- How Does Heat Work to Kill Bed Bugs?
- At What Temperature Do Bed Bugs Die?
- WIll A Heat Treatment Spread Bed Bug Infestations?
- What Does a Heat Treatment Entail?
- What Are My Options?
- Debug Your Bed
Heat treatments for bed bugs are a very effective way to combat bed bug infestations. Heat will kill every stage of the bed bug life cycle, including the eggs. Other treatments such as chemicals and bombs only kill the live bugs but not the eggs. This is problematic when trying to eliminate bed bugs.
How Does Heat Work to Kill Bed Bugs?
Bed bug heat treatments effectively kill bed bugs by drying them out and disabling them. Even if a bug does not die in an initial heat treatment, it is common for them to die within 30 days of the treatment. This is because they are damaged beyond repair. They may still be able to feed on humans, but they are not capable of reproducing and will eventually die. After we perform bed bug heat treatments, we recommend that if a live bug is found that it is saved and watched for 30 days. These bed bugs usually die within that time frame due to the intensity of the heat that has injured them.
At What Temperature Do Bed Bugs Die?
Bed bugs will die when exposed to temperatures of at least 113⁰F over a period of several hours. Once the temperature increases to over 118 ⁰F the kill time decreases to several minutes. With the high heat and the temperatures rising, the time needed to die inversely decreases. When we are performing a bed bug treatment, we wait until the rooms are well over 120 ⁰F before we start moving items.
We move items around to make sure all areas are exposed to the hot air. During bed bug heat treatments, when we move the mattresses, we will often see bed bugs crawling on top of the box spring. However, they usually die within a minute as they are quickly exposed to high temperatures. They get disoriented and walk around in circles before their life comes to an end.
Will A Heat Treatment Spread the Bed Bug Infestation?
Thermal bed bug treatments for bed bugs will not spread bed bugs. Usually, the heat will draw out the bed bugs from hiding. They mistakenly think a body is present when the temperature starts to rise. Once the lethal temperature is reached and the bugs are exposed to the hot air, it is too late for them to leave for another area in the home. And bed bugs are actually quite lazy and don’t move locations unless they are in search of food.
What Does A Heat Treatment Entail?
We have two different methods of heat treatments that we utilize to kill bed bugs. The first one involves electrical heaters. We use electric heaters when treating a smaller area or just a few rooms. We set up the heater and use fans to create a convectional airflow in the room. Our electric heaters are thermostatically controlled so we set the temperature to between 140-145⁰F and let them run for 24 hours. It takes about 4-6 hours for the air to reach the desired temperature of 118⁰F. Then we leave the heaters and fans running for an additional 18 hours so that the heat can permeate all areas and objects in the room.
The second method for killing bed bugs with a heat treatment is intended for large spaces, such as an entire home (or small spaces without enough electrical power). For these areas, we use our propane heaters, which stay outside the home. The hot air is then vented into the treatment area through large circular tubes. Electric fans are utilized to circulate the hot air within the house. Once the treatment area has reached lethal temperatures, we then go in and start moving furniture and items in order to expose all areas to the heat. This method is faster and hotter but does require active participation to ensure the bed bugs are killed successfully.
Heat sensitive items should be removed from the treatment area after a careful inspection. See List of Heat Sensitive Items
What Are My Options?
At Debug Your Bed, we have two options for heat treatments to kill bed bugs. The first option is to have us perform the heat treatment. This is optimal if you have a large area that needs to be treated or if you are unsure about electrical circuits. We use a propane heater to ensure that the large space is thoroughly heated.
Using the electric heaters is not as simple as just plugging them in anywhere. Each electrical heater requires a minimum of three different electrical circuits, so knowledge of your circuit panel is necessary. In each of these two scenarios, we will provide you with a small list of preparation that is needed prior to the heat treatment. This is just simply to remove items that are combustible or could be damaged in high temperatures, such as aerosol cans or candles. READ MORE