Do Bed Bugs Live Outside?

There is a common misconception surrounding bed bugs and where they come from. Many associate bed bugs with a dirty home, but that is not necessarily true. Even the cleanest homes can experience a bed bug infestation.

They obviously live in beds, but do bed bugs live outside?

Bed bugs do not live in the grass and prefer the warmth and moisture that your bed and room provide.

Bed bugs are indoor pests and are commonly found:

  • In your mattress, box spring, or bed base
  • In your carpets and along your baseboards
  • On sheltered porches and sunrooms

Let’s explore the world of these creepy crawlies and learn more about their habitat and how to eradicate them. 

Bed Bugs: Nature’s Indoor Pest

Try as you might, there is no foolproof way to prevent a bed bug infestation in your home completely. While regular vacuuming, washing linens, and airing your bed might help, these measures are not enough to prevent this indoor pest from crawling onto your skin and having a cheeky snack. 

That said, bed bugs cannot and will not survive outdoors for long. They are most likely brought into the home in a few ways.

The primary ways bedbugs infest a home are:

Bed bugs are extremely small, with both male and female adult bed bugs being no bigger than a quarter of an inch long. They are quite comparable to apple seeds.

They are flat in size and can fit into gaps thinner than a credit card. Spotting them is not easy and can only be done at night as they are nocturnal insects. 

Bed Bug Bites 

Bed bugs are truly a vampiric pest, out to drink your blood. And while they are not poisonous, their bites can cause an allergic reaction that can quickly turn into a welt. No clinically tested or recommended treatment or prevention can help keep you bite-free, but managing the infestation can certainly control the chance of being bitten. 

They only feed at night, and their bites are not painful. They are typically detected by feeling one crawling on your skin, these critters feed on your skin for up to ten minutes if undetected.

Usually, the only sign that you have been bitten would be a red mark on your in or bed bug feces and empty bug husks on your bed linens.  

Bed bugs have an elongated beak that pierces the skin. Once they have fed, their bodies swell and change from dark brown to a reddish/cyan color.

Controlling a Bed Bug Infestation

As we have already stated, there is no effective way to fully prevent a bed bug infestation. But hope exists in the form of diatomaceous earth

Popular crawling bug repellents do not affect bed bugs, and an infestation requires careful management. Using diatomaceous earth sprinkled on your mattress, carpets, windowsills, and the small crevices between your carpets and baseboards will dehydrate and kill bed bugs within a few hours. 

Here are a few helpful steps that you can follow to effectively kill bed bugs and rid your bed and home of an infestation:

Step 1: Steam Cleaning

If you have a steam cleaner, great! If not, you can hire one for the day from your local hardware store or even at some laundromats. Steam clean your entire home, including all furniture, rugs, carpets, mattresses, and even windowsills and doorways.

While bed bugs thrive in moist, warm environments, they cannot stand the heat that high-temperature steam cleaning provides. However, be sure you let the rental place know you’re combatting bed bugs. If they don’t give you a powerful cleaner, you could easily spread the problem to the next person.

Step 2: Wash

Gather your bed linens, including any mattress protectors and baseboard covers, and give them a good wash on a very hot or very cold cycle. This should also help to remove the blood and feces stains from your linens too.

A hot cycle on the tumble dryer will kill off any remaining bugs, but hanging your linen in the sun to dry is just as effective. 

Step 3: Vacuum

The last thing you want after steam cleaning your home and washing your linens is to leave bed bug carcasses scattered around on the floor. Vacuum your carpets, rugs, furniture, and mattress to remove these dead bodies.

Remember to use the narrow nozzle attachment on your vacuum for those hard-to-reach, narrow spots. 

Step 4: Sprinkle The Earth

Using an applicator, you can apply diatomaceous earth to your carpets, furniture, and mattress. These are available from many online retailers or your local hardware store. Choose food-grade diatomaceous earth as this is safe for use with pets and children in the home.

This fine powder will kill bed bugs within hours but is best left as long as possible to be most effective.

Prevention Tips

Sadly it is impossible to completely prevent a bed bug infestation, no matter how clean your house is or how often you wash your linens. But, we do have a few helpful tips that you can follow to ensure you aren’t bringing bed bugs into your home from outside sources:

  • Steam clean or vacuum all second-hand furniture, clothing, etc. before it is brought into your home. Brush the items off, vacuum them, and treat them with diatomaceous earth if necessary. 
  • Keep your porch clean and dry. Look out for any blood or feces spots that bed bugs are known to leave behind, and clean this area thoroughly. Bed bugs are small, flat, and vary in color according to their age. Identifying bed bugs is key to managing an infestation. 
  • Brush all luggage and bags on your lawn before bringing them into your home. Also, keep a close eye on your storage areas, as they can be a hive for infestations. Bed bugs can live for up to a year in vacuum-sealed bags.


Bed bugs are indoor pests and, thankfully, don’t really live in the grass. Bed bugs are almost always brought in from luggage, used furniture or clothes, or from warm and damp areas like your porch or sunroom.

Cleaning your home and using bug repellents is not sufficient to prevent an infestation, no matter how clean your home is. Please use the tips provided in this article to successfully treat a bed bug infestation and keep your home bed bug free.