Yes. Bed bugs have proven to be an especially challenging pest to control because of their ability to hide in cracks, crevices, and other sheltered tight spaces, their durability to go extended periods of time between blood meals, and their capacity to develop resistance to insecticides. As pesticide treatments have become less consistently effective in eliminating bed bug populations, a number of alternative bed bug treatment options have increased in popularity. It is now sometimes possible to get rid of bed bugs without any chemical or pesticidal intervention at all.
Heat is now known to be an extremely effective bed bug killer which can be used in various ways to get rid of bed bug infestations. Steam machines may be an excellent option to treat bed bugs in or beneath carpets, along floor board, behind base boards, in cracks & crevices, on upholstered furniture, in seams of mattresses, around bed frames, and more. Portable bed bug heat chambers or bed bug ovens can be used to kill bed bugs in smaller infested household items such as clothing or other belongings. Larger heat chambers may be used to treat larger items such as furniture, and professional heating systems can be used to treat entire rooms and structures, elevating the temperature of the entire treated areas that bed bugs will be unable to withstand.
Among the advantages of using heat to kill bed bugs is its ability to kill adult bed bugs as well as bed bug eggs without introducing pesticides or chemicals into the environment. Many professional pest control companies now offer some form of heat treatment as part of their bed bug service offerings. Although very effective in killing bed bugs, the potential downsides of heat include the fact that this option can be cost prohibitive, with steamers or heating systems sometimes costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Also, unlike with many bed bug pesticides, heat treatments provide no residual benefit, meaning bed bugs can safely return to the treated environment immediately after a bed bug heat treatment is complete. Localized steam or heat treatments requires extreme thoroughness, comprehensiveness, and attention to detail in order to make sure the heat gets targeted to all places where bed bugs and their eggs may potentially be. Missing any areas will allow the bed bug populations to replenish and persist. For this reason (and others), localized heat treatments are best used in conjunction with other chemical and/or non-chemical bed bug treatment measures in order to ensure bed bug elimination and ongoing bed bug protection. Full-structure heat treatments may be effective as stand-alone treatment options, as they are designed to penetrate the entirety of the area.
What temperature kills bed bugs?
It depends.There has been much research and study regarding how much heat is necessary to kill bed bugs and their eggs. It is generally accepted that exposing bed bugs to temperatures in excess of 120°F will effectively kill bed bugs. But there are many variables that could impact this. Ultimately, the point at which bed bugs die from heat is a function of two things: how much heat is introduced (the temperature), and how long bed bugs are exposed to the heat. Higher heat for a longer period of time is likely to be more effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs than lower heat for shorter periods of time. Studies have established that bed bugs begin to die at or around 106°F, but only after being exposed for an extended period of time, often many hours. Bed bugs exposed for more than 90 consecutive minutes to temperatures in excess of 113°F have been proven to die, and in as few as 20 minutes in temperatures over 118°F.
Bed bug steam machines work by delivering deadly temperatures of steam to targeted areas where bed bugs are likely to be hiding. When steaming for bed bugs, it is critical to take into account the necessary heat component to ensure success at getting rid of bed bugs and their eggs. Steam can be very effective at killing all developmental stages of bed bugs, but requires proper application. A basic steamer used for cleaning clothing or carpets is unlikely to generate enough heat to be effective at killing bed bugs. To effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs, the surface temperature should be at least 160°F at the point of application. If your steam machine cannot produce this level of heat, it is unlikely to be effective in getting rid of bed bugs and bed bug eggs.