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Are Bed Bugs Worse in Summer or Winter?

If you’re worried about getting bed bugs, you’ll need to know when you are most likely to encounter these pests. 

Or, if you already have bed bugs, you should understand when you can expect them to be at their worst. 

Bed bugs are more active in the summertime because they prefer warmth and humidity. Yet, since bed bugs live indoors, they typically aren’t bothered much by the cold and will continue to feed on you during the winter just as they had in the warmer months. 

When Am I Most Likely to Get Bed Bugs? 

3D photo of a bed bug on a white background.

Generally, you are most likely to get bed bugs in the summer. 

Bed bugs are usually most active during this time, but that isn’t why you’ll probably pick them up in the warmer months. 

You see, bed bugs can’t really get to new places by themselves. 

They don’t like the outside much because they don’t appreciate temperature fluctuations. 

Bed bugs also aren’t going to leave a place if they have a host. 

Thus, they won’t just walk into your house by themselves. 

So, how do bed bugs make it from place to place?

They travel on you or your items. 

Normally, you are most likely to get bed bugs when you stay at a place that has them, and they enter your bag and follow you home. 

And since people tend to travel the most in the summertime, this is the season when they typically spread. 

When Are Bed Bugs the Most Active?

Bed bugs tend to be most active when the temperature is warm. 

You see, bed bugs don’t like cold conditions. 

Frigid environments make them go into a sort of dormancy where they try to conserve their energy. 

They do this because they are cold-blooded, meaning they can’t produce their own warmth as humans do. 

And they need heat to carry out their essential bodily functions, like producing energy and digesting food. 

So, they slow down their movements and reproduction habits until the temperature rises again. 

However, bed bugs live inside, where temperatures stay pretty consistent. 

Thus, they may not change their feeding or reproductive practices at all when it’s cold. 

Yet, overall, bed bugs are usually most active in August and least so in February. 

How to Keep From Getting Bed Bugs in the Summer

A stop bed bug sign with a white bed on the background.

Of course, the best way to keep from getting bed bugs is not to travel or stay over at anyone’s home. 

But what’s the fun in that?

So instead, you should just follow a few simple rules when you stay the night at a place that isn’t your own. 

Keep Your Bags Zipped Up and Far From the Bed 

Since bed bugs can’t latch onto humans well, they will most likely follow you home in your bag. 

Thus, when you stay the night somewhere, you ought to keep your bag zipped up to help prevent bed bugs from entering it. 

Furthermore, you can put your items in additional ziplock bags to stop bed bugs from hiding inside them. 

You should also keep all of your luggage away from the bed. 

Some of the best places to put your bags when you stay somewhere else are either on the luggage rack or in the bathtub. 

Read Your Hotel’s Reviews 

All hotels have to deal with bed bugs at one point or another, but some are much better at protecting their customers. 

So, before you leave, look up the reviews to see if anyone mentions bed bugs and, if so, how the staff dealt with the issue. 

Look for Signs of Bed Bugs 

When sleeping over somewhere, take a few minutes to look for signs of bed bugs. 

Some of the most common indications of bed bugs include: 

  • Actual bed bugs 
  • Bed bug eggs and egg casings 
  • Bed bug exoskeletons 
  • Dark or rusty spots (bed bug excrement)
  • A musty odor coming from the mattress

You will most likely see these signs on or near the mattress and bed frame. 

If you think your hotel room may have bed bugs, alert staff and ask for a new room. 

Wash Your Bedding and Clothes When You Get Home 

Whenever you get home from a vacation or just stay the night somewhere else, you should immediately launder every washable item you brought with you. 

When doing this, you need to use the highest heat setting on your washer and dryer because bed bugs can not live through intense heat. 

Inspect Your Luggage and Belongings Before You Bring Them Inside 

As I said, you might as well go ahead and wash and dry any fabrics you have to ensure they don’t have bed bugs on them. 

Yet, you’ll need to take a different approach for items that can’t go in the washer and dryer. 

When you get home, transfer all the non-washable items in your luggage to plastic bags. 

Then, with a magnifying glass and flashlight, search everything for signs of bed bugs. 

You should also look for them in your luggage, paying close attention to crevices and pockets since this is where bed bugs like to hide. 

If you find bed bugs on any of your belongings, you should remove the insects before bringing them inside. 

For most items, you can use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any bugs. 

You should check your items at least once more for signs of bed bugs before bringing them inside to ensure you don’t cause an infestation in your home. 

What Temperatures Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs will begin to die at 113°F (45°C). 

Yet, they have to experience these temperatures for around 90 minutes before it will kill them. 

Conversely, bed bugs can’t last more than two days in temperatures under -4°F (-20°C). 


Bed bugs do prefer the summertime, and this is when you are more likely to get an infestation. 

However, since bed bugs live inside, the cold weather doesn’t bother them much, even though they may go into a type of dormancy during the winter.