Killing Bed Bugs With Heat

Bed bugs can be horrible if they get into your home. You may not be able to keep them from spreading, and killing them all can be a huge and frustrating task. You need to use the best methods to get rid of them so that they do not spread and so that they never come back.

One method that you may be interested in looking into is killing them with heat. If you have not even heard of this method before, you certainly need to read about it and decide if it is right for you.

Dealing With It

Do not let these parasites ruin your life. Do not let them invade your home. If they are already there, you need to take all of the steps that you can to dislodge them from this position and kill them all. Killing them with heat is simple and effective, making it one of the best tactics that you can choose.

The entire process will be broken down below, including what you need to do, how much it costs, and when you should use heat instead of a different method to eradicate them from your home. If they are making it so that your home is not the clean, relaxing place that it should be for you and your family, keep reading to learn how to get rid of them forever.

What The Treatment Entails

Killing them with heat simply entails getting the interior of your home up to a level of heat that they cannot survive. If you have ever been in a sauna, you know just how intense it can be. You know how it reaches every corner of the building, allowing no escape unless you exit the building altogether.

Since you cannot see all of the bugs or all of their eggs, you need this sort of a treatment since heat can hunt them down for you. There will be no need to locate their nests when your entire home has been heated up until it is a death trap for these bugs.

bed bug on skin

You will need to get a heater and have it put in your home. In order to get a large enough heater, you should hire a professional. He or she will know how to set things up so that the process is fast and safe. These are two things that you really want when your home and your family are involved.

Monitoring Treatment

The professional will also be able to monitor the process to make sure that the home is hot enough for a long enough period of time. If this is not carefully watched, these bugs might be able to survive what was thought to be a lethal amount of heat.

Generally speaking, your home will have to be heated up to 140°F and held at this temperature for two hours. Alternatively, you could have the home brought up to a temperature of 130°F and held at that level for three hours.

Both of these treatments will kill the majority of the bugs and their eggs that are in your home. If you have a long time and you do not need to be in the home, you are best off to keep the heat at this level for longer than the recommended time, just so that you can be sure they are all dead.

Stay Out of the Home During Treatment

As you can imagine, you do not want to be in the home while it is this hot. Not only does this give the bugs a way to escape by climbing onto you and the going with you when you leave, but it can pose health problems.

Even when you are in a sauna that reaches these same temperatures, you are not inside for nearly so long. You will have to find a time when no one needs to be home for the duration of the treatment if you want to begin killing bugs with heat. If you have the time, this is very much worth it.

Making Sure Your Home is Suitable

Before you use this treatment, make sure that the heat will not be able to escape the building. You may need to caulk cracks in the walls, especially around windows and doors. Foam can also be used. These things are inexpensive, so you really want to utilize them where you can.

You do not want to spend all of your time and money heating the home only to find that it is nearly impossible to keep the heat inside. At the last minute, double check all of your windows and doors to make sure that they are closed tightly.

Why Killing With Heat Works

The reason that this works is simply that they cannot live at extreme temperatures. At 70°F, they will live and even flourish. They will lay eggs and spread. When the temperature gets up near 140°F though, they cannot survive.

They will either have to flee your home, if they can find a way out, or they will die. It is as simple as that. There is no way that they can experience such high heat for such an extended period of time and live.

How Heat Defeats These Pests

This also works because the heat can move to every part of your home. Each room will grow hotter and hotter. The beds, sheets, mattresses, and linens will all get hot. The bugs will be found out and killed no matter where they are. Killing them with other methods means that you have to find them. You have to hunt them down and kill them where they are.

With heat, you can just sit back and wait for them to die. No matter how well they hide, they cannot get away from the heat. They will try to do so, no doubt, but there will be nowhere for them to go. While sprays and powders make small areas very dangerous for them, heat makes the entire home a place that is filled with danger.

What It Costs: Both Time and Money

First, you should consider what it will cost in time. This is a big problem with other methods, some of which are discussed below. For example, you can freeze the bugs. This will take two to three days, however.

