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Does microwaving kills bugs and eggs? Got Bed Bugs …


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I wouldn’t be surprised if some insects managed to survive longer than a book survives in a microwave.

I had a problem with ants a few months ago. Some of them managed to make their way into my new 1200 W microwave oven, unbeknownst to me. I set the microwave timer to about a minute to warm some food, and as I was removing the food I discovered ants in the oven still moving around. (Don’t know what the microwaving would have done to the reproductive capacity of a juvenile or adult bed bug, but I’d be afraid to take a chance.)

Obviously, this wasn’t a properly controlled experiment in bed bugs elimination. But I had tried with an older, more powerful microwave oven about a year ago to see what the microwave oven does to books. After about 45 seconds, the book pages tended to brown a little, and paperback covers started to curl. The books also got a bit of a slightly-toasted smell to them (not like toasted bread; I’m not really sure how to describe the smell). Of course, it all depends on how long you leave the book in there. After seeing those ants still crawling around, my sense was that the books might be damaged BEFORE the bed bugs were killed. (One factor which makes it harder to interpret what was going on with the ants is that the ants may not have been in the optimal location for receiving/absorbing the microwaves — microwave ovens are designed to deliver the microwaves beam to a specific location a few centimeters above the floor/turntable of the oven, where food is most likely to be placed.)

Note that my new microwave oven’s manual specifically warns against heating paper products and books. And I imagine, although I don’t know, that there might be an issue with books that might have metal in them (metals in the pigments of illustrations on the cover or in the pages of the book, for instance.)

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Does microwaving kills bugs and eggs? Got Bed Bugs …

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