Bed Bug Heat Treatments

So you think you have bed bugs? Sorry to hear it. Time to call in the professionals!

Those nocturnal blood-sucking bugs are guaranteed to get you and your family members itching.

Bed bug infestations are a nightmare insect to get rid of. In this guide, we will give advice and information on bed bug heat treatments, and how to avoid it happening again.

Signs of bed bugs

You need to be sure you have bed bugs so that the right treatment is being used for the infestation.

Listed below are some sure signs of bed bugs.

Feces

  • Yes, we are sorry to say, but those reddish-brown marks on your sheets are probably bed bug feces.

Smears of blood

  • Red smears on the sheets could be spilt blood from a greedy bed bug feeding in the night.

Bed bug shell cases

  • When a bed bug feeds, it grows. As it does so, it needs a bigger shell, so the old empty one is shed and gets left in your bed.

Musty smells

  • Bed bugs produce a musty smell from their scent glands. If you notice this smell, it could be the signs of a large infestation in one or more rooms of the house.

Bites

  • Bed bugs generally feed at night. In the morning, you may notice red itchy welts on the skin, usually on the top half of the body. Bites may not be obvious straight away.
  • When a bed bug bites, it releases an anticoagulant to improve blood flow, and an anesthetic so you do not feel the bites.
  • Your body reacts to the saliva from the bed bug, and this is when the itching and swelling of the bitten area starts to irritate you.
  • Try not to scratch them as this could lead to infection.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or take an antihistamine. Calamine lotion can help. All are available from the drug store.
  • If the bite becomes very swollen, seek medical attention as it could be due to a severe reaction.

What does a bed bug look like?

Bed bugs are the size of a grain of rice, reddish-brown in color, looking redder after a blood meal.

They are flat and oval which allows them to crawl through tiny gaps.

Bed bugs cannot fly, but can crawl quickly in a short amount of time.

Bed bugs are able to hide in tiny crevices and have developed immunity to a lot of chemical insecticides.

Do they live in my bed?

Bed bugs like to be near their food source. When they are not feeding, they can be found in the folds and seams of the mattress, box spring, headboard, behind baseboards, inside furniture, and cracks and crevices of walls in the room.

The pests will return to your bed when they need a blood meal.

How much does heat treatment cost?

The cost of heating the house will depend on how many rooms there are to be treated and the layout.

Also, the cost is affected by where you live, as areas with high demand tend to be more expensive.

On average, look to pay $300 per room, $1,500 – $2,000 for a whole house.

How does bed bug heat treatment work?

Heat treatments are one of the best methods to get rid of bed bugs. A heat treatment will kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs.

Heat treatments are a generally chemical-free way to get rid of these insects. Sometimes a chemical will be used alongside the heating of the house.

Heat treatments can treat furniture, ceilings, some electronics, flooring, walls, and fabrics.

It should only take one visit and around 90 minutes to kill a bed bug, although the entire process will take a few hours.

Eggs can not be killed by a chemical; heat will though.

You can search online for heat treatment services for bed bugs in your area. Look for a company that offers guaranteed results. Some offer a guarantee that lasts 5 months, and if they do it is worth giving them a call.

Find a professional pest management company that will offer a guarantee of same-day eradication in their services.

Most customers want immediate treatments put in place to get rid of bed bugs. Customers are often upset about the pests, so make sure the service company knows how bad the infestation is.

This method must be performed by qualified technicians. Check with the pest management company about qualifications.

For a bed bug heat treatment to work, the room or entire property must be heated to above 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The air temperature will be around 130 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat treatments involve the use of equipment in the form of large heaters and fans to circulate the hot air and the heat, with heating units being powered by a heat trailer outside. They are too powerful to be run off household mains.

It can be one of the quickest methods of insect control, the complete process taking around 5 hours to 6 hours to kill and get rid of bed bugs and eggs.

The rooms will be remotely monitored for the temperature to make sure it is hot enough to kill bed bugs. Other insects may be killed during the treatments, like cockroaches.

Cold spots in the home will not kill bed bugs. A good pest control expert will monitor and control the cold spots carefully. If not, the bed bugs will carry on as usual.

People who have reported bed bugs returning have either had poor service from a company, or they have reintroduced them back into the home themselves.

A residual insecticide may be used outside of the house to prevent further infestations, as heat treatments do not have any residual effect.

Preparation for heat treatment

When you contact a service company, the technicians will go through what you need to do. Below, we will give you an idea of what to expect.

While a bed bug heat treatment for the infestation is being done, you, your pets, and your family must stay out of the property until the entire process is over.

Fish will need to be removed from the home.

Please do not be tempted to get rid of your mattress from the property. By doing so, you could spread the infestation to other rooms.

The same goes for furniture and clothes. Unless very delicate, they can be heat treated.

Delicate items you cannot heat treat are photos, artworks, plants, and cosmetics. The temperature will be too high for them.

