do cold temps kill bed bugs?(12 posts)
I know this might be a crazy question, but I was wondering if cold weather would kill them. We're getting treatment on Monday, so we need to pack up our rooms. I have plastic totes and those huge zip lock bags for everything. I was wondering if I put them outside on our porch, if that might kill anything that I missed. I'm going to put everything that I can into the dryer and use my steamer to treat the rest before packing. I guess I just want double insurance that these things are dead!
Cold isn't the best solutions. Read this FAQ :
Rats! Can you tell I'm desperate?!
Cold sucks as a killer and worse it slows their metabolism so they will survive longer under starvation.
Evil little bastards.
Yeh, I live in Canada, so I'm mighty disappointed that cold isn't very effective.
Evil little bastards ... couldn't have said it better myself, Jim!
Cold can be effective as a decon method but it needs to be controlled temperature.
Variations and fluctuations will cause the process not to work.
In short cold does work but nature has a habit of being too variable for outside conditions to be effective.
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For practical purposes it is too unreliable and uncontrolled to rely on.
Not many folks live in areas where the temps are cold enough for long enough to be effective.
Heat vulnerability is a far better Achilles heel of the bastards and lethal temps are accessible in the summer months to lots of the population here in the US. Unless people live in the Yukon or inland Alaska you can't rely on cold at all.
We have one person here who lives in a part of Alaska that gets into the -40's. There perhaps cold can be a success.
Jim you're not correct on this topic. Few insects can tolerate cold temperatures and bed bugs are not an exception to this rule. Winter in the Prairies and areas near the rockies are cold enough to kill any insect, so yes storing stuff outside in the cold will work. But you have to make sure that you store it outside for a few days. Generally the lower the temperature the faster they will die. On a cold day in Saskatchewan in the middle of January when its biting cold, no bug is going to survive more than a few hours. Think of it this way, how long would you survive out in the cold without any clothes, not long I gather. Bed bug haven't evolved anti-freeze to stop them from freezing in cold temperatures.
Wow, zombie thread here. As you see David and I mention the unreliability of cold due to variance.
While they can be killed with it it is not as simple to achieve as heat.
We like dealing death with reliable methods that are easily controlled and repeatable.
There are folks who can have access to bitter cold and may have success with it but not everyone will.
Cod treatment is very controversial. I've communicated with some university entomologist who say it will work. Others who say it's unreliable. My city entomologist says no way. Also a few PCOs give it the thumbs down. Nevertheles, Health Canad on its website recommends it but says to leave it out for several days.
I llve on the Candian prairies and I would love to take advantage of our long severe winters. When it gets down to -20 C or colder, it seems unimaginable that an insect could survive several days of those brutal temperatures.
In the meantime, I do have a home upright deep freezer wher the tempertaures are consistently at -25 C and I have put things in there for several weeks. Hoping it works on books and make-up.
Geography does not affect the laws of physics.
The ability of cooling to work outdoors has more to do with any wind chill factor than the actual temperature.
As others have said there is no way of telling if 2 - 3 - 5 - 10 - 20 days outside in sub zero temperatures is needed to make sure all bedbugs are killed which is why we cant recommend this approach. There is also the reality that in order to be certain you would need data loggers and trackers which would mean that this approach would not be cost efefctive for domestic users.
If you have access to data loggers I am more than happy to talk to you in PM about the levels needed to make sure you eradicate bedbugs and their eggs, its a study we did a few years ago that took about 3 months to complete.
I live in Buffalo, NY and the cold temps did not kill them in my vehicle last winter, which for a week sat below 20 degrees F, sometimes going below 0. It also did not kill them in my belongings, stored in the back of my truck, which were kept there the ENTIRE winter, and was never heated. Great to hear this likely made them more hearty. No wonder they refuse to die.
Anyway, short answer: yes, they actually I have read do have antifreeze properties. They are not active below a certain temp, so it may appear as if they are gone or dead, but send them to the tropics and watch them come alive.
Their reproduction did halt however I believe in that time. So much easier to heat things, or put in a commercial freezer with temps below 0 degrees F for two weeks. That said, I think we are just scratchign the surface of heat treatment as well. For example, different fabrics require different lengths of time to get to 150 degrees for an instant kill in a dryer, and I cannot seem to eradicate them from my microplush fleece blanket no matter how long I dry it or packtite it or how much cedar oil or orange peel detergent I put in the wash.
I am sure the same is true for thermal treatment involving thick mattresses and couches. Paper heats in a different time frame, and with more resistance to rapidly raising temps, than say, metal. I have found in steaming my folding chairs, that the metal (metal/plastic) material the legs are made of, actually does not get hot to the touch after blasting with 300 degree steam, so I'm not convinced we know enough period about how to freeze or heat these bastards gone. I left my bedframe out in the cold (below freezing) for nearly a month, then sprayed it with alchol, brought it in and steamed it and put DE in the openings, put it on interceptors freshly powdered with talc, and I was still bitten that night (I need to take off every screw and steam and dust the inside of these as well).
They have no mercy. For the above poster who likened our survival to theirs in the cold, an arthropod's anatomy is far different from ours. Which is why cockroaches, and bed bugs, can survive an atomic bomb and we cannot, freezing temps, and we cannot (not even for one night exposed without protection) and I'd dare say, toxic assault, and we, cannot.
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