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Bedbugs Can Withstand Bitter Cold: Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Bedbugs might be less susceptible to freezing temperatures than previously thought, according to a new study.

However, exposing bedbug-infested clothing or other small items to icy conditions remains an effective way to control the parasites, the study found.

Like many other insects, bedbugs attempt to protect themselves against freezing by lowering the freezing point of their body fluids.

Killing bedbugs in all their life stages requires a minimum of 48 hours at -4 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 hours at about 3 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Researcher Joelle Olson and colleagues also found that bedbug eggs can survive short-term exposure to temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

The researchers recommended placing bedbug-infested items in plastic bags in the freezer for two to four days, depending on the freezer's temperature.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about bedbugs.

SOURCE: Journal of Economic Entomology, news release, Dec. 8, 2013