Bed Bug Treatment

Eradicate Bed Bugs

Using heat treatment and other methods we can now kill all stages of bed bugs in one treatment! Call us for details.

Localized Heat Treatment for Control of Bug Infestations Including Bed Bugs, Roaches and Spiders

Surprisingly, Cimex lectularius, (Bed Bugs), with adequate available blood source have a shorter lifespan (those who feed regularly have a lifespan of ten months), than those without adequate feeding who can live more than a year. None the less, if a blood host is available, bedbugs can live to see three generations of offspring. The female bed bugs deposit three to eight eggs at a time, totaling between 300-500 eggs in their lifespan. Their eggs are 1/25″ long, beige-colored and curved. They are often deposited in clusters and attached to cracks, crevices or rough surfaces near adult harborages with a sticky epoxy-like substance and hatch between 7 and 12 days. The bugs turn a reddish color after their first blood meal. The entire 5 nymphal cycles from egg to adult takes 32 to 48 days.

Adult bed bugs can survive for up to seven months without blood and have been known to live in empty buildings for up to one year. Below is the life cycle chart for bed bugs.

Although the bed bug will only take 3 to 10 minutes to feed, it will generally molt for several days before feeding again until they reach the adult stage and start feeding daily and laying eggs. They live from 10 month to up to 18 months. 

Standard Treatment
Bed bugs have been associated with humans for at least the past 3,500 years. Their populations declined after World War II in developing countries but a resurgence of these blood-sucking insects have been causing increasing problems in the United States.

1. Chemical Treatment
The prohibition of DDT has been attributed to their resurgence. Because these insects hide in cracks and crevices, detection and control can be challenging, especially when bed bug aggregations occur on beds, furniture, and other objects where the application of chemical pesticides may cause problems for the customers not willing to accept close contact with pesticides. In the age of being “Green” chemicals are generally avoided when possible. Some chemicals are very useful in areas where bugs can infest, hide and harbor. The ideal scenario would be to use chemicals as a barrier in areas not normally accessible to humans and pets (i.e. electrical outlet, very small cracks and crevasses). One organic (green) chemical getting a lot of use is a diatomaceous earth (DE for short). It is a material that, once the insect walks through it, scrapes off the waxy coating of their bodies and they literally dry out and die, usually within 24 hours.

2. Freezing
A method used by some with limited success and a high incidence of reoccurrence since the insect must be in contact with the freezing substance. Bugs and eggs in deep crevasses and bedding like mattresses and box springs are rarely reached by the freeze. The technician usually uses a chemical to drive the bugs out of hiding.

3. Heat Treatment
Due to bed bug infestations in crack and crevice and the growing desire not to use insecticidal applications, heat treatment of a whole room or building is currently showing the most success in the control of bed bugs. Documentation below will show how the heat works in killing not only bed bugs but roaches, ants and spiders as well. Suffice it to say here that bed bugs and their eggs die at 120 degrees F. Besides the direct effect on the individual bed bug, sub lethal high temperatures is also detrimental to bed bug symbiosis, and will consequently prevent bed bug reproduction.

{Chang, K. P. 1974. Effects of elevated temperature on the mycetome and symbiotes of the bed bug Cimex lectularius
(Heteroptera). J. Invertebr. Pathol. 23: 333Ð340 }

2 500,000 btu propane heaters and accessories

There is a direct relationship to time and temperature as it pertains to the lethal level of heat and actual kill of bed bugs.

Only time/temperature combinations are used in generating the mortality curves.
Knockdown evaluated immediately after exposure to heat.
Final mortality evaluated 24 hours after removal from heat.

A study recorded in the JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC ENTOMOLOGY Vol. 102, no. 3 shows that only 1minute exposure to 47 degree C killed 50% of the adult bed bugs and all insects were killed with exposure to 47degrees C for just 2.5 min. All insects exposed to 49 degrees C for just 1min were killed, and 75% were killed with just 0.5-min exposure. Although our results confirm that 45 degrees C can kill bed bug adults it is clear that exposures to these temperatures should exceed 10 min to guarantee total mortality. Temperatures at or above 49 degree C should cause bed bug death in 1 min. Lower temperatures, between
40 and 45 C, also can be used to kill bed bugs.
49 degrees C= 120 degrees F
45 degrees C = 113 degrees F
40 degrees C = 104 degrees F

As you can see, we can raise the temperature to 120 degrees for 1 minute and get a 100% kill. The issue is getting to 49 degree C in walls and furniture. Among all heat-treatment trials, those in rooms with carpeted floors produced lethal temperatures for the bed bugs in the shortest times (2.4-3.1 hours) compared with treatment times between 4.9 and 7.3 hours for rooms with tile floors. Temperatures at different locations within the treatment envelope varied depending on the position of the heaters and fans, amount of furniture and other materials within the envelope being heat-treated, and level of insulation between the temperature monitor and the heated air inside the treatment envelope.

Temperatures at insulated locations continued to rise even after the heaters had been disconnected, especially when the treatment envelope was maintained intact.

Peripheral kills of insects are as follows:
Cockroaches, spiders, ants, die at temperatures below 120 degrees F.

Case study #1
Heat treatment can be a total care for pests. Note the chart #1below of the actual temperatures using the Morriselectriconline propane heater and the 4800 watt electric heater. When the temperature got to 120 degrees at 10:30, we had 100% kill in the heated area. This was with the 4800 Watt electric heater We kept the heater going to 150 degrees to drive the temperature to 120 in the middle of a 9” mattress. A barricade of DE was used around perimeter of building to affect any bugs trying to escape from the heat.

The temperature got to110 degrees in less than 15 minutes with the electric heater and 120 degrees within 30 minutes. The temperature was held there for a couple of hours and then decided to take the temperature to 150 using the propane heater.

Cautions when using targeted heat treatment:

1. No people or pets in area during treatment even though 120 degrees in itself is not deadly to humans or pets, dehydration can occur quickly.
2. The heat at 120 degrees show slight distortion (not melting) of low grade plastic trash can liners, sanitary plastic on hotel/motel cups resulting in the need to remove all low grade plastic from treatment area.
3. Even though the heaters produce temperatures below spontaneous combustion levels Remove any combustible materials in close proximity to the heaters to prevent possibility of a fire.
4. No unsupervised use of equipment. Equipment must be monitored by personnel to assure no malfunction.
5. Once target temperature reached the equipment can be turned off and let the room cool down on its own or left on to operate automatically for several hours. Remember that one minute at 120 degree give a 100% kill but that temperature needs to be reached in more insulated areas (carpet floors, mattress, box springs, clothes in closets, couch and chairs, etc.) to assure total eradication of all bed bugs and eggs. Our research shows it may take up to 1 hour to reach target temperature in center of mattresses.
6. Use targeted heat treatment equipment at own risk.

Additional advantages of using targeted heat treatment

1. Lowers humidity and helps control surfaced mold/mildew.
2. Helps eliminate odors in carpet, bedding, etc.

Although I didn’t always footnote their work, I want to thank Eric Lee (University of Florida Department of Housing & Residence Education), Josh Gibson, and the other members at the University of Florida Urban Entomology Laboratory for technical assistance with bed bug colonies and experiments as well as Pinto, L. J., R. Cooper, and S. K. Kraft. 2007. Bed bug handbook: the complete guide to bed bugs and their control.