HEAT TREATMENT OPTIONS
Heat has become the most popular way to kill bed bugs and when used properly can take care of most bed bugs problems quickly and efficiently.
Your home heat resource will not reach a high enough temperature to become lethal for bed bugs. It will only drive up your electric bill. Do not attempt to do this on your own by turning up the heat, or any other “make shift” heat source. People have started fires and exposed themselves to deadly carbon monoxide fumes while attempting to treat their own homes.
Also, placing your items in a bag and setting them outside in the sun does not get hot enough to kill bed bugs and is a waste of time and effort.
CONDUCTIVE AND CONVECTION PROFESSIONAL OPTIONS
Bed bugs don’t hate heat. In fact, they are attracted to us by our body heat and CO2. Heat remediation for insects has been used for many years.
It has been found that heat is one of the most effective ways to kill bed bugs but only when used with precision and accuracy and at the proper temperature. Because of chemical resistance and environmental toxins this non-chemical pest management technique has been growing.
Convection heat is more effective and time efficient than conduction heat. These treatment packages are a costly investment for the pest control industry thus the cost of this treatment can be substantial for the consumer.
Successful heat treatments depend upon highly trained and skilled personnel along with strategic preparation.
ACCELERATED HEAT TRANSFER
Bed bugs are rapidly killed when exposed to high temperatures. The targeted thermal death point for bed bugs during these treatments is between 120-135°F. This temperature is necessary for heat to penetrate bed bug harborages and kill the entire life cycle of bed bugs including eggs. Some items may need to be removed so that they are not damaged (Anything not dishwasher proof has to be removed).
The target goal of a heat treatment is not just to raise the temperature inside a structure to a certain level for a certain number of hours. The true goal of the heat treatment is to kill all the bed bugs in whatever life stage they occur and wherever they may be found.
But in order to do this successfully, all infected areas must be uniformly heated. In order to make sure of this, the operator places heat sensors throughout the dwelling and may re-direct fans in order to raise the temperature for penetration in different areas.
Once the temperature reaches over 100 degrees the bed bugs start to seek out cooler areas so it is important to raise the temperature as fast as possible. A previous drawback with these systems was the time it took to reach those lethal temperatures.
Today there are several companies that have developed far more efficient heat equipment designed specifically for the needs of bed bug elimination.
ADVANTAGES OF HEAT TREATMENT
One of the biggest advantages of heat treatments is that little preparation work is required from the resident (removing and bagging personal items).
Heat is more effective against pathogenic microorganisms.
Most infestations can be eliminated in a single treatment.
Can be used in small areas efficiently
Heat has the advantage as a non-toxic or green technology approach for sensitive environments being less dangerous than chemicals and fumigation techniques.
Heat has a fast turnaround time. (4-8 hours compared to weeks with chemicals)
Because the heat is forced into bedding, mattresses, furniture, wall cavities, it can be more cost effective than chemical alternatives which can often require several treatments and sometimes replacement of furniture and bedding.
There are fewer regulations than associated with chemical treatments or fumigation
Operators can monitor and adjust treatment easier
Bed bugs cannot develop a resistance to heat
PORTABLE/CONTAINED HEAT UNITS
These are some of my personal favourite products and believe that every hotel, hostel, school, library, business and home should have one for those “just in case” and “maybe” situations.
YOUR PROFESSIONAL OPINION
Please share your experiences with heat. Discuss the different types of solutions you've experienced. If you have had both chemical and heat treatments, your opinion on the matter is extremely valuable.
Green Heat Bed Bugs Exterminators, a Toronto based Pest Control Company, uses the Canadian manufactured Heat Assault equipment. This is a conduction based product, and works very well for us. We'd love to know your experiences.
Thank you Denise Donovan!
The information in this article comes from Denise Donovan's book Safe Do It Yourself Treatment Methods.