Does Cold Kill Bed Bugs?

/ in Fighting Bed Bugs /

Lower Temperatures Required

A new study has revealed that the temperatures needed to kill bed bugs in all life stages are much lower than previously thought. The study, published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, found that the bed bugs needed to be kept at temperatures below 3.2F for over 80 hours before they would die. At -4F the bed bugs, including eggs and nymphs, would die after 48 hours of exposure. The bugs are able to survive at low temperatures due to internal defense mechanisms that protect them, including the ability to lower the freezing point of their bodily fluids. The study also determined that bed bugs that are not killed by the freezing temperatures will resume normal feeding habits. Prior to this, the common wisdom was that bed bugs would die at temperatures below 32F, although the treatment time was much longer, with some experts recommending keeping them at that temperature for two weeks.

Treatment Recommendations

a 3D rendered Freezer


If you’re going to treat your infested items with cold, make sure to have a sub-zero freezer and keep the items in it for several days. In order to ensure that the bugs don’t survive and resume feeding, you should make sure the freezer is correctly holding temperature – either with internal thermometers, or buy purchasing a thermometer with a sensor and reading station that you can monitor from the outside. Items that are infested with bed bug eggs should also be kept in the freezer for a couple of days, as the study determined that even at -13F eggs were able to survive for short periods of time.

Posted by Rose Eckert-Jantzie

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