How Cold Bed Bugs Die

US EPA

Bed Bugs

Top Ten Tips to Prevent or Control Bed Bugs

Related Information

1. Make sure you really have bed bugs, not fleas, ticks or other insects.

You can compare your insect to the pictures on our Identifying bed bugs Web page or show it to your local extension agent.Exit (Extension agents are trained in pest control issues and know your local area.)

2. Don’t panic!

3. Think through your treatment options — Don’’t immediately reach for the spray can.

Be comprehensive in your approach. Try other things first. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques may reduce the number of bed bugs and limit your contact with pesticides. If pesticides are needed, always follow label directions or hire a professional. There is help available to learn about treatment options. (4 pp, 480 K, About PDF)

4. Reduce the number of hiding places — Clean up the clutter.

A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide and makes locating and treating them harder. If bed bugs are in your mattress, using special bed bug covers (encasements) on your mattress and box springs makes it harder for bed bugs to get to you while you sleep. Leave the encasements on for a year. Be sure to buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for the full year without tearing.

5. Regularly wash and heat-dry your bed sheets, blankets, bedspreads and any clothing that touches the floor.

This reduces the number of bed bugs. Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers Remember to clean them when you do the laundry.

6. Do-it-yourself freezing may not be a reliable method for bed bug control.

While freezing can kill bed bugs, temperatures must remain very low for a long time. Home freezers may not be cold enough to kill bed bugs; always use a thermometer to accurately check the temperature. Putting things outside in freezing temperatures could kill bed bugs, but there are many factors that can affect the success of this method.

7. Kill bed bugs with heat, but be very careful.

Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won’t do the job. Special equipment and very high temperatures are necessary for successful heat treatment. Black plastic bags in the sun might work to kill bed bugs in luggage or small items, if the contents become hot enough. Bed bugs die when their body temperatures reaches 45°C (113°F). To kill bed bugs with heat, the room or container must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding

8. Don’’t pass your bed bugs on to others.

Bed bugs are good hitchhikers. If you throw out a mattress or furniture that has bed bugs in it, you should slash or in some way destroy it so that no one else takes it and gets bed bugs.

9. Reduce the number of bed bugs to reduce bites.

Thorough vacuuming can get rid of some of your bed bugs. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, under beds, around bed legs, and all cracks and crevices around the room. Change the bag after each use so the bed bugs can’t escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin.

10. Turn to the professionals, if needed.

Hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase your chance of success in getting rid of bed bugs. If you hire an expert, be sure it’s a company with a good reputation and request that it use an IPM approach. Contact your state pesticide agency for guidance about hiring professional pest control companies. Also, EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety provides information about IPM approaches, how to choose a pest control company, safe handling of pesticides, and emergency information.

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Bed Bugs And Cold Weather

Bed bugs are known to commonly live, thrive and freely reproduce and populate in most tropical countries. They are also known to live in areas where it is hot. However, there are instances when extremely hot temperatures kill them.

There are also instances when bed bugs are killed under extremely cold temperatures, leaving a general thought to most people that bed bugs do not attack during cold and winter months. Nonetheless, there are many household owners who complain of bed bug infestations even during cold, winter months when they are thought to be inactive. What is the real relationship of bed bugs and cold weather? How does cold weather affect bed bugs and their behavior?

A common measure implemented by most house owners during warm months is to turn on the air conditioning units in the coldest setting they can tolerate. While this can partially make some of the bed bugs to be dormant and inactive, they are just actually waiting for the right time to relocate and move to other parts of your house.

Remember that bed bugs do not only inhabit beddings, they can also live in carpets, curtains, furniture, and within wall and floor cracks. If you are living in multi-unit housing structures such as apartments and condo units, it is also possible for the bed bugs to travel and move to adjacent units through pipes, walls, floorings and ceilings.

While other insects experience a dramatic decline in activity, bed bugs are completely opposite.Bed bugs and cold weather seem to be directly proportional to each other. As cold months occur, bed bugs become rather wise. They look for ways where they can relocate. During cold months, when travel times increases, there are higher chances of bringing home a bed bug to start an infestation. They are known to inhabit motels, hotels, and lodging inns where most individuals reside when they are far from their homes.

Nonetheless, while bed bug infestations increase in several states and countries even if the weather is cold, there are still methods that utilize cold temperatures to kill bed bugs.Even though turning on your air conditioning units to its lowest setting cannot effectively kill bed bugs, it can somehow halt egg production giving you more time to eradicate mature bed bugs while they are still incapable of producing eggs. Most bed bug terminators agree that bed bugs are killed under temperatures lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore soaking your beddings in cold water especially with adequate amount of ice can also kill bed bugs.

Other individuals take advantage of the cold weather and place their beddings, bed frames and mattresses out in the extreme cold and make the bed bugs freeze in snow, eventually killing them. Another effective method to kill bed bugs through cold temperature is to have your beddings freeze for one week. It might also be helpful if you can access an industrial freezer to accommodate your large beddings.

The relationship of bed bugs and cold weather is a bit full of odds. While they experience dormancy and inactivity, they also take advantage of the cold weather to move somewhere else where they can start a new infestation. They live others and their eggs behind to continue an infestation shall proper termination methods are not applied. Nonetheless, they also die in extremely cold settings.

