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Does the Cold Kill Bed Bugs?

If you’ve ever had to deal with a bed bug problem or just wondered what the best method is to get rid of an infestation, chances are that you’ve heard cold and heat are very effective. Like most living creatures, bed bugs prefer temperatures around 70-80F and will survive in cold weather. What temperature kills bed bugs? Or, more precisely, how cold does it have to be for bed bugs to die?




Temperature-Related Bed Bug Control

Using freezing temperatures to kill bed bugs is an option. Bed bugs live and remain active in the cold temperatures of winter months. Do bed bugs hibernate? No, they go into semi-hibernation called diapause; they can lower the freezing point of their bodily fluids, which allows them to survive extreme temperatures for a while. Egg production is reduced in cold treatments.

How to Kill Bed Bugs at Low Temperatures

Freezing bed bugs using cold temperatures is quite a simple process. All you’ll need are some sturdy plastic bags, a remote thermometer, and a freezer. Place all the infested items you want to freeze inside the plastic bag and seal them. Make sure there are no holes, as that will allow the bed bugs to escape. Set the freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit, ideally – 20°F, and put the bag inside for four days.

Items Not To Place in Low Temperatures to Kill Bed Bugs

Just like there are items that are safe to put in the freezer, there are items unable to survive extreme conditions. These include: 

  • Electronics (especially those that have an LCD screen),

  • Valuable and historic books,

  • Items that naturally contain a lot of moisture,

  • Any highly valuable or irreplaceable belongings.

These cold-based methods are not effective:

  • Putting items outside in winter. Unfortunately, unless you live in an area of extreme cold, it will not be cold enough outside to kill bed bugs. What’s more, temperature fluctuations throughout the day would hinder the process.

  • Lowering the household temperature. You might be considering opening all the windows and lowering the temperature in your home to eliminate the infestation. Unfortunately, this won’t do anything to bed bugs, as the temperatures won’t be low enough.

  • Using the fridge instead of the freezer. Unfortunately, refrigerators don’t have a temperature setting low enough to kill bed bugs.

Other Methods of Killing Bed Bugs

The cold does kill bed bugs, but not the most effective solution. Luckily, there are many other methods you can use. Here are some of them.



Heat Kills Bed Bugs

They cannot survive cold temperatures or heat above what can be achieved naturally. Adult bed bugs die at 119 degrees Fahrenheit; their eggs require 125 degrees Fahrenheit to kill them. Treating bed bugs with heat, therefore, is effective.

To treat bed bugs with heat wash and dry bedding and clothing at high temperatures. A steam cleaner will kill bed bugs if the steam reaches 200 F.

Household Cleaning Products

Certain cleaning products we have at home can be used for this purpose. Lysol, for example, is lethal to a bed bug if ingested. You can use it right after steaming, as moisture makes it more effective. However, as a standalone solution, Lysol will not be efficient enough.

Can bed bugs survive bleach? Bleach is probably the most effective household solution for killing these bloodsuckers. It is extremely toxic and takes a few hours to work. Dilute bleach with water (follow the instructions provided on the bottle) and then spray on all infested areas.

Bug Sprays

The most straightforward DIY solution to kill bed bugs is using products manufactured for that specific purpose. The products are based on pyrethrins, pyrethroids, or desiccants. 

Professional Exterminators for Bed Bugs

Not everyone enjoys DIY projects; leave it to pest specialists. Hiring professional exterminators might cost more than bleaching or putting your items in the freezer, but it will be a much more effective solution.

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. 

Read more here.

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