Bed Bug Control: Why Heating Is Better Than Freezing

Is Heat Better Than Freezing to Kill Bed Bugs?If you have bed bugs living in your home, you’ve probably researched countless home remedies. These mixtures are simply ineffective for bed bug control. The best methods for killing bed bugs involve extreme temperatures, but which is more effective: freezing or heating?

Freezing (Cryonite)

Speaking of home remedies for bed bug control, you may have read about putting clothing and bedding in the freezer to kill bed bugs. This is effective for bedding and smaller items, but it’s wildly impractical for houses and large items.

Bed bugs are unusual in that they have a very high tolerance for cold temperatures. In fact, bed bugs can survive (and feed) in temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. While bed bugs can die from being frozen, you’ll need to use extremely cold temperatures to have any real effect.

To reach these extreme temperatures, pest control specialists use what are called Cryonite machines. These machines blast bed bugs with extremely cold carbon dioxide snow which, in theory, kills them immediately.

However, there is some debate regarding how effective freezing is for bed bug removal. A recent study showed that to kill bed bugs and their eggs on contact requires temperatures of minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Prolonged contact for a week allows this temperature to be raised to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit, although anything higher ensures some eggs or insects survive.

In addition, there’s the problem of practicality. While immediate contact with solid carbon dioxide may kill bed bugs on contact in some cases, the cracks and crevices behind skirting boards and underneath carpets may be inaccessible to these machines, resulting in surviving colonies that can reinfect your house.

Why Heating Is Better

Heat, on the other hand, is a time-tested method for getting rid of bed bugs. When exposed to temperatures of 113 degrees Fahrenheit, bed bugs cannot survive for more than 90 minutes. Their eggs can survive temperatures 5 degrees hotter for the same duration. The temperature needed to kill the eggs (118 degrees Fahrenheit) in 90 minutes will result in a 99 percent mortality rate for the bugs themselves in only 20 minutes.

To reach these temperatures, your home simply needs to be heated. Since heat doesn’t have to target your bedding or clothing directly, you don’t have to worry about locating the bed bugs and potentially leaving survivors. If your home is heated to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, there will be a 99 percent mortality rate.

Contact Us

If you think your home may be crawling with bed bugs, the first thing you should do is call a professional for help. Bed bugs are a problem that only gets worse with time. The trained professionals at Environmental Heat Solutions can inspect your home and take all the necessary steps to ensure it’s free of bed bugs.