Bed Bug Heat Treatments – The Basics
120° is the Target Temperature
Research has proven that bed bugs and the eggs die at 120° degrees Fahrenheit if exposed to for a long enough time frame. Achieving this temperature requires specialized equipment and training.
Thermal Heat – What is it?
Thermal heat treatments for bed bugs is when specialized heating equipment is used to bring the temperature of a home or commercial building to a minimum of 120° for a prescribed amount of time. The heater produces heat that is then moved by high-velocity fans that help to energize the heat and heat up the room, furniture, clothes, and other items.
The energized heat is moved around the room to ensure that heat is distributed and that it is allowed to “soak” into objects such as walls, mattresses, box springs, and other items where bed bugs can hide in deep crack and crevices.
This process takes hours to accomplish depending on the unique features of the treatment area.
How is the heat created?
The types of heaters run off different power sources. The 3 main ways to fuel these heaters are propane, diesel fuel, or electricity.
Each type of heater has its pros and cons. Professional bed bug companies use heaters that have been specially manufactured for this purpose and have built-in safety features.
The heat is either created in the space or introduced used specialized ducting.
Does it melt my stuff?
Your bed bug company should provide you with a prep sheet or checklist prior to the treatment explaining what items may be damaged during the treatment.
These items should be removed, relocated, or otherwise addressed prior to the treatment.
Why don’t the bed bugs find a place to hide?
The reason thermal heat treatments are so effective is that the heat penetrates the hiding places and the places where the eggs were laid. Steam or chemical treatments are made to areas most likely to have the bed bugs. Heat penetrates into the clothing and other items that cannot be treated with steam or chemicals. Heat treats from the ceilings to the floors and everything in between.
Why is heat the best bed bug control method?
Heat is the best bed bug control method because bed bugs cannot build a resistance to the heat. Even if the heat puts them in distress they can become more suspectable to a chemical placement. During chemical applications, if not all of the bugs die then they can become resistant to the product that you used. That means that did not ingest enough to kill them but maybe the bug got sick. As it reproduces the new generation of bed bugs are then resistant to that product.
Heat also kills the bed bugs the fastest. Heat kills the live bugs and eggs within hours. Relief from a properly heated infestation is instant. The bugs are dead by the end of the treatment and you can go to bed that night without being bit. Chemical and other types of treatments can take multiple visits over a month or more to work. During that time live bugs are biting you and continuing to lay eggs.
What is the cost to heat treat my home for bed bugs?
The cost to have your home for bed bugs can vary. The price is usually based on the square footage of the area treated. Heat treatments cost more than traditional or chemical treatments. Not every pest control company offers thermal heat treatments and you should find a company that specializes in this type of treatment in your area.
Heat treatments also allow you to keep your furniture and bed. Most bed bug heat companies do not make you dispose of furniture or other items prior to heat treatment.
To keep the cost of the treatment in perspective think about this. Replacing the bed frames, mattresses, and box springs in your home may cost more than the cost to have your home treated by a bed bug heat professional. Throwing away your bed or other furniture also does not guarantee you have gotten rid of the bed bugs.