Bed bugs have been living with people since ancient times. Interestingly, bed bugs vanished to a certain degree during the 1940s and 1950s, mainly due to the use of pesticides and improvements in hygiene. It seems they are back with a bang now and have already infested every state in the United States. These small, flattened insects feed on your blood – they do not spread disease but they can certain affect your sleep quality and cause other mental and physical problems associated with sleep deprivation.
Bed bugs can be around your furniture, under your bedding, and in your clothes. They can hide in so many places, which is why it is hard to clear an infestation. But, you really have to take some steps to get rid of them because they can live for a very long time in your clothes and personal belongings.
Bed Bugs and Their Lifespan
Even though there are more methods geared towards killing bed bugs than ever before, it is still becoming harder to clear those infestations. The reason is that these tiny pests are developing immunity to pesticides and are extremely hard to locate in your home. Moreover, bed bugs are indoor pests, which is the reason why there is no high or low season either. Interestingly, people have many misconceptions about bed bugs, and many think bed bugs will die automatically if they do not use infested clothes or other items for a while. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Bed bugs can live up to a year or more on your clothes. They can live longer if you occasionally wear those clothes without knowing that they are infested. It means that bed bugs can live up to a year without a blood meal. Therefore, you are not going to get those bed bugs killed if you stop using infested items for less than a year or so. It is worth pointing out that some studies have found that most bed bugs cannot survive for more than three months at a normal room temperature (around 23C) without a blood meal. However, if the room temperature is low or you live in a colder location, bed bugs can survive longer.
The reason why they can survive this long is that they are cold-blooded pests and can slow down their metabolism in colder climates. When their metabolism slows down, they do not need energy from food. That is the reason why it is possible for bed bugs to live up a year and half in your clothing even when there is no food available.
Try Heat Treatment
Since bed bugs can survive for more than a year without food, it would not be practical to store your untreated belongings for this long. A better alternative would be to heat treat your items. Simply put your clothes in the dryer and set it at 120 degrees. Expose your clothes at this temperature for about 90 minutes to kill bed bugs along with their eggs. Once you have heat-treated your clothes or other items, you can easily start using them again instead of locking them away for a year. So, do not just hope that bed bugs would go away on their own; be sure to do something to ‘reclaim’ your home.