Bed Bug Heat Treatment

Bed Bug Heat Treatment How Does It work? A Scientific Guide

This guide explains bed bug heat treatment and how it works based on scientific research. Moreover, you can learn the pros and cons of heat treatment, and whether it is effective against bedbug infestations.

How can you kill bedbugs instantly?

Bed bugs are killed instantly by heat over 120°F. In order to kill bed bugs, pest control professionals must expose them to heat of at least 120°F for 90 minutes.

Bed bugs have developed immunity to many pesticides over the past decade.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports a massive rise in bed bug infestation rates in US homes due to immunity to pesticides.

In other words, bed bugs are not dying despite pesticide treatment. 

What is the solution? Heating. 

Heat directly exposes the bed bugs’ cuticles and exoskeletons, which break. 

The cuticle is essential to bed bugs’ survival. Bed bugs are protected against extreme cold, too, by their cuticle. As a result, bed bugs can survive in even the coldest rooms. 

When pest controllers expose the bed bugs to the heat of 120°F and above, the cuticles can’t resist it. 

Bed bugs are killed when the heat penetrates their exoskeletons and cuticles. That’s why heat treatment is the most effective way to kill bed bugs.

Bed bug infestation is the number one pest problem in the United States today. The bigger the city is, the more infestations there are. 

More people are calling pest control companies for bed bug removal than ever before.

It seems that DIY bed bug control and home remedies with bug bombs and bed bug sprays are no longer effective. 

Why is it so difficult to get rid of bed bugs? Let’s find out.

How Can Bed Bugs Be Difficult To Treat?

There are three reasons for this. 

  1. Bed bugs have developed immunity to conventional pesticides
  2. It is difficult to spot bed bugs because they are stealthy
  3. The number of bedbugs increases rapidly 

There are tiny bugs called bed bugs. The mature bed bug only grows to a size of about a quarter inch. 

In the early stages of an infestation, or when their numbers are small, it can be difficult to spot bed bugs. 

It’s impossible for you to even notice them because they hide in the tiniest of cracks and gaps. Bed bugs can survive in gaps smaller than the width of your fingernail, according to experts.

In addition, bed bugs multiply quickly when they receive their regular blood meals. 

In the life of an adult female bed bug, she can lay up to 500 eggs, and she can lay up to 10-12 eggs per day. 

Hatching usually takes between one and ten days for each egg. A bed bug larvae can mature into an adult bed bug within only seven weeks, ready to breed and spread. 

Therefore, you won’t be able to get rid of bed bugs from all corners of your house unless you take some drastic measures. 

Pesticide treatments that are half-measured are not enough. Bed bugs can sometimes return after treatment, depending on the severity of the infestation. 

That’s bed bug heat treatment is your only recourse to eliminate bed bugs with certainty. 

Let’s find out what’s the bed bug heat treatment is all about and how it works. 

Bed bug heat treatment: How does it work? A five-step process

Bed bug management companies use heat treatment when there’s an infestation in a home. In some cases, heat treatment is the only option for bed bugs hiding in hard-to-reach corners and spaces. 

The disadvantages of heat treatment will be discussed later in the post.

Let’s begin by understanding the bed bug heat-treatment process.

#1-It All Begins With Spotting The Hiding Places Of Bed Bugs

Bed bug infestations are first identified by pest controllers by looking for signs. 

A bed bug will always stay within 6 feet to 8 feet of its primary host. Therefore, the signs of infestation and hiding places are where they get their blood meals from or within the range of infestation. 

The bed bug is also a hitchhiker. They latch onto suitcases, furniture, fabric, and clothing that you remove from an infested room and keep in other rooms. 

This is how bed bugs spread from one room to another.

This is also the same mechanism by which bed bugs spread from home to home, get into cars, and even into baby car seats.

#2-Pest Controllers Determine The Treatment Method- Chemical Treatment Or Heat Treatment For Bed Bugs

Using an insecticide spray is a good way to get rid of bed bugs in your home if the infestation has not spread far and wide.

Insecticide sprays like these are not your typical over-the-counter bed bug sprays you can find in stores. These are bed bug insecticides that can only be obtained from licensed pest controllers.

If the bed bug infestation is large, the pest controller will recommend bed bug heat treatment. 

A massive bed bug infestation occurs when pest controllers discover that bed bugs are present throughout the house, not just in the bedroom or on the mattress.

When you have an infestation of bed bugs throughout your entire house, it is considered severe. 

They can be found in drawers, in the crevices of headboards and baseboards, in carpeting, and even inside the gaps and cracks of walls, furniture, and electrical outlets. 

