Cold / Freezing Treatment

Cold and freezing treatment for bed bug control

Insects are susceptible to temperature changes. In fact, heat and cold have been used for centuries to control insects. Technologies exist today to use cold and freezing temperatures for bed bug control.

Cold and freezing treatment for bed bug control can be done by removing all items in a room or house and then transporting these items into a trailer or warehouse where the temperature is dropped below where the insect can survive.
Bed bugs can live at refrigeration temperatures if they have been acclimated, meaning that the temperature was dropped slowly. Bed bugs have survived temperatures at freezing for several days if the temperature was dropped slowly. This avoids thermal shock of the insect.

Ideally, to control insects using cold, it is best to put the insects into a cold area designed so that there is rapid drop in the temperature of the materials and the bed bugs. This will kill adults, nymphs or immature adults, and eggs.

It is important to make sure that the core temperature gets to the correct temperature. This means that it is just not air temperatures, but the actually material temperatures. If a bed is placed in a freezer, the temperature of the bed must equalize and reach the air temperature so that there is no chance of the bed bug being insulated and surviving the cold.

It is best to achieve the core temperature around freezing and to hold the materials there for at least a day. This will ensure that all life stages are destroyed.

There are some mobile systems which use wands or applicator tips to provide freezing nitrogen or carbon dioxide to a surface. This will kill all stages but the drawback is that the cold temperatures will not penetrate beyond the surface where the material is applied. The system will work well on seams of beds but it will not control all bed bugs in a piece of furniture or a room.