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by Alliance Environmental ยท January 06, 2015

Best Bed Bug Treatment? Crank Up the Heat!

Bed bugs won't kill you, but if you don't particularly care for the idea of them biting you at night and feeding on your blood for three to ten minutes, you may want to rid your household of them.

Because after they've engorged themselves on blood, you'll be left with a welt on your skin that is very itchy for a while, and there may be other unpleasant reminders of their visit, such as excrement, egg shells, and skins that have been shed, and even bloodstains on your bed, pillowcases, and sheets.

The Bed Bug Heat Method

While many different methods of bed bug extermination have been used in the past with varying levels of success, the clear-cut champion is the heat method. The reason this method is so effective is that it completely bypasses the need to locate hiding places of bed bugs and deal with them locally - it actually heats the entire home up to a level bed bugs cannot tolerate, and they are killed wherever they may be hiding.

Steps in the Process

Before considering the heat method for bed bug extermination, you'll want to make sure that your home is a good candidate for this kind of treatment. If your home has a great number of escape routes via cracks, holes and poor seals around windows and doors, this may not be the most effective way of dealing with the problem, unless all of those can be sealed up prior to the treatment.

Assuming your home can be made reasonably air-tight, here is how the heat method would be implemented:

  • As mentioned above, all of the known escape routes will need to be sealed off. When the home gets heated, bed bugs will seek every available possibility to escape the killing heat. Close all windows and doors, and make sure the house is as close to air-tight as possible. Leave no avenue open for bugs to escape.
  • Remove objects from the home (such as candles) which might be damaged by exposure to extreme heat.
  • A large heater will be used to raise the overall temperature in your home to at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit and the house will be heated for at least three hours. Bed bugs cannot tolerate this level of heat, and if they cannot escape they will all die, along with all their eggs, within this time frame.

Alternative Methods

As mentioned above, there are other methods of extermination available to the homeowner in cases where the heat method is not a good fit. Ironically, another effective method is the exact opposite of the heat method - freezing. This however, takes days instead of hours and the house is kept at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler.

Powders, sprays, traps, vacuuming, and steam cleaners can all be somewhat effective in killing visible bed bugs, but the survivors (and any eggs) will live to reproduce and re-infest the home - and this is why the heat method is the best choice to exterminate bed bugs.

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