Do you really have that much time? Can you afford to stay out of your home for days on end? If you are like most people, this is out of the question. You just cannot leave your home for that long, so you need to find a method that will have the same impact in a much smaller timeframe.

Fortunately for you, killing them with heat only takes two to three hours. It may take a little bit more time for the entire process because of setting up the equipment and then removing it from the home.

Giving it Time

You will need to allow some time for the home to reach the desired temperature, as well, since the high temperature needs to be maintained for a full two to three hours.

This can add a bit of time, but you will not be forced out of your home during this time. You will still be able to live a normal life until the professional worker tells you that you and your family need to leave for safety reasons.

You should also think about the time that you need to spend getting ready to have the home heated up in order to kill the bugs. You will need to close all of the windows and doors. You will need to close up all of the cracks with caulk or foam. The house has to be airtight so that the heat will stay inside.

If you live in an older home, you may spend a few hours doing this. Most new homes will not have nearly as many defects, however, since they will not have been exposed to as much wear and tear. You will be able to get them ready to go in under an hour.

Home Safety

Lastly, you need to think also about the time that you will spend making sure the home is safe. There are a few things that you will want to do to reduce safety concerns; these things are explored further below. They include taking all flammable or explosive materials out of the home, for instance.

This is something that you will need to do before the job can begin. You need to remember to set aside some time to do this as well, though you can do it in your free time in the days before the heating process is carried out. You just need to be done before the house begins to heat up.

The Financial Cost

Next, you need to look at the monetary costs. If you want to buy the unit yourself, you would have to pay around $50,000. The heating unit can be brought in on the back of a truck. For those who are looking to do this job just once, the best option is simply to hire someone who has already purchased the unit themselves.

If you hire them to do the job, they will charge you a flat rate for the service. This will go toward paying back the amount they spent on their machine. Except in the most extreme of cases, you do not want to invest in a machine like this on your own. Having it around at all times might be nice, but it will not be a cost-effective way to tackle the problem.

Renting Machines

In order to rent the machine, to hire the services of a professional, you can either pay an hourly fee or a flat fee for the job. Most places will charge you this flat fee since they know how long it will take. They can figure out how long it takes them to set up and take down the machinery.

They can then add in the two to three hours for which the temperature of the home has to be kept at around 140°F. They will charge you for this amount of time no matter how long it really takes them to do the job.

Renting Can Be a Smart Move

Paying this way can be nice since you do not have to worry if there are complications. If something goes wrong and it takes them two extra hours to do the job, you will not have to pay any extra money. You can be sure that they will work as quickly as possible. The faster that they get the job done, after all, the more money they can make per hour.

Paying by the hour has its advantages as well, however. You can sometimes get a lower rate this way. If the job takes less time than anticipated, you will save money. The drawback is that you will have to pay more for any delays or complications that arise during the heating process.

The Cost To You

It is hard to say exactly what you will need to pay since the amount varies with the size of your home, the amount of buildings that need to be rid bugs, the taxes in the area that you live, and many other things. You may even have to pay more if you live in the country and the heating company has a long commute to your home.

The only way to know what you would have to pay, for certain is to go on line and request a quote. You will need to submit all of the pertinent information, and then the company will tell you what it will cost for your specific home and your specific situation.

Typical Costs and Adjustments

Generally speaking, it will cost you about $1,200 to have the process done on your home. This has been found to be the average cost. However, you need to make sure that you do not take this as a fact that applies to everyone, in every situation. As mentioned, all homes are different.

Very small homes can be done much more quickly and with less equipment than large homes, so the cost is not the same at all. You need to get an estimate if you want to be sure what you will have to pay so that you can decide if this treatment is right for you.

How Effective It Is When Compared To Other Methods

In order to fully understand how effective heat can be, you need to consider some of your other options as well. For instance, you can use a very strong vacuum to remove the bugs from your home.

