Are Bed Bugs Really More Active in the Summer?

Some experts believe that bed bugs are more active in the summer months. With summer being prime vacation time that certainly presents the opportunity for increased travel. Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers and increased travel undoubtedly offers heightened opportunities to transport and pickup bed bugs. But aside from the frequent travel scenario, is there really a relationship between the speed of bed bug development and the warmer temperatures during the summer months? 

From a scientific perspective we know that the time required for bed bugs to develop from egg-to-egg is typically in the range of 1.5 to 2 months. Temperature has a major effect on development time where 80° F results in a development time that is approximately 1 month whereas at 64° F development slows to 4 months. So, indeed there is a relationship between increased temperature and egg development which will result in higher bed bug populations.

While temperature is important, the availability of a host for feeding between each developmental instar (stage) is also required to sustain the speed of development. An increase in travel and relocation offers more hosts available for feeding during the busy summer travel season.

Noting a national survey conducted in 2012, Pest Management Professional (PMP) firms reported that they believed that they received more calls for bed bug control in the summer, which parallels the same results from a similar 2010 survey.  During the summer months, both travel and relocation increases the probability of encountering bed bugs.  The ambient temperature of many summertime dwellings also tends to be higher which results in a faster development time for bed bugs and additional spreading of the bed bug population among surrounding areas.

A new study was published in 2014 where a comprehensive telephone log of bed bug reports from December 2008 to May 2011 in Philadelphia, PA was analyzed. There was a prominent seasonality of bed bug reporting, which peaked in August while February was the lowest month noted. 

So, are bed bugs really more active in the summer months? Due to an increase in travel, an increase in relocation and a faster egg development time bed bugs do appear to be more active during the summer months.

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