4 Things You Need To Know about Freeze Treating Bed Bugs

Posted on: 9 June 2015

Bed bugs are a challenging pest for homeowners to get rid of, and there are many different methods that people use to try to banish them, like pesticides and heat. Freeze treating can also work, and here's what you need to know about the process:

How cold does it need to be to kill bed bugs?

Bed bugs are resistant to cold weather and can survive in temperatures as cold as -25°C (-13 ºF) for short periods of time. They aren't immune to the cold, though, and can be killed through prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Bed bugs will die after being exposed to temperatures below -16° C (3 ºF) for more than 80 hours.

Can you put infested items outside during the winter?

Putting your infested suitcase or bedding outdoors on a cold winter day isn't a great way to kill bed bugs. This is because the outdoor temperature varies throughout the day due to the effect of the sun, so your infested items will not be held at a constant temperature and may warm up during the treatment. To effectively kill bed bugs with cold, you need to put the infested items in a freezer where the temperature is held at a constant low temperature.

Can you freeze treat your entire home?

It may be tempting to open all of your windows during the depths of winter in an attempt to freeze all of the bed bugs in your home, but this is a bad idea. The main problem with this plan is that while freezing temperatures will kill the bed bugs, these temperatures can also damage the structure of your home. Freezing temperatures can cause the pipes inside your walls and floors to burst, creating a huge and expensive mess.

Even worse, the treatment may not work due to the natural variance of outdoor temperatures. If the weather heats up above -16° C (3 ºF), even for a brief time, the bed bugs may survive.

How do you kill bed bugs in your freezer?

First, make sure that your freezer is set to at least -17.8° C, or the bed bugs will not die. Once you're sure it's cold enough, place your infested items inside plastic bags and tie them tightly shut. You don't want bed bugs crawling throughout your freezer! Place the bags in the freezer and leave them there for at least 80 hours. Don't open the freezer door during this time or the temperature may rise, allowing the bed bugs to survive.

Bed bugs are hardy pests, but they can be killed with freezing temperatures. If you have items infested with bed bugs that are too large to put in the freezer, consider pest extermination by Peninsula Pest Control.