The fact that bed bugs are pesky pests that hide in hard-to-reach areas makes their extermination a highly complex process. This is where the bed bug heat treatment plays an important role.
Bed bug heat treatment compared with other extermination options
Today, there are several methods available for exterminating bed bugs. As compared to other forms of bed bug treatments, the bed bug heat treatment is non toxic and can kill bed bugs in various stages of their life cycle including their eggs. The only disadvantage of the heat treatment method (with the exception of the home-based heating dryer system used for killing bed bugs from infested clothing) is the fact that it is relatively more expensive compared to other kinds of bed bug treatment options. Additionally, unlike bed bug sprays and powders, the bed bug heat treatment does not have any residual action; hence re-infestation is quite likely unless one repeats the treatment several times over or uses it along with other conventional treatment methods.
Common types of bed bug heat treatment
The bed bug heat treatment is of various types. One can avail of it in the form of steaming, with hot dryers, portable heating chambers as well as larger professional grade heating systems used mainly for entire structures and rooms.
Let us now discuss these common types of bed bug heat treatment along with their pros and cons:
- Clothing dryers- These are ideal for treating infested clothing, bedding etc. This form of bed bug heat treatment is especially useful in places where insecticides cannot be applied such as the inside of socks, beds and mattresses etc. Remember that the thermal killing point of bed bugs is at an average temperature of 118F and above with an exposure time of at least 20 minutes. So, most commercial dryers set on their highest setting can kill all bed bugs in a 30 minute cycle. Some dryers which have a non-tumble dry option can also be used for treating infested leather bags, shoes and even books.
- Portable heating devices- Several manufactures have developed these as part of the bed bug heat treatment options. They mainly consist of portable heat chambers or collapsible duffle bags with removable racks which can be used for placing infested items like clothes, sleeping bags, comforters and even entire packed suitcases. The advantage of these devices, compared to clothing dryer, is the fact that they are portable and can be carried places.
- Steam- Professional pest control companies use steaming as a part of their bed bug heat treatment for treating entire infested rooms. This method is highly effective in treating bed bug infestations inside box springs, upholstery, mattresses, electrical wall outlets, under the carpets, behind baseboards and furniture etc. Steam based bed bug heat treatment is a slow process that must be done meticulously with an exposure rate of 12 inches for every 30 seconds. Additionally, it must be used with other bed bug elimination methods in order to completely target the bugs and their eggs.
- Whole room heating systems- These types of bed bug heat treatment methods consist of superheating the rooms using electric or propane based heating fans. These heat the rooms to temperatures of nearly 135F (taking care that the electronic equipment inside the rooms are not damaged by it). The heating fans blow the heat inside the rooms continuously for 60 minutes. Sensors are also placed inside the rooms in cracks, crevices and hard to reach areas to ensure eliminating all the bugs, nymphs and eggs. The biggest advantage of such whole room based bed bug heat treatment is that one need not remove their belongings from inside the room. It is also highly efficient for treating very large infestations. A disadvantage of the method is that you cannot do this as a DIY project but need to rely on professional pest management companies for the same.
As seen above, there are various types of bed bug heat treatment options that are highly effective in treating infested items as well as entire room infestations quickly and safely. Do note that: in case of older constructions, heat treatments may not be suitable and can damage the property due to formation of heat sinks. If this is the case, the bed bug heat treatment won’t be suitable and one would have no alternative but to use other bed bug extermination solutions.