Bed Bugs and Water (Breathtaking Facts)


If you ever had bed bugs, you know how much of a headache they can cause. The thought of these little critters sucking your blood at night is enough to make you sleepless. So, how do we get rid of this pest problem? And is using water going to help in any way? 

Bed bugs cannot swim nor breathe underwater. So, you can kill these bugs by drowning them. However, bed bugs are incredibly light and will float for a long time. Plus, spraying them with water will not do much due to their exoskeleton. So, drowning is not an effective method of killing bed bugs. 

But what about a shower? Can it help get rid of the parasites? And what about a bath? You will get the answers in the next few moments.

Are Bed Bugs Water-Resistant? 

The bed bug exoskeleton protects the parasites and prevents water from entering. In addition, the breathing openings are very small and water cannot penetrate due to the surface tension. This makes bed bugs water resistant

Bed bugs are tiny but visible to the naked eye, parasitic insects (see also Bed Bugs Classification). And just like many other insects, they possess a hard exterior or exoskeleton. The hard outer shell is responsible for the “popping” sound you hear when you squish a bed bug. 

This shell protects the bugs from the environment. This is why bed bugs and other insects like it are so durable to even extreme conditions. This coat has a protective layer that prevents water from entering their skin. So, they are somewhat resistant to water. This means that spraying them with water will not get rid of them. 

Can Bed Bugs be Drowned? 

Bed Bugs need oxygen to survive. They use small tubes in their body, directly connect to the environment to get air. This is why. despite their water resistance, bed bugs will drown if they are submerged in water. Some insects can swim or breathe underwater through various means. Bed bugs are not one of them. 

Bed bugs do not normally encounter water in their natural habitat. This habitat includes the mattress on your bed or the sofa in your living room. So, they have not adapted to be able to survive the aquatic environment. Hence, they are completely incapable of swimming actively. 

But underwater, these pores become blocked. They will not be able to get enough oxygen, which will eventually lead to their demise. So, bed bugs can be drowned in water or any other liquid for that matter.

The drowning time depends on the amount of air that is currently in the trachea. The metabolism of Bed Bugs is comparatively slow, so drowning can take some time (several hours).

Do Bed Bugs Float? 

Bed bugs are exceptionally light. Their miniature size is enough to justify that fact. But their internal organs and structures also contribute to a lightweight profile. Instead of sinking right away, the bugs tend to float on the water and move around.

So, if you try to drown these pests in water, you will have to wait a long time. Typically, bed bugs can last up to 24 hours before they start to tire and die of exhaustion. 

The small body and the low weight allow Bed Bugs to float on the surface and use the water tension to float. This effect diminishes if you give some soap into the container. The Bed Bugs will drown immediately and die (quite) quickly.

That is also considering that you can keep them in a suitable container – because they can very easily manage to crawl away to a dry area if they are close to a shallow edge.

The floating of Bed Bugs could change if they are freshly sucked up with blood. This increases their body mass strongly and it could be high enough to break through the water tension.

Do Bed Bugs Wash off in the Shower? 

Bed bugs are tiny, light, and don’t have specific claws to hold onto our skin. A running source of water is enough to knock them away. This is supported by the use of shower gel that terminates the water tension. Nevertheless, Bed Bugs usually avoid staying on our bodies. So, showering doesn’t help to get rid of these parasites.

These pests rarely remain on the surface of the mattress or sofa. For most of the day, bed bugs are inactive. They will go into the fabric (Bed Bugs and Yarn) and near crevices to stay there (see Bed Bug Nests for more). They only come out at night because that is when they prefer to feed. And if they sense any danger, they will quickly rush back to inside the mattress. 

So, even if you consider washing your fabric in the shower it will hardly get rid of this problem. Even if you manage to get some, they will not die immediately. Because the shower will not submerge them long enough for this to happen. Plus, the eggs residing inside your mattress will probably remain intact. 

Can I Bathe to Kill Bed Bugs? 

Bed bugs depend entirely on animal blood to survive, mainly human blood. But they do not have to constantly suck on blood. In fact, their tiny body can be satisfied with small amounts of blood. So, they do not stay on your skin for a long time. 

All this makes an effort to kill them by bathing pretty pointless. As with showering, the bugs do not stay on your skin for you to wash them off with water or soap. So, bathing is also not a potent strategy.

Why Water Traps Aren’t Effective? 

There are numerous devices that use water to deter or kill bed bugs.

These include the so-called “interceptors”, which enclose the bedposts and form a small moat. These do have a steep edge and thus prevent bed bugs from getting out of or entering the bed.

The problem, however, is that most of the parasites live in the mattress and bed frame. Here they find the optimal conditions and can reproduce unhindered.

An interceptor prevents further spread to other rooms, but cannot clear the infestation.

Other traps do have the same disadvantage too. You can get rid of some individual Bed Bugs but you won’t disrupt the reproduction cycle over the long term.

How to Effectively Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Water? 

If you want to kill the bugs with water, do it with hot water or your washing machine. The washing detergent or the hot water temperature will be sufficient enough to kill most of the bugs. Then you have to properly clean the cover to remove all the dead remains. 

This method is effective to clean your clothes and sheets. Everything close to the infestation spot that is washable should get into the laundry.

The cleaning of infested fabrics is an important cornerstone of a successful Bed Bug treatment. However, you will need additional measures and residual treatments to get rid of the parasites.

We suggest to use natural products and chemical-free methods to obtain the best results in the shortest time.

This protects the environment, the health of people and animals and your stressed nerves.

Martin

Martin is the head of pestABC.com and he loves to share his research and experience with you.

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