A few sprays of pesticides in conjunction with heat treatment is essential in that scenario (known as integrated pest management or IPM). 

So, depending on the severity of the infestation, the pest controller will recommend the bed bug treatment type.

#3 How to Prepare Your House for Bed Bug Heat Treatment

Bed bug heat treatment requires you to remove certain belongings from your home. They include:

  1. Turning off and unplugging electronic appliances and covering them with blankets
  2. Remove heat-sensitive items, such as expensive artworks, wool and silk carpets, ceramic souvenirs, and taxidermies
  3. Plants and pets should be removed
  4. Food in the refrigerator and in the kitchen should be removed

Bed bug heat treatment is often performed by a reputable and reliable pest management company. 

Even the sensitive items will be packed up in bags and sealed off to protect them from heat.

If you’re hiring a local bed bug exterminator, the company might guide you to prep your home yourself. 

#4-The Exterminator Introduces Heat Inside Your Home To Eliminate Bed Bugs

The exterminators will set up a heat trailer outside your home which will power the electric heaters inside.

They’ll install heaters inside the rooms. Furthermore, powerful fans will be used to channel the heat to all infested areas. 

Heat treatment requires the use of fans. Besides directing the heat to the infested areas, they also evenly heat the objects with the help of the pros.

Temperatures within the rooms can reach up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit during bed bug heat treatment. This causes bed bugs to die instantly as the rooms become hot like an oven.

The heat treatment takes six to eight hours. After the heat treatment is complete, monitoring begins to determine if all the bed bugs have been killed.

#5-Post Bed Bug Heat Treatment Measures

Heat treatment is not over when it’s finished. Bed bugs are stealthy creatures, and despite the heat treatment, some may survive. 

Following up on the heat treatment, exterminators ensure they get rid of bed bugs that remained unharmed. 

As a first step, the pest controller uses mattress encasements. The mattress encasement prevents any bed bugs hiding in the mattress from biting you. 

Second, they will use a bed bug monitor. Pest controllers keep bed bug monitors under the bed’s legs, which are cup-like items. 

The interior is sticky. The bed bug monitor will trap the bed bugs that crawl through the bed’s legs if the bed bugs didn’t die trying to hop on the bed. 

Pest control professionals will be able to determine if further action is needed based on the number of bed bugs in the bed bug monitor. 

If there’s any need, they’ll use chemical insecticide sprays on the possible hiding places of the bed bugs. 

Third, the pest controller will take preventive measures to prevent bed bugs from returning. 

The best way to prevent bed bugs is to use chemical boundaries around the perimeter of your home and do follow-ups until you are certain they are dead for good. 

After bed bug heat treatment, what to expect

Your home may look a bit topsy-turvy after the heat treatment. Sofas and furniture will be removed from their original places, and things will be a bit messy.

That’s part of the Process. It will take some time to rearrange your home after the heat treatment. 

After 1-2 hours of heat treatment, you can enter your home. According to some reports, you can enter immediately.

Nevertheless, if the exterminators used insecticides as well, you can enter your home after a few hours. 

Rearrange your stuff in the house and do not begin the cleaning process. We recommend that you ask the exterminator if sleeping on your bed is safe. 

If there has been little or no chemical pesticide usage, the exterminator is likely to say yes.

You can expect follow-up visits from pest control professionals. You won’t be able to say “yes, your home is free from bed bugs” until they monitor the situation for a while.

Treatment for bed bugs with insecticides and IPM

There is some truth to the statement that chemical insecticides are completely ineffective in treating bed bugs. When you catch the bed bug infestation early on, they’re more effective and cheaper than heat treatment. 

Insecticides are used by pest control professionals to eliminate bed bugs –

  1. An insecticide that kills bed bugs upon contact
  2. Pesticides with residual toxicity
  3. Dust containing insecticides 

Where bed bugs are present, the pest controller will spray insecticides that kill the bugs on contact. Sleeping or remaining seated for an extended period of time takes place in these locations. 

A bed bug insecticide that dries up quickly leaves no toxicity behind. Bed bugs are killed instantly.

In cracks and voids where bed bugs hide, pest controllers spray insecticides and dust with insecticides. 

There are residual toxic effects from these products. You won’t be allowed to touch those areas for at least a few days. 

Additionally, bed bug-infested items will be frozen by the pest controllers. The heat from the steam cleaner can be used to kill bed bugs hiding in mattresses, carpets, and rugs.

The process of using insecticides, heat, cold, and the follow-up steps is what IPM or integrated pest management is. 

Pest management professionals (PMPs) follow up on insecticide treatment and IPM.

