While the winter in central Florida certainly hasn’t been the coldest, there have been several days calling for jacket and pants, which begs the question to many suffering from bed bug infestations: will the cold do away with the little biters?
Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Ultrasonic devices marketed to drive bedbugs away don’t have any effect. Bug bombs don’t work. Bedbugs are evolving resistance to a common insecticide that once killed them
Many people even consider leaving their infested belongings out in the cold with the intent of using that to kill the bed bugs in the low temperature.
But this really doesn’t work for a couple of reasons.
First, bed bugs are only effectively wiped out at temperatures at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit; when bed bugs encounter temperatures of even a few degrees over 0, they can enter a hibernation that increases their chance of survival. Most states don’t normally even reach 0 degrees, and it’s unlikely that the items themselves will be cooled that low, due to the insulation provided by their construction.
To thoroughly wipe out a group of bugs, especially nymphs and eggs, you’ll need to maintain a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less for at least 80 hours. Since even the coldest climates will rise above that during the day, leaving items outside simply won’t work. There’s too much fluctuation in outdoor weather.
While you could theoretically kill bed bugs by putting items in your freezer, it would be a bit impractical. You would need to ensure that your freezer is staying at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and you would need to keep the items in there for at least 80 hours.
If you really want to get rid of a bed bug infestation, the only real option is to invest in a professional.