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Can Bed Bugs Survive Water?

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to get rid of and when people find an infestation in their home, they often think drowning them may be the answer. It’s true that there are many bugs that can’t stand being in water for even just a few minutes. With bed bugs, the same is largely true, although they can remain strong in water for a short amount of time. Like so many other things with bed bugs, their ability to survive in water depends on several different factors. 

Bed bugs can crawl just about anywhere, and can do so quite efficiently. They are not strong swimmers, though, relying mainly on their ability to float when in water.  They can float very well due to the fact that they are so small and therefore, remain on the surface of the water quite easily. Once floating, bed bugs can remain in water for several days, as long as they don’t get pushed beneath the surface. 

When bed bugs have just eaten, or are just larger by nature, they may not be able to float as well. Once they are submerged in the water, they will not be able to resurface. It will die shortly after sinking when this is the case, although if the water is cool, bed bugs will likely survive in it longer. A bed bug’s eggs on the other hand, can survive submerged in water for as long as 24 hours. 

Understanding a bed bug’s aversion to water is an effective tool when trying to get rid of bed bugs. Furniture legs for example, can be wrapped and placed in a bowl of water to prevent bed bugs from climbing up them. Additionally, because bed bugs cannot be submerged in water, washing sheets and other linens in a washing machine with very hot water is also an effective way to get rid of bed bugs.

Once the bedding is finished washing, placing it in the dryer on the hottest setting will also ensure any bed bugs that survived the wash will be killed in the dryer. Make sure the cycle runs for at least 30 minutes on the highest temperature setting. If there are still areas of the home that need to be treated for bed bugs once the bedding is washed, place them in sealed bags. This will prevent bed bugs from escaping the treatment and finding a new home in your freshly washed sheets.

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