You will have to go around and target their nests and hiding places, sucking them all up. This rarely kills everything since it is just impossible to hit every inch of your home, so you will have to do this more than once. Since heat can get to every part of your home at one time, it is more effective.

Method Two: Steam Cleaners

Another option that you have is to use portable steam cleaners to work on the furniture and the mattresses. This works very well for these pieces of furniture, but it does not do anything for the rest of the home. You can hurt the population a lot by doing this, but you will not get all of them.

Those that are left will start laying eggs, and the population will increase back to what it was before. Since heat kills bugs in every part of the home, along with the eggs, it is more effective than a steam cleaner.

The Cost

A portable steam cleaner can be purchased for around $60; this is the compact version that can be carried by hand. A heavy duty steamer will cost around $170.

Method Three: Powder

Powder can also be used. You have to put it on the places where the bugs are, and the poison will kill them. This can be highly effective for the bugs that are hit with the poison, but there are two problems. First of all, you will still have this powder all around the house when you are done.

Secondly, you will have sprinkled a poison in your home. While it is deadly to bugs and not to humans, you probably do not want to have it in your home where it can get on your skin, in your eyes, or into your food. You will also not be able to get the powder everywhere, meaning that the heat is still a better option.

The Cost

You can buy an entire five-gallon bucket of powder for under $30. If you do not need this much, smaller amounts are available for as little as $4. How much this will really cost depends on the size of your home and the size of the infestation since these things regulate how much you will need.

Method Four: Traps

You can put down traps for the bugs that trap them so that you can dispose of them. Some traps can also kill them. While this is better than doing nothing, it is not your best option. The traps are not proactive enough.

They will only get the bugs that are lured to them, but they will leave the rest alive. They will also have no impact on eggs at all, so new bugs will be constantly being born to replace the ones that are killed in the traps. You will not be making any headway with traps like you will with heat.

The Cost

You can get a good trap for right around $30. You can even find them for as little as $13, if you would like. Keep in mind that you will probably want to buy multiple traps.

Method Five: Freezing

An alternative method to heating is exactly the opposite: Freezing. This is very effective, though you may have to keep the home at a temperature that is below 32°F for a number of days. This is also very hard to do since it simply has to be that cold outside.

If you live in a warm area, there is no chance that this will work. If you live in a cold area, you need to have a string of incredibly cold days in order for the temperature never to go above freezing. You also need to take care not to freeze and break your water pipes. This is highly effective, but heating is better because it is faster and easier to do on your own schedule.

The Cost

This can be free. If you live in a cold enough region, you just have to shut off your water so that the pipes do not break, open your windows, and let the bugs freeze. There may be small costs for tarps to go over the windows – to keep out the snow – and other accessories, though this is different for every home.

Method Six: A Dryer

A dryer can be used for clothes that contain bugs. This is not a good way to treat your entire home, of course, but blankets and clothes can be taken care of in a mere fifteen minutes.

The drier gets so hot that all of the bugs will be killed while they are inside. You can be sure that they will all die, but the downside is that you can only kill a limited number in your home. This does not make your home clean, though it can help.

The Cost

If you already own a dryer, as most people do, this is also free. You just have to factor in the cost of the electricity that you will use while you heat all of your clothes and blankets.

Method Seven: Bug Spray

Finally, you can use bug sprays and other chemicals to kill the bugs. Many times, these lethal chemicals will kill them on contact. The same is true for the eggs. You do not have to worry that anything will survive. As with some of the other methods, the problem is just that you have to get all of the bugs for this to work. If you miss some, they will easily live.

This is why hiring exterminators who use chemicals is not always a good idea. Since the eggs can especially be hidden, you might end up killing the bugs that you find and then discovering that eggs are hatching and releasing more of them all over your home.

The Cost

You can buy bottles of spray for as little as $7 and as much as $24. You need to remember that you will have to buy multiple bottles in order to treat your entire home this way.

When Heat Makes The Most Sense

Heat is so useful because these bugs are just so incredibly tough and resilient. Many times, there is nothing else that you can do. For example, pretend that you took away all of their food sources. They need blood to survive, so you would just have to remove any living organisms from the home.

