Does Sunlight Kill Bed Bugs? So many people leave their bed bug-infested items out in the hottest summer months to kill them through sun exposure. It might seem like a cost-effective way to get rid of bed bugs, but does it work? Is it true that bed bugs hate light and heat exposure?
Do bed bugs die in sunlight?
Bed bugs do anything to avoid light exposure. They will hide in the darkest cracks to avoid it. But why do they avoid light exposure?
Sunlight alone won’t kill bed bugs. They are photophobic, like many other bugs. When you shine a light on a bed bug, even if it is a handheld light, they will scurry away quickly.
Bed bugs have a brain, even though it is not as complex as ours, when they are exposed to light, they know they are in danger. Unlike other insects, bed bugs don’t have sharp claws or teeth, stingers, and wings to fly. They are vulnerable animals that can’t defend themselves or their eggs hence the need to be able to hide.
Their brain is hard-wired to move away from light towards darkness. When exposed to light, bed bugs search out for dark, brown, and dark red colors. They then quickly move towards these areas to avoid light and find shelter.
Why do bed bugs hate sunlight?
There are two main reasons why bed bugs hate sunlight. One of the reasons is because they evolved from bat bugs that find their food in the dark. Bat bugs were and are still living in caves because that is where they find food.
Another reason why beg bugs hate sunlight is that they know dark areas are safer. They lay their eggs in the dark areas to make it hard for their predators to access them. If they don’t find a place to hide, they will be eaten by their predators or squashed by human beings. Of course, when you see a bed bug scurrying around, you will want to squash it.
Are bed bugs active at day time?
It is hard to see bed bugs scurrying around at day time, but they can still come out of their hiding places when they don’t get enough food at night. If they can get enough food at night, they will stay in their hiding places until when it is safe to come out.
During the day time when they are in their hiding places, they are digesting their food, breeding, and laying eggs. Bed bugs breed constantly, and that is the reason why they multiply faster. When the infestation is large, they will start coming out at day time to feed.
Using sunlight to kill bed bugs
Sunlight won’t kill bed bugs, but the heat from the sun can affect them and reduce their lifespan. Just like in other animals, when the temperatures get high, the body cells stop functioning properly. When the cells are not functioning as they should, the body starts shutting down, making the animal die.
Is using sunlight and heat to kill bed bugs a bad idea?
Some of the drawbacks of leaving your mattress and furniture out to kill bed bugs include:
- You will be spreading the bed bugs
When taking the infested item (furniture or mattress) out, you will be spreading the bed bugs, making them infest more rooms and hiding places. To avoid spreading them, you should treat them without moving their home.
- Uneven heat
Mattresses and furniture will take time to heat up, and they also have a lot of hiding places. In some of the hiding places, the temperature may not reach what is required to kill them. The underside of the mattress and furniture will remain cool and safe for the bed bugs. You can consider flipping and turning the mattress and furniture frequently, but doing this will disturb the bugs and make them scatter.
- Inconsistent heating
For the bed bugs to die, the temperature must remain high. Wind and overhead clouds will make it difficult to achieve consistent heating.
How to successfully get rid of bed bugs using sunlight
The simplest method is to leave the mattress or piece of furniture in the hot sun for some hours. When doing this, you should apply mattress encasement to avoid spreading the bed bugs to other rooms and hiding areas. Mattress encasement will also make sure the bed bugs will die inside and prevent them from running to the cool and dark areas when you expose them to sunlight. To get rid of bed bugs in your clothes, you should wash them at high temperatures.
To avoid spreading the bugs as you move your pieces of furniture and mattress outside, you should hire a pest control company. The exterminator will heat your home, hot enough to kill the bed bugs and their eggs in their hiding places. Having a professional pest controller helps you remove bed bugs from your house is the only way you can be sure your home is bed bug-free.