Bed bugs are incredibly a huge problem all over the world. Like any other living organisms, bed bugs have a thermal death point hence heat treatment is one of the available options to eradicate these tiny insects.
Find out more on the effectiveness of heaters, at what temperature do bed bugs die instantly, how long you should heat with chart, how to heat yourself at home(DIY), success rates, reviews and possible damages
Table of Contents
Bed Bug Heat Treatment
Bed bug heat treatment is a method of eliminating bed bugs which involves subjecting the bed bugs to extreme temperatures. Following facts about how heat works in exterminating bed bugs.
How Heat Kills Bed Bugs
Exposing bed bug to high heat dries the insects hence killing them. The heat destroys and kills the bugs and their eggs by drying them.
What Temperature Kills Bed Bugs, Chart & how long
Bed bugs and eggs die within one and half hours (90 minutes) at 118°F (48°C) If you want to kill the bugs instantly, a temperature at 122°F (50°C) will work.
Following is a temperature chart, borrowed for petsamurai.com, showing how long it will take both low and high temperatures to kill bed bugs.
|Bed Bug Stage
|Temperature – High, Low
|Adult bed bugs
|113°F | 118 °F , -13 °F
|90 min | 20 min, 4 days
|Bed bug nymphs
|113°F |118°F, -13°F
|90 min | 20 min, 4 days
|Bed bug eggs
|90 min, 4 days
The period it takes to kill the bed bugs is dependent on the environment where you find the bed bugs as well as their eggs.
If the bed bugs are in the open, that is, where you can easily see them with your naked eyes, the time it will take will be short…a few minutes. This is because the heat will attack the bed bugs directly. However, this is hardly the case since the bed bugs are very good at hiding.
Given the bed bugs hide in places you cannot see, you must do everything possible to reach the bed bugs meaning it may take some time from the preparation to the heating itself.
Another factor that will determine duration the size of the structure. Huge structures/rooms will take more time.
Bed bug heat can offer a success rate of 100% if the right procedure is followed. The success and effectiveness of this method will heavily rely on;
How well the infested areas and items are prepared
Ensuring that that the infested room sealed with infested items in, will trap all the bugs hence avoiding escape.
The temperature, how well and long you/the exterminator will apply heat.
This basically means understanding the places where bedbugs hide (cold areas in most cases) then applying enough heat of the right temperature for the right duration.
You must ensure the heat reaches all corners of the house as well as the far ends of your furniture. The more heat the bed bugs come into contact with, the sooner you have them dead.
Benefits of Using Heat
Compared to traditional bed bug treatment methods, use of heat to kill bed bugs has proved to be more helpful.
Heat has advantages over other bed bug treatment ways. To begin with, it is a non-toxic method and is capable of killing whichever bed bug stages. It also kills bed bugs within a very short period.
It is one of the methods that easily reach for the bed bugs that hide.
All the same, heat treatment still stands to be a recommendable way to kill bed bugs as compared to other available options.
DIY Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs
To kill bed bugs with heat yourself you will first need to prepare, then get to the treatment itself
Before starting your heating process, you will need to do a number of things as part of your preparation process.
This preparation is meant to ensure that the process will be effective. Below are the things you must do;
- First unplug electronics in the house where you are about to apply the heat treatment.
- You can leave your clothes in your drawers but only if they are not tightly packed. If you have so many clothes that are packed tightly, leave them unpacked in an open basket.
- If you have any items hanging on your walls, it is best to remove them especially if you suspect they would be damaged by too much heat. Heat treatment involves use of heavy equipment and that is why you need to keep your light and easy to damage items safe.
- Deflate the bladders in case you have air mattresses.
- Organize your house to create a clear path so that it is easy to let in the heating equipment.
- If you have any pets, you are required to get them out of your premises.
- There are items that you must also get out of your house since they have been found not to stand heat between 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The specified items include; chemicals that are flammable or combustible, compressed gases, wax figurines, musical instruments, oil paintings, indoor plants, bulbs, and aerosols as well as pressurized cans.
- Remove any food items that are in your house. This is because, when the temperatures are too high, they are likely to spoil already cooked food. That aside, some foods are likely to melt.
Killing the bed bugs with the heater
Types of Bed Bug Heaters
There are various heaters designed to kill bed bugs. They vary depending on what type of heat they offer. It may be thermal, electric, or steam.
Electric heat system is a system that is closed. Its operation is from the structure that is undergoing the heating. At the beginning of the process, the electric heat is slower than propane.
When using these electric heat systems, you are required to start with room temperatures then then raise the temperatures with about 10 degrees Fahrenheit at intervals of an hour.
As the room temperatures rises and recycles, the effect of the heat becomes rapid. You will require electric sources for electric heating. In most cases, the power sources may be the issue since too much power use is uneconomical.
Electric bed bug heaters have both the power to kill bed bugs and the power to control where the heat is placed and how much of the heat is to be used. This method is less costly compared to calling a professional to work on the bed bugs.
You may wish to analyze the available thermal bed bug heaters so that you make an informed decision on which one you should buy. Discussed below are such heaters;
Thermal strike expedition
This heater is considered one of the least expensive heaters. It goes for about $200. It is an easy to set up heating method.
