Bed bugs are one of the most frustrating pests to deal with in your home. Not only do they produce a painful, itchy bite, but they’re also incredibly hard to get rid of once they’ve infested the house. They’re very good at hiding and are incredibly small, so you may not notice that you have a bed bug problem until they’ve completely taken over your home.
One of the ways to get rid of bed bugs is with a heat treatment. Heat treatments can be effective if the right steps are taken and future prevention is taken seriously. Knowing how heat treatments work can help you decide if they’re right for your home.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The Benefits of Heat Treatments for Bed Bugs
- How To Prepare for Heat Treatment
- Pros and Cons of Heat Treatment
- What Other Treatments Kill Bed Bugs
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Heat Treatments for Bed Bugs
Bed bug heat treatment is done by placing specially designed electric heaters into the affected space and using heat to raise the temperature enough to kill the pests. Bed bugs and their eggs will die at a temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and if the home can be brought up to this temperature, the bugs will be eliminated. When heat treatment is performed, technicians bring the temperature to at least 135 degrees to ensure all the bugs and their eggs are killed.
During a heat treatment, thermometers are placed around the home so a technician can be sure that the correct temperature is reached. It will usually take between six and eight hours to fully remove all the bed bugs. These treatments, when done correctly, can be incredibly effective. However, your home has to be properly prepared for it to work.
How to Prepare for Heat Treatment
One of the most important things to remember with bed bug heat treatment is that your home will be exposed to very high heat. Any objects that are fragile or will be sensitive to heat must be removed, and this includes things like oil paintings, pets, and some plastic items.
While some items will need to be removed, it’s even more important that you leave other things in the house. Furniture, mattresses, clothing, certain electronics, and linens must be kept in place while administering the treatment. If you remove something while your home is being treated and then bring it back into the house, you could be reintroducing the bed bugs with an infested item. The pest control professional you hire will tell you how to completely prepare for the treatment.
Pros and Cons of Heat Treatment
- No Pesticides – One of the major benefits of heat treatment for bed bugs is that you don’t have to introduce any harmful pesticides to your home. While some insecticides may be needed around the barriers of the house, they’re going to be much less prevalent than they are in some other treatments.
- Fast Results – Most heat treatments can be done in one day. However, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your home to ensure that bed bugs aren’t coming back after the treatment is finished. Otherwise, it will need to be done again.
- Eco-friendly – Heat treatment is very eco-friendly. Since it doesn’t use any pesticides, you can be sure that you aren’t harming the ecosystem around your home.
- No Residual Effects – Since heat treatments are a one-time procedure, they won’t offer any residual pest control effects. You’ll need to be very vigilant about making sure bed bugs don’t come back after the treatment is done.
- Can Damage Home – While a pest control professional will help you prepare, it’s still possible that damage to your home or the heat-sensitive items in it could occur. The temperature will be very high in your house, and this could potentially cause issues.
- Not for Large Areas – The larger your home is, the harder it will be to heat up to the right temperature. If you need to treat a large, open area, heat treatments might not be the best option.
What Other Treatments Kill Bed Bugs?
While heat treatment can be an effective way to remove bed bugs with the help of a pest control technician, there are other ways to get rid of these pests.
Insecticide treatment methods can eliminate bed bugs, but they may take two to three visits to fully take hold. However, they can be more effective since they will also include chemical treatments to keep bed bugs from coming back into the house. This means that you can be certain you won’t be faced with another infestation after the treatment is done.
The insecticide will be applied to all infested areas of your home, including baseboards, surfaces, the insides of furniture and box springs, and all the cracks and crevices in the house.
The best defense against bed bugs in your home is prevention. When you travel, always put your clothes and luggage in the dryer for at least an hour to give them their own mini-heat treatment. If you can, apply heat directly whenever possible.
You should also do regular checks of your clothing and bedding for bed bugs. Look for reddish-brown spots or any bites that could be related to a bed bug infestation. Get help immediately if you notice any possible signs.
The best defense against bed bugs in your home is prevention.
When you travel, always put your clothes and luggage in the dryer for at least an hour to give them their own mini-heat treatment. If you can, apply heat directly whenever possible.
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Protect Yourself With Bed Bug Heat Treatments
Heat treatments can be a great, low-impact way to get rid of bed bugs in your home. If you don’t want to use any insecticides, scheduling a heat treatment may be your best option. As long as you prepare your home and prevent bed bugs from coming back, it will be as effective as any other type of treatment option.
As with any pest, your best option is to make sure bed bugs don’t make it into your home in the first place. If you’re vigilant about checking, you should be able to catch them and get help before the infestation becomes unmanageable.