The heat treatment for bed bugs is a quick, easy and inexpensive method to eradicate the pests from your home. But does it cause any type of damage? This is a valid concern because sometimes people can’t afford to replace everything if it gets damaged. Let’s take a look at what bed bug heat treatment does and how it could affect your home.
So, to answer the question – no, heat treatment for bed bugs will not cause any damage to your belongings. The heat treatment is a great way to get rid of bed bug infestation without using harsh chemicals. However, there is always a risk that something can go wrong. That’s why you should always consult with a professional before attempting this on your own. A highly trained professional can help ensure that the bug treatment is done safely and correctly.
How Does a Heat Treatment Work?
When it comes to heat treatment for bed bugs, the procedure is pretty straightforward. A professional will come into your home, bringing with him high-quality equipment, which he will set up and check if all preparations have been done in a correct manner. He will then turn on the heat anywhere from 119 to 135°F. An optimal and definitive temperature is 122°F, under which there is no survival, no matter if bed bugs are fully grown, nymphs, or eggs.
Another heat treatment option is to blow in hot air via ductwork, connected by an outdoor, propane-fueled heater. A pest control professional can also use steam heaters for localized extermination.
This heat treatment works by drying out the bed bugs’ bodies. Temperatures above 118°F kill them almost instantly, but the goal is to get every square inch of the house to that extreme temperature so there are no surviving bugs. That is why it is simply impossible just to heat up your home and sweat it out for a couple of hours, it simply won’t be hot enough to kill bedbugs in all the cold spots where they can hide.
A professional will use sensors to monitor rising temperatures in all the nooks and crannies. Once a required temperature is reached, he will keep the heat on for several hours, killing all bed bugs and eggs in the house. Although the heat can’t damage most household things, some items like meltable plastic, plants, pets, or oil paintings should be removed.
During the heat treatment of the entire house, different rooms can be treated with different temperature ranges. For instance, a room with fine art and furniture and fewer signs of infestation could be treated with low heat, while a bedroom or living room with a large and active infestation can be treated more aggressively with medium or high heat directly pointed at the infested areas.
A bed bug control operator will also move your furniture and mattresses since dust ruffles on beds can obstruct treatment airflow, limiting the exposure to heated air. He will separate the mattress from the box spring so air can freely flow. He will also use aluminum blocks to raise furniture from the floor, helping the hot air to reach every spot in the house.
Items You Need to Protect From Heat
Due to the nature of the treatment, there are some precautions and simple, common-sense preparatory steps that you should take before the start of the process. Anything that can suffer from high levels of heat should be taken out of the house.
As far as electronics go, heat cannot damage them, but you risk re-infecting your home if you remove them before the extermination process. The same goes for your laptops, alarm clocks, and speakers since these are all places where bed bugs can hide. A professional pest control agent will make sure that your electronics are not in a direct path of the heat source. This way, bed bugs will be killed without harming the electronics.
Here is a list of all things you should remove from your home before the treatment starts:
- Plants and animals;
- Food and beverages;
- Candles, crayons, wax, makeup, and other cosmetics that may melt;
- Medicine and vitamins;
- Oil paintings and art made with hot glue;
- Vinyl records, tapes, CDs;
- Aerosol containers, oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, lighters, and other combustible items;
- Musical instruments and magnets.
Other preventive steps you can take to ensure your items will be protected during the heat treatment are:
- Turning off and unplugging all electric appliances;
- Covering TV and computer screens with clean blankets; and
- Turning off all fans and air-conditioners.
The important thing to mention is to check every item for bed bugs before taking it out of the house! Additionally, the heat treatment is most effective when there is no clutter, so if possible, try to declutter as much as you can. Also, due to the flow of hot air, anything that can be blown away should be secured (papers, photos, etc.). Furthermore, try not to have cardboard boxes lying around, especially boxes within boxes, as cardboard is a wonderful insulator and the ideal place for bed bugs to hide. Spread them out, or even better, remove them from the house.
Strategies to Avoid Heat Damage
Although an excellent and proven method for effectively eliminating bed bugs, heat treatment also has a couple of potential pitfalls if not properly done. The operator needs to use thermostats to maintain a safe operating temperature when using the equipment. In general, our preference here at VORTEX Bed Bugs Solutions is not to exceed 122°F. A very high number of materials and items can hold up well to these conditions, however, risk climbs exponentially as temperatures rise above 122°F.
Modern buildings have nowadays become thinner, lighter weight, and have incorporated a mix of different raw materials. For example, wood and plastic have been blended to create such goods as deck materials, flooring, blinds for windows, and other supplies. Although wood holds pretty well to extreme temperatures, thinner plastics are susceptible to damage even at lower temperatures. This process needs full concentration and a firm grip on thermostatic control, otherwise, you risk damage.
Another example is vinyl plank floors, which is a popular material in new construction. The level of damage from the heat treatment on this material can depend solely on its thickness. This goes with other materials, too. That is why we recommend placing blankets over the floors where the heat source is and where the circulation fans are dispensing the air. What this does is give more time for the material to acclimate to the rising heat. As the treatment continues, the operator will slowly start to remove blankets to ensure all areas of the house have achieved thermal death temperatures.
Before heat treatment starts, make sure to talk to your bed bug control operator to find out which items can stay in the house throughout the process. Heat-sensitive and vulnerable items can be placed in storage bins and left outside your house (patio, terrace, back yard, etc.) for the duration of the heat treatment. Let your bed bug control operator know about these items, as they need to be inspected and treated separately to ensure you don’t reintroduce bed bugs into your house. Since the treatment can last for several hours, your bed bug control operator will tell you when it is safe to return to your house and also will advise you on safely returning all those objects you removed prior to heat treatment.
Although a highly efficient method for killing bed bugs and other insects in your home or offices, heat treatments come with some risk of damage to your belongings. Nevertheless, if you are careful and follow all the recommended preparation steps, the treatment process can be as harmless to your stuff as it is effective.
The heat treatment includes equipment that blows high heat into the infected area for several hours. The treatment works by drying out insects and stops them from running away to cracks and other small places in your house. This is where a bed bug control operator will use sensors to find them in all the nooks and crannies they may hide and direct the heat at them.
Heat damage usually happens when an item is heated too quickly. Examples of such damage include melting, cracking, breakage, shrinking, drying, and chemical alterations. Electronic devices, including computers, laptops, flat-screen TVs, and stereo systems, have completely different heat tolerances when operating and are completely turned off, and are generally heat resistant when unplugged from the wall. Laptop owners should make sure to fully shut down their devices and not leave them in ‘sleeping’ mode.
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!