How Effective is Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs?

Bed bug infestation is usually an actual nightmare. I am writing this article as someone who has experienced the problem these pests can put you through. They make you wish darkness doesn’t fall and they make nights so long, especially where the infestation is heavy.

The past few decades have seen an increase in reports of bed bugs as the most troublesome insect to humans.

The sad part is that you can never tell when you’ll get an infestations. It doesn’t matter how much precaution you take.

The number of bed bugs in your house can double every 16 days as long as they get a blood meal at night. Just one bed bug finding itself into your house is enough to turn into a big infestation.

Fortunately, I have won the war against bed bugs.

  • This is more like a bed bug heat treatment review.
  • We will review the pros and cons of using heat treatment to kill bed bugs at home.

The truth is that you will need more than a single treatment method to entirely eradicate bed bugs. This is not a process that will occur overnight as some of the insects hide in places that are difficult to reach with regular treatment methods.

How Effective is Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs?

Heat treatment for bed bugs is approximately 95% effective because a temperature of 130°F or 54°C will kill them immediately. Heat treatment lacks 100% success rate because it does not have a residual effect and some bed bugs could hide in crevices or insulated items. Some of them have also developed heat resistant exoskeleton.

Therefore, eradicating bed bugs with heat treatment is often a good idea but care must be taken to ensure that none of the insects survive.

Some professionals may even suggest additional treatment if your house had an extremely heavy infestation.

Heat treatment remains one of the fastest was to kill bed bugs today. According to a peer-reviewed journal by Aaron Ashbrook and colleagues, heat can kill all bed bugs in the room with an immediate effectiveness. However, a licensed professional may be involved to ensure the highest level of success, although you can still do it on your own.

How does heat treatment work?

Heat treatment can take two approaches:

  • Steaming
  • Hot water

1. Hot Water

Remember me talking about having experienced bed bugs? It is heat treatment that helped me eradicate the insects after insecticides failed to do anything for me.

  • Note! If you’re scared that soaking your wooden furniture will get damaged, do not use hot water. This method is appropriate if most of your furniture have metallic frames.
  • Hot water treatment is not recommended for seats.

Here are the steps I took.

  1. I started by packing all bedding and cloths into large sealable bags.
  2. I also bought a mattress encasement for my mattress.
  3. Then I took all the bedding and clothes out of the room leaving me with furniture.
  4. I then boiled twenty liters of water.
  5. I removed all carpets and anything that could be damaged by water.
  6. As the water boiled, I fetched some of it and poured it all over the bed frame. Low quality wooden bed frame could get damaged by hot water. So, avoid this approach if you’re not ready for heat marks of scalded surfaces.
  7. I also poured boiling water in crevices and closet joints where I suspected bed bugs could hide.
  8. This was followed by cleaning all the mess caused by water.
  9. After that, I washed all the bedding in hot water too and brought only those that I needed back into the house.
  10. Then I repeated this process a week later.

Why Hot Water Treatment was Effective for Me

  • The method eliminated both bed bug eggs, baby bed bugs, and adult ones.
  • Boiling water is about 100°C in temperature.
  • But bed bug eggs will be killed at 50°C
  • Adult bed bugs will be killed at temperature between 57.2°C – 62.7°C.
    • The temperature of boiling water will kill every bed bug it comes into contact with 100% of the time.

2. Steam Treatment

Using steam to kill bed bugs is the most effective because it causes less damage and has fewer risks. This is according to an analysis by Robert Puckett and colleagues who found that steaming can help get rid of bed bugs in fabrics, cracks, carpets, bed frames, or other types of furniture.

  • A minimum temperature of 130o F (54 degrees Celsius) is required.
  • Steam must not have a forceful flow to avoid scattering bed bugs all over.
  • Using a diffuser can help prevent scattering.

Steam treatment usually requires professionals. Here is how the professional steam treatment is done:

  1. The pest control professionals come with their mobile heating units to your home.
  2. The heating units are connected to electricity. Some of them use propane.
  3. Fans and blowers are moved around the house to ensure uniform distribution of heat.

How Does Heat Treatment of Bed Bugs Work?

The principles of heat treatment for bed bugs requires that the house is heated uniformly at a temperature of about 140 °F. This is above the lethal temperature for both young and mature bed bugs, which is often 125 °F. The heating temperature is then sustained for 3-6 hours depending on the size of your house.

The rising heat of a room, according to some experts, is what attracts bed bugs out of their daytime hiding places.

An adult bed bug (and its eggs) dies promptly when the temperature of their environment surpasses 122 degrees F (50 degrees Celsius).

A highly skilled specialist is required for a successful bed bug heat treatment. Many things in your house such as mattresses, furniture, drywall, and concrete are all great insulators. The treatment of bed bugs will fail if any insect shelter does not get up to the recommended bed bug-killing temperature.

How Much Does Bed Bug Heat Treatment Cost?

Bed bug heat treatment costs approximately $1 – $3 per square foot. Depending on your local pest control companies, the price range can be as low as $500 and as high as $6000. If you need to include inspection fee, you could also add $99-$125 on top of the treatment cost.

Some companies provide heating equipment rental services, as well as those that that provide a heat treatment package that already includes inspection and the actual service for a specified period of time. The price already includes the warranty provided by the company for the service. Some of them offer warranties ranging from 30 days to 90 days, while others might provide warranties up to one year in length.

A week’s rental of heating equipment may cost as little as $400 for a 2-day rental and as much as $750 for a week’s rental depending on the rented equipment. The use of heat treatment equipment is an excellent option if you are well-versed in its operation and have previous experience heat-treating a room or a house.

