Heat Treatments (Do They Work?)
When you’ve discovered a bed bug infestation, your first reaction is to destroy every single little blood-sucking pest within range. But pesticides contain a lot of harmful chemicals that are unsafe for both pets and people.
Non-chemical methods for bed bug extermination generally focus on temperature. Bed bugs cannot survive extreme heat or extreme cold. Because it is far more difficult to freeze your home than it is to heat it, heat treatments are now more popular than cold therapies.
But do they work? Let’s find out!
Heat Treatments for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs love a warm and constant temperature of about 70 ̊ Fahrenheit. But their tiny little bodies cannot handle a temperature of 118 ̊ Fahrenheit or higher. For those who are adamantly against the use of pesticides in their home, heat treatment is a great alternative option.
For isolated infestations, you can toss fabrics and bedding into your dryer, turn the settings up to high heat, and run the machine for at least 30 minutes. This will kill all adult bed bugs. But it’s important to note that killing bed bug eggs require a more prolonged dose of heat, typically at least 90 minutes in a high-heat environment.
For heavy infestations that cover several rooms or the entire home, you will either want to contact a professional or rent heating equipment.
Hiring a professional exterminator that already owns or has access to the proper equipment may be more costly than renting the machine yourself. But if you’re unfamiliar with the machinery required, or uncertain of how or where to set it up, it might be better to use the services of a professional.
Success Rate of Heat Treatments for Bed Bugs
When properly attempted, heat treatments are 100% successful in exterminating bed bugs. Professionals that understand the habits of bed bugs are more likely to perform a successful heat treatment than untrained individuals.
If you are determined to perform a heat treatment at home, you must keep in mind that bed bugs will attempt to seek cold, dark areas while you’re blasting the heat.
You can kill 90% of them with a well-coordinated D-I-Y heat treatment, but if you do not catch the adults that creep underneath your mattress or refrigerator, you may find yourself back at square one in a few weeks.
To remedy this situation, professional exterminators will raise the ambient temperature of your home to 140 ̊ Fahrenheit or higher. It is dangerous to remain indoors while this process is taking place. All pets, plants, and people should vacate the area until the heat treatment has concluded.
Luckily, these high temps can kill adult bed bugs and their eggs in as little as 90 minutes. You can easily schedule an appointment or attempt extermination in this amount of time, leaving you to enjoy the rest of your day.
How Many Heat Treatments to Kill Bed Bugs?
There are a few heat treatments that you can use to destroy your bed bug infestation. Some are more effective than others. From most to least efficient, they are:
- Professional Heat Treatment
- Drying Your Bedding
- Steam Cleaning Everything
Professional heat treatments are conducted using high-tech heating equipment specifically designed for pest control. This equipment is the best option when dealing with heavy infestation.
Using a high-heat dryer to rid your bedding of bed bugs is excellent for isolated infestation. When coupled with a pesticide, you can free your bed of most adult and juvenile bed bugs. The eggs may still become a problem, especially if they are resistant to the type of pesticide used.
A handheld steam cleaner is an excellent solution for cleaning bedding, cushions, and upholstery. The combination of water, heat, and suction all contribute to the destruction of bed bugs. However, there’s no way to steam clean the eggs into oblivion.
Though there are a few options for heat treatments, using a professional service or renting professional heating equipment is the most fool-proof way to exterminate your bed bugs and ensure that they don’t return.
What Are Heat Treatments Used for Besides Bed Bugs?
Heat treatments are not only great for getting rid of bed bugs. Humans have been using heat for centuries to aid in dozens of activities.
People use heat treatment for their wide range of physical benefits and effects, which include:
- Muscle relaxation.
- Increased circulation.
- A decrease in stress.
- Detoxification via sweat.
- Weight loss.
Saunas, which have existed for the last 10,000 years, are excellent examples of human-centered heat treatments.
Besides, people have been using heat to treat metals and plastics for as long as we’ve known of their existence. Heat makes metals malleable and soft, allowing them to be shaped into various objects. High temperatures also make hard plastics soft and gooey, which is the perfect state in which to mold them.
Without heat treatments, we wouldn’t be as technologically advanced as we are today!
Frequently Asked Questions
A heat treatment typically takes between six and eight hours, depending on the condition of the area being treated. Bed bugs and eggs die within 90 minutes at 118°F (48°C) or immediately at 122°F (50°C). During a heat treatment, the air temperature in the room is typically between 135°F (57.2°C) and 145°F (62.7 °C).
The length of time a heat treatment takes depends on the condition of the area. Bed bugs exposed to 113°F will die if they receive constant exposure to that temperature for 90 minutes or more. However, they will die within 20 minutes if exposed to 118°F. Interestingly, bed bug eggs must be exposed to 118°F for 90 minutes to reach 100% mortality.
Yes. Heat is non-toxic, and can kill all bed bug life stages including bed bug eggs. If they receive constant exposure to 113°F for 90 minutes or more, bed bugs will die. However, they will die within 20 minutes if exposed to 118°F.
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