Bed bugs are perhaps some of the most resistant household pests known to man, able to infest homes by the millions if left unabated. Thus, the methods used to exterminate bed bugs are relatively extreme in comparison to extermination methods used for other pests. Bed bugs are generally not affected by conventional methods such as average insecticide sprays or repellents, and studies have even shown that they are oblivious to toxic chemicals and in some cases will even remain on coated surfaces for days!
General Bed Bug Extermination Practices
The only way to fully eradicate a bed bug infestation is to conduct a thorough inspection and cleaning of the entire infested area. Once the area is clean a professional pest control agent will then use a variety of extermination methods to rid the house of bed bugs. Certain high-strength insecticides can kill bed bugs, however the use of insecticides alone has been shown to leave small amounts of the tiny pests behind. Given the rapid reproductive nature of the creature, it is not surprising to see the infestation return to full strength just weeks after a failed extermination attempt. Therefore several exterminations are usually necessary before the infestation can be completely eradicated. Due to these repetitive and tedious tasks that are involved with bed bug extermination, it is usually a quite costly endeavor. There is however a guaranteed way to kill bed bugs without the costly expense and environmental dangers of using a professional pest control service and toxic chemicals.
Bed Bugs and Temperature Sensitivity
Perhaps the most exploitable genetic weakness of the bed bug is their sensitivity to high and low temperatures. Bed bugs cannot live for more than 10-20 minutes at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason some people choose to soak their mattresses in freezing cold water in an attempt to free their homes of bed bugs. Unfortunately bed bugs live in areas other than the bed itself, and will inevitably return to the mattress once it is placed back into the infested environment. It is simply not feasible, nor possible to soak electrical appliances, expensive furniture or bedroom walls in freezing cold water. Thus heat is the safest, cheapest, and most effective way to rid the home of bed bugs.
Using Heat to Kill Bed Bugs
Unlike harmful chemicals, or even cold water, heat can penetrate the surfaces of objects with ease, thus killing bed bugs that are hidden deep within the cracks and crevices of the house. Whereas cold water would easily ruin many household items such as televisions and phones, temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit will not. While there are certain situations that would not be suitable for heat treatment, it does seem to be the optimal solution in most instances. There are two main types of bed bug heat treatments that are currently used: thermal heating and steam heating.
Steam Heating to Kill Bed Bugs
People have been using steam to kill insects since the early 1900’s. However the practice has recently been abandoned in favor of simpler heat treatment techniques. Using high temperature steam in an occupied household can prove to be very difficult, as it requires precise control and various precautionary measures. If the tip of the steam emission tip is too far from the infested object, the treatment will be rendered ineffective. On the other hand if it is too close, then the object will become saturated with moisture, presenting other secondary issues such as strengthened dust mite infestations and surface mold hazards.
Thermal Heat Used to Kill Bed Bugs
The most popular method of killing bed bugs with heat is call thermal heating, in which the temperature in the house is gradually raised using various techniques. There are several methods used in thermal heating extermination practices. Some companies use high powered heating devices and fans to raise the temperature in an even manner throughout the infested area. An emphasis must be placed on heating the area quickly, as the bed bugs are known to flee from the high temperatures and return once the heat has returned to normal. Thus a thorough inspection and heating of the entire surrounding area is absolutely necessary to ensure success during the thermal heating process.
While heat is commonly used to kill bed bugs and other pests, it is not a suitable solution for every situation. In some instances, heating an entire household to a temperature above 115 degrees is not plausible. For example, if it is 20 degrees outside, then it would be quite difficult to raise the internal and external temperature of the household rapidly. Other risks associated with heat extermination include possible damage to walls and other heat-sensitive structures within the house. Professional heat extermination services usually conduct a thorough examination of all prospective households before beginning the extermination process.
The Bed Bug Heat Method In-Depth
There are several reasons why traditional methods to rid your home of a bed bug infestation may leave you feeling hot under the collar. Trying to eradicate the bed bugs making you and your family miserable using harsh chemicals can pose a health risk to your family. Many of the chemicals used in the extermination of bed bugs can aggravate allergies, and respiratory conditions. Chemicals are messy, expensive, can harm the environment, and may not kill off an entire bed bug population. Surviving bed bugs including their eggs will breed and repopulate your mattress and other areas in your home in no time at all.
It can be quite an undertaking to rid your home of bed bugs on your own and the results can be disappointing. You may wind up having to redo the job several times over because these pesky critters are a hardy insect that are difficult to get rid of. If you have a large infestation of bed bugs, it’s unlikely that you will be able to successfully kill and remove all of them yourself. A qualified exterminator has extensive knowledge about the breeding, feeding, and life cycle of the bed bug and the best techniques for successfully removing them. You might want to consider hiring a professional to handle the job for you.
Locating bed bugs is not as easy as you might think. These insects are tiny and hard to see. The black specks you may have noticed on the sheets on your bed, is actually the fecal matter produced by bed bugs. Don’t let their name fool you either. Bed bugs do not just take up residence inside your mattress. They can be living in the cracks in your floors, inside shoeboxes in your closet, in the bottom of the clothes hamper, and in other not so obvious nooks and crannies in your house. Typically, an exterminator will use both magnifying and monitoring equipment to pinpoint where bed bugs are in your home. This is crucial for finding the breeding center of a bed bug population to target breeding females and for extermination and removal along with adult male bed bugs. Isolating bed bug problems can save you from wasting money on treating your entire home, which only the severest of beg bug infestations will need.
Exterminators use a variety of methods to kill and remove bed bug populations from residential and commercial spaces. More and more exterminating professionals today also offer customers chemical-free solutions for ridding their living environments of bed bugs that won’t put your health at risk or cause damage to the planet. One such modern bed bug extermination technique utilizes high heat to kill the bed bugs and industrial strength vacuums to remove their carcasses and fecal matter from bedding and other places in your home.
Let’s take a closer look at the process of using heat to kill bed bugs. How hot does it need to get to kill a bed bug? To kill off bed bugs the temperature needs to be about 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Exterminators use industrial heaters to accomplish this quicker and using a lot less energy than would be required if you were to use your home’s heating system or portable heaters.
Killing bed bugs is only half the job. It is necessary to remove the dead carcasses, eggs, and fecal matter from your living space in order to entirely eliminate the potential for skin and respiratory irritation from these bed bug leftovers. Trying to pick it all up with a residential vacuum cleaner will often spread the matter around rather than it ending up in the sweeper bag. Some of it can also end up in the cleaner’s hose and fall back out onto the floor when you store your vacuum away. Certified exterminators are a better solution for this problem because they can use industrial strength vacuums to remove bed bug carcasses and other materials from your home.
Removal of dead bugs and remnants such as feces and eggs should be included in your extermination contract. Read the contract thoroughly before signing any agreement for services. Also ask the exterminators questions on anything your aren’t sure of so that you know what the service professional intends to do to find and fix your bed bug problem, and what rights you have if something goes wrong.
You can use the internet to research professional exterminators and extermination companies that use methods such as heat to kill bed bugs. Exterminators keep themselves abreast of new research and techniques used to eradicate bed bug infestations and to prevent them from overtaking your living space in the future. You may wish to speak with an extermination professional about the itchy bed bug situation robbing you and your family of comfort and a good nights rest.