This is probably one of the more difficult challenges in life to deal with. The realization of a bed bug infestation affects every part of your life during the ordeal. The last thing you expected was to get bed bugs, and now it's the only thing on your mind.
Perhaps you've come to the conclusion that you need a heat treatment. Bed Bug Heat Treatment has been accepted as the best way to kill bed bugs by many industry professionals. The information we provide in this article will help you prepare for your heat treatment.
You may have heard that there is less involved in preparing for a heat treatment. In some cases, this is true. You will certainly spend less time laundering your clothes (required for chemical treatments). The process from the beginning of your preparation to end of your bed bug infestation will be weeks less than a chemical treatment. However, there are many steps that must be followed in order to guarantee a successful eradication of your bed bug infestation by way of heat.
There are two main categories in our preparation. First, there are a number of items that need to be removed from the treatment area. Second, there are a number of steps to ensure that your dwelling is free of clutter so the hot air circulation can successfully penetrate the treatment area.
Removal of items from the treatment area
All plants need to be removed from the treatment area. Certain types of tropical or cactus plants may be exempt from this requirement. If in doubt, remove all live plants.
All pets need to be removed from the treatment area during the heat process. Please arrange for pet sitting well ahead of time. This includes hamsters, reptiles and/or any other pet you may have.
Fish tanks require special attention. There are some unique procedures that may be discussed with your local pest control professional. However, there is a possibility that the silicon seal on your tank becomes compromised by the intense heat. Be prepared to remove your fish tank.
Cans of paint can be stored in your garage or other areas that may not be subject to heat treatment. They must be removed during the heating process.
Food items such as carbonated beverages, peanut butter, cooking oil, chocolate, wine and liquor are all subject to high heat conditions. These can be stored in your fridge, wine cellar, garage or other areas outside of the treatment zone.
Wax products such as crayons, candles, lipstick, deodorant and cosmetics need to be removed.
Crocs and plastic shoes have a tendency to warp. These need to be removed.
Plastic wood blinds may warp out of shape during the treatment. The weight of the hanging blind, while exposed to high heat, may cause damage. Not all blinds are subject to this type of damage. Speak with your local pest control expert for more information. These blinds should remain in the treatment zone, since blinds can be a bed bug harbour. They need to be closed and placed on a counter, floor or flat surface during the treatment.
Medicines and vitamins can be stored in your fridge or other safe areas outside of the treatment zone. Please consult with your pharmacist for proper storage instructions.
Batteries need to be removed from the treatment zone. Please leave all children's toys and remote controls in the treatment zone.
vinyl records audio and video tape are subject to heat. If you have a record collection, these must be removed from the treatment zone.
Oil paintings and acrylics are subject to damage during high heat exposure. We have a separate article discussing how to prepare sensitive items for heat treatment. We suggest all such items be removed from the treatment zone. Please be sure to discuss this with your heat treatment specialist.
Hanging picture frames may fall during a heat treatment. The glue holding the backing to the frame may become compromised during the treatment, causing the frame to fall and crash. These frames need to stay in the treatment zone. However you need to take them off the wall and place them on a flat surface. Not all picture frames have backings held on by glue, so not all pictures frames need to be taken off the wall. Talk to your pest control expert.
Oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, aerosol cans, lighters or any other combustible item must be removed from the treatment zone.
Ammunition needs to be removed from the treatment zone.
Collectable items such as stamps or comic books need to be removed from the home. Please see our Heat Treatment Preparation for sensitive items article.
Musical instruments are subject to damage during prolonged exposure to extreme heat. Instrument cases should be left in the home during treatment. Any instruments being removed from the home during treatment need to be carefully inspected before re-entry to the home. Follow our sensitive items guide and re-entry guide for instructions.
Treatment Zone Preparation
Clothes Piles need to be no more than 3 inches deep. Hot air must be able to circulate around, and through your clothes to ensure any bed bugs are properly exposed to lethal temperatures. Deep piles of clothes may act as an insulator.
Clutter must be reduced, if not eliminated. Overcrowded rooms, clothes closets, dressers, linen closets or any other area in the treatment zone is the number one reason why a treatment may be unsuccessful. We cannot stress how important this is.
Books, especially is read in bed, need to remain in the treatment zone. Do not take these with you during the treatment. If you have a large collection of books on a shelf, please arrange the books so proper air flow can penetrate them. We recommend flipping every second book on its spine.
Paperwork needs to be stored appropriately. Due to the nature of the heat treatment, hi-speed air is circulated through your home, and these papers can be blown all over your home. These papers are subject to bed bugs, so they need to stay in the treatment zone. However, please secure them using a paper weight.
Luggage that has travelled with you recently needs to remain in the treatment zone. All clothing items must be removed from the luggage. Leave the luggage open, standing in upright position, in the treatment zone. Do not keep clothes in your luggage.
Large wardrobes need to be reduced. If you have an over crowded closet or dresser drawers, the extra clothing must be laundered and bagged during treatment. In our 50 things you should know about bed bugs, we talk about drying all clothes first, and then completing a wash and dry cycle. It is important that you dry these clothes items on high heat for 60 minutes first, and then bag them and seal them. Remove these items from the treatment zone.
Bed linens should remain in the treatment zone for the treatment. Please do not attempt to take these to the laundry room before the treatment. You are risking the further spread of bed bugs throughout your home. Please leave them on your bed for the treatment.
NOTE: If you require medication during the day, please take all of this with you, as you will most likely not be permitted in the home during the heat treatment.
Mobile Heat Treatment
This is a thorough list, but we value your input. Have you added extra items to your list? Or, have you had damage to any items during a heat treatment. Please let us know by commenting below. Thanks for reading!