How Bed Bug Heat Treatments Work

Male Pest Control Worker Shaking Hands With Happy Woman In Kitchen

Pests often adapt and build up a resistance to chemicals in popular household pesticides. This can make getting rid of bed bugs difficult on your own. Thankfully, heat treatments can get rid of bed bugs in as little as one session, even the ones who’ve become resistant to pesticides. With heat treatments, there are little to no pesticides needed to get rid of bed bugs. For homes with children, pets, or others with sensitivities, heat is the best option to kill bed bugs quickly. We’ll go over how bed bug heat treatments work and what you need to know to prepare for one. 

How Bed Bug Heat Treatments Work

Bed bugs die within 90 minutes between 118°F (48°C) to 122°F (50°C). You can also kill them instantly at 122°F (50°C). Using heat to kill bed bugs is a natural and effective way to quickly get rid of bed bugs. As you might imagine, this is also far too hot for humans to withstand, so you will need the help of a licensed professional to eliminate bed bugs with heat. 

During professional treatments, a licensed professional will safely raise your home’s temperature between 135°F (57.2°C) and 145°F (62.7 °C). Using remote thermometers, your exterminator monitors your home for the next six to eight hours. Bed bug heat treatments are often more effective for bed bug infestations for several reasons:

  • Bed bugs may be hiding in unusual places.
  • Homeowners avoid using strong insecticides in sensitive places like bedrooms.
  • Heat treatments often only need one to two sessions. 
  • Heat kills bed bugs at all stages of life.

Your exterminator may use professional insecticides with the heat treatment. This may include sprays or dusts to ensure cracks, crevices, outlets, and other hard-to-reach places are treated. The exterminator may offer additional services such as steam treatments to ensure your home is fully protected. 

Also Read: Unusual Places Bed Bugs Like To Hide

Bed Bug Steam Treatment  

Steam treatments work best on box springs, bed frames, curtains, toys, and other items that can’t be thrown into the dryer. Just like a full heat treatment, very few pesticides are used. Getting an exterminator to steam treat your home has about as much labor costs as an insecticide treatment. However, this is a treatment that homeowners can do on their own. Treatment normally takes between 30 minutes to a few hours per room. 

Steam can kill bed bugs at all stages of life and is effective in most scenarios. However, steam cannot penetrate more than a couple of inches deep. Not to mention that steam treatments are normally set at very high heat, reaching up to 230° F. Some items may be damaged from this treatment and the level of heat can be dangerous if mishandled. Consult with an exterminator for advice before you do a steam treatment on your own. You can consult with a local exterminator from a local pest control company by calling Pest Brigade. 

DIY Heat Treatments

You can easily do your heat treatment to kill bed bugs. However, don’t try to get your entire home to reach above 122°F. An easier method to heat treat bed bugs on your own would be to wash and dry as many items as possible on high heat. In fact, it’s highly recommended that even with a professional’s help, you wash all sheets, clothing, and pillowcases on the hottest cycle before treatment. 

Also Read: Natural Ways To Kill Bed Bugs

How To Prepare For a Professional Bed Bug Heat Treatment

Your exterminator will likely give you a list of things to do to prepare for your bed bug heat treatment. You will need to find another residence, like a friend’s house, while your house is treated that day. 

Following up to your appointment, keep track of where the bed bugs are most active. Let your exterminator know which rooms are the most affected and where you think they might be hiding. There are a few other things you can do to prepare for a heat treatment, specifically. 

Reduce Clutter

Start by reducing the clutter in your home. This minimizes the places bed bugs can hide. Get rid of old newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes, and other random paper. Pick all clothing up off the floor and get rid of old clothes you don’t wear. Properly dispose of these items in sealed garbage bags outside of your home.

Do not move infested items into non-infested areas. Although you should dispose of old items, don’t get rid of infested mattresses or box springs. You can leave clothing and other items you want to keep where they belong. Do not put clothing or other items into garbage bags.

Clean What You Can

As mentioned, there are lots of ways you can easily get rid of bed bugs on your own. Wash and dry everything you can on the hottest setting for at least 30 minutes. Thoroughly inspect after washing to ensure there are no signs of bed bugs. Any items that can’t be washed in the washer and dryer can be steam cleaned. 

Inspect and clean all the following items for signs of bed bugs, eggs, and shells. Remove all the signs of bed bugs and keep track of where the most activity is:

  • Couches and furniture
  • Baseboards
  • Wall outlets and switch covers
  • Curtains
  • Lampshades
  • Headboards
  • Dressers and side tables
  • Toys and electronics

Move your furniture away from the walls so your exterminator can treat in behind them. Vacuum thoroughly after cleaning. Do not use generic bed bug pesticides before a heat treatment. 

Make Your Bed An Island

Make your bed an island by moving it six to 12 inches away from the wall. If you see bed bugs on your headboard or bed frame, remove them immediately. Remove anything under your bed, but keep the items in the same room to avoid further infestation in the home. 

Wrap your mattress in a bed bug-proof cover. Do not remove the cover even after treatment. Any bed bugs still left inside the encasement will eventually starve to death if they’re not killed by the heat treatment. The rest of your bedding should be tucked under the mattress to avoid touching the floor.

Place bed bug interceptors under your bed. This is how you’ll keep track of future bed bug activity. Bed bugs can easily crawl into the interceptors but have a hard time getting out. 

Remove What Can be Damaged

Most items should be able to withstand the heat your home is about to endure. But you should remove anything that is flammable or can easily be damaged from extreme heat. This includes:

  • Household plants.
  • Small animals.
  • Instruments.
  • Fire extinguishers. 
  • Food.
  • Microwaves and toaster ovens.

Do not leave items on top of furniture or on countertops. Ask your exterminator how they recommend you organize these items before they treat your home for bed bugs. 

After Bed Bug Heat Treatments

Your exterminator should make a follow-up appointment within the next two to three weeks. If your infestation is severe, you may need additional treatments. Most Pest Brigade partners offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s vital that you keep track of the bed bug activity during the month after treatment. Report any signs of activity immediately. 

Sweep and inspect daily for bed bugs. Do not wash your floors in the following weeks until your exterminator allows it. 

Pest Brigade works with top-rated pest control companies across the country to connect you with the best service and knowledge. For advice or quotes, call Pest Brigade at any time. 

Also Read: Exterminator Costs To Treat Bed Bugs