The resurgence of bedbugs in recent years have now become alarming since they are now infiltrating hotels, schools, homes and offices. Compared to other pests, bedbugs do not have a hibernating phase, which means we are bound to deal with them even during winter. Researchers have now concluded that these blood-sucking pests have a high cold tolerance. Although they will eventually succumb to the cold after several days of exposure especially when they are outside. But, these bugs use “freeze-intolerant” strategies to be able to survive in cold environments, such as lowering the freezing point of their bloodily fluids making them resilient to the winter.
These bedbugs or Cimex lectularius feed on mammals and birds when they are not feeding on humans. They are usually active at night and will feed on their prey by injecting a sharp proboscis into the victim’s skin that often leaves a red, itchy mark. Bedbugs do not carry diseases with them, but they carry social stigma and frightening tendency to continuously bite, and their great surviving skills that are mostly difficult to treat.
These bugs can reproduce 200 eggs in their lifetime with the male puncturing the female’s abdomen and injects sperm into the wound, which is known as traumatic insemination. Once the female lay these eggs, the bug will go through five immature “nymph” stages and while going through these stages, they will molt or shed their skin between each stage before they can become an adult.
Through each meal, these pesky bugs can grow up to fifty percent of their initial length and 200% of their weight.
Temperatures that could Kill Bedbugs
The researchers who made the study about bedbugs measured the supercooling point, which is the temperature below the normal freezing point where supercooled liquids become solid. They also tested the lower lethal temperature, which is the temperature below that an organism cannot survive. They took bedbugs of all ages. This include the eggs, several nymphs and adult bugs. The researchers also studied these pests capacity to feed after being exposed to colder temperatures.
To be able to kill these bugs, a minimum exposure of eighty hours at 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 16 degrees Celsius) is needed. The researchers even observed that these pests showed short-term exposures to temperatures as low as minus 13 degree Fahrenheit (minus 25 degree Celsius).
Temperatures below 3.2 °F (minus 16 °C) could destroy all life stages of these bugs within three and a half days. Temperature below minus 4 °F (minus 20 °C) can kill them within forty-eight hours, according to the team.
Conducting the Research
For the team to be able to find the cold tolerance of these bugs, they placed the bedbugs in plastic bags for two to four days and put them inside a freezer. The findings naturally resulted to providing practical tips for managing infested areas and infested items.
Getting Rid of Bedbugs
Although these bugs do not carry any disease with them, they are difficult to eradicate. An old European folk remedy would require scattering kidney bean leaves on the floor of a house at night so that the bedbugs would feed on the bait and trap them. After which, they house owner would sweep the kidney bean and burned it in the morning. This technique, although folklore, was documented scientifically in the 1940s and was proven effective. However, scientists have now created a scientific leaf trap that works the same way as the leaves.
With the study conducted, homeowners may not have the break they desire from these pests since they will still be there during these cold weather. They may freeze when they go outside, but these bugs will not dare visit your lawn any time soon.
Make sure to:
- Clean the bedding, linens, curtains and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting
- Remove bedbugs and their eggs with the use of a stiff brush to scrub mattresses seams
- Vacuum the bed and its surrounding area regularly
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover
- Get rid of clutter
- Repair cracks