Items to place in plastic bags to avoid damage

Some items will need to be put in sealed bags for the technician to check. Items to be bagged would be:

  • Crayons and candles.
  • Cosmetics.
  • Soda bottles, fire extinguishers, and other pressurized containers.
  • Flammable items like fireworks, firelighters, lamp oil, and solvents.
  • Alcohol.
  • Firearms and ammunition.
  • Wooden musical instruments.
  • Photos and artworks.
  • Chocolate and other melting foods.

Will a hot box kill bed bugs?

The hot box will reach temperatures above 122 degrees Fahrenheit, which is suitable for shoes, blankets, and luggage.

This method must be used correctly, as it can cause fires and damage to items if they are too close to the heat source.

Can I rent heaters to use myself?

You can rent heaters daily yes, but it will cost around $250 a day. You will need to check on the heat, ensuring the temperature remains consistent, and this could take a few hours.

They are suitable for hotels, motels, and a single room. You can look online for this service.

Can I get rid of bed bugs with the heat from a hairdryer?

A hairdryer will kill a bed bug, however, the hairdryer will need to heat and make direct contact for 30 seconds at least.

For killing bugs, bed bugs need to have heat applied at the same time as all the others in the room to have good pest control results.

In short, this method to treat a bed bug infestation is very time consuming and not very effective.

Vacuum

Vacuum well in every room in the house, vacuum all of the mattress, its seams and folds, the box spring, headboard, baseboards, and furniture.

This will help get rid of a lot of bed bugs and eggs.

When you empty the vacuum cleaner, put the contents in a bag and seal it and throw it away in the trash.

Launder

Launder and tumble dry all clothing and bedding at high temperatures, before the bed bug heat treatment takes place. This is an effective method and will get rid of bed bugs and eggs.

Seal the clothes and bedding in a bag until the bed bug heat treatment is complete.

The freezer

Like heat, extreme cold can be a good form of pest control. Bed bugs can survive the cold up to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bed bugs must be kept in the freezer for at least 4 days to kill them. Keep an eye on the temperature with a thermometer, as the middle of the clothing may not be cold enough to kill the insects.

Place infected items in bags and seal them, and place them in the freezer for at least 4 days to treat the insects.

Professional freezing

If you want to try this method, call some companies and get some quotes.

A pest control professional kills bed bugs by freezing them using equipment that freezes carbon dioxide, the icy particles are lethal to bed bugs.

This pest control method does not damage clothes, bed linen etc., or involve a chemical, making it an effective method to use on the pests.

Chemicals to kill bed bugs

When using chemicals, it is not as fast-acting as heat treatments.

There are many different types of products available to kill bed bugs, with varying prices. Click here to find out more.

If you or someone else in your family is sensitive to chemicals it is probably best to kill bed bugs with heat only.

Commercial steamers

Professional steam cleaning is a great treatment for bed bugs, as heat treatments kill bed bugs.

The water reaches high temperatures over 122 Fahrenheit, and this high heat will also kill eggs and larvae.

Technicians will come to your house with machinery for steaming and treat all of the areas required. A chemical will not be used, only steam to treat the infestation.

DIY steam cleaning

It is worth investing in your own steam cleaner so long as the heat reaches very high temperatures that kill bed bugs and kills eggs and larvae. The steam will also kill a lot of bacteria. Very useful in this day and age!

The steam cleaner will reach a temperature above 122 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best used on clothing, box springs, bed frames, pillows, and mattresses.

Caution should be taken when children and pets are around due to the high heat.

Prevention against being infested

Bed bugs are good at hitchhiking and will crawl inside your luggage and come back with you to your house. Then the pest will start its own infestation.

With this in mind, you should check the place you are staying in for bed bugs. Search online for reviews about the places you will stay in. If bed bugs are mentioned, it is probably best to stay away.

Check the mattress along all the seams and folds, box spring, headboard, carpet, and bedding for any signs of insects.

Do not put your luggage on the floor; use the rack in the room. This should hopefully avoid bed bugs getting in your luggage.

If you find traces of the pest, report it to the manager so that pest control can be given a call, and leave the place.

When you return home, place all clothes, even unworn items, in the laundry and wash and dry at a high temperature.

Vacuum the luggage bag just to be sure there are none inside it.

Remember to launder your hat and coat, scarf, and gloves.

If someone comes to stay with you, check the room they have stayed in after they leave for bed bugs. You never know if they may have brought some of the horrible insect with them.

Once the bed bugs have gone, buy a mattress encasement. This will prevent and trap any bed bugs. Bed bugs trapped inside cannot feed and will starve to death. They are not very expensive. Click here to find out more.

And finally,

Bed bug heat treatments do work very well and without the need for chemicals. We hope you have found the information and advice helpful on getting rid of this irritating insect. It can be expensive, but the results are worth it.

Check out the rest of our website for other helpful tips and advice on pests and how to control insects and other vermin.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

Good luck

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. 

Read more here.

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