Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Harsh Winter Means Fewer Bugs (Except Bedbugs)

Bedbugs are a big topic these days, as news stories across the world have declared that bedbug infestations are on the rise.  Unfortunately, the harsh winter seen in parts of the United States and across the northern hemisphere hasn’t helped.  With most bug infestations, cold weather is a good thing, as the bugs die or go into hybernation.  However, bedbugs are different.  They can survive temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit for up to FIVE DAYS.  In that time, it’s likely they’ll find a nice cozy home where it’s warmer.
Of course, the main advantage the little guy in the picture to the left has is that he lives indoors.
“The cold weather even benefits the bed bug,” says Matthew Mills, President of Pacific Shore Holdings Inc., which makes a spray designed to kill the bedbug. “Because people aren’t going outside, bedbugs have more opportunity for feeding and breeding.”
Bed Bugs
Another unfortunate (for us) factor in the parasite’s favor is that its natural predators, like spiders, tend to hibernate during cold weather.
All of this adds up to bad news for us humans, as the cold weather could go on well into March in some locales.  So, what can you do if you suspect an infestation?    Here’s some advice from a SleepBetter.org article about bedbugs that was published last August:
If you have determined that you do indeed have an infestation, there are a couple of things you can do … but there’s no easy solution.  The most thorough route is to get rid of all of your bedding (mattress, box spring, pillows, etc.) and wash all of your clothes, linens, and bed clothes (sheets, covers, etc.) in hot water.  Thoroughly vacuuming your floors may remove many of the bugs as well.  Sprinkling powdered boric acid on the floor (but NOT on your bedding!) after vacuuming may help eliminate bugs that managed to scurry away from the vacuum.  If you can’t afford to replace your mattress, run the vacuum over it, then buy an airtight mattress cover.  Insecticides are NOT an option, as they shouldn’t be applied to your mattress.
In the end, however, it may require a trip from a pest removal professional to eliminate every trace of the little buggers.