Temperature dependence

The bed bug’s life and development is highly dependent on the ambient temperature. Some insects, certain moths and bumblebees among others, can to a certain extent “warm up” and raise their body temperature by activating the wing muscles. The vast majority has to make do with the available temperature.

At a temperature of about 27 degrees Celsius bed bugs’ metabolism goes into overdrive and development from egg to adult can be completed in a month. At room temperature the development takes about 2 months. During cooler conditions or a shortage of food nymphs can take a season to become adults. At temperatures below 14 degrees Celsius, the development comes to a halt. Adult bed bugs are in a kind of hibernation at this temperature, and can survive for long – it explains how live bed bugs can be found in houses that have been left unoccupied and cool for some time.

With their history as originally subtropical animals, it is obvious that they have no defense preparedness against low temperatures. However, they can survive about a week at -10 degrees Celsius, but if the temperature lowers, it happens quickly. At refrigerator temperatures they will survive a week at most.

At the other end of the scale, the temperature only just has to reach 45 degrees Celsius for about half an hour, to kill the bed bugs.