The professionals will likely require at least two visits and treatments since it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to eliminate bed bugs in just one visit.

Every room in your house requires 30 minutes to 2 hours of insecticide treatment. Therefore, you will have to stay away from your home until it’s over. 

You’ll need to wait for all the insecticides to dry up before you enter your house. When you can enter your home safely, the PMP will let you know. 

Before the insecticide treatment, you will also need to prepare your home. You will receive detailed instructions on how to prepare your home for insecticide bed bug treatment from your pest PMP.

One reason for the failure of bed bug treatment is not following the instructions correctly. In addition to bed bug treatment, PMPs can also prepare your home for it.

Word Of Caution: 

Insecticides should not be used to get rid of bed bugs. Handling insecticides requires expertise, and exposure to them can be dangerous. 

You should also avoid using bug bombs and foggers. They are ineffective and dangerous.

Pros And Cons Bed Bug Heat Treatment


Heat Treatment Eliminates Bed Bugs In One Shot

If you hired a reliable pest management company and followed their instructions, then heat treatment will eliminate all bed bugs in one go.

Follow-up visits are possible. Those steps are only meant to monitor the effectiveness of heat treatment and take minor steps if bed bugs are found.

Heat Is An Instant Bed Bug Killer

Bed bugs are instantly killed by heat. The product kills bed bugs at every stage of their life cycle – nymphs, adult bed bugs, and instars. Bed bugs’ eggs are destroyed by heat as well.

Heat Has A Better Reach

Heat reaches into every corner of your home, as well as into cracks and crevices where bed bugs can hide. 

Sometimes, chemical pesticides cannot reach those hard-to-reach areas. 

Heat Treatment Doesn’t Leave Behind Any Residual Toxicity

The heat treatment leaves no residual toxins behind, unlike chemical treatments. It is important for you to know what things in your home you should not touch after chemical treatment. 

The immediate result of heat treatment is the death of bed bugs.


Heat Treatment Is Expensive

Bed bug heat treatment is one of the most expensive pest treatments available. It can sometimes be more expensive than termite tenting or termite fumigation. 

The average cost for a new home can reach mid-four figures.

Heat Treatment Is More Effective For Apartments And Condo Blocks

A heat treatment won’t work for massive big houses. You might need multiple heat treatments if you have an enormous home. 

You’re going to pay a lot more for that. Homes with large rooms will also take longer to treat.

Heat Treatment Doesn’t Guarantee That Bed Bugs Won’t Be Back After Treatment.

There is no way to prevent bed bugs from re-appearing. This is unfortunate. 

The bed bugs can return regardless of what treatment you use, whether it’s heat or chemicals. 

So it’s always a good idea to do quarterly pest control for your home. 

A quarterly pest control program catches pest infestations in your home at an early stage. As a result, you save a great deal on pest control costs.

What to look for when hiring a pest management company

It is common for bed bug treatment to cost $199. Avoid cheap treatments for bed bugs.

They have never worked and they will never work.

To do the job, look for established companies. Check reviews for local companies if you’re hiring them locally. 

See how many bed bug infestations they treat each month. It’s best if they treat more. 

Pest control companies sometimes offer a 30-day guarantee. After bed bug heat treatment, bed bug activity may decrease for 30 days. 

If your heat treatment wasn’t thorough, there will be a resurgence of bed bugs in your home after a month. 

Not good. 

You should hire companies that offer more extended guarantees and ask questions that reveal more information about them.

In addition, the package will also include follow-up services at no additional charge.

Following a bed bug treatment, established companies do not charge extra for follow-up visits to monitor the situation. 

You should always hire a pest controller to get rid of bed bugs in your home. Don’t panic if you find bed bugs in your home.

Mattresses and other items infested with bed bugs should not be thrown away. You will be contributing to the spread of bed bugs in your area if you do that.

Bug bombs and foggers should not be used. If you do that, bed bugs will spread to different areas of your home and hide in areas that are harder to reach.

You should also avoid moving objects from room to room. 

You stop bed bugs from spreading from one room to another by keeping the items where they are until the pest controller does the inspection.


Five steps are involved in bed bug heat treatment –

  1. Locating the hiding places of bed bugs
  2. Determining if your home needs chemical treatment or heat treatment
  3. Preparing your home for bed bug treatment
  4. Heating every room of your to kill bed bugs
  5. Post heat treatment measures and monitoring the bed bug activities

Additionally, you get a rundown on why chemical treatments are sometimes more appropriate than heat treatments. 

Additionally, there is a list of pros and cons of heat treatment that you need to consider before getting started. 

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