While it may not seem like a good idea to put your bedbug-infested items in the freezer, freezing them can kill bedbugs. Temperatures below 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bedbugs after about 3.5 days, and temperatures below minus four degrees Fahrenheit will kill them within 48 hours. Researchers recommend placing infested items in plastic bags and freezing them for two to four days.
As cold temperatures bring a lowered metabolic rate, bed bugs enter a phase called diapause. This is the insect equivalent of hibernation, where they cease all activity and wait until the spring to emerge. While bedbugs can survive in the cold, they can’t survive long in water.
A cold treatment is effective at killing bedbugs because it suffocates them. A carbon dioxide treatment is another effective treatment for killing bedbugs. The carbon dioxide draws them from hiding places and suffocates them. This method is most effective at killing bed bugs in a room that has a temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bedbugs are obligate nocturnal insects, and their life cycle is slowed during cold temperatures. They must feed five times within a month to reach sexual maturity. If the temperature remains above 77 degrees Fahrenheit, bedbugs complete their development in a little less than a month.