Freezing is one of the most effective ways to kill all stages of a bed bug! Kill them when their body temperatures drop below freezing. Temperatures under -10°C or 14°F will become lethal for them. Lower temperatures will slow down or even completely stop their life processes. There have been many questions about freezing success in killing bed bugs recently.
Scientific Evidence – Freezing Bed Bugs
Gain insights on how freezing temperature affects bed bugs based on scientific proof. Here are two of them:
At what low temperature do bed bugs die?
Two abstracts from a study of D.J. Motes et al. titled “In Vitro Exposure to Extremely Low Temperature: Effects on Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Populations” show freezing as the most effective method of killing bed bugs and their eggs!
In one experiment, freezing at -10°F or -23°C killed all stages of bed bugs. They were exposed for one hour to that low temperature. However, freezing does not kill bed bugs instantly! These creatures took about two days before they died. This was after exposure to freezing temperatures for one or two hours. Scientists recorded mortality rates after 30 minutes, 24 hours, and 48 hours in each stage of the bug i.e., adult male, nymphs, eggs.
Freezing bed bugs at -20°F or -29°C also killed all stages of bed bugs! This time after freezing for 16 hours. So the freezing temperature must last around 12 to 24 hours before it kills them.
Bed Bug Life Cycle & Temperature Ranges
The average life cycle for a bed bug is about 10 months to one year under ideal conditions. Examples are optimal temperature, readily available meals, fewer competitors and predators, and so on. A detailed study of its life cycle has been from several universities including Florida, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
Can Bed Bugs Survive in Cold Rooms?
So freezing can kill bed bugs and their eggs. What about doing this overnight? Can bed bugs survive in cold bedrooms, say at 10°F or -12°C? A 2014 study on freezing survival found that bed bugs can live at low temperatures for a few hours.
Although they will likely die after ten hours, some adults and nymphs may live up to 18 and 24 hours! This is not good news because freezing temperatures during winters might only last more than 16 hours.
But the colder the temperature gets, the shorter their survival time. Even though some of them can survive freezing temperatures for 24 to 48 hours, it still lacks before all stages die. That is why having a plan B as dry ice is necessary. Freezing is the primary method of killing bed bugs. Although chilly temperature kills, it does not always persist for a long time.
A chilling discovery after freezing and then heating did appear to kill all stages except eggs. Exposure was for one hour to -6°F or -21°C. That was after putting them to cold temperatures of at least 16 hours.
Although this experiment is similar to freezing methods used in homes, it is not certain how much time they spent at chilly temperatures before cooling or heating. Do similar experiments on actual bed bugs in infested areas like homes and hotels. That is when freezing success rates are expected to improve.
How Bed Bugs Survive During Winter?
Know two factors that can determine bed bug survival in winter. Below is a guide:
How Cold Effects Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs die in chilly temperatures because of freezing. This happens when ice crystals form inside and outside their bodies. The freezing process breaks down the cells and tissues of these pests making them unable to function.
When only freezing kills bed bugs, why must it become cold for a long time? It is because other factors affect freezing survival. Examples are feeding on blood and humidity which research has not yet studied. So do more tests on actual winter conditions like homes and hotel rooms.
How to Kill Bed Bugs with Freezing Temperature?
Follow the steps below:
Use specialized equipment like freezer units or standard household refrigerators to control the temperature setting at about 10°F or -12°C or lower. Make sure that it can freeze bed bugs and their eggs.
Make a little space inside the freezer unit or refrigerator. This will serve as a monitor to check the cold temperature inside the enclosure. After all, you have to keep freezing time at least 18 hours to kill all bed bug stages from adults down to eggs.
Does Bed Bug Bite During Winter?
Bed bugs are most active at night when it is colder! They are known to aggregate for warmth beneath the covers of beds, mattresses, or nearby furniture. To survive winter freezing temperatures, they can choose to hide deep into comforters and pillows.
These bugs bite any time of the day though but mostly during nighttime. Remember to check your bedding every morning before getting dressed up. That is when freezing weather persists. Bed bugs are most active during cold temperatures! A chilly day can make them super active!
Freezing also kills bed bugs more effectively at night. That is when they are warm-bodied and sluggish after feeding on blood. That is why cold winter nights are more advantageous than freezing days.
Are you confused to think that freezing does kill bed bugs but not all of them? Think of it this way. It is an effective method but not the only one to get rid of them.
Another good thing about freezing temperatures is that bed bug eggs also die. These pass through four stages before hatching, which may take six or eight weeks depending on room temperature.
Freezing Bed Bugs with CO2
Learn more about CO2 and how it can freeze bed bugs.
Can you kill bed bugs with CO2?
Yes, freezing CO2 can kill bed bugs! But not good enough to entirely wipe out the population. It is because freezing with dry ice does not produce treatment areas with complete elimination of all life stages.
Remember that in chilly temperatures, the process also kills eggs! However, even in freezing conditions, these eggs may take too long to hatch at eight weeks or longer. That is why studies try to figure out other means like heat and steam treatments to effectively remove them all.
How Dry Ice Can Kill Bed Bugs?
Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide (CO2) which forms solid pellets when released from pressure through an opening. When left around infested furniture for extended periods, it chills objects until they are freezing enough to kill bed bugs! Sadly, the process is not yet too efficient for use in homes or hotels. It does not remove bed bugs completely during treatment.
Contact a reputable pest control company in the tri-state area when you suspect that there are bed bugs. They have expert knowledge and experience on how freezing temperatures can kill these pests.
Can You Freeze Bed Bugs to Death?
You can freeze bed bugs to death! But it does not kill 100% of their population. That is why it is only one of the multiple control methods for treatment. Other good practices are necessary to prevent re-infestation.
Become vigilant about your surroundings especially during winter chilly temperatures! Give freezing a try but also consider other options like contact sprays, gels or foggers, steam cleaning and vacuuming, total enclosures, or heat treatments which also prove effective against these pests.
Never wait for freezing temperatures to get rid of them! Act quickly and take advantage of cold bed bugs and their eggs.
Yes, freezing kills bed bugs and their eggs. It is because chilly temperatures reach deep into the comforters and pillows. These are where they rest during winter cold temperatures. However, it is just one form of treatment among many others in getting rid of these pests.
What Temperature Kills Bed Bugs?
Bed bug temperature kills at -12°F or lower than that. Remember not to leave them in freezing conditions for more than 18 hours. You want to become sure about complete extermination. Otherwise, they will revive when thawed out.
Hot vs Cold Temperatures to Kill Bed Bugs
What is more effective in freezing bed bugs, hot or cold temperatures? Heat has always been the most common treatment for these bugs. Extreme heat also kills their eggs during thermal remediation. Some pest control companies use steam treatments to assure 100% elimination through every inch of an infected area.
However, some recent studies show that freezing may offer some advantages over other forms of removal methods. It is especially more reliable for severe infestations. The number of these blood-sucking insects is at their prime! You need chilly temperatures to kill bed bugs entirely so they do not come back.
What can be done with freezing bed bugs?
Freezing them is one of the most reliable methods in getting rid of these pests for good! Kill them in freezing conditions for a maximum of 18 hours. Exterminate their eggs with cold treatment during wintertime.
Place infested items overnight outdoors or bring them inside your freezer for half a day. That is when you want to try freezing. Do not use an unapproved plastic bag with holes that may let out carbon dioxide gas which kills the insects by suffocation.
Putting bed bugs in freezing temperatures is only one way to kill them and their eggs. Make sure the cold temperature range is appropriate for their death.