We have received a lot of questions recently about whether leaving items in sealed black trash bags out in the sun will kill bed bugs. This is believed to work because of bed bugs sensitivity to temperatures above 120 degrees, which quickly dries out bed bugs causing death within a one hour period.
We had the opportunity to test this myth last month to see if this idea actually worked. We used 4 black garbage bags and placed 4 towels inside each bag to mimic everyday contents one might like to treat. Along with the towels, we also placed an internal temperature probe inside to monitor the temperature. The bags were placed in direct sunlight with an outside temperature of 90 degrees fahrenheit. We were hoping to achieve at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes in each of the bags to prove this treatment practice was effective. However, after monitoring for 4 hours during the hottest time of the day, we were not able to get the internal temperature above 110 degrees in any of the 4 bags. Temperatures mostly hovered between 102 and 106 degrees, which was far below our goal of 120. Even if we were able to hit the targeted 120 degrees Fahrenheit, its doubtful that we would be able to maintain that temperature for the 60 minutes needed to ensure a proper kill period
Other issues with this method also include:
- Outside temperature
Has anyone else tried this experiment with better luck? Although this sounds like a great treatment strategy, it doen’t quite do the job.