Can Bed Bugs Survive in the Cold?
When homeowners learn that their house is infested with a pest as pervasive and invasive as bed bugs, they immediately start to think of ways to get rid of them. Of course, one of the best ways to do this is to determine what bed bugs like, and then apply the opposite treatment. Bed bugs, it is known, like warm bodies that they can feed off of. Although the bodies may not be able to be removed from the home, is it possible to remove the warmth? Many people will take bedding and other moveable items they believe are infested and place them in the freezer. So, can bed bugs survive the cold?
Optimal Temperature for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs often burrow themselves into small, warm places such as into the nooks and crannies of beds, couches, and other cozy places. They do this for many reasons. The first is that they are not easily found in these areas and so, they can continue to increase their population and come out only when it is time to feed. The second reason they like these places is because they are warm, usually about 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the ideal temperature for bed bugs.
Cold Temperatures and Bed Bugs
Although bed bugs prefer temperatures that are fairly mild, they can survive cold temperatures for an extended period of time. To kill bed bugs below the freezing point, they usually must be exposed to the cold temperatures for approximately four days. An article in Yale University School of Public Health states that female bed bugs can better withstand cold temperatures than their male counterparts.
Females will freeze at temperatures between -4 degrees Fahrenheit and -20 degrees Celsius. Female bed bugs will not die at this stage, but instead, freeze. Their egg production will also greatly slow down at any temperature under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, as well. This could mean that even though freezing temperatures will not kill bed bugs right away, they may prevent an infestation from quickly becoming worse.
To treat bed bugs with cold treatments, they must be exposed to below freezing temperatures of at least -30 degrees Celsius, which is -22 degrees Fahrenheit. Bed bugs must be exposed to these temperatures for a period of three or four days in order for this cold to affect them. Most home freezers do not reach these temperatures and so, when placing bedding and other materials inside of them to kill bed bugs, the length of time these items are left in the freezer will need to be extended.
Bed Bugs and Hibernation
Like all insects, people tend to wonder if bed bugs hibernate in the winter and then show up again in the spring. These pests do not hibernate the same way bears do. Instead, they freeze their body liquid and enter a dormant state known as diapause. This is partial hibernation. Going into this state allows bed bugs to remain dormant and go without food for several months. Bed bugs typically enter this state at temperatures of approximately 61 degrees Fahrenheit. They will remain in this state until temperatures improve and allow them to function normally again. However, even in this state, being exposed to extreme cold is enough to kill bed bugs.
Bed Bugs and Winter Colors
Flannel is big in Missouri during the winter months and it turns out that bed bugs are not only attracted to cozy surroundings, they are also attracted to cozy colors. Flannel is primarily made up of red and black colors, two hues that bed bugs happen to love. Flannel is used not only in clothing, but also in blankets, bedding, and home decor. No one really knows why bed bugs are attracted to flannel, although it is thought that they allow bed bugs to hide better.
Contact Our Missouri Pest Control Specialists for Help With Your Bed Bugs
Bed bugs do not have a season in Missouri. Although they thrive in warm temperatures, they can survive extremely cold temperatures, if only for a short period of time. Due to the fact that bed bugs are so hearty, and so resistant to different temperatures, it is best to call a St. Charles pest control specialist when you have an infestation. At Amco Ranger, we know the bed bug remedies that can eradicate your infestation and keep it out for a long time. Call us today at (636) 223-5703 to schedule a free inspection and to learn more about our bed bug control methods.