Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Can Bed Bugs Survive at High Altitudes?

A customer called in recently and asked a question we never came across before. They owned a hotel on the top of a mountain that was at a very high altitude (I forget the actual height now as I am writing this). They had recently received a complaint from a patron saying they had gotten bitten by bed bugs, but were skeptical as to its validity. They wanted to know if bed bugs could live at such high altitudes. Never having thought about this before, I didn't know the answer but was very curious to find out.

I quickly came across the answer. While many insects cannot survive at high altitudes, bed bugs can! I discovered this from two different angles. 1) I found several claims of beds bugs at very high altitudes from people posting in various forums 2) I discovered info on the US Navy treating aircraft cargo holds for bed bugs as well as commercial airliners. The cargo hold on a commercial airliner is not pressurized and is exposed to the drop in air pressure caused from being at high altitudes. Seeing how the cruising altitude of commercial airliners is 30,000 feet, cargo holds are currently being treated for bed bugs, and it is well known that the current bed bug insurgence is due impart to increased travel, one can certainly infer that bed bugs can survive at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet!

A quick related note on bed bugs in cargo holds… There is a way to prevent bed bugs from migrating from someone else’s luggage onto yours and bringing them home with you. It is well known that certain pesticides have a deterrent effect against bed bugs. When applied to your luggage they can be effective in migrating bed bugs choosing someone else’s luggage over yours. We actually sell the only product that I know of on the market that is approved and designed for treating luggage to prevent the pick up of bed bugs while traveling.

1 comment:

Nicolai Plum said...

I'm afraid that the hold of commercial aircraft is pressurised, to the same pressure as the cabin. It is not necessarily heated (unless animals or temperature sensitive cargo are carried), so it can get very cold, but it is pressurised. So you cannot say that bed bugs can survive altitude of 30000ft because they survive in an airliner's cargo hold.