Will Freezing Temperatures During the Winter Kill Bed Bugs?

Many of our customers are considering leaving their infested belongings out in the cold weather with the intent of killing the bed bugs with the freezing temperature.

We do not recommend this for a couple of reasons:

First, bed bugs are only effectively wiped out at temperatures at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit; when bed bugs encounter temperatures of even a few degrees over 0, they can enter a hibernation that increases their chance of survival. Most states don’t normally even reach 0 degrees, and it’s unlikely that the items themselves will be cooled that low, due to the insulation provided by their construction.

To thoroughly wipe out a group of bugs, especially nymphs and eggs, you’ll need to maintain a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less for at least 80 hours. Since even the coldest climates will rise above that during the day, leaving items outside simply won’t work. There’s too much fluctuation in outdoor weather.

While you could theoretically kill bed bugs by putting items in your freezer, it would be a bit impractical. You would need to ensure that your freezer is staying at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and you would need to keep the items in there for at least 80 hours.

A better alternative would be to use a portable bed bug heater, such as the ZappBug Oven or PackTite Portable, which can safely and effectively kill bed bugs in just a few hours.

What Temperature Kills Bed Bugs?

Can Heat or Cold Kill Bed Bugs?

While bed bugs are sensitive to changes in temperature, there are plenty of myths about what temperature kills bed bugs.

The pests cannot be eliminated simply by turning off heaters in winter or sitting infested items outdoors on a sunny summer day. In fact, only extreme temperatures beyond what can be achieved naturally will get rid of them.

Temperature-Related Bed Bug Control

Using freezing cold temperatures to kill bed bugs is one option. Put an infested object, such as bedding or pillows, in a sealed plastic bag, then put it in a freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit for about four days.

Temperature That Kills Bed Bugs

A similar process can be used with heat. Adult bed bugs die at 119 degrees Fahrenheit, and their heat-resistant eggs require temperatures upwards of 125 degrees. Some infested objects can be safely baked in the oven at these temperatures for three to five hours to get rid of the pests.

Safety should always be considered in deciding whether to treat in this manner.

Frozen carbon dioxide sprays and heat distribution systems exist but require special equipment and expert monitoring.

The Whole-Home Bed Bug Solution

Homeowners can use extreme temperature to kill bed bugs in a limited sense, but DIY heat or cold treatments aren’t a practical solution for house-wide infestations. In addition to letting bed bugs in floorboard cracks and walls escape, this control method won’t work for infested items that aren’t safe in extreme conditions or too big to fit in the freezer or oven.

The pest specialists at Orkin have a wide variety of tools and knowledge at their disposal and are able to assess the situation to find the best bed bug solution for your home.

Can You Freeze Bed Bugs?

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite” is a familiar bedtime phrase, usually meant in a playful context. Unfortunately, bed bugs are on the rise in the United States. These irritating pests are surprisingly hardy and can survive in extreme conditions, including freezing temperatures.

Can bed bugs live in the cold?

Yes. Bed bugs have a high cold tolerance. They can remain active at temperatures as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit, and they can survive at even lower temperatures. They’re able to lower the freezing point of their bodily fluids, allowing them to live in the cold for a few days. Research published in the Journal of Economic Entomology found that some bed bugs survived short exposure to temperatures as low as -13 degrees F. However, if they’re exposed to extreme cold (below 0° F) for several days, they will die.

Can bed bugs freeze?

Yes. The Journal of Economic Entomology study found that bed bugs freeze when exposed to 3.2 degrees F for 80 hours. It’s a function of time and temperature. The lower the temperature, the shorter period of time it takes to freeze a bed bug. For example, at 32 degrees F, it could take weeks. At 30 below 0 F it could be minutes. Terminix’s RapidFreeze treatment instantly takes the bed bugs to minus 60 to 80 degrees below 0 F and kills them instantly.

Will freezing bed bugs get rid of them?

Yes. Freezing bed bugs can kill them. However, you have to use a very low temperature (0 degrees F or colder) for at least four days for cold treatment to work. Your freezer may not even be cold enough. The center of the item, such as bedding, being frozen must reach 0 degrees F. Use a remote thermometer to measure the temperature of the items you’re freezing. Begin counting the four days as soon as the center reaches 0 degrees F.

Is freezing bed bugs the best way to get rid of them?

Yes and no. You can try to freeze bed bugs, but the best way to control bed bugs is through Integrated Pest Management—a combination of prevention, monitoring and treatment. Some bed bugs have become resistant to common pesticides, meaning many bed bug sprays are no longer effective. Heat and steam, using professional equipment, can also be used to treat bed bugs.

Many professionals do freeze bed bugs effectively, but in a much different way. They use specialized equipment that generates tiny particles of "snow" from carbon dioxide, the same material that puts the "fizz" in soft drinks. For bed bugs, these tiny ice crystals are deadly. The "snow" leaves no harmful residue on clothing, bedding or other sensitive items, so thorough treatment can be performed.

Contact Terminix today and ask about our specialized cold treatment. Our RapidFreeze method puts bed bugs on ice.

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