Do Bed Bugs Die in Plastic Bags

Do Bed Bugs Die in Plastic Bags

In addition to various bed bug treatments, among the common ways to handle your bed bug-infested belongings is by putting the items inside plastic bags. Putting infested items inside the plastic bags not only prevents a larger infestation but also kills the critters.

This may sound like the easiest solution when trying to get rid and kill bed bugs, but this is not always the best alternative. There are various factors that must be considered to ensure that this solution will work.

The length of time needed for bed bugs to die inside the plastic bags depends mainly on the air supply, temperature, and the current stage of their life. Given that bed bugs can live for over a year under ideal living conditions, you must consider different factors before solely relying on putting items inside the bags.

Factors Affecting the Effectiveness of Putting Infested Belongings inside Plastic Bags

When trying to deal with bed bugs using plastic garbage bags or other plastic bags, it is important that you consider thinking about certain factors that will affect the effectiveness of using this method. Some of the factors that you should consider are the following:

Air Supply

Just like any living creature, bed bugs can live for a long time with an ample amount of air supply. Since they are very small, they can actually live even with the smallest amount of oxygen.

Among the effective options that you can use in this process are those heavy-duty sealed plastic bags. These types of bags don’t leave lots of air inside, which makes them more successful to use.

When using these bags, it is best that you have it labelled. This will prevent any of your family members from accidentally opening the bag or even use the item. Make sure that you also add the date when you placed the item inside to keep track of how long you had it sealed inside.

You have to leave the item sealed inside the bag for a couple of months or up to a year. This will ensure that the items are bedbug-free as you get them inside the bag. The longer you keep it inside the bag means the higher the chance of killing the bugs for good.


Among the factors that greatly contribute to the ideal living conditions of bed bugs and eggs is the temperature. The ideal temperature for bed bugs to live is about 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 to 29 degrees Celsius. With available food source, they can live to up more than a year and continue breeding to more bed bugs.

This is the main reason why there are people who use either high heat or freezing temperatures to treat the items inside the plastic bags. So, how do you treat these items? There are two options, you either use safe heat treatments for small items or put them inside the freezer.

Now, when using heat, there’s a great chance that you can use the item immediately after. However, you must make sure that the temperature reached about 30 degrees Celsius and above. An extended exposure time ensures that the bugs inside will die.

On the other hand, you can simply throw the plastic bag with the item inside in your freezer. Just make sure that you keep it inside for about 48 hours or longer if possible. It is also ideal that you just leave it inside for several days at a temperature of 0°F or even lower just to ensure that all bugs are killed.

Life Stages

Based on a study, it was found that bed bugs in all life stages can actually die inside a plastic bag especially with Ultra Low Oxygen level. However, this was only found effective within laboratory settings and may have a different result when done at home.

Another factor that will determine how long can bed bugs live inside a plastic bag is the stages of the life of the bugs in the item. Nymphs will have to require a constant food source for them to become adults. Without this, they are the ones that will die first.

On the contrary, bed bugs eggs will have to take longer days to die. They will have to hatch first enter the nymphal stage before they die because of the lack of food source.

If ever your items have eggs in them, you have to take into account the days that eggs have to hatch and reach the nymphal stage for them to die. Bed bugs hide even in the smallest items, so it is best that you put all your potentially infested belongings inside plastic bags as soon as you confirm an infestation.

With all these factors mentioned, depriving bed bugs with anything that will keep them alive inside the plastic bag will speed up the entire process. This will eventually kill every bug in different life stages successfully.

How Plastic Covers or Bags Work to Bed Bug Proof Your Belongings

Aside from resorting to the use of steam cleaning, vacuum cleaner, or even dry cleaning, an initial action you can take to control an infestation inside your home is by putting items with bed bugs inside plastic bags.

In order for bugs to live, they have to eat and get enough air. However, when trapped inside the bag, they will be deprived of these important factors that will keep them alive.

If you can’t keep all the air out of the plastic bags, it might take weeks or even months for the bugs to die. This is the reason why you should keep the item inside the bags for as long as possible to kill the bugs and even their eggs.

There are also those water-soluble laundry bags that you can use for infested clothes. Simply throw the bag inside the washer with high temperature and it will dissolve during the cycle. This prevents the bugs from spreading or escaping as you bring the items from an infested room to the laundry area.

Make sure that you also run the clothes in the dryer to completely kill the bugs and their eggs. These are simple ways on how you can heat-treat the items you place inside the bags.

When the infestation seems beyond control, it is best that you start choosing from the best pest controllers in your area. This way, experts will come over your house, conduct an inspection, and perform necessary treatments suitable for the level of infestation in your home.

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