Kill Bed Bugs with Heat

Bed Bug Heat Treatment: What to expect

There are three ways to kill bed bugs with heat, a PackTite bed bug oven, Low Vapor Steamers and Full Thermal Remediation where your entire home or room and all the possessions in it, are heated to approximately 140 f for several hours until all bed bugs are dead. With heat treatment, your infestation could be over in a day.

Bed Bug Heat Prep Video – Pure Environmental from Pure Environmental on Vimeo.

**If you do not treat all your possessions with the recommended protocols prior to heat treatment you could re-infest your home with your own infested stuff.**

If you cannot treat everything at the same time or prior to having heat treatment, get it in a heavy duty trash bag with a couple of twist ties and then another bag and then get it out of your house. Put it in a garage, or backyard, or storage unit, until you can properly treat it or leave it for 18 months.

The company providing your heat treatment will provide you with instructions about how to treat your stuff. Follow those instructions to the letter and you might wake up the next day with no bed bugs. Isn’t that a wonderful thought?!?

How hot does it need to be to kill bed bugs

Bed Bug Heat Chart Lethal Temperature Time duration
Bed Bug Adults & Nymphs  113° F / 45° C 15 Minutes
Bed Bug Eggs 113° F / 45° C 60 Minutes
 Bed Bug All Stages  115° F / 46° C   7 Minutes

This is a good video that will take you through the thermal remediation process. You’ll see what happens in your home during heat treatment.

If all precautions have been followed, heat treatment is very effective and quick. Check your local directories for pest companies that offer heat treatment. Call several to compare prices, warranty, and follow-up inspections. Unplug everything electronic, and remove items that can melt such as candles and aerosol cans which can explode if pressure builds up due to heat. You could leave a small tea candle in each room to see if it does melt during treatment, maybe in a drawer, which might reassure you the thermal treatment was done correctly. This is a very good description of what you can expect with thermal remediation.

Killing Bed Bugs with Steam

Vapor steamers leave less water behind preventing dangerous mold. It is strongly suggested you wear a paint and pesticide respirator when using steam cleaners in your home. Steamers are useful for treating molding, baseboards, furniture (test first), bed frames, mattresses, rugs, and cars. Vapor Steam Cleaners can reach temperatures of 240-360 degrees or higher, and can cause dangerous burns, so use caution.

They are very useful in the fight against bed bugs and many pest companies now use steamers as a non-toxic and effective tool against bed bugs. Using steam cleaners in your home pre-pesticide on your baseboards, cracks and crevices, floors and furniture is an excellent pre-chemical head start on killing bed bugs in your home. After pesticides have been applied, you don’t want to steam in those locations because it will remove the pesticides, and possibly vaporize them into the air.

Things you can steam in your home include sofas, door jams, carpets, baseboards, drawers and furniture, windows, your car. It has turned out to be a pretty handy thing to have around, post bed bugs.

IMPORTANT: Do not use steam on areas that have been treated with pesticides as it will vaporize and remove the pesticides, and you risk inhaling the vaporized chemicals. Always test on a discreet location first as heat can melt paint, strip finish, melt glue damage prints and wood, and cause real damage to possessions or you, be careful, you may be sleep deprived.

The most effective steam cleaner will be a Vapor Steam cleaner with attachments and a hose. A long cord makes the job easier.

Let the steamer cool down before refilling if the water runs out because the tank is really hot and pressurized. You can get severe burns from misusing your steamer.

Lo-Vapor steam (leaves less water and moisture on surfaces)

Hoses and various attachments

Adjustable pressure. The steam should be at the lowest setting in most cases to avoid blowing bed bugs deeper in to cracks or just blastingthem to another spot

A long electric cord is nice

Start with the mattress making sure to treat the seams, labels, and any other attachments. Next, move to the chairs and sofas taking care with cushions, seams and buttons. (sofa cushions can be put in a PackTite if you have one and can take up to six hours to treat). Pull out beds should be treated just like any mattress or bed frame, with detail.

Move slowly when steam treating resting for a count of 5 or for 5-10 seconds along every surface. Be sure the steamer is set to the lowest pressure setting so as not to blow bed bugs away where the heat won’t reach them.

Do not steam electrical outlets. This is a fire and electrocution danger. Do not allow the steam head to make contact with wires.

It is common for heat treatment to also be accompanied by residual pesticides around the baseboards. Ask your PCO if they will use residuals, what they will use and how long it will last.