Tips and Tricks: Turn up the heat on bedbugs


November 15, 2012

Headshot: Cisse SpraginsBy Dr. Cisse Spragins
CEO, Rockwell Labs

Because bed bugs directly seek out and attack humans, and they can harbor in the tiniest of cracks and crevices, thoroughness in treatment is absolutely critical. Heat is the bed bug’s Achilles’ heel: Just five minutes at 122° F will kill them.

Heat is ideal for treating clothing, bedding and objects from small furniture and toys to ornamental pieces and electronics. Items that won’t be harmed can be run through a dryer. Otherwise, heat chambers can be used. There are an increasing number of chambers available, and plans for building your own can be found online.

In some cases, heat can also be used for entire premises treatment — although the process can become complicated and the equipment expensive. Heat, of course, has no residual. The ultimate extended residual to use to complement heat treatments or chemical treatments is an engineered silica dust. Because it is a desiccant, heat will only speed up the kill by making the insects even more susceptible. Unlike most chemicals, the product itself is not affected by heat, and an added bonus is the extremely low toxicity.

Liquid treatments with pyrethroids and/or non-repellents can also be used for crack-and-crevice and surface treatment, provided they are labeled appropriately for the areas to be treated. Small voids, such as hollow bed or furniture legs, conduits or wall voids can be ultra low-volume (ULV) fogged with an appropriately labeled ultra-low volatile organic compound (VOC)esfenvalerate encapsulated formulation. Because of significant pyrethroid resistance in some bed bug populations, pyrethroids should not be used as the sole treatment.

There are a significant and increasing number of treatment and monitoring options available. More than one method will generally be required for effective results against these tenacious pests.

Examining the business aspects of bed bug treatment is also very important. Treatments are labor-intensive. And even if every bed bug is killed, accounts like hotels or rental property can become re-infested quickly by the next guest or renter. These issues must be addressed when bidding jobs, to avoid potentially significant losses.

Leave A Comment

Comments are closed.