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The holidays have come and gone (right along with the in-laws… go ahead it’s ok to smile about that) and now it’s time to take down the lights, put away the decorations, and prepare for a new year. As you clean up the guest bedroom, keep an eye out for the unwanted guest you hope to never find in your home: the bed bug.
It’s no secret that holiday travel gives these pesky little hitchhikers the opportunity to stow away and travel to your house or elsewhere. From gifts sent through the mail to the relatives who visited for a week, all traffic in and out of your house could be a travel medium for bed bugs. Click here to read more about bed bug shenanigans during the holidays.
The current cold weather has many people wondering the same thing: will this cold weather kill bed bugs? A study out of the University of Minnesota addresses this question – the short answer is yes, but there is a catch. While cold temperatures may kill bed bugs, they must be exposed to a low enough temperature for a long enough period of time.
Now, you may be thinking, “Perfect! It’s been below freezing for a week so I’ll just stick my bed bug infested mattress outside for two months and that should do the trick!” Before you move your bed to the front yard, here are a couple of things to take into consideration.
First of all, just because the temperature outside is 32ºF, this doesn’t mean the temperature inside your mattress is 32ºF. Any bed bugs hiding inside is enjoying the nice cozy temperatures you set your house at..
Secondly, the sun can warm a localized area regardless of the temperature outside. This means the temperature inside the mattress you dragged outside may not be just slightly warmer than the temperature reading on your outdoor thermometer, those bed bugs could be nice and cozy if your mattress is in a sunny spot.
Regardless of the factors above, very little research is available to determine whether or not cold temperatures will kill bed bugs. Some research suggests bed bugs can endure temperatures around 5ºF while other research suggests 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a few hours causes bed bugs to bite the dust (or bite the snow… har har).
Our assessment? Don’t rely on cold temperatures to take care of your bed bug problems. There is plenty of research to support the effectiveness of steam versus bed bugs, as well as products such as Bed Bug Patrol and Crawling Insect Dust that when used together can help to eliminate your bed bug infestation.