Bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of, but one proven method to kill bed bugs is heat. If you can get your home and infested items hot enough, all stages (eggs, nymphs, and adults) will be killed. The exact temperature needed is debated, but most estimates are in the range of 117-122 degrees Fahrenheit. It may sound like a simple solution but heat-treating your home and belongings can be difficult. Here are a few methods that have been found to be effective at eliminating bed bugs using heat.
Washer and Dryer
Perhaps the easiest solution for clothing, linens, and other items that can be laundered is to wash and dry them on the highest heat setting. Washing items in very hot water can be enough to kill bed bugs, but some things that cannot be washed can just be put in the dryer. Running a dryer cycle on high heat for 30 minutes will kill bed bugs. Once you have washed and/or dried your items, make sure to keep them separate and away from contaminated areas until the infestation has been taken care of.
For larger items that cannot be put in the washer and dryer, steam treatments may work. Steam can be effective on mattresses and box springs, pillows, curtains, and carpets if used correctly. Small clothing steam cleaners and carpet cleaners do not get hot enough, so you will need to use a commercial steam cleaner, preferably with a steam volume control. These can be very expensive, so renting one may be the best option.
Steam will kill bed bugs on the surface of items and will penetrate up to 3/4 of an inch but will not be able to eliminate bed bugs that are deeply hidden. For this reason, you may need to use multiple steam treatments. Using steam for bed bugs can be very effective, but it can also be dangerous, so always read the manual and follow the manufacturer’s directions when using a steam cleaner.
Hot boxes or heating chambers have also been developed to aid in bed bug control. These are large, portable boxes that use sustained heat to kill bed bugs. Items like luggage and shoes may benefit from this type of heat treatment. Unfortunately, depending on the size and quality of the hot box, it can be very expensive. Hot boxes can also be dangerous if used incorrectly.
Using the Sun
Using the power of the sun to kill bed bugs can be done, but it is much less controlled and may be less effective than other treatments overall. On a hot sunny day, contaminated objects can be sealed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for several hours. In order to ensure that all the contents of the bag have reached the lethal temperature, a wireless thermometer can be placed in the middle. Once 122 degrees has been achieved, it is wise to leave it for at least another hour. The benefit of this method is that it is very inexpensive, but you must be thorough to make sure that you have achieved the proper temperatures.
Home Heat Treatments
Another method of heat treatment involves raising the temperature of your entire home to the lethal level. This form of heat treatment is beneficial because it penetrates every object and every crack and crevice of your home. Home heat treatments can be effective, but they will also cost a lot of money because trained professionals must be hired to safely administer them.Heat can successfully kill bed bugs, but it is best when used in conjunction with other methods. A multi-faceted approach has been shown to be the most effective in eliminating bed bugs. PF Harris has a full line of bed bug products. From mattress protectors and traps to powders and sprays, Harris has what you need at a price you can afford. Use our time-tested products in addition to heat treatments and your home will be bed bug free in no time.