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What is Bed Bug Heat Treatment?

Bed bug heat treatment, otherwise known as thermal remediation, is the only proven method to kill bed bugs in your home in one treatment. Yes, just one bed bug heat treatment will kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs. It’s one of the most popular ways to go if you have a bed bug infestation, because the preparation is easy, you don’t need to throw any of your beloved possessions away, it’s safe for electronics, furniture, and belongings, and it’s eco-friendly.

Sometimes, bed bugs can bite and feed on your blood and leave no signs at all. In such cases, other signs will tell you that you have a bed bug infestation. Such signs include; rust like stains that show up on your bedding, as bed bugs are crushed while you toss and turn, brownish spots that indicate the excreta of bed bugs, presence of tiny eggs with just a 1 mm diameter and of course live bed bugs that you can actually see around your bedding area. The smell of rotting raspberries coming from your bed is also a sign that you might have a bed bug problem.

Bed bugs are great at hiding and are mostly nocturnal which means that you typically don’t see them during the day. To investigate a bed bug problem, you must closely at hidden areas like the creases in your mattress, the insides of box spring, cracks on the frame of your bed and at the very bottom of your wardrobe draws. Though bed bugs don’t carry any vector diseases, they are a problem you must eliminate as their population can multiply exponentially, if not kept in check. Without treatment, bed bugs are difficult to eliminate as they are very resilient creatures, capable of living up to 300 days without food!

How does the bed bug heat treatment work?

Basically, a professional service will come to your home and apply a pressurized heat treatment using a portable furnace system. It heats your entire house to the temperature that kills bed bugs safely and in the shortest time. The furnace system will arrive at your home in a discreet, unmarked box truck. No need to be worried about sending your neighbors into a panic. Ducts come from the furnace system and attach to your windows or doors, directing the heat into your home.

How long does it take?

The heat treatment typically lasts between 8 and 12 hours. Factors like the type and age of your home, how much furniture/items/clothes you have, and the square footage, will determine just how long it will take. Surprisingly, the bigger homes don’t necessarily take longer to treat than smaller ones. Each home is different. In the end, what determines the length of time is the proportion of things to the size of the house or apartment. So, a small home packed with things will take longer than a large home with few things.

Do you need to leave your home for treatment?

You bet ya! Your home will be heated to a temperature of 130-140F for 6 to 9 hours.

What happens during the bed bug heat treatment?

Since you’ll be out of your home, here’s a look at what the technicians will be doing:

  • 1 Hour to set up their equipment – preparing your home, setting up fans inside your home, turning on the furnace and running the hoses to windows or doors

  • 3 – 4 hours heating your home to 130-140F

  • 3-5 Hours of maintained 130-140F temperatures in each room to ensure all your belongings reach at least 122F

  • 1 Hour to shut down and pack up equipment

How to prepare for a bed bug heat treatment

The professionals providing the bed bug heat treatment will give you a check list of what you need to do. But to give you an idea, you’ll need to remove anything that could melt (like chocolate and candles), anything that can warp (like vinyl records and musical instruments), anything combustible (like lighters and turpentine), anything pressurized (like hair spray and fire extinguishers) and things like prescription medication, plants, pets (even fish) and liquor. When in doubt, take it out.

You’re going to need to clean like your mother-in-law is coming over! Vacuum every room, take out the trash, get everything out from under the bed and get the dirty dishes out of the sink. You get the gist. There are also some things you may not think of that you’ll need to do, like draining your water bed, shutting down your sprinkler system and unlocking cabinets like gun safes and storage chests.

Lastly, the morning of the treatment you’ll need to set aside treated bed bug-free clothes to wear on that day, and unplug all minor appliances and electronics before you head out.

How much is a bed bug heat treatment cost?

Depending on your geographic area, and of course your home, a bed bug heat treatment can run anywhere from $390 up to $1,500, and can go as high as $4,000 or more.

After your bed bug heat treatment

When you arrive back home after you’ve had a bed bug heat treatment, your home will not look quite the way you left it. The reason is that during the treatment, the technicians were inside monitoring temperatures and moving things around. They do this to ensure even heat distribution. It may seem a bit haphazard, and that’s because the short time period they have to work in the extreme temperatures doesn’t allow them to always move things neatly or move them back where they found them. What you’ll most likely find are sheets hanging on doors and cabinets, couch cushions removed and chairs on their sides, pictures and blinds taken down, beds lifted off of the ground and leaning against the wall, and drawers opened. All part of the process.

The temperature of your home also needs to get back to normal. It’s recommended that you allow your home to naturally cool after the treatment. It’s best to simply open the windows and use fans.

The last thing you need to do before you start putting things back in order, is a thorough vacuuming. By doing this, you’ll get rid of all dead bed bugs, eggs, and castings. Starting with a clean slate will help you to properly monitor your situation going forward.

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