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Freezing Bed Bugs

Summary: If you are thinking about freezing bed bugs out of your home you had best think again.

Someone told you that freezing bed bugs will resolve your bed bug issues. So, you've dragged your mattress and box spring out to the garage where it is really cold. Well, at least it's too cold to stay in there without a heavy jacket. You're even planning on leaving your furniture out there for the next five days. News flash! You won't be killing bed bugs.

Even if you lived in a really cold climate like one of the poles or, perhaps, Siberia, you still would not be able to kill bed bugs. Not even if you put your furniture out on the front lawn during a snow storm. It's just not cold enough. Let me give you some indication of just how cold it has to be to kill bed bugs.

In university testing using a very expensive deep freezer, bed bugs were tested to see just how cold it had to be to kill them. A laboratory freezer was used to achieve temperatures of minus 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Not many places on earth get that cold. (Actually, there are places in Antarctica that have reached minus 128 degrees Fahrenheit, but you could buy a new bed set for the cost of shipping your stuff to Antarctica, couldn't you.) The bed bugs were subjected to the minus 29 degrees for about four hours. At the end of the test lots of the bed bugs started walking around again.

First, most people don't have a freezer that is going down to those temperatures. Second, to achieve total kill the university study showed that the bugs had to remain frozen for at least five days, and that's without opening the freezer to retrieve a steak for dinner.

Bed bugs and most other insects and animals have a self-preservation mode they drop into when they are exposed to too much cold, too much heat or lack of food or water. It's called diapause. It's different than hibernation because the insects or animals do not grow while in this phase. It's strictly for survival. You've heard about scientists discovering insects still alive inside a block of ice that has been buried for centuries. Personally, I think those would be dead insects, but you know how these stories tend to get exaggerated. However, you get the idea.

So, if you can't kill bed bugs in your freezer it is highly unlikely you will kill them out in the garage or even outside in the snow. And for heavens sake, you don't have to sleep with your windows open in the winter to win the bed bug fight. If you do that the only thing you'll be fighting is pneumonia.

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