“Every living organism has a thermal death point,” says Dr. Mike Linford, founder and CEO of GreenTech Heat. This applies to cockroaches, WDOs, and bed bugs. When lethal temperatures are achieved at the hardest-to-heat locations and held for the requisite duration of time, a 100% mortality is achieved every time.
Compared to strategies such as the use of pesticides or insecticides, bed bug responses to extreme thermal environments has been less studied. A study published in the February 2019 PLoS ONE entitled Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) exhibit limited ability to develop heat resistance by Ashbrook, Scharf, Bennett, and Gondhalekar from Purdue University looks into the perceived phenomenon where live bed bugs can be found within a treatment area following a heat treatment, possibly due to adaptive heat resistance.
By attempting to breed “heat resistant” bed bugs across multiple generations, the team at Purdue found that sublethal heat exposures reduces bed bug feeding and increases life cycle development time. No bed bugs developed “heat resistance” and all bed bugs exhibited limiteds ability to tolerate insecticidal heat. The study concludes: One possible explanation for why bed bugs could remain after a heat treatment is that they were exposed to sublethal heat, escaped from high-temperature locations or were introduced to the domicile at a later time.
Our Heat Solutions bed bug treatment specifies measuring treatment heat at the hardest-to-heat location, and expressly does not assume surface temperatures are representative of cooler locations bed bugs may be harboring.
For more than 15 years, Dr. Linford has recommended the following standardized treatment times for bed bugs measured by the temperature probe at the hardest-to-heat locations:
- 120°F for 4 hours
- 130°F for 3 hours
- 140°F for 2 hours
Examples of hard to heat locations include under the carpet at the baseboard where an external wall meets the floor, under the leg and foot of a heavy dresser, or in the rear lower corner of a closet.