Can Bed Bugs Survive In Water?

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Whether bed bugs can survive in water is more complex than it may seem. It is a topic that merits serious consideration, especially for those dealing with infestations and searching for effective pest control strategies. This article delves into the unexpected findings about bed bugs’ survival in water, offering insights that could alter common pest management approaches.

In the following sections, we will explore the exciting dichotomy of bed bugs’ relationship with water – their inability to swim, their varying survival times when submerged, and the effect of water temperature on their survival rate. We will also shed light on the survival duration of bed bug eggs in water and discuss whether drowning can be feasible for bed bug extermination.

Key Takeaways

Bed bugs cannot swim and will drown when submerged in water due to their body structure lacking the necessary appendages for swimming
While bed bugs can’t swim, they are able to make use of water’s surface tension to “float” on the surface. They are able to survive for several days in this scenario.
To kill bed bugs in the washing machine, use hot water above 120°F and dry clothes on high heat for at least 30 minutes.
Drowning bed bugs can effectively reduce infestations, but it should be combined with other pest control methods for complete eradication.

Can Bed Bugs Survive in Water?

Bed bugs cannot swim, but their ability to survive in water depends on the temperature and duration of immersion.

Bed Bugs Cannot Swim

Despite their tenacious nature and strong crawling abilities, bed bugs cannot swim, making water a potentially deadly force against them. This inability to swim is due to the structure of their body, which lacks the necessary appendages for swimming.

Unlike insects that can easily navigate bodies of water, bed bugs are disadvantaged in aquatic environments. They may have a knack for floating on the surface tension of water thanks to their lightweight constitution, but if they get submerged even in small amounts of water, they succumb and drown.

Interestingly, these persistent household pests, often associated with hygiene or lack thereof, perform when introduced to one element essential for cleanliness – water.

Washing Machine Filling Up with Hot Water

Their Survival Depends on the Temperature of the Water

Like many insects, bed bugs have a complex relationship with temperature and moisture. They cannot swim but can survive being submerged in water for a limited period. Generally, bed bugs and their eggs endure cold temperatures far better than hot ones. 

Specifically, they can continue to live under icy conditions, but if you expose them to heat above 131º F, it becomes lethal for all stages of these pesky critters.

So while submersion in tepid or cold water may see some stubborn survivors among the bug population due to their impressive resilience against harsh conditions, raising the temperature is more likely to be effective.

Another relevant factor here is humidity, that can play an unexpected role in bed bug survival. High relative humidities are detrimental to them, and when combined with hot temperatures, it reduces their survival rate drastically – something well worth considering when strategizing your war plan against these unwelcome guests.

They Can Survive for a Short Time When Submerged

Despite their extreme water resistance, bed bugs are not aquatic creatures by nature. Shockingly enough, these persistent pests can indeed survive for a short time when submerged in water. This trait is especially prominent in more resilient types of bed bug eggs.

However, their survival under such conditions isn’t indefinite and usually lasts up to 24 hours at best. Their inability to swim works against them; ultimately, they will drown if they encounter a substantial amount of water.

It’s important to note that this submersion duration also heavily depends on the temperature of the water involved; hotter temperatures typically decrease their survival rate as bed bugs perish once their body temperature reaches certain extremes within a watery environment.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in Water?

Bed bug eggs can survive up to 24 hours in water, while adult bed bugs can live for a few days when submerged.

Bed Bug Eggs Can Survive for 24 Hours in Water

Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to survive in various conditions, and it turns out that water is no exception. While bed bugs themselves cannot swim, their eggs have a surprising resilience when submerged.

Bed bug eggs can remain viable even after being in the water for up to 24 hours. If you’re hoping to get rid of these pesky pests by drowning them, simply immersing the infested items or bedding in water may not be enough.

Combining other effective pest control methods with water treatment is essential to eradicate these stubborn insects.

Adult Bed Bugs Can Survive for a Few Days in Water

Adult bed bugs can survive in water for a few days. Although they cannot swim, their survival depends on the temperature of the water. Bed bug eggs can last submerged in water for up to 24 hours, while adult bed bugs can endure even longer.

It’s important to note that while drowning bed bugs can effectively reduce infestations, it should be combined with other pest control methods for complete eradication. 

So if you’re dealing with a bed bug problem, use hot water above 120°F when washing your bedding and clothing and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes to eliminate these pesky insects.

Tips to Drown Bed Bugs

To effectively drown bed bugs in your room, use hot water to clean infested bedding and clothing. 

Use Hot Water to Clean Infested Bedding and Clothing

Using hot water during the cleaning process is crucial to eliminate bed bugs from your bedding and clothing. Bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures, so washing infested items in hot water removes them.

Studies have shown that washing linens in water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) for 30 minutes can kill all bed bug life stages. Also, drying clothes at high heat can help eliminate any remaining bed bugs.

You can use hot water and heat treatment to ensure your bedding and clothing are free from pesky pests.

