Heat Treatment: Safe and Effective
One of the biggest problems with conventional methods of exterminating bed bugs is their ability to re-infest houses and apartments. Bed bugs are able to hide inside small spaces such as electrical outlets. By moving through the walls they can spread quickly throughout entire apartment buildings or houses, which makes them incredibly hard to kill during treatment. This can lead to repeated treatments with pesticides, an expensive process that is not ideal for those with families or pets.
In contrast, full structure heat treatments are a fast, safe, effective way to destroy bed bug infestations with one treatment. Since all they require is heat, there are no dangerous chemicals in your house, and no need to vacate the dwelling for a time after treatment is applied. This also allows you to keep all your belongings – even upholstered items and mattresses can be easily treated with heat.
How it Works
Heat treatments raise the temperature to 140F for three to six hours. The thermal death point of bed bugs in all life stages is 120F, making it effective for killing bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adults. Heat treatments can be done either by trained professionals, or DIY. For whole house treatments using a professional pest management company is highly recommended:
- Professionals have the equipment, saving you the expense of buying or renting it yourself.
- They will be able to monitor the heat throughout the house, ensuring that the necessary temperatures are reached in all parts of the structure, not just directly by the heaters. This will also insure the house doesn’t get hot enough to possibly damage your possessions.
- They will know how to set up the heating properly, and how to account for differences in building materials, or heat sinks.
However, heat treatments can be prohibitively expensive – in some cases over $1000 per room. If this is outside of your pest control budget you do have options. Personal heat treatment machines are starting to become available, including our own ZappBug Room. These allow you to treat your furniture for significantly cheaper, although they don’t treat the structure itself. For that you will have to examine other methods of treatment, such as the application of pesticides. When consulting with pest control professionals to apply pesticides make sure they aren’t using pyrethroid based compounds, as bed bug populations across the country are increasingly developing resistance to them.
You can also attempt methods that don’t rely on the use of chemicals, such as steam cleaning your carpets and thoroughly bagging up your belongings. For more information, see this list of DIY bed bug removal tips.
Posted by Rose Eckert-Jantzie