Getting bed bugs is a real nightmare. One day you are sleeping soundly in bed, and the next morning you wake up to find that bed bugs are crawling all over your room. Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They typically hide in bedding, furniture upholstery, cracks in floors or walls, bed frames, window frames, and other areas around a bed. Bed bug bites usually produce itchy red bumps or welts on the skin that can cause intense irritation to people who suffer from allergies to bed bugs.
It can be difficult to know how to get rid of these pests once they have invaded your home, but luckily there are some methods that can help! This blog post will discuss several ways of killing bed bugs with heat exposure so that you no longer have to worry about them invading your bed at night.
Identify Bed Bugs
If you have already been unlucky enough to get bed bugs, it is best to find them early before the infestation settles and starts spreading. It is far easier and less costly to treat a minor infestation than treating the same infestation once it becomes widespread.
However, smaller infestations are challenging to find and properly identify. Other bugs, such as carpet beetles, often get mistaken for bed bugs. But, if you misidentify bed bugs infestation, these pests will have more time to spread to other rooms of the house or office or transfer to someone else and their house, starting another infestation.
Even bites on the skin are a weak indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects, like mosquitoes, rashes such as eczema, or even hives. And some people don’t react to bed bug bites at all.
A more efficient way for identifying a possible bed bug infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning or changing bed sheets, or even staying away from home for a couple of days, look for rusty-looking or reddish stains on bedding or mattresses caused by crushed bed bugs; dark spots which actually bed bug excrement that can bleed on the fabric, looking like a marker stain; tiny bed bug eggs and eggshells, which are small, yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow; and live bed bugs.
When not feeding, bed bugs dwell in various places. In most cases, they can be found around the bed frame and the bed itself, near the tags and seams of the mattress and box spring, and in the cracks on the headboard. If the house is heavily infested, bed bugs can be found in the seams of the couches and chairs, cushions, and curtains, in drawers, electrical receptacles, and appliances, under wallpapers or wall hangings, and even in screw heads.
Determine the Extent of the Infestation
Once you have determined a bed bug infestation in your home, it is time to check if the infestation has spread further from the initial room. This is extremely important because if you don’t eliminate every last bug, the extermination process will keep repeating, rendering you of your precious time and money.
To determine the extent of the infestation, you need to use proper tools, such as black light, which can be used to find bed bugs that cannot be seen with human eyes since they will glow under ultraviolet light. For bigger areas or bigger infestations, a thermal camera may also be used to detect these pests in their cracks and crevices.
If you don’t own such equipment, it is best to call in a pest control professional who can help heat your home or office to the required lethal temperature and get rid of the bed bugs for good.
Prepare for Treatment
Before bed bug heat treatment begins, there are preparation measures that need to be taken. Among things to avoid doing are:
- Removing items like furniture or mattresses from home, since the goal is to reduce the infestation to other rooms, hallways, or other people;
- Using over-the-counter products and pesticides inside the home; and
- Putting clothes into trash bags.
Things you should do before bed bug treatment starts:
- Remove any aerosol cans, candles, fire extinguishers, or ammunition from the house;
- Remove unopened beverage cans and bottles, pets, live plants, and musical instruments;
- Remove any medication and makeup;
- Remove fish tanks larger than 10 gallons; if they are under 10 gallons, they can stay in the house but must be moved into the bathroom, basement, or another bug-free area.
On the day of heat treatment, make sure to have washed and dried the change of clothing. Leave your home with as little as possible, leaving purses, backpacks, handbags, and briefcases in the house. If you’ve been vacuuming, make sure to throw away the vacuum bag and clean the vacuum cleaner. It is also important to throw away any trash, pet waste, left-out food, and other unsanitary items.
Heat Treatment Options
There are several different heat options you can choose to kill off bed bugs in your home:
Although washing your clothes and beddings will kill most of the bed bugs, the heat of a clothes dryer will ultimately eliminate any and all remaining bugs. This is usually the first step you want to take when you suspect you have a bed bug infestation. To start washing and drying, set the temperature to the maximum each clothes category can tolerate. For dry clean only clothes, put them in the dryer for half an hour on medium to high heat.
Killing bed bugs with steamers is one of the popular options for extermination. Steamers have nozzles that are directed at the infested surfaces in your home, applying extremely hot, high-pressure steam. It can be used to target the areas where bed bugs are, but you need to be sure the problem is localized; otherwise, you will face another infestation sooner or later.
DIY Heat Chamber
Hot chambers work the same way as whole-house heat treatments, but the difference is the size of the area being treated. Hot chambers are used for smaller items like bedding, luggage, and clothing. However, if bed bugs have already spread to your entire home, a hot chamber will not do you much good. But they are useful as an additional heat treatment as well as for prevention.
Portable Heating Devices
Using heaters, stoves, blow dryers, and heat guns to treat bed bugs might sound like a good idea, but it’s not. Although an eco-friendly alternative to conventional pesticides, propane heaters are not too safe of an option to eliminate pests since they can cause a fire. Also, standard heaters and other small appliances can’t reach the thermal death temperatures needed to eradicate bed bugs.
Whole house heat treatments require specially designed equipment to raise the temperature in your home to exterminate bed bugs. The insects and their eggs will die within 90 minutes at 118°F or immediately at 122°F. A professional bed bug exterminator will place remote thermometers throughout your home, ensuring the required temperatures are reached. The process usually takes between 6 and 8 hours, depending on the size of the infestation and the area being treated.
If you have had detailed heat treatment and if it has been at least three weeks since the end of the treatment with no signs of continuing infestation, like bites, new bugs, fecal matter, or cast skins, then it is likely that infestation has been controlled. After the treatment, you can install interceptor traps. These traps are placed under the legs of chairs, sofas, and beds to monitor for new infestation.
Bed bugs are small insects notoriously hard to find and even harder to get rid of if not done properly. Despite their sneaky behavior, they are not impossible to find. For most people, the first signs of a bed bug infestation include bites, stains, and odors. As long as you know where and what to look out for, you can identify and permanently eliminate them with good heat treatment.
There are several available heat treatments for bed bugs you can choose from. A clothes dryer is probably the first thing you will use, but that can only eliminate potential bed bugs that are already there, to all-encompassing professional bed bug heat treatments. You can also eliminate bed bugs with steamers, heat chambers, portable heating devices, and, as mentioned – professional extermination. Make sure to do all the preparations carefully and choose the right and safest heat treatment option for you.
Here at Vortex Bed Bug Solutions, our heat treatment can treat up to 30 floors high with minimal site preparations and 100% efficacy. This heat treatment is an environmentally friendly and chemical-free solution with zero emissions in the treatment area. If you think you have bed bugs in your home or office, don’t wait to contact us and get the service you so urgently need!