As much as this type of heater will kill bed bugs, it does not have the capability to reach maximum temperatures. It also has a flimsy construction which may be discouraging to those who wish for one that will stand for years.
This heater treats everything perfectly well with the maximum temperature of 150 degrees. It also has a timer and thermometer. It involves a solid construction and as such, it will last for years. It costs about $300.
This is the most advocated for heater for treating large items. It is also good in the case where you do not want to carry out a series of treatments. Due to the additional benefits, this method is relatively expensive.
Apart from thermal and electric bed bug heat treatments we have other types such as;
This, unlike the electric method is an open system. This unit stays on the outside of the structure. The heat is then ducted into the room that is being treated. Positive air pressure is produced when propane heat is used.
For this type of heat treatment to prevail, you will need a source of propane. You will need not only intense but also immediate heating of the space.
This system is found to be relatively better when compared to the electric method because; it has a higher volume of heated air, higher air output, and high productivity capabilities.
You can kill bed bugs using the heat that comes from steam. This method however requires that you incorporate chemical treatment and that the technician be careful all the tie. Steam penetration is also very limited.
Packtite bed bug heater
Packtite is easy to use. You will be required to place your stuff on the heater’s rack. Close the zipper and have it plugged in. Turn the timer on. To know that the treatment is complete, you will realize that the green timer turns off.
Another advantage that comes with these types of heaters is that they use patent pending technologies. These technologies heat items like books, and shoes safely. On the negative side, this method may be cost ineffective since it requires to be done once more after a few months.
This heater is favorable for treating all items in your house including clothes, papers, and shoes. It is very easy to use. You are required to set it then place the items to be treated in it and press on. This heater is however very expensive.
Buying the Right Heater
When buying heating equipment, kit must be clear on the heat outlets since that is how the bed bugs will get heated.
The kit must also offer a guide or provide the source of heat. Among things that are included in most bed bug equipment is; a thermometer for indicating the necessary temperature and a circulation fan. The kit must also contain a guideline on how the equipment is to be used.
DIY Bed Bug Heater
If you do not want to incur so much cost, you can resolve to make a heat chamber yourself. A sample DIY chamber was designed by Drs. Philip Koehler and Roberto Pereira of University of Florida. The chamber they developed was made of Polystyrene foam.
To make the bed bug heater, you will need a number of things as listed below;
- 2 box fans
- 2 space heaters
- 1 oscillating fan
- 6 polystyrene sheets of foam
- 4 thermometers that have exterior monitors
- Masking or duct tape
- 2 extension cords
All the items in the rooms that have been infested should be placed in the heat chamber. When you use this homemade heat chamber, you will require treating the walls, baseboards, crevices and cracks with conventional insecticides.
If you wish to use this treatment on a wooden house, or a house with tile floors; you will need to do special preparation.
You are advised to place an insulating foam mat under your chamber. This heat chamber is put together easily. The DIY heat chamber is economical to make since its components are cheap.
Companies working with professional pest management have opted for this heat chamber for getting rid of bed bugs in hotels.
They praise its effectiveness as well as its portability. There are two important things to remember when you settle for the ‘Do It Yourself’ initiative. You will need to treat the room with conventional insecticides. It is usually done by a certified applicator.
Before the chamber is disassembled, you must ensure that all monitors are reading 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The success of this treatment will not depend on how long you carry out the treatment but rather how much of the temperature reaches the bed bugs.
There is bed bug heating equipment available for renting. You may find buying the bed bug heat equipment quite uneconomical especially in a case where you may not need to use it again. Renting the equipment is cheaper than buying it and leaving to stay idle in your premises.
If you want to treat a large infested area, you definitely want a huge and complex equipment; which is likely to be expensive. Alternatively, you may need to buy many but small heat equipment which will cover the entire area but it is still costly.
Bed Bug Heat Treatment Reviews
There have been positive reviews on how effective heat treatment is in killing bed bugs as explained below;
Roger confirms that it was after their whole apartment was heated that they became free of bed bug attack. Roger and his wife were very pleased with the results that were realized after Heat Dallas did a thorough job in their apartment.
Kent also states that he enjoyed the results of having bed bugs eliminated from his apartment. He confirms that, after the heating process, the bed bugs were completely gone. He is confident that if the bed bugs showed up again, he would still use the heat method.
David Z, Arvada ,CO
David, after receiving heating services from Heat Pro feels that he would prefer heating to eliminate bed bugs over any chemical method. After the heating process, David confirms that he has never traced a bed bug around him.
Tamara paid for the heating process as a preferred way of getting rid of bed bugs. According to Tamara, heating is expensive but it is worth the price since three months following the heating, there are no more bed bugs or bed bug bites.
Experts approve this method to be the best remedy for bed bugs since it does not involve use of chemicals. Quebec pest experts, running a pest control company, praise heat for its ability to kill bed bugs without destroying your belongings.
The experts from this company further explain that heat is rated as among the best methods since most bed bugs have actually become resistant to insecticides.
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