Do Bed Bugs Survive Cold?
If you’ve got bed bugs in your home, or suspect that you do, you might have heard about killing bed bugs with cold air. But is killing bed bugs with cold air really an effective method? Let’s start with a few facts:
- Bed bugs can’t live in extreme temperatures—hot or cold.
- Temperatures over 120 degrees will kill them, but so too will freezing temperatures under 32 degrees. And even below 55 degrees, bed bugs struggle to survive and generally can’t reproduce.
Many studies have revealed that bed bugs might die as little as one hour after being exposed to extreme cold. However, a study at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities shows that bed bugs don’t die as quickly as what was previously believed.
The researchers said that bed bugs could survive cold temperatures as low as -25 degrees Celcius. But they also found that bed bugs (no matter in what life stages they are and their feeding status) can be killed after being exposed in temperatures of -16 degrees cold for 80 hours. You can kill them quicker (within 48 hours) if you expose the bed bugs in temperatures 0f -20 degrees.
The problem is figuring out a practical method for killing bed bugs with cold air. Unfortunately, all of the solutions for killing bed bugs with cold air are problematic for most people.
- You can put clothing or bedding in your freezer. But unless you have a lot of extra freezer space (which few people do), washing clothing or bedding in hot water is much easier. And it’s recommended that you leave the items in the freezer for a week (depends on the temperature in your freezer) and you also have to put the infested items in a bag to prevent the bed bugs from coming out.
- You can take your entire bed—mattress, box springs, frame—and put it outside if it’s freezing outside. But that’s a hassle, and where are you going to sleep? Of course, you could just open up windows, but then you’d be freezing too! Remember, freezing takes days to work, so this isn’t just a matter of going out to the movies while the bed bugs die.
- You could keep your AC regularly set at below 55 degrees. BRRR! And talk about a huge power bill!
Bed Bugs Require Professional Treatment
More important than the hassle of killing bed bugs with cold air is that—unless you turn your entire residence into an icicle—you’re only treating the symptoms of the problem.
Treating your bed, bedding, and clothes won’t get rid of bed bugs that have nested deep in cracks and crevices in your home. Bed bugs are a pest that in almost all cases can only be completely eradicated by experienced pest control specialists, who have the expertise to find hidden bed bugs and kill them in their nests, along with all their eggs.
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