This would not be too hard. How long do you think that they could live? If you guessed a few days or even a few weeks, you are far below the mark. They can live for as long as an entire year without having any food. Simply depriving them of this is not good enough.

After that, pretend you could remove all of the oxygen from your home. You can seal it off and take the oxygen out with a vacuum. This seems like it would be a clean and fast way to get rid of the bugs.

Bugs Living Without Oxygen

Well, it would be clean. Unfortunately, the bugs could live for as long as eighteen months without any oxygen at all. There are not many other organisms that can make such a claim. You need to find a way that is equally clean, but that works much more effectively. That way is heat.

This is best used in a home simply because you live there. You do not want to use a spray or a chemical because you will be getting that chemical all over the things that you own. You will be getting it on your blankets, your pillows, your floor, your walls, your rugs, and everything else that can provide a refuge for these parasites.

They do not live in beds alone; they just go there because they need to bite people to live, and that is the best place for them to find another meal, the place where people will go and be still for long periods of time.

Residue Concerns

Heat leaves no residue at all. You do not have to worry about destroying the things within your home since the heat will not be so intense that it will start a fire. All of you metal pots and pans and your wooden furniture will get quite hot while the process is underway, but it will all cool back down in the end.

At this time, the bugs will be dead. If you do not want to have to take everything out of your home, this is the ideal solution.

Can Heat Be Used Along With Other Techniques?

One of the nice things about using heat is that it certainly can be used along with any of the techniques that are listed above. If you have already used powder or spray, it is still safe to use heat to get rid of the bugs that survived.

What Health And Safety Precautions Should Be Taken?

First of all, it is important to note that you should not, under any circumstances, be in the home while the heating process is going on. You can your family and all pets must exit the building.

You should also wait a safe amount of time before entering the home after the process is over for the home to cool down. You should make sure that you remove anything that is flammable or potentially explosive from the home before the heating treatment begins. This includes things like gasoline, propane canisters, and the like. If you do not, you risk an explosion and a house fire.

Keeping Them Out Forever: What You Should Do

Once you have eradicated the bugs, you need to do everything that you can to make sure that they never come back. A second infestation can be the most frustrating thing in the world. You will feel like your victory over the bugs has been taken away from you.

There are a number of things that you need to do both inside and outside of your home in order to make sure that they do not get in again. If you are vigilant and take all of the necessary steps, you will only have to fight off the bugs a single time.

Inside, you should make sure that you vacuum every day, both to pick up any bugs that may have gotten in and to get rid of the dirt that they like to use as a hiding place. After vacuuming, you need to block off all of the different ways that they could get in.

This can mean putting screens on windows, caulking cracks, and tightening boards so that there is no space between them. You may even have to apply a new layer of glue to wallpaper where it has come loose. If the bugs cannot get in, you will not have to kill them.

Proper Storage

You should also store all of your linens in a place where the bugs cannot reach. You should use airtight boxes. You need to make sure that the rooms that these boxes are in have been protected as mentioned above – using caulk, screens, and the like.

bed bug on clothing

Your bedspreads and pillows are very susceptible to an infestation, so you have to take special care of them to make sure that this sort of a thing does not happen in your home

Outside, you need to move anything that is close to the home back so that it does not touch the house. This could mean piles of dirt, mulch, or branches. You do not want the bugs to gather in these places and then move on into your home. You also need to cut back the vegetation so that it does not touch the home.

You do not have to do away with your bushes and trees altogether, but you need to make sure that they not in a place where they can pose a threat. Finally, you can get rid of any garbage that has accumulated near the home or garage; you can eliminate any rodents along with this. You will be robbing them of their entry points, which can keep your home clean and clear at all times.

Prevention Tips

In the end, there is only so much that you can do to prevent them from getting into your home. While you want to do all of these things, you need to be sure that you have a tactic in mind that you can use if you do have an infestation.

