There are many reasons why bed bugs are one of the most despised insect pests in the world. For one, they are infamous home-wreckers — burrowing into beds, furniture, and other property and leaving behind stains, droppings, and damages that can cost a small fortune to remove or replace. Of course, bed bugs are also parasitic, which means they feed exclusively on blood. They’ll bite and leave their hosts (us humans) with unsightly and uncomfortable bumps. But perhaps the biggest reason why bed bugs are so detested by property owners and pest control professionals alike is their incredible resilience. Not only are bed bugs expert hitchhikers, they’re also adept at surviving in virtually any climate. Even the extreme cold.
If you’re thinking you won’t have to worry about bed bugs this winter, think again. In this guide, our bed bug experts here at PrevSol give you an overview of why you still need to worry about bed bugs this winter. We’ll also provide you with information on the type of climate that does kill bed bugs — extreme heat — and how you can implement it to exterminate infestations in your home or business.
Bed Bugs and Cold Climates
Stepping outside in the winter is enough evidence to show that life, in general, is not a fan of colder weather. Trees are barren, birds are silent, and many mammals are hibernating. However, unlike most mammals, insects will stay active during the winter as long as there is a food source. For insects that live outdoors such as honey bees, mosquitoes, and lady bugs, food is often scarce. This leads to hibernation or large-scale death during the winter. For insects making their homes indoors, winter isn’t really a problem. The bed bug is one of those indoor insects.
Put simply, bed bugs are found wherever humans are found. They make their homes in beds, furniture, carpets, and clothing because of their proximity to our bodies. After all, that’s where blood, bed bugs’ only source of food, is found. Bed bug infestations usually begin because travelers unwittingly pick up these tiny, hitchhiking insects from places like hotels, public transportation, and the houses of other people.
You might think that winter would stop the spread of bed bugs since the cold weather would kill any hitchhiking bed bugs as soon as their hosts stepped outside. Sadly, this is untrue. Though bed bugs make their homes indoors, they are also incredibly resilient to cold climates. In a study performed at the University of Minnesota, researchers froze bed bugs and found that they survived short-term exposure to temperatures as low as -25ºC.
The Impracticality of Treating Bed Bugs Using Cold Temperatures
Researchers at the University of Minnesota study did find that it was possible to kill bed bugs with cold temperatures — but the time and temperature required were both staggering to the point of impracticality. Their study found that it took 80 hours of continuous exposure to -16ºC temperatures to kills bed bugs and their eggs. That’s 3-and-a-half days at 3̊F. For reference, most freezers are kept just a few notches under 32̊F — and they require considerable energy just to do that in a very small space. To exterminate bed bugs using cold temperature would require an exorbitantly large amount of energy, not to mention high-powered cooling appliances that have not yet been developed. Thankfully, there is an alternative.
Heat: The Easy, Eco-Friendly Solution
Since cold is out of the question for exterminating bed bugs, those with infestations will have to look elsewhere for their solutions. Historically, insecticides have been used to treat bed bug infestations with moderate success. However, these insecticide treatments are not without downsides. Not only are they costly, they also contain chemicals that can be harmful to more than just bed bugs. What’s worse, recent studies have shown that 7 out of the 12 species of bed bugs in North America are becoming resistant to the chemicals used in common insecticides. Riskiness mixed with increasing ineffectiveness makes these chemical solutions a bad bet.
For the ideal bed bug treatment solution, property owners need only to look on the opposite end of the temperature spectrum. Extreme heat, not extreme cold, is the answer to effectively and efficiently exterminating bed bugs in indoor spaces. All bed bug species die at 111̊F. Their eggs die at 117̊F. Here at PrevSol, we design and manufacture energy-efficient bed bug heaters that heat rooms to temperatures up to 140F (and even allow to reach hard-to-reach nooks and crannies) for comprehensive extermination every time. Not only are our bed bug heaters highly-effective — they’re also 100% chemical-free and will not damage your property or possessions. Whether you are exterminating bed bugs in the middle of the summer or in the dead of winter, our bed bug heaters have you covered.
Learn More About Bed Bug Extermination and Prevention
Want to learn more about winter bed bug extermination and prevention? Our professionals here at PrevSol would love to help out. Contact us to speak with a member of our team, and shop high-quality bed bug extermination and prevention products with us now!