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What is Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs?

what is bed bug heat treatment

Pest control companies frequently advertise bed bug heat treatment as a form of pest control to kill bed bugs, but there are many misconceptions about what heat treatment equipment is used to get rid of bed bugs and if it works. The good news is that bed bug heat treatment has one of the highest eradication rates in pest control and is also one of the surest ways to destroy a bed bug infestation.

So, what is bed bug heat treatment? Bed bug heat treatment is a process that uses high temperatures in specialised equipment to administer heat throughout a property to destroy bed bugs and eggs throughout the house. Heaters reach a high temperature, therefore, furniture and perishables need to be removed from the house.

With this in mind, there are some important things to keep in mind as to what to remove from the property to make the treatments effective. Additionally, having cluttered rooms and failing to do proper preparation may also affect how well the treatments work. This guide will explain the ins and outs of heat treatments for a bed bug infestation. Read on to find out more.

Can Bed Bugs Survive After Heat Treatment?

A bed bug infestation includes all the biting adults as well as all the nymphs and eggs inside a house. There are two primary problems that make bed bug treatment a difficult process: bed bug hiding behavior and chemical resistance.

These two attributes are what make an infestation a living nightmare for those affected as well as a challenging job even for pest control professionals.

Companies cannot just go through a property and place traps hoping to catch the bugs or even administer standard chemicals since these insects have adapted to them, therefore, non-chemical approaches are guaranteed to kill the insects but professionals frequently face challenges in cluttered homes.

If things like furniture in rooms are blocking the areas where the insects are hiding, the heat cannot penetrate to the area the bugs are hiding in. Furthermore, heat treatments have to be able to penetrate through walls and underneath baseboards and even ceiling because these insects will run and hide in the tiniest most inaccessible places.

It is these things that exist to block a heat treatment that can make it easier for bed bugs to survive the temperature.

The actual heat is always higher than at least 49 degrees celsius, which is the standard temperature used to kill bed bugs upon contact. Once the heat reaches a bed bug, the bug will turn over on its back and suffocate from the heat within seconds, sometimes minutes. This service can take a while depending on the size of the colony and how uniform and empty the home is.

But if your home is well-prepared and the heaters can move freely throughout the home to penetrate through walls and the ceiling, the insects cannot survive heat treatment.

How Much Does Bed Bug Heat Treatment Cost?

The costs associated with bed bug heat treatment depends on the time needed to treat the colony (treatments can take hours at a time), as well as how many areas in the home need to be treated, lighter infestations will usually be contained to a couple of rooms at most that need to be treated.

Additionally, the size of the bed bug colony plays a big factor. If the pests have infested multiple items in the home and have spread out to every room, the cost will be a bit higher than a standard quote. Heat treatment uses hot air to remove the pests from hiding places while a hot box method is used to get rid of the pests inside of items and loose materials like clothing.

Just one insect left behind can keep the bites and blood-sucking continuing, therefore, how much you have to pay for treatment is always going to be based on the size of your home and how much bed bug control is truly needed.

The standard average is roughly £350 for up to 3 room treatments. Make sure to discuss all of the details you have learned in this article with your bed bug heat treatment specialist to get the best deal possible depending on the best treatment for your home.

How Long Does Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs Take?

The process typically lasts for a single day and may bleed into the next day if the colony is massive. Furthermore, there may be instances when multiple sessions are needed if the colony is too large or the dwelling has multiple infested places throughout.

After an initial inspection, a technician should be able to tell you how long the entire process will take and what you can expect during the session. Also, the prep work needed before the first session can be quite a bit of work, be following the instructions on what needs to be done is crucial in achieving full eradication.

How Does Pest Control Kill Bed Bugs with Heat Treatment?

As previously mentioned, the method of killing is simple: the bugs have a hard go of it surviving temps higher than 49 degrees celsius, however, temps may need to be higher if this temp is not filling the bugs.

With this in mind, there are some important details to keep in mind when it comes to the process that is used to kill bed bugs.

Proper Preparation

It is absolutely essential that the dwelling is properly prepared before the process begins. All furniture should be treated by itself prior to the wider heat process that will mostly focus on killing the hiding bugs. Since stuff like sofas and cabinets and stand might not survive the high heat, these belongings should be properly treated with insecticides and removed from the dwelling once the structure has been completely cleared of the pests.

Be sure to open all doors to closets in the dwelling to give the heat complete control to move freely throughout the spaces and penetrate deep into space and the walls, floors, and ceiling above.

Hot Box Method for Loose Items

Another way to treat some loose belonging is to place them inside of a hot box approved for bed bugs. Be sure that the items can withstand the temperatures used inside the box to kill the bugs. This works well because it encloses the bugs inside of the space and with nowhere to run, they die off within minutes.

This is great for stuff like clothes (the dryer is another option), shoes, purses, figurines, anything that can withstand the heat and that might be hiding the pests.

How Heaters Work

Heaters work by emitting heat through high-powered blowers that are placed in different parts of the dwelling or rotated from a single room to the next. The heat travels slowly throughout the room driving out the bed bugs from hiding and into the warm air to die suffocate and die.

Technicians will point the heaters to areas of the dwelling where the bed bugs hide and inspect along the way for running bugs and where the bed bugs are running to. Treatment is finished once every crack and crevice has received enough focus to destroy the bed bugs.

Some technicians may use steam as a form of bed bug pest control if spot treatments are necessary for targeting rogue bugs hiding in furniture or underneath the baseboards. Steam may also be used on some infested items in a room since its use may drive the bugs out of the items and into the room to die from the heat if the use of steam doesn’t kill them first.

The use of steam may also be recommended by some pest technicians if the colony is only in a single room. It will depend on how large the colony is inside the home.


Call or contact us today for a free full quote or fill out our company contact form to get a full and free initial assessment if you do not wish to call for bed bug heat treatment. When you contact us, our company prides itself on using services that only align with what your situation calls for (no hidden extra fees).

Heat treatment is one of the most effective and safest methods of bed bug control available and we pride ourselves on using the best equipment available to deliver quality service to get these damaging bugs out of your home for good.

See our recent post on How to Prepare for Bed Bug Heat Treatment

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Matthew Blackwell

Matt is an experienced and professional pest control technician and falconer serving London and Kent.

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About Project Multi Pest
PMP is an experienced pest control company serving the London and Kent areas. It’s owned and operated by Matthew Blackwell. For pest control advice please call or use our website contact form.

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