Using a Heat Chamber for Furniture 

Many pieces of furniture are designed and constructed in such a way that bed insect harborages are unreachable. Consider using a heat chamber if you can’t reach portions of the furniture to treat with chemicals, steam, vacuum, or Cryonite.

Heat chambers come in a variety of sizes.

Some of the smaller ones are intended for domestic usage and will suit your luggage.

Some pest control firms offer larger heat chambers in which a piece (or several pieces) of furniture can be placed.

After that, the heating chamber is heated to a temperature that kills bed bugs. This is a great solution for furniture that is extremely tough to reach.

Can You Use Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs on Your Own?

Yes, you can use heat treatment on your own to treat bed bugs because it is generally safe. While renting equipment and doing whole-house heat treatment as a DIY project is technically conceivable, it is not recommended. There are numerous things that could just go wrong.

Professionals have the knowledge and equipment to ensure that the temperature in every room of the house is lethal.

You run the danger of missing areas of the house if you do it yourself. In the long term, even one cold region in the house can render the entire heat treatment ineffective.

Your exterminator may recommend the use of pesticides in conjunction with heat treatment in some cases. Heat treatments, on the other hand, are generally effective on their own.

What are the Pros of Bed Bug Heat Treatment?

  • Similarly, excessive heat can damage electronics and sensitive goods. This session will take approximately 8 hours to complete. Heat kills bed bugs rapidly and effectively, but there is no lasting effect.
  • Any bed bug that may randomly appear from another section of the house can restart the infestation unless a residual insecticide is sprayed in conjunction with the heat.
  • With a traditional chemical bed bug treatment, you would have to wait weeks until the infestation is eradicated. If the heat treatment is done correctly, you should be bedbug-free the next day.
    • The service takes about 8 hours and necessitates the use of specialist heaters, blowers, and temperature monitors.
  • Hot air will usually rise, thus fans are employed to circulate it so that the entire room achieves the bed bug killing temperature. One advantage of this treatment is that you don’t have to look for bed bug hiding places and risk missing a portion of the infestation.
    • All bed bugs exposed to this intense temperatures will no longer remain alive.
  • Heat treatments are a quick, non-toxic therapy for bed bugs, but they are not without flaws. In general, the most expensive method for bed bug treatment is a whole-room heat treatment.
  • Heat therapies, like Cryonite bedbug treatments, have no residue against reinfestation. For optimal protection, most pest control firms recommend combining a residual spray, mattress and box spring encasements, and active monitoring with heat treatment.

Cons of Bed Bug Heat Treatment

  • In most cases, heat treatments fail to completely kill bed bugs due to technician error. While most of heat treatments today are advanced and are successful, they do occasionally fail.
  • Heat treatment is inefficient for large rooms. Many criteria must be considered before considering whether heat treatment is acceptable for the contaminated region. Heat treatments are more effective in small rooms with low ceilings.
  • It is difficult to expose all areas to high temperatures. Concrete absorbs a significant quantity of heat, affecting heat distribution to other sections of the space. If these parameters are not adequately accounted for, the room will not attain the temperature required to kill the bed bugs.
  • Bed bugs can move to other safer places. Some experts believe that rising room temperatures cause bed bugs to emerge from their hiding places. However, performing heat treatment in an improper way has been documented and shown to force bed bugs further away, for instance, into the attic, and that can make them much more challenging to eradicate.
  • Steamers are expensive. Majority of professional pest control firms use steam in their bed bug treatments. Professional-grade steamers that pest control organizations use today produce steam at temperatures above 212°F. At 122°F, bed bugs and their eggs perish. These steamers, however, are exceedingly expensive.
  • The heat from the steam can penetrate a few inches into a particular surface such as the mattress, as well as furniture cracks and crevices. This means that only bed bugs that come into direct contact with the steam will be exterminated.
  • If steam is your sole treatment option, it will need to be done meticulously numerous times until you have gone 30 days without seeing any evidence of bed bugs.
  • No residual protection. A steam-only treatment, just like all the other non-chemical treatments, leaves no residual protection.  By using a steam-only treatment, you have no protection against future bed bug infestations. Steam should be used with caution near electrical outlets and gadgets, as it can damage the surface of some furniture.
  • Other approaches will still be required. As a result, we propose utilizing steam in conjunction with a residual chemical treatment, encasing your mattress and box springs, and installing traps/monitors beneath the legs of your furniture.

Using Steamers to Kill Bed Bugs

Steamers are a good option between using a hot box and getting a whole-house treatment. Steamers are equipped with nozzles that may be directed at various surfaces throughout your home, delivering extremely hot, high-pressure steam.

A steamer, unlike a hot box, can be used on both surfaces and objects in the home.

It is less expensive than a whole-house treatment and may be tailored to areas where bed bugs are most likely to live, such as around your bed frame, mattress, and flooring.

It’s critical to choose a steamer that has both high heat combined with high steam pressure. Only bed bugs that come into contact with the heated steam will perish. A low-pressure steamer won’t get into the deep crevices where they hide and lay eggs.

You can give yourself a steam treatment by heating the steamer and directing it at beds, carpets, clothing, furniture, and potential numerous cracks. To avoid harm from the extremely hot steam, wear protective clothing and eyewear. It’s also a good idea to tidy your house ahead of time so that there aren’t any hiding places.

Steaming is an efficient and cost-effective approach to eliminate light bed insect infestations, and it may even be used to cure your car. However, because it isn’t as effective as whole-house treatment, serious infestations will still necessitate the assistance of a pest control professional.

Installing bed bug traps around your bed frame is a cheap approach to monitor your bed insect infestation and ensure it isn’t a greater problem than you believe.

These traps can prevent bed bugs from climbing up onto your bed and biting you, as well as letting you know if you still have bed bugs in the room.

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