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Freezing Bed Bugs

By: Jasna Aleksandrova

Did you know that if you find a small or minor bed bug problem in your home, that you can kill them by deep freezing them? It’s actually easy to kill the bugs using cold temperatures. All you need to do is to put the affected item in a plastic bag, and then put the bag in the freezer that’s temperature is set to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 C ) for 3-4 days. Most of the small items in your home like shoes, pictures, clothes and etc. can be frozen but you should be cautious when attempting to freeze electronics with LCD screens, bigger items, high value items or items that can be damaged by condensation. Do not try to freeze the infested items during the winter time by putting them outside; even if the temperatures are below zero, leaving them outside cannot assure you that the bed bugs and their eggs will be killed you wouldn’t be using a controlled environment.

Some pest control companies have spot-freezing equipment that can treat infested areas. The spot-freezing equipment can kill the bed bugs and their eggs on contact, but this method does not protect you against bed bugs that are well hidden within items, or areas in the home that are too hard to reach with the equipment. The ability to penetrate into some materials, like wood, and freeze the bed bugs and their eggs that are hiding deep inside can be limited. It is very important not to miss any affected areas or let the bed bugs escape the place they reside before the extermination is finished.

Bed bugs, like some other insects, can use a freeze–intolerant strategy that allows them to protect themselves from freezing by lowering the freezing point of their body fluids. They use this method in an attempt to stay alive. This means that short term exposure to freezing temperatures is not enough to kill the bed bugs and their eggs. It is important that this method of freezing bed bugs is done properly by creating a long exposure, at low enough temperatures to achieve a 100% mortality rate of all of the bed bugs no matter what life stage that they are in. It can take up to three days of exposure to temperatures of 0 F, or a shorter time if the temperature is below zero. If you’re putting the affected items in your freezer, keep them inside for about four days to be sure that all of the life stages are killed. Unfortunately we can’t put all the infested items in our freezers; otherwise this method would be the safest and most effective of all treatments.

Bed bug infestation has again risen to become a real problem for people in the US and throughout the world. Many people take modest precautions to prevent an infestation, if any at all. Our thoughts are, it is better to be safe than sorry and it’s worth the extra minute or two to do thorough examinations of hotel rooms, luggage during and after travel, and newly acquired second-hand items.

As we’ve pointed out in previous blogs and videos, there are many methods that can be used to exterminate bed bugs; however, a bed bug infestation can be tricky and very difficult to treat by someone who is not a qualified professional. Unlike other infestations, bed bugs can be so difficult to treat that most people recommend calling a professional from the start before the situation gets too out of hand.

 

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