Bed bugs. Just the phrase will make most of us shudder, but they are a reality, and recent figures* show that they are on the rise. This may come as a surprise to those of us who associate bed bugs mainly with travel and bringing them back in suitcases. The pandemic has drastically curtailed travel, so how come bed bug citings are increasing?
If you want to know how to get rid of bed bugs that are already in your bedroom, there are many useful techniques and products you can use. But, as with most things, prevention is better than cure, and what many people may not realize is that their bedrooms have the ideal conditions for hosting these unpleasant pests. And by far the most widespread is your bedroom's temperature.
Your bedroom's temperature may be attracting bed bugs
It turns out that 'the ideal temperature for an adult bed bug to thrive is between 21-32°C' (70-90°F), according to the British Pest Control Association (opens in new tab). This is the reason why bed bugs are so much more active during the summer months – they like feeding and mating during warm weather.
It is true that bed bugs are resilient and can survive temperatures 'as low as zero (32°F) and as high as 49°C(120°F).' If it's too cold or too warm for them to thrive, they will often go dormant for as long as a year and wait for more favorable conditions to return.
Obviously, a home that is constantly warm is a boon to bed bugs – they don't have to go dormant and can continue feeding and reproducing (sorry) all year round. And although they don't exclusively colonize bedrooms – any room with nooks and crevices will do – they do prefer the bedroom because in this room they are the closest to a source of food (you).
If you like sleeping in a warm, heated bedroom, you are making yourself more vulnerable to a bed bug infestation, especially if this warm temperature is coupled with another factor like second-hand furniture (bed bugs love vintage too) or an old mattress.
The solution? You don't have to sleep in a freezing bedroom, but keeping it cooler, at between 14°C-18°C (57°F-65°F) will not only make your bedroom less attractive to bed bugs but will also promote better sleep. And if you choose a brand new best mattress as well, you should be bed bug-free this winter.
*Research by MattressNextDay (opens in new tab)