Bed bugs are one of the most annoying and persistent pests that infest our homes. They are tiny, wingless insects that feed on the blood of human hosts, leaving behind painful, itchy bites. Bed bugs are also notoriously difficult to get rid of once they have infested a home. Many people turn to the use of plastic bags to try to contain and kill bed bugs. But, how long can bed bugs live in a sealed plastic bag?

Can Plastic Bags be Used to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

Plastic bags can be an effective tool for killing bed bugs. This is because bed bugs need oxygen to survive. When they are placed in a sealed plastic bag, they are deprived of oxygen, which will eventually kill them. However, not all plastic bags are created equal. The thickness and type of plastic used in the bag will determine how effective it is at killing bed bugs.

Types of Plastic Bags for Bed Bug Control

There are a variety of plastic bags that can be used for bed bug control. The most common types include:

Ziplock Bags

Ziplock bags, or any resealable plastic bag with a seal that can be closed tightly, are effective at trapping bed bugs and depriving them of oxygen. They are a convenient option for small infestations or for use when traveling.

Heavy-Duty Contractor Bags

Heavy-duty contractor bags are thicker and tougher than regular plastic bags. They are typically used for construction debris, but they can also be used for bed bug control. These bags are more durable and can withstand the weight of bulky items, making them ideal for containing infested bedding, clothing, and other large items.

Vacuum-Sealed Bags

Vacuum-sealed bags are designed to remove air and compress items to save space. These bags are commonly used for storing clothing and bedding. They are also effective at killing bed bugs. When items are placed in a vacuum-sealed bag, the air is removed, and the bag is sealed tightly. This creates an environment where bed bugs cannot survive.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in a Sealed Plastic Bag?

The length of time that bed bugs can survive in a sealed plastic bag depends on several factors. These include the temperature, humidity, and size of the bag.


Bed bugs are cold-blooded insects and cannot regulate their own body temperature. They thrive in temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature inside the plastic bag drops below 32 degrees or rises above 113 degrees, the bed bugs will die.


Bed bugs also require a certain level of humidity to survive. If the humidity in the bag drops below 30% or rises above 90%, the bed bugs will die.

Size of the Bag

The size of the plastic bag can also affect how long bed bugs can survive. The more bed bugs that are in the bag, the quicker the oxygen will be depleted, and the faster the bed bugs will die. If only a few bed bugs are placed in a large plastic bag, they may be able to survive for several days.

How to Use Plastic Bags to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Using plastic bags to get rid of bed bugs is a simple process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Collect all infested items, such as bedding, clothing, and soft toys.
  2. Place the items in a plastic bag.
  3. Seal the bag tightly, ensuring that there are no openings or gaps.
  4. Leave the bag in a warm, sunny location for at least 24 hours.
  5. After 24 hours, open the bag outdoors and inspect the items for any signs of live bed bugs.
  6. If there are still live bed bugs, repeat the process for an additional 24 hours.

It is important to note that plastic bags should not be the only method used to get rid of bed bugs. They are best used in conjunction with other treatments, such as vacuuming, steaming, and using bed bug sprays.


In conclusion, plastic bags can be an effective tool for killing bed bugs. However, the length of time that bed bugs can survive in a sealed plastic bag depends on several factors. It is important to use the right type of plastic bag, monitor the temperature and humidity inside the bag, and leave the items in the bag for at least 24 hours. Plastic bags should not be relied upon as the only method of bed bug control, but they can be a useful tool when used in conjunction with other treatments.

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