New Study: Bed Bugs Can Survive Colder Temperatures than Thought

 In Bed Bug, Pest Control, Pest Removal

If your home has been infested with bed bugs, chances are you have searched extensively for home remedies to get them out. Vacuuming, sealing, heating, steaming, and, of course, freezing them are some of the most common treatments used extensively by homeowners, some more effective than others. However, new evidence indicates that bed bugs are, in fact, much more resilient to home remedies – particularly freezing – than previously thought.


The Research


According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology titled “Cold Tolerance of Bed Bugs and Practical Recommendations for Control,”bed bugs have a“freeze-intolerant”defense against the cold that protects them in such extreme environments. This is achieved by lowering the freezing point of their bodily fluids to withstand the sudden decrease in temperature. These findings were based off placing bed bugs of different life cycles in varying degrees of freezing temperatures, also testing their ability to feed after these treatments .




The study found that, in order to ensure the effectiveness of freezing, the bed bugs must be exposed to temperatures below minus 16 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 80 hours, or below minus 20 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 48 hours. Although this does not mean they are impervious to extreme cold, the bed bugs were shown to survive in temperatures above minus 16 degrees Celsius even after long durations of exposure.


Heat Treatment, More Effective


Freezing infested items can be a viable option to controlling bed bugs, but there are much more effective solutions available that don’t require as long of a treatment period, and heat treatment is one of them.   Also known as Thermal Remediation, this approach involves the use of specialized machines that raise the internal temperature of a home to 45-55 degrees Celsius. This temperature is then maintained for a few hours to ensure all bed bugs are either dead or have fled the premises. This treatment has proven to be much more successful at eliminating bedbugs from a home and is much safer than the use of pesticides in a home.


Combining Multiple Treatments for Better Results


In order to kill bed bugs, it helps to incorporate a few different treatments to ensure effectiveness. At Greenleaf Pest Control, we combine heat treatment with our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to ensure all bed bugs have been removed from your home. IPM is based on eliminating the things pests need to survive– water, food etc. – and making your home an inhospitable environment for these pests. Together, these two treatments have proven highly-effective at ridding bed bugs, and it’s all done without the extensive use of pesticides. Whether you decide to go the route of professional treatment or want to give home remedies a shot, remember that bed bugs are very pervasive, and freezing them may not be the most effective or reliable solution to your problem. Active inspection of your home is key to making sure the treatment was successful. If your home remedies don’t do the trick, contact Greenleaf Pest Control for assistance in their removal, along with any questions or concerns you may have about the treatment process.


About the Author:


Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.

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