Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs: Effectiveness and Efficiency


Perhaps you have already heard or read that bed bugs cannot stand the light and certain smells. It is exactly the reason why they feast on your blood only early in the morning, and some essential oils are considered as home remedies.

There is another thing that those pesky bed bugs cannot tolerate. It is none other than heat. And now you may be wondering if heat treatment is effective for putting your bed bug infestation at home to an end.

So, is heat treatment for bed bugs effective?

Bed bugs die when exposed to temperatures of at least 113°F (45°C). Professional heat treatment exposes bed bugs to temperatures of 140°F (60°C) for three to six hours for the best results. Some household items, such as irons and hairdryers, can also terminate bed bugs, but they are less effective.

When it comes to heat treatment for bed bugs, you have a couple of choices: contacting professional exterminators and going for the DIY approach. Each one comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Knowing them lets you make the right decision, which is essential for dealing with a bed bug infestation for good. Read on to know some of the most important matters that you need to know about heat treatment for bed bugs, professionally and on your own.

Why Heat Treatment Works Best

Just like what the name suggests, heat treatment works by exposing bed bugs to high temperatures, which they cannot stand. Too much heat, which is not less than 140°F (60°C), can effectively kill adult and baby bed bugs, as well as immature nymphs and eggs with protective outer coverings.

The nicest thing about heat treatment is that it can penetrate all sorts of materials, which means that it is very good at killing bed bugs that are hiding. It can also put the infestation under control in just one treatment.

Many homeowners prefer heat treatment over chemical treatment because it does not involve the use of insecticides that are harmful not only to bed bugs but humans and animals, too.

Although you will be outside the home while the experts are carrying out chemical treatment, the residual insecticides may wreak havoc on your health and that of the ones you care about, family members, and pets alike.

What’s more, chemical treatment cannot get rid of bed bugs in a single session, unlike heat treatment. Professional exterminators suggest two to three sessions for superb results.

Professional vs. Commercially Available Insecticides

It may seem like the use of commercially sold bed bug insecticides is a cheaper and safer alternative. That’s because these products are not as concentrated as insecticides that professional exterminators use during chemical treatment.

However, bed bug insecticides that you can easily buy at a hardware or home improvement store also have ingredients that can cause irritation of the skin and respiratory system, too.

Making sure that you carefully read and follow the directions for use on the packaging of a commercially sold bed bug insecticide is a must to keep unnecessary health-related issues at bay.

Still, the safest way to put an end to a bed bug infestation is heat treatment, and it is for the obvious fact that it does not involve the use of hazardous chemicals.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. As a matter of fact, it is the most expensive treatment for bed bugs out there. Worry not because there is a workaround, so don’t stop reading now if you want to learn more about it.

Budget Alternatives to Professional Heat Treatment

If you do not have the budget for professional heat treatment, worry not. That’s because you can try putting an end to the bed bug infestation through the DIY approach, with the help of a few household items.

Dealing with the problem on your own, however, may fail to deliver professional-level results. This is especially true if you do it incorrectly. The bed bug infestation may persist or worsen as a result of this.

Many homeowners swear by the use of a steam cleaner. One of the nicest things about this everyday machine is that it can produce steam with temperatures ranging from 150°F and 300°F (66°C to 149°C). Clearly, using a reliable unit can help kill those pesky bed bugs.

However, there are a few problems with this approach. First, you will need to own a steam cleaner that can heat water to really high temperatures. Second, a steam cleaner can cause damage to some of your items.

Other than a steam cleaner, you may also count on a hairdryer in your quest to solve the bed bug infestation without getting in touch with professional exterminators. Most hairdryers these days can produce heat up to 140°F (60°C).

Armed with a hairdryer, you will need to point the device to the hiding places of bed bugs for several minutes. This is when a problem shows up: many hairdryers tend to shut down at the first sign of overheating.

You may also use a clothes iron for eliminating bed bugs via heat-generating household items.

While it can produce enough heat to kill bed bugs, the problem with a clothes iron is that it can only kill bed bugs that it can come into contact with. Meaning to say, it is not effective for killing bed bugs in hard-to-reach places.

The Best of the Bunch: A Steam Cleaner

When it comes to using different household items as an alternative to professional heat treatment, the best one for the job is a steam cleaner, although it still has some limitations.

According to expert DIYers, it is a good idea to pair the use of a steam cleaner with other home remedies for bed bugs.

Some of them include sprinkling baking soda on trouble spots, spraying rubbing alcohol or tea tree oil on potential hiding places or visible bed bugs, and using a vacuum cleaner to suck out those creepy crawlers.

If the infestation is severe, you may rent a heater that professionals use. However, it is important that you know how to use it properly. Signing up the pros is still the surest way to deal with a massive bed bug infestation.

Just Before You Attempt to Get Rid Of Bed Bugs With Heat

When it comes to professionally eliminating bed bugs, you have a couple of choices: Chemical treatment and heat treatment.

Each one comes with its own set of pros and cons, and each bed bug exterminator in your area may specialize more in one solution than the other. Needless to say, you should choose the right service provider.

Heat treatment is preferred by many homeowners and recommended by most experts, too. That’s because it is highly effective in getting rid of a bed bug infestation, plus it is safer for the health.

No matter if you wish to go for heat treatment professionally or on your own, do your assignment first. When signing up the pros, make sure that you go for a company with years of industry experience and lots of satisfied customers.

When going for the DIY approach, check out reliable tips and tricks on the internet. If you do it incorrectly, a home remedy for bed bugs using heat may do more harm than good.

Related Questions

How can I draw bed bugs out of hiding when killing them?

No matter the DIY extermination of your choice, you can drive bed bugs out of their hiding places with the help of heat. They will try to look for a place about a meter away from the source of heat, thus causing them to come in plain view.

Can summer kill bed bugs because they cannot stand heat?

Unfortunately, the summer heat can make bed bugs active and feed more because they love a little heat. What they hate is extreme heat of at least 113°F (45°C). In the US, except for Hawaii and Alaska, the average summer temperature is 71.9°F (22.2°C) only.

Photo credit: ©canva.com/Vershinin

Wyatt Welch

Hi, I am Wyatt, and I live in North Carolina. I've been working as a Pest Control Technician and now I am enjoying my retirement. This blog is a perfect outlet for me to share my knowledge in the field and I'd be happy to help if you have any questions.

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