“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” is a phrase routinely murmured by parents tucking their children into bed, usually without a second thought. While it might just be a cute little rhyme, bed bugs truly are nothing to joke about, especially here in the Charlotte NC area; in fact, Charlotte ranks 19th in the top 50 bed bug cities in the country. This brings us to another, less innocent phrase: “are bed bugs worse in the summer?”. A quick Google search will tell you that this is a frequently searched topic, and with summer now in full swing, it seems like an important question to answer. In this blog, we’ve set out to do just that.
SO, ARE BED BUGS ACTUALLY WORSE DURING THE SUMMER?
The answer to this question is a little…complicated. Bed bugs are a year-round pest, at least if they can find an indoor climate that they find suitable. All the same, the common bed bug definitely thrives best in the warm temperatures of the summertime months. Why? For one thing, the summer is their peak mating season, and for another, like most insects, they slow their metabolisms down when the weather cools down.
But this isn’t the only reason why bed bugs seem more active in the summer. The other reason is related to increased travel; because people travel more in the summertime, bed bugs have ample opportunity to travel too! How? Increased travel usually means lots of people rotating in and out of a hotel or Airbnb space, which increases the chances that someone will carry bed bugs into these spaces sooner or later. Once bed bugs are settled into one of these spaces, it is very easy for them to hitch a ride back to your home via your suitcase or travel bag.
THE SIGNS OF BED BUGS
Now that we know why bed bug infestation activity ramps up in the summer, it’s important that we talk a bit about how to know you’re dealing with bed bugs. Here are the signs of bed bugs, according to WebMD:
- Bites- Waking up in the morning with a pattern of bites that you didn’t have when you went to bed. accompanied by a rash is usually a pretty good indication that you have bed bugs in your home.
- Blood Stains- Brown or red blood stains on your bedding and/or pillowcases can be a sign of bed bug.
- Black Feces, Insect Skin, and Egg Shells- Black smears, streaks, and pellets often indicate bed bug feces, and in turn a bed bug presence. Also the presence of shed skins and/or eggs in bed seams, furniture or around wall outlets. Bed bug eggshells are 1 mm long with a white, sometimes opaque hue.
- Smell- Bed bugs have a distinct smell that is actually a pheromone that they release. The smell is similar to a damp towel or locker room.
GETTING RID OF BED BUGS
At City Wide Exterminating, we use bed bug heat treatments, which basically safely turn your home into an oven. Here’s how it works:
- Before treatment starts, homeowners remove any special or delicate belongings.
- Homeowners and pets leave the home.
- Heating units are placed throughout your home by one of our specialists, and then we turn up the heat. Typical heat treatments maintain a temperature between 125 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that bed bugs cannot survive.
- After a minimum of 4 hours, the heat is slowly turned down. Once the temperature returns to an average household temperature, professionals will inspect and treat your home.
- Afterward, you and your family can re-enter the home–now bed bug-free. This whole process typically takes about 8-10 hours.
Think that you might be dealing with a summertime bed bug problem? Get in touch with us and we’ll take care of it ASAP!