Bed bugs are an interior pest which means they don’t live outside. There are rare instances in warmer months and warmer areas of the world where you may be able to find them outside in unique situations but for the most part they are solely found indoors. Because of this bed bugs are considered a year-round pest but it has been noted by several different professionals that in certain areas bed bugs seem to become more prevalent during the summer months....but why?
Before we discuss why let’s talk about what has been observed. A few years ago I conducted a quick analysis of data provided to me from pest control companies all across the country and noted a significant increase in services for bed bugs in July, August and September. This trend did change by region and in your more tropical areas of the US you would see a less significant seasonal increase with bed bugs (probably because it’s warmer year-round). In the past few years several other researchers have also noted the trend and because of this the summer months have been coined “the bed bug season”.
So, why? The knee-jerk reaction is to say that it’s warmer in the summer and we know bed bugs reproduce faster in warmer conditions and that must lead to the increase in activity in the summer months. In short, I agree with that thought but seeing that bed bugs are an interior pest shouldn’t temperatures in a home be fairly consistent year-round thus making population growth more consistent? In my opinion, yes and no.
I do think that air conditioning and temperature regulation can slow population growth, but research has suggested that it doesn’t take a huge difference in temperature to create a huge difference in bed bug reproduction. An older study conducted by C. G. Johnson in the UK in 1941 demonstrated that at 64oF bed bugs could go from an egg to adult in 60 days compared to only 14 days at 82oF. Not only do bed bugs reproduce faster in warmer temperatures but they also move and spread more rapidly. In the Northeast many keep their homes at 66oF in the winter and 74oF in the summer. That 8 degree difference could be significant in regards to bed bug reproduction and movement. If you then look at homes that don’t have air conditioning present, the difference in winter versus summer temperatures could be significant and even more so during heat waves. These warm temperatures in homes without air conditioning could lead to huge population explosions as well as the rapid movement of bed bugs.
OK, so the season of bed bugs is upon us….what does it mean to you? Obviously you should take measures and be aware of bed bugs year round. That being said if it’s the summer it means that if you live in a community where you know bed bugs are present in apartments or homes you may want to keep a closer eye on the situation inside your home. If you’re traveling, know that the incidence of bed bugs may be slightly higher than normal. If your child is off to summer camp, know that bed bugs can exist at camp and you may want to pay close attention to what friends they may be bringing home with them. So it’s not that you shouldn’t be aware of bed bugs year round….just know that in the summer they may be looking to make new friends more than other times of the year. Everyone enjoys a summer crush….right?
If you are traveling this summer please note that we do offer bed bug travel kits in our store to help you avoid sleeping with bed bugs, and our in-home bed bug detection kits are also available for purchase. To learn more, visit the BedBug Central Store at www.bedbugcentralstore.com