Bed bugs are one of the most annoying pests, and getting rid of them seems impossible. It’s known that these nasty pests thrive and reproduce indoors, but is there a possibility that these bed bugs can also live outside and survive?
The answer is yes and no. While bed bugs can live outside, their survival depends on certain factors such as temperature, humidity, and food source.
Generally speaking, bed bugs will look for ways inside a home or building rather than venturing too far out into the wild for long periods.
They will find places close to human activity, such as furniture or pet beds, to hide in until they can eventually make their way indoors.
You won’t find these bed bugs staying in the grass. They won’t get inside your home and go back outside. Since bed bugs are ectoparasites, they need a warm-blooded host like humans or animals to feed off of in order to survive.
This means that if there’s no food source, their chances of survival slim down significantly.
This means bed bugs will start looking for any place where humans or animals stay, such as the patio, wood piles, or other places where they can hide and wait for potential prey.
When they end up being outdoors, they’ll most likely look for a nearby shelter, like your patio furniture, pet beds, and outdoor sheds, where they can wait until someone or something else comes by for them to feed off of.
How Do Bed Bugs End Up Outdoors?
If these pests don’t have a good chance of survival outdoors, how do they end up there in the first place? Bed bugs are famously known as hitchhikers and can easily travel by clinging onto clothing or bags.
These bed bugs found outside could have fallen off an unknowing host or could have been transported by a windy day.
There are times that these pests may also end up getting outside from old mattresses, pillows, or rags that have been thrown out and left in the open.
How Far Can Bed Bugs Travel When They’re Outdoors?
If they’re outside, are there chances that they can somehow sneak into your home? One thing you should know about bed bugs is that they don’t fly or jump.
These tiny parasites can only walk, and they’re not very fast either. In fact, they’d be able to travel further distances by hitchhiking – this is how they’ve been able to spread from one infested house to another.
Although there’s a chance that some of these bed bugs may walk directly into your home, this rarely ever happens. Instead, these pests will look for someone (or something) to latch on to and travel with.
How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive Outdoors?
Pests, animals, humans, and literally all living things need food for them to survive. Some can get by with little food and can survive in harsher conditions, while others need a plentiful supply of food and specific living conditions to survive.
As resilient as bed bugs are, they do have some limits when it comes to their tolerance of outside conditions. The length of their survival depends on different factors, such as:
As mentioned earlier, this is the first and the most important factor determining how long a bed bug can stay outdoors. In general, bed bugs can live without food for four months.
During the colder season, they can even get their metabolism to slow down and live without food for a year.
Even if their food source is scarce, these pests will be able to survive if they are in a place that has the necessary humidity and temperature levels.
Despite being able to survive up to a year without any food, water is a major danger for bed bugs. They can stay in water – but they won’t survive as much.
If their hiding place gets drenched or soaked in water, they won’t be able to survive for more than a few days due to drowning.
The cold temperature doesn’t bother bed bugs much, not until the temperature drops down to -0.4°F. During the winter season, they’ll hibernate and slow their metabolism down – they won’t feed or look for food until the temperature rises up again.
But they can’t take the heat either – when temperatures start to reach over 113°F, these pests will start dying off quickly. This is why most bed bugs treatment often include high temperatures to get rid of the infestation quickly.
One of the primary reasons why bed bugs love staying indoors is the simple fact that they can live and hide without the fear of being eaten by any predators. Outside, lizards, cockroaches, Pharaoh ants, and some spiders all prey on bed bugs.
Aside from food scarcity, one of the contributing factors to their survivability outdoors is the presence or lack of natural predators. Despite being able to survive without food for an entire year, these pests can be gone in a few days if their hiding place is full of predators.
Although bed bugs can “technically” survive outdoors, there are a few factors that determine their survivability. Since they’re considered to be indoor pests, they would much rather be inside your house than outside in nature.
These pests can sense carbon dioxide from humans and will go to any length necessary to get back inside.
This is why it’s crucial for homeowners to stay vigilant for any signs of bed bug infestations. If you believe there might be bed bugs lurking in your home, perform regular checks and contact a pest control expert to help things get out of control as quickly as possible.