Bed bugs are a big problem in the United States. One out of every five Americans have either had a bedbug infestation in their home or know someone who has. While bed bugs are common, there are still a lot of myths being circulated about how to kill them. These myths are harmful because they will not help you get rid of your bedbug infestation, and in some cases, may allow you to spread the bugs to other people. Here are three myths that you should not believe about killing bed bugs.
You can use your car to kill bed bugs
It's a common misconception that you can put items that are infested with bed bugs inside your hot car to kill the bugs, but sadly, it's not that easy. The inside of your car may get uncomfortably hot on a summer day if you have the windows rolled up, but that doesn't mean it will get hot enough to kill bed bugs. Adult bed bugs die if they are exposed to temperatures of more than 113°F for 90 minutes or more, while the eggs can tolerate temperatures of up to 118°F.
The problem with trying to use your car for heat treatments is that it's unpredictable. While your car will feel hot, it might not be hot enough, and even if some parts of the car do get hot enough, there may still be cool spots (like in the shade beneath your seats) that will allow bed bugs to survive. If bed bugs do survive the treatment, you may find that you now have an infestation inside your car as well.
If you want to use heat treatments, you need to choose a more reliable method, like your clothes dryer. Clothes dryers reach about 180°F on the hot cycle, which is more than enough to kill bed bugs.
You can starve them
Another common myth about killing bed bugs is that you can starve them to death by staying out of your infested house for a few days. This is both untrue and a very bad idea. If you stay at a friend's house for a few days, your bed bugs will still be alive and well when you return to your house, and worse, some of the bed bugs may pitched a ride with you to your friend's house and caused an infestation there.
It takes a lot longer than you would expect to starve bed bugs. Depending on the temperature and humidity inside your house, they can live for anywhere between 20 and 400 days: the colder your house is, the longer they will be able to survive without food. Leaving your home for this amount of time is not practical, so starving bed bugs cannot be considered a reasonable way to deal with the bedbug infestation.
You can freeze them outdoors
Bed bugs can be killed if they are exposed to temperatures of 3.2°F for more than 80 hours. It seems like common sense that it would be really easy to kill bed bugs by putting your infested items outdoors in the winter months, but it's not that simple. The outdoor temperature can fluctuate throughout the day due to factors like changing cloud cover, and since you need 80 hours of consistently cold temperatures, bed bugs may survive their trip into the snow.
While winter weather is not a reliable way to kill bed bugs, putting infested items in your household freezer is. This is because your freezer holds items at a consistent temperature and is not affected by environmental conditions like the sun or clouds. Make sure you put your infested items in a bag first to keep the bed bugs from crawling through your freezer before they die.
If you have bed bugs inside your home, don't believe any of these three myths about killing them. Instead, discover more about your options by contacting pest control specialists.