Can Bed Bugs Survive in Water


Many people believe that bed bugs cannot survive in water, assuming that a quick dip or washing infested items will eradicate these pesky pests. However, the reality is a bit different than that.

Bed Bugs’ Water Survival Abilities

While bed bugs are not adept swimmers, they do possess certain survival mechanisms when confronted with water. Scientific studies have shown that bed bugs can float on the water’s surface for a short time. Unlike insects that have evolved to thrive in water, such as mosquitoes or water bugs, bed bugs lack the necessary adaptations for efficient swimming or breathing underwater. Therefore, while they may be able to temporarily withstand submersion, extended exposure to water can prove fatal for bed bugsĀ 

Practical Implications and Recommendations

Although bed bugs can survive for a brief period in water, relying solely on water as a method to eliminate infestations is not dependable. It’s important to understand the practical implications and consider other effective strategies for dealing with these pests.

  1. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Approach: To tackle a bed bug infestation effectively, it’s crucial to adopt an Integrated Pest Management approach. This comprehensive strategy combines various methods, including proper sanitation, vacuuming, steam cleaning, and targeted insecticide treatments.
  2. Utilizing Water-Based Control Methods: Water-based methods can be a valuable component of an IPM approach. Steam cleaning is particularly effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs, as the high temperatures generated during the process can destroy these pests. Additionally, laundering infested bedding and clothing in hot water can help eliminate bed bugs.
  3. Seeking Professional Assistance: For severe infestations, it’s recommended to seek professional pest control assistance. Experts have the knowledge and experience to assess the situation accurately and employ appropriate treatment methods to eradicate bed bugs effectively.

Did You Know?

The lifespan of a bed bug typically ranges from four to six months.

Misconceptions and Clarifications

It’s important to address some misconceptions surrounding bed bugs and water:

  1. Water as a Standalone Solution: Water alone is not sufficient to eradicate a bed bug infestation. While it can play a role in eliminating these pests, it should be part of a comprehensive approach that includes other proven methods.
  2. Adaptability to Water: While bed bugs can survive for a short time in water, they are not adapted for prolonged survival. Their ability to float and hold their breath is a temporary defense mechanism rather than an indication of their waterborne lifestyle.


 In conclusion, the myth that bed bugs cannot survive in water is not entirely accurate. While they do have some survival mechanisms in water, extended exposure can be fatal to them. It’s essential to approach bed bug control with a comprehensive strategy that includes a combination of effective methods, such as steam cleaning, laundering, and professional assistance. By understanding the facts and adopting appropriate measures, you can successfully combat bed bug infestations and enjoy a bed bug-free environment.

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