There’s no doubt about it: it’s cold out there now. With nighttime temperatures close to freezing and the days hovering in the 70s, it’s safe to say that winter has hit Phoenix. The cold weather tends to freeze up issues with allergies, but does it also help to keep the bed bugs away?
Unlike mammals, who hibernate in the winter, bed bugs will remain active as long as there is a food source. Typically, bed bugs are found in furniture — items that are indoors in heated environments — so they are not deterred by freezing temperatures. Granted, cold temperatures can kill anything, if exposed long enough, but that’s probably not the best way to rid your home of these pesky creatures.
Bed Bugs – The Science
Even a recent study backs up all of this information. Researchers at the University of Minnesota froze bed bugs and found that they survived short-term exposure to temperatures as low as -25ºC. If you want to kill the bugs and their eggs, you need to expose them to -16ºC for 80 hours (that’s 3.5 days, if you’re planning your attack).
Bed Bugs – The Reality
In most cases, you’re not going to throw your mattress or couch into the deep freeze, so for most people, freezing out bed bugs isn’t a practical solution. Although bed bugs may be more active in warmer summer months as they search for food and water, if you have them in your home, you’re going to have to deal with them in the winters as well.
Let’s face it, most of us Phoenicians don’t do well with too-cold weather, so our heat goes on this time of year, and that makes for a cozy environment under the sheets. Or, as bed bugs like to think of it, dinnertime!
Keep the Bed Bugs Away
Unfortunately, with all of the traveling we do these days, bed bugs have made the trek from state to state and continent to continent. To be sure that you don’t end up with extra roommates, it’s a good practice to wash your clothes after returning from traveling and to check your luggage (especially if it’s fabric) before and after each trip. That will at least alert you to the possibility that you’ve picked up some hitchhikers along the way.
When purchasing furniture, new is probably the best option. Be wary of estate sales, antiques, and those bargains at the secondhand shop.
This doesn’t mean you can’t buy those items, but check them carefully to be sure they aren’t infested. Remember that bed bugs are tiny and usually feed at night, so you’ll really have to inspect to find them. Look for them and their droppings, which you may be more likely to find.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If you do find that you have bed bugs in your home, it can be a timely and costly process to get rid of them. This is not a job you want to take on yourself; instead, hire the experts.
First, you’ll want to have a bed bug inspection to ensure you actually do have an infestation. Then, if bed bugs are spotted, the next step is to eliminate the bugs and their eggs. Of course, that is followed by ongoing treatments to ensure nothing comes back.
You can trust the professionals at Budget Brothers Termite and Pest Control to provide the thorough treatment you and your family need.
Keep in mind that sometimes, furniture and beds need to be replaced, which can increase the costs associated with bed bugs.