Can Bed Bugs Survive Outside in Your Garden?

December, 2023
Darren Spalding

Many of you may have wondered just how long bed bugs can survive outside. According to resources, they can last up to 5 months in ideal and warmer weather conditions. Even during lower temperatures, an adult bed bug can easily self-regulate their body temperature to be in line with what is going on outside. This enables them to survive for long.

Some of you may have experienced some nasty bites while busing weeding or mowing the lawn. Can you imagine the pain young ones will experience when rolling around on the lawn only to find they were bitten?

The question as to whether or not bed bugs will survive long enough outside to the extent where they become a nuisance is what we will cover in this post.

Know your enemy so you can be one up on these pests. You have a better chance of getting rid of bed bugs if you know more about them.


How to Have the Best Chance of Being the Victor Over Bed Bugs Living Outdoor

Generally, bed bugs do not like low temperature and mostly reside indoors. However, there have been numerous reports of bugs making themselves comfortable inside outdoor furniture where they thrive. Some car owners even reported that their upholstery was infected with bugs.

So do not be fooled by the fact that you managed to get rid of bed bugs inside your home as they would’ve moved outside and settled in somewhere where you would least expect to find them.

If you want to avoid this from happening, you need to find a more effective way to eliminate them so they do not flee outside, simply to re-enter your home where the entire infestation starts all over again.


How Far Do Bed Bugs Travel When Outside?

While bed bugs cannot skip, hop, fly, or jump to another area, they are quite clever on how they move about. What they have is hitchhiking abilities. The way you bring them into your home is via clothing by sitting on an outside bench before you go inside.

Bed bugs are very lazy in the way they operate. They quickly find an environment they love where there is enough food, comfortable temperature, and shelter.

Studies have shown that bed bugs generally travel back and forth from the shelter to where their food is quite regularly. This distance is said to be roughly 15 meters or so. They can easily move around from one room to another within a short space of time.

It is important to wrap infected furniture with plastic wrapping before you move pieces of furniture elsewhere.

One way to avoid bringing these pesky bugs into your property is to ensure any second-hand furniture you buy is clear from infestation. Even cushions or throw-overs and fluffy toys can bring these into your home.

Another question some of you may ask is whether bed bugs can travel through the grass into your home. Yes, they are very capable of doing so.

Believe it or not, bed bugs can hitchhike their way into your home by hopping onto boots or bags, etc.


Why Gardeners Should Take Care of Bed Bugs Living Outside

Most of us may be okay with the fact that bed bugs are just outside. Some of you may reason that they present no threat to you as they simply live outdoors. Do not be misled by this belief. They are quite capable of moving back inside as they require blood to survive. It is human blood they thrive on. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

As crazy as it may seem, some species are quite happy to feed on bats. Also, in severe cases, where they are starved, they will resort to feeding on chickens, pets, or other domestic animals.

But, in a big way, bed bugs feel more attracted to the human family, which is why they inhabit properties and find their way into your homes in the first place. What better way to have their meal than when their host is sound asleep in their beds.

We mentioned before that part of being victorious is knowing your enemy. In this case, you will be in a favourable position if you know where they hide, so you may eradicate them.


Where Do Bed Bugs Hide When Living Outside?

Many of you might be familiar with the concept that knowing where an enemy hides is half the battle won. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to bed bugs hiding places.

You may find it strange or unheard of that bed bugs can hide inside plastic or wooden planters. Your chances of minimizing this from happening is to buy new rather than second-hand planters.

Once these pests reside outside, nothing can prevent them from finding their way into your home as they simply hop onto someone’s clothing or climb onto a backpack or other clothing or shoes to make their way to your living room or bedroom.


Areas Where You Will Likely Find Bed Bugs Outside

As we are fully aware of by now, bed bugs will happily live outside in various areas and just wait for the right opportunity to get a chance of going inside your home.

Following are some of the popular areas where you will most likely come across bed bugs:

  • General clutter - Homeowners will store some unused items such as worn out gardening equipment, radios or other electronic equipment. Bed bugs find these areas easy to penetrate.
  • Firewood - Another way to bring bed bugs into your abode is by taking a pile of firewood into your home.
  • Camper vans or your car - Bed bugs hate the cold and will quickly move into your vehicle or camper van at the first opportunity.
  • Patio furniture - Bed bugs love these areas as they can get very comfortable over here. Besides, people generally congregate over here, which makes them easy targets for bed bugs.
  • Outdoor buildings - Any exterior structures that are made of wood or consist of fabric are breeding ground for bed bugs. Best to regularly check on these for any signs of infestation.


How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Outside?

This would depend on numerous factors such as the weather, whether you have pets, or have a tendency of storing goods. On a positive note, it would depend whether or not their presence has been detected or not as to how long they will survive. The minute you know they are there, you can be sure steps will be taken to eradicate these nasty bugs.

Having said that, most of us are determined to discover sure ways of getting rid of bed bugs. After all, these pesky bugs have superior survival skills.

Bed bugs have enemies too. Among these are lizards, cockroaches, Pharoah ants, and the common cockroach. But, still one cannot fully rely on these to keep their numbers down.

Depriving bed bugs of food sources can only work when there is no blood available. Unfortunately, there is plenty of supply in this regard when you consider how many sleeping beauties are around.

Were you aware of the fact that bed bugs can survive for months on end without any food during warmer weather conditions? During some lab tests, it was discovered they can survive for more than a year without a blood meal.


Cold and Heat Does it Have an Influence on Bed Bug Survival?

With regards to heat, if you make use of a professional bug exterminator who uses heat treatment that is above 49 degrees Celsius. This kind of heat cannot happen naturally. Therefore, scorching summer heat usually does not affect their survival. Unless you live in desert-like conditions.

Also, unless temperatures plummet below -18 degrees Celsius, these pesky bugs will not be affected.


How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs


Following are some effective ways to get rid of bed bugs:

  • Apply professional pest control methods at regular intervals of 2 to 4 weeks that consists of heat treatments to vehicles and outdoor buildings
  • Regular vacuuming and the application of insecticidal products
  • Sealing rattan and wood furnishing using an oil-based varnish


Other ways to control bed bugs issues is to wash any clothes and carry on luggage as soon as possible after you’ve returned from a trip.

When you obtain secondhand furniture, be sure to inspect it immediately. Be a good neighbour by treating infected furniture before you discard it.

We made mention of bed bugs in vehicles elsewhere in this post. There is no need to worry too much as it's been found that bed bugs generally take a free ride in your vehicle, but will not stick around in it. At the very first opportunity they get, they will move off to find their way into your home.

In most cases, they hop onto your luggage and find their way inside. The best way to avoid this is to spray your suitcase down and dry it off before taking it into your home.

The best offence is to hire professional bed bug exterminators to deal with them.


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