Freezing or Heat to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Car

by Charlene Rose
(Charleston, WV)

I have a friend that has bedbugs in her home. She frequently needs rides in our car. Last time when she got out, I found a bedbug in her hair. She also gave me a tote bag that I placed in a plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours. After removing, I found 3 dead bedbugs.


Does freezing kill all bedbugs and eggs? Will the heat from the sun kill any in my car during the day? How do I continue to help my friend but not get bedbugs in my home?

Editor Suggestions

Hi Charlene,

First, I wouldn't allow anyone in your car with a known bed bug problem. If one pregnant female gets in your home, it can cost up to $4,000 to remove the 140 babies she can possibly leave behind.

Also, when bringing a bag into your house, how do you know if a hidden bed bug is hitching a ride on the outside and then conveniently drops off in your home off before making it to the freezer.

I don't mean to frighten you, but best to leave anything with a bed bug outside of the home. Also, cars can easily become infested requiring extermination.

In answer to your specific question, yes freezing bed bugs for 4 to 5 days will kill them. (see freezing bed bugs).

In terms of heat in the sun, the answer is only if the inside of the car and the area where the bed bugs are hiding reaches 113°F. Bed bugs die when their body temperatures reach 45°C (113°F). To kill bed bugs with heat, the room or container must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding. I would say this is not the most reliable method unless you live in Phoenix or somewhere where high temperatures are the norm. (see tips for getting rid of bed bugs).

Best of Luck,

Jeff

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