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Bed Bugs – Death by Heat

By: Jasna Aleksandrova

Believe it or not, there is a way to get rid of bed bugs by only using heat. High temperatures work to get rid of bed bugs, but there are a variety of methods that are not equal in effectiveness and/or safety. The following is a comparison of the benefits, possible risks and potential damage that can be caused by using heat for bed bug extermination.

Radiant and thermal heat – This is a non-toxic treatment that involves heating the affected area to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 8 hours. Before using this method you must remove all electronics, medicine, plants, pets and etc. The area that you can treat using this method at one time is relatively small so it may not cover all of the infested areas. Radiant and thermal heat treatment must be monitored at all times during the treatment due to the potential fire risk.

Steam heat – Just like radiant and thermal heat, steam heat is also a safe and non-toxic way to kill bed bugs on contact. The only risk associated with steam heat extermination is the potential for water damage. Due to the use of steam, you are limited in the items that you can treat using this method. Obviously you cannot steam electronics, soft wood or furniture that is not water resistant.

Heat vs. Chemicals

Bed bugs and their eggs can be eliminated using either method of heat extermination. Many people feel that using heat is better than using chemicals. Some professionals feel that the pesticides that are used in chemical treatments are ineffective and take too many treatments to work. Another concern that professionals have is that bed bugs can develop a resistance to the pesticides, making them less effective over time. On the other hand, the use of heat extermination for bed bugs does not cause resistant bed bugs and can also purify your home from other organisms and bacteria.

The risks of heat

Some people feel that the risks associated with using heat extermination make this method less desirable because of the risk of fire. The types and temperatures of heat extermination could potentially damage your home and be life threatening when not applied or supervised properly. There are many items, including pets, plants, and electronics that have to be removed from the house to prevent damage. Electronics and other items could be in danger of melting or expansion/explosion if present. Pets, plants, and people should not be present during the treatment either.

There is another natural way to treat for bed bugs. Freezing temperatures can work to kill bed bugs without as many risks as heat extermination. This method has been deemed to be more safe and effective, meaning that it can be used in any area and on any surface. We will have to talk about cold temperature extermination in our next blog though.

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