce. So, it’s not to say that they don’t like the cold, but they prefer the warmth where they can grow in number.

Close up of a brown and red colored bed bug against a white textured sheet.

Can they survive colder temperatures?

As a hitch-hiking prefer-to-be-indoors type of bug, the outdoor temperature rarely affects bed bugs. Bed bugs can survive in colder temperatures, but when temps go below 61℉ they can enter a state of semi-hibernation, called diapause. In this semi-hibernation state, bed bugs are able to conserve energy. Their metabolism slows down which enables them to go dormant and survive without a meal for those colder months.

A pest control technician performing bed bug control with a vacuum.

When it comes to eliminating bed bugs, freezing them may not always work. Extreme cold temperatures (we’re talking even temps below 0℉) may not kill bed bugs right away. You’ll need deep-freezing temperatures below -22℉ for three to four days to effectively kill bed bugs with cold treatments.

Warm or cold, don’t stress about bed bugs!

Many people think they only need to worry about bed bugs when traveling, but unfortunately, bed bugs don’t have an off-season. While you have a higher chance of coming into contact with bed bugs in a hotel or vacation home, you can still get them in your own home, regardless of the temperature outside.

At Western Exterminator, our licensed Technicians are experts in bed bug control. If you are having a bed bug issue, contact your local Western Exterminator office right away. A Technician will inspect your home for bed bugs and put a treatment plan in place to get rid of them as soon as possible.

A white and brown hotel set back into snow covered mountains on a sunny day.

Emily Nicholson

Emily Nicholson is a Digital Marketing Coordinator for Rentokil North America. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two dogs. She loves being outside - mountains or beach - and enjoys working out, walking her pups, and relaxing with her husband, friends, and family.



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