Not much is worse than having bed bugs in your home. They crawl into your bed, get inside all of your clothes, and they’re altogether very difficult to get rid of.
Most people’s first reaction is to trash everything the bugs might have gotten into. Then they’ll look into bug bomb options or some other chemical.
But there is one other bed bug solution out there that won’t involve poisonous materials: a heat treatment.
Here are some things to know if you’re considering treating bed bugs with heat.
Do You Have Bed Bugs?
First, you need to determine if you actually have bed bugs in the first place. The easiest way is to examine your mattress and see if you can find visible traces in the corners or in nearby fabrics.
But even if you don’t see them, there are warning signs you should know about.
For one, bed bug bites or bed bug droppings are a big clue that there might be an infestation. You might notice these things after recently traveling or exposing yourself to someone who has bed bugs.
A big red flag is a big red blot on your bed, courtesy of a smashed bed bug. Since they feed on human blood, they leave blood spots when killed.
What Bed Bug Solution to Choose
Homeowners looking to avoid chemical treatments tend to turn to safer home remedies.
Vacuuming up bugs and disposing of them outside is a common tactic utilized for various infestations, including fleas. Washing all clothes and bedding is also effective at killing bugs hiding inside of them.
There are also recommendations to use diatomaceous earth against bed bugs, as they have proven effective in dealing with other infestations. However, diatomaceous earth is hazardous for your lungs, and vacuuming and washing your bedding is bound to miss bugs around your home.
Instead, one of the most effective ways pest control companies deal with this issue is by killing bed bugs with heat.
Pros and Cons of a Heat Treatment
There are pros and cons to everything, and that includes effective heat treatment. Even though chemical treatments are not the most effective, they can be a necessary alternative in certain cases.
As a bed bug solution, heat is 100% eco-friendly. Because it doesn’t use any toxic chemicals or gases, your home will be completely safe to return to.
Heat is not only effective at killing all stages of bed bugs but it also only requires one treatment visit. Alternatively, a chemical treatment can take days, with multiple treatments over a series of weeks.
As such, the preparation is also much easier, because you won’t have to redo it multiple times.
Most of the time, heat alone can fully eradicate a bed bug inspection due to its ability to penetrate walls and belongings. Plus, the bugs won’t build up a chemical resistance over time.
The biggest drawback of this form of treatment is its cost. Prices for heat or thermal treatment tend to run between $1 and $3 per square foot.
The average homeowner could find themselves spending as much as $4,000, and apartments could spend about $2,000 depending on the sizes. By contrast, chemical treatments cost between $100 to $500 per room, which could end up being a much more affordable option.
Heating equipment is also less discreet than more conventional treatments. They’re less effective for treating small infestations than chemicals combined with mattress encasements, HEPA vacuums, and other direct treatment options.
Preparing for a Bed Bug Heat Treatment
When dealing with any kind of infestation, there are some steps to preparing your home.
With thermal bed bug treatments, you want to remove anything susceptible to heat, such as wax products, house plants, ammunition, and pressurized cans. Anything that can explode, melt, or catch on fire should be gone.
Valuable belongings should be removed, and electronics all unplugged. Items hung on the walls should be taken down so the heat can penetrate the walls effectively.
Lastly, you’ll want to clean up as much clutter as you can and vacuum the floors. Loose items can get tossed around and damaged by fans that exterminators use, and clutter can lessen the efficacy of the treatment.
No one should be home during the process, and residents should remain outside of the structure for up to two hours afterward.
How to Kill Bed Bugs With Heat Yourself
There are ways to utilize heat treatment yourself in a localized setting. For example, you can place items such as shoes and blankets into a hot box and use sustained heat to kill bed bugs.
A dryer can be used for clothing and fabrics, but not everything can be put inside of one. The lethal temperature for bed bugs is between 117 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Steam is another form of heat that works against bed bugs, but it’s not meant to penetrate materials deeply. If steaming doesn’t work, the infestation is likely worse than you previously thought.
If you’re on the fence about hiring an exterminator for your home, try out these techniques first. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough and kill the infestation before it gets too serious.
Getting Help in the Fight
Even if you do everything right, a bed bug infestation can easily overwhelm you and spread throughout your home. When that happens, no amount of home remedies or steam treatments will be enough to get rid of them.
When all else fails, you need the help of your local exterminator to provide the best bed bug solution.
Custom Bedbug has spent the past five years expanding our bed bug services throughout the Midwest. Currently, we’re available in select areas in Idaho, Utah, Washington, and Oregon. If you’re facing bed bugs, reach out to us to answer your questions, concerns, and we’ll even give you a free service estimate.