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The Bed Bug Beast™ - How We Solved The Bed Bug Heater “Power Challenge”

Posted by Michael Ferkiss on

How PestPro Thermal Systems and RealPower Solved the Bed Bug Heater “Power Challenge”


PestPro Thermal Systems opened its doors in 2012 in response to a request from a long time, multi-generational Pest Control Operator in South Dakota. He was looking for an electric bed bug heater that would produce enough heat to kill all life stages of bed bugs including nymphs and eggs (ovicidal) in homes and businesses.

High rise residential building where electric bed bug heaters are used to kill bed bugs, bed bug eggs and bed bug nymphs using the power take off gear connected to the truck engine under the hood.

We engineered and built a heater that met the specifications for the harsh environment in which he was operating including:

  • Superior Heat Output - most heat out of the smallest footprint
  • Extreme Portability - lightweight and easy to roll on wheels
  • Consistent Dependability - DIY repairs with open-source parts
  • Industrial-Grade Ruggedness and Durability

The challenge quickly became where to obtain enough power to plug in multiple industrial bed bug heaters beyond the stove and dryer outlets found in homes and apartments (given the limitations of residential breaker panels).

The obvious answer comes in the form of a portable generator.

Self-Contained power truck used for killilng bed bugs with electric bed bug heaters parked in front of a high rise residential building

Any generator has two major components: most often a gasoline or diesel-powered engine which when married to an alternator (the device that generates electricity) produces various amounts of voltage for use with our heaters.

Pest control professionals unloading a self-contained power bed bug heat treatment truck.

Each of our 10,000 watt 240v heaters can optimally treat up to 400 square feet and they require a 240v 50 amp circuit breaker which is considered ‘High Voltage’ versus low voltage 120v outlets. This lower voltage is what we all use to power small appliances and lighting in our homes.

Pest control professionals lowering power cables from the 29th floor of a high rise residential apartment down to the self-contained power truck and electric bed bug heaters.

If you plug the first 10,000 watt heater into a 50 amp stove outlet and a second, 6000 watt heater into a 30 amp dryer outlet you have reached the limit of what the majority of what most breaker panels can support. Those two heaters can now treat up to 650 square feet in one average 5-6 hour treatment session or 1300 square feet if you divide the area up into two sections and treat them separately.

Six port power distribution box on the 29th floor of a residential hi-rise building  with input power form the self-contained power truck on the ground level.

Although this was adequate for small apartments it was woefully inadequate for professionals treating the much larger square footage of apartments, single-family homes and large luxury resort suites.

Power cables connecting truck generator on the ground floor up to the electric bed bug heaters on the 29th floor of a residential hi-rise.


Because of the power limitation of most residences we quickly found ourselves providing portable generators in trailers to provide adequate power for and transporting our bed bug heating equipment. Selling these generators was not a problem in and of itself but supporting them was. Admittedly, managing the support networks of the generator manufacturers for our customers was spotty at best. 

As anyone who has ever used a portable generator knows they are very loud, very smoky, require loads of expensive and time-consuming maintenance in a shop (that is often booked out 2-3 weeks resulting in downtime for you) and are nowhere near as reliable as you need them to be. On top of that they are the opposite of discreet leading to lots of questions from curious guests and residents as to why they are there in the first place.


As the years went by and more and more of our bed bug heaters were sold in combination with trailers and portable generators, we quickly realized how challenging it was to manage the generator support structures in North America. Supporting generators in the ways we wanted them supported for our customers was out of our control and becoming untenable. We concluded this was adversely affecting our ability to support the top-quality electric bed bug heating products we were building and supporting at the highest levels.

Selling and supporting generators quickly became viewed internally as a necessary evil.

There had to be a better alternative to provide power that we could offer our customers.


After extensive research and table pounding the answer to our customer’s requests (and prayers) for reliable, well supported portable power was found in partnering with RealPower,  headquartered close to one of the most technologically innovative and creative places on earth, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

We could now divorce ourselves from the reputation damaging nightmare of trying to support products we had no part in manufacturing and could instead rely on a revolutionary, ‘game changing’ power option that only PestPro Thermal Systems could offer to forward thinking bed bug heat services providers and property managers.

RealPower has engineered a unique and proprietary way to use the power from the engine under the hood of a diesel F-Series or Class 7 or 8 truck, using the Power-Take-Off (PTO) gear, to spin an alternator anchored to the undercarriage of the vehicle.

  • This alternator is then connected to a power distribution box designed and built by RealPower
  • Connected to smaller 6-port distribution boxes that can be up to 300’ away from the truck.


This translates into being able to heat treat an apartment on the 29th floor of a hi-rise while leaving the truck safely locked and running to generate power for up to 18 10,000 Watt heaters = 180,000 Watts = 614,160 BTUs treating up to 7200 square feet at one time!

Let me repeat that: We can offer you a solution that is completely self-powered without the need to tow around or maintain a separate generator or transport dangerous, combustible fuels,  that will put out 614,160 BTU's allowing you to treat up to 7200 square feet at a time. 

This is an industry first, revolutionary, disruptive, game-changing technology and exclusively available from PestPro Thermal Systems and RealPower.

This method eliminated the need to tow around a separate engine to power the generator resulting in more available power without the associated headaches of:

  • Separate fuel system and storage
  • Separate exhaust system and belching diesel smoke and noise
  • Separate trailer and the parking, theft, licensing, handling and insurance issues that go with it
  • Separate maintenance and repairs which keep you out-of-service and out of control making it hard to keep to your schedule of customer commitments
  • Limited floor space to transport bed bug heaters, fans and other equipment taken up by the extra generator engine
  • Lower fuel efficiency due to having to haul around a 3000 lb generator to every job

The first two “Self-Contained Power Trucks” have now been operational in an urban, hi-rise midwestern city with a national Pest Control Operator since September of 2019.

The reports from this customer include:

“The performance and reliability of the Real Power generator system continues to exceed our expectations and the dependability is like night and day compared to the separate generators we used to run.”
"Eliminating trailers has opened up new opportunities for us, reduced risk, and improved our ability to execute services on a variety of levels."
“Combined with the added efficiency of the high voltage Pest Pro heaters, we are also reducing operating costs.”

This customer also shared with me that profit margins have increased significantly, and the field operators of the equipment are thrilled at how easy and low maintenance everything is. They also feel safer driving an F-Series truck versus a trailer where, during ice/snow events "white knuckle" driving was the accepted norm.

Additionally, the near zero maintenance of the alternator (quarterly grease gun applications) keeps jobs running and on schedule. No more cancellations due to generator maintenance and repair downtime.

Since this customer has previously been running our 240v Universal Heaters they also have the option of plugging 2-4 of these heaters into building power (stove or dryer outlets) to add even more heat into any job thereby being able to treat an additional 800-1600 square feet to their capacity.

In hi-rise situations above 30 stories this 240v heater option adds a level of flexibility that cannot be replicated by competitive bed bug heating equipment.

RealPower + PestPro Thermal Systems have architected 3 Bed Bug Beast™ options to choose from:


 Watch Bed Bug Beast video


Call or text 970-443-8119 for meaningful answers to your intelligent questions about our bed bug heat treatment equipment.

We appreciate and thank you for your time.

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