Vacuum Infested Areas to Remove Bed Bugs

Regularly vacuuming infested areas is a crucial step in the battle against bed bugs. Not only does it help to reduce their numbers, but it also eliminates live and dead bed bugs, as well as their shed skins.

Using your vacuum cleaner’s nozzle attachment, you can effectively remove these resilient pests from your home by targeting cracks, seams, zippers, and bed trims. Research by the University of Minnesota suggests that vacuum cleaners effectively reduce bed bug populations.

Remember to carefully clean and dispose of the collected debris to prevent potential re-infestation.

Steam Clean Carpets and Furniture to Kill Bed Bugs

Steam cleaning is an effective method for killing bed bugs in carpets and furniture. The high steam temperature kills the bed bugs, including their eggs and larvae, without using any harmful chemicals.

Not only does this help eliminate current infestations, but it also prevents future infestations. A steamer like the Dupray Neat can safely sanitize carpets and furniture while eliminating other pests, such as dust mites or carpet beetle larvae.

After treating the furniture, steam can be applied directly under the table to target any bed bugs that may have fallen to the floor. Regularly using steam every few days will help completely eradicate these pesky insects.

Steam Cleaning a Dirty Carpet

CO2-Emitting Device to Attract Bed Bugs Toward the Water Container

Bed bugs are drawn to the carbon dioxide we exhale, as it indicates the presence of a potential host. By placing a CO2-emitting device near the container, such as a small bowl filled with yeast and sugar, the bed bugs are enticed to move toward the source of CO2, which leads them closer to the water. 

This technique can enhance the effectiveness of drowning bed bugs by enticing them to approach and potentially fall into the water, increasing the chances of trapping and eliminating them. Regularly replenishing the CO2-emitting device ensures its attractiveness throughout the process.

Monitor the Water Container

It is essential to regularly check the water container to monitor if bed bugs have been trapped or drowned. Empty and replace the water as needed to maintain the effectiveness of the drowning method. 

Is Drowning Bed Bugs Effective?

Drowning bed bugs can effectively reduce infestations but should be combined with other pest control methods for complete eradication. Learn more about how to drown bed bugs effectively.

Drowning Bed Bugs Can Be Effective in Reducing Infestations

Drowning bed bugs can be an effective method for reducing infestations. Although they can withstand water briefly, prolonged exposure can kill them.

While bed bug eggs may survive being submerged for up to 24 hours, adult bed bugs are more vulnerable and may not be able to stay as long. You can increase the likelihood of drowning these pests by using hot water to clean infested bedding and clothing, vacuuming affected areas, and steam cleaning carpets and furniture.

However, it’s important to note that drowning should be combined with other pest control methods for complete eradication. So if you’re looking for efficient ways to combat bed bug infestations, consider incorporating drowning into your extermination strategy.

It Should Be Combined with Other Pest Control Methods for Complete Eradication

Combining drowning methods with other effective pest control techniques is crucial to eradicating bed bugs. While drowning can effectively reduce infestation, it should be part of a comprehensive approach.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies are highly recommended for combating bed bugs. This approach involves environmental modifications, non-chemical controls, monitoring techniques, insecticide treatments when necessary, and understanding the behavior of these pests.

You can achieve successful and long-lasting results in your battle against bed bugs by utilizing multiple methods combined with drowning.

How to Kill Bed Bugs in the Washing Machine

To kill bed bugs in the washing machine, use hot water above 120°F and dry clothes on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Say goodbye to these pesky pests! Read more to learn effective strategies for eliminating bed bugs from your home.

Use Hot Water Above 120°F to Kill Bed Bugs in the Laundry

Hot water above 120°F is a powerful weapon against bed bugs infesting your laundry. This high temperature effectively kills these pesky pests and ensures their complete eradication from your clothes and linens.

Washing bedding and clothing in hot water eliminates bed bugs and destroys their eggs, preventing future infestations. It’s important to note that most washing machines do not reach this high temperature, so it’s recommended to use another method like heat treating or dry cleaning for more effective results.

Remember, thorough washing and drying are crucial to eliminating bed bugs from your laundry items.

Dry Clothes on High Heat for at Least 30 Minutes to Ensure Bed Bugs Are Killed

To effectively kill bed bugs on your clothes, it is crucial to dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Bed bugs cannot survive extreme temperatures, so subjecting your laundry to hot air in the dryer will eradicate these pests and their eggs.

Research shows that a loosely filled dryer set on “high” can eliminate all life stages of bed bugs within 30 minutes. By ensuring you use the proper temperature and drying time, you can be confident that your clothes will be free from these unwanted guests.

Remember always to follow the care instructions on clothing labels and take extra caution when treating delicate fabrics or items labeled as “dry clean only.”


In conclusion, while bed bugs are resilient pests, they cannot survive in water for an extended period. Although they cannot swim and will drown when submerged, their eggs can stay up to 24 hours in water.

Drowning bed bugs can effectively reduce infestations but should be combined with other pest control methods for complete eradication. Remember to use hot water and high heat when washing and drying infested items to ensure bed bugs are killed.

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Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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