They may threaten to ruin your life and make your home a miserable place, but this does not meant that you have to let them do it. You can take back control and you can make your home into a clean and relaxing sanctuary once again. All that it takes is positive action on your part.

As is shown above, heat is often the very best option that you have available to you when you are trying to rid yourself of these pests. Killing these bloodsucking bugs with heat is fast and efficient. Heat can get into cracks and it can permeate walls. There will not be any leftover residue from chemicals.

Consider Our Heat Recommendation

Even though the bugs are tough enough to survive without food and oxygen, they are not tough enough to survive heat. They will not be able to escape it. The heat will seek them out and kill every last bug in your home.

If you have an infestation, you should consider using heat to kill these parasites right away. Do not waste any more time looking for the right method. You have already found it.

Killing them off will give you back the life that you want for you and your family, and heat is the best way to do it. No longer will you have to live with this invasion. You can crush the bugs once and for all, and then you can concentrate on making sure that they never invade your home again.

12 Responses to Killing Bed Bugs With Heat

  1. Dennis Heller says:

    Heat sounds like the way to go. Sprays just don’t seem to work.

  2. selah earel says:

    my home has been overtaken by these vampire bugs and i am sick of them. they are biting and making our lives miserable. we have decided to try and fight them ourselves due to extreme cost of exterminators which we cant afford. my daughter and i are going to cover our matresses first with the best encasements we can find. then we plan to remove everything we can and vaccuum, and clean like never before. and then we will try DE, but also with the washing and drying of clothes and all that cant be put into hot water and hot dryers will be thrown away. the couch is going out with a sign that lets ppl know it is infested. there are a few other things we plan but the basic bigger treatments i have mentioned. i would love to use the heat method but lack the funds. $1200.00 is too much money for the ppl i know. only time will tell.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I had a heat treatment done on my apartment over a month ago. Since that time I have moved into a new building, and noticed a live adult this morning on my bed; it was flat and had not been recently feeding. After a thorough check, I am fairly certain that there is not a re-infestation. I am hopeful it was a straggler, but am still shocked that after the heat treatment there would still be any left after such a month.

  4. bug inferno says:

    we are doing heat treatments for about 1/2 the price you mention. We are also selling complete system at a much discounted rate.

  5. happier now says:

    I have to say, Heat is the way to go. We tried spraying ourselves. It killed them on the spot but they have sooo many hiding places.

    We went with an exterminator who sprayed and heated the bedrooms. It was $2k for 3 bedrooms and they sprayed 4 additional rooms. The company I used offered financing for those who couldn’t pay it all at once.

    Knowing my home is bed bug free and we haven’t seen any signs of them since the treatment (and let me tell you, I had the welts BIG time)… I am itch free and happy.

  6. Gail says:

    I bought a night stand and chest of drawers oncraigslist. It did have a funny smell, but thought it would go away, it was in my bedroom for less than a week before I realized that I was getting bites at night. I threw the furniture out. I live in the south, and fortunately it’s summer. I have a 5×8 enclosed cargo trailer, so I put all my belongings in it for 2 days. I’m sure the temp was 115-120 inside the trailer. Then I borrowed a friend’s portable indoor camp heater. Put it in the bedroom and was able to achieve heat of 120-125, so we left it going for 4 hours. Then I bought an encasement for my mattress and and a metal bed frame. I also put glue traps, the kind for mice under the feet of my mattress. Then I pulled back the carpet and put diatomaceous earth along all the baseboards and laid the carpet back down. I’ve slept in my bed now x 2 nights with no bites, and no signs of the bugs in the glue traps. I’ve since moved my belongings back from my cargo trailer back into my room. I am hoping this all worked since the furniture was only in my room for less than a week.

  7. Joan mekler says:

    Please give mew an estimate!! 1600 sq feet (include garage)

  8. Matt says:

    We are bagging and sealing many items that can’t be laundered and putting them in closed vehicles during the day (it’s summer and they’re getting to over 130*).

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