Extreme Temperatures Can Help Eliminate Bed Bugs Permanently
“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” is a phrase that many of us have heard, but bed bugs can be more harmful than this nursery rhyme suggests.
Bed bugs get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep. Although the pest doesn’t transmit diseases, their bites can create red, itchy welts (as well as giving people the heebie-jeebies).
There are many myths around how to get rid of bed bugs, but what is known for sure is that putting bed bugs under extreme temperatures will rid your home of them.
For a long time, bed bugs were extremely prevalent worldwide. But in the 1950s, with the use of new pesticides and better household cleaning methods, bed bug infestations decreased. In the past few years, increased international travel and less pesticides led to an explosion in the bed bug population.
Signs of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped insects.
They can easily hide in cracks or crevices, and they range from brown to reddish-purple-brown in color.
If you aren’t sure that you have a bed bug infestation, some signs are tiny blood spots on your pajamas, bedding, and mattress. Also, with large infestations, you might smell an extremely sweet odor from the bed bugs’ scent glands.
Bed bugs like to hide in small crevices like the headboard and along the piping of a mattress. You may also notice eggshells near both places. In order to prevent more bed bugs, it’s important to catch the infestation as early as possible.
“Bed bugs are typically found grouped together in clusters. They can be found in cracks and crevices in seams on the mattress, box spring, or bed frames. This happens because there are congregation pheromones within the feces of the bed bugs making them look like a colony insect,” Catseye Pest Control Wildlife Expert Paul Dube, A.C.E. said.
Freezing Bed Bug Treatment
Bed bugs have an extremely high cold-temperature tolerance.
The pest can be active at temperatures as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit. They can even lower the freezing point of their body, which allows them to adapt and live in cold temperatures for a few days.
Although bed bugs can withstand cold temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit, they cannot withstand being exposed to temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for several days. The lower the temperature, the shorter time it takes to get rid of bed bugs.
These temperatures need to be so cold, that even your freezer may not be cold enough.
If bed bugs have infested your bedding, in order to kill them using freezing temperatures, the center of your bedding needs to reach 0 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s difficult to use a freezing treatment to get rid of bed bugs yourself, but pest control professionals have the tools and resources to ensure that all bed bug activity is completely eliminated.
Heat Bed Bug Treatment
There are a few different methods that stem from using heat to rid your home of bed bugs.
When used correctly, depending on when bed bugs are detected, heat treatments are proven to work. By placing items such as clothes, shoes, or blankets into a hot box, heat will penetrate the small crevices and will then kill the bed bugs.
Caution must obviously be used with this method, because heat sources can potentially cause a fire. Temperatures from 117 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit can be lethal to bed bugs.
Another form of heat that kills bed bugs is steam. Steam treatment for bed bugs works on items like blankets, sheets, curtains, and pillows, and can be used without causing damage.
Laundry dryers can also destroy bed bugs, because of the heat. Since some items cannot be put in the dryer, it won’t work as a solution for everything, but for the items that can fit there, this is an effective and obtainable solution for many. The items that are not suitable, or can’t fit in a dryer, will need professional treatment.
The Best Way to Eliminate Bed Bugs Permanently
To determine which option is best for you, it will depend on the severity of the bed bug infestation.
Infestations that are on the surface can benefit from freeze treatment. The use of cryonite will instantly freeze the pest from the inside out, thus killing them. The only downfall to cryonite is its inability to penetrate the surface and reach the middle of the mattress. Therefore, if any bed bugs are hiding in seams, folds, or the middle of the mattress, heat treatment will be the better option.
For bed bug infestations that are more severe, or beneath the surface, heat treatment will be the best option to eliminate the pest. The temperature of the infested room is gradually increased until it reaches approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit. “Clutter could cause this treatment to be an issue. But when preparations are followed, heat treatment is a great method,” Dube advised.
Bed bug treatments can be tedious, difficult, and dangerous if not done correctly. Improper treatment can make bed bugs move to other areas of the house, making the problem worse. As soon as you see signs of bed bugs, call a pest control professional.