People who have experienced bed bugs know how difficult they are to control and eliminate! The majority of people who try to get rid of bed bugs on their own using chemicals learn that:
- They may kill some of the pests, but they NEVER seem to end the cycle of infestation!
- The frustration and costs add up, and
- Eventually they call a professional pest control service to finish the job using heat.
What they may NOT realize, however, is that the chemicals they are using typically make the bed bug infestation more difficult to control and are likely causing them to spread- making eradication costs more expensive! Below are some reasons that explain why.
Common problems using chemicals for bed bug control –
- Chemical Resistance – many bed bugs have grown resistant to the chemicals in use today, and if even a small number of the bed bugs in your current infestation are resistant, they will not die when sprayed. Even worse- the chemical resistant bed bugs that survive the initial treatment will then mate and their offspring will inherit that same resistance gene making future treatments completely ineffective! This has been a common trend with the pesticides in use today.
- Bed bugs hide in unreachable locations – bed bugs typically hide in small protected areas that may be impossible to reach or spray with chemicals. They can hide in the smallest of cracks in mattresses, headboards, walls, baseboards, electrical outlets, light switch boxes, furniture, and even within box springs and electronic devices (TV’s, VCR’s, Alarm Clocks, etc.). Killing these hiding bed bugs with chemicals may be impossible, not to mention spraying chemicals on these items may be unsafe and illegal!
- Chemicals cause bed bugs to scatter and spread – unless the chemicals are sprayed directly on the bed bugs, they will seldom kill them. Even when sprayed directly, the “resistant” bed bugs will not die and may cause bigger problems as described above. Bedbugs are known to be sensitive to the “residuals” of chemicals and pesticides and avoid them. Therefore, by spraying chemicals around the perimeter of an infected area, it will not usually kill them but instead will make them scatter and hide deeper in cracks and crevices until the residues wear off! Since bed bugs can live up to 5 months without feeding, they will survive long enough to simply return when it is safe to do so. Worse yet, those bed bugs will likely begin searching for new places to feed and will spread to the bedroom across the hallway or even go next door! As you can see, by spraying chemicals, a localized infestation in a bedroom may be spread across a wide area causing bigger problems in the future (localized infestations are MUCH easier to treat).
- Chemicals do not kill bed bug eggs and require MULTIPLE treatments – Since an infested area is sure to have eggs, a chemical “treatment” is always going to require multiple treatments! Bed bug eggs typically hatch every 5 to 16 days (depending on conditions) and those baby “nymphs” will avoid the chemical residuals just like the adults do.. Therefore, the newly hatched nymphs will seek shelter and be unreachable by the time the next chemical treatment is performed. The multiple treatments needed to “break the cycle” is usually ineffective and can become quite expensive and inconvenient, dragging out for weeks or even months.
- Some items may need to be discarded – many people have been told to throw away beds, furniture, and other infested items due to the ineffectiveness of using chemicals. These losses add to the costs of chemical treatments that you can see are not likely to be effective anyways.
- Lots of resident “pre-treatment” required and invasive process – Chemical treatments often require a lot of preparation time by the residents and is a highly invasive process. In order to “make contact with” as many bed bugs as possible, the exterminator will need access to nearly every inch of your bed, dressers, nightstands, and other items to allow spraying access to every possible hiding place. This may require removing many items from their stored locations.
- Chemicals are Toxic – The need for repeated chemical treatments required can cause a cumulative effect of residual pesticides to build up. Although these chemicals may be deemed “safe” by regulatory agencies, do you want ‘Restricted Use’ chemicals in your bedroom (where you spend 1/3 of your lifetime) and home?
Why Heat Is the Best Choice and Chemicals Are Not
- Heat can kill ALL LIFE STAGES of bed bugs with ONE treatment – No bed bugs are resistant to heat and temperatures above 120 degrees will kill all bed bugs AND their eggs in a matter of minutes or less!
- Heat can penetrate walls and other unreachable places – when done properly, the swirling high heat used to kill bed bugs effectively penetrates mattresses, box springs, furniture, and even walls to kill the bed bugs wherever they may be hiding! And since bed bugs are at first attracted to heat, they are less likely to scatter during the treatment.
- Keep Your Stuff – with fans creating a “convection effect”, heat can penetrate and treat nearly all items in your home and there is no need to discard of expensive beds, furniture, electronics, or anything else that was infested prior to treatment.
- Relatively simple “pre-treatment” responsibility for homeowner – Since the heat will penetrate most items using circulating air from fans, anyone performing the heat treatment will not need as much access into dressers, drawers, and other items as would typically be needed to do a chemical spray treatment.
- Heat Treatment is Non-Toxic – Heat treatment does NOT require ANY toxic chemicals. For long lasting protection after a heat treatment you can choose to apply a non-toxic/food-grade “dust“ that will provide a residual effect and is safe for both pets and people.
DON’T BE FOOLED BY MISLEADING INFORMATION – SIMPLE MATH AND SCIENCE PROVE IT
1kW of electric power puts out 3,412 BTUs of heat.
10kW of electric power puts out 34,120 BTUs of heat.
See for yourself: Conversion Table
How many BTUs do you need to effectively get a 60 degree room up to 135 degrees to kill bed bugs and treat an average 350 square foot hotel or dormitory room? 31,200 BTU’s or 9143 watts (9.1kW)
See for yourself: BTU Calculator
WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?
“Recent research has determined the thermal death points (the temperature at which a bed bug dies) for bed bugs and their eggs. The thermal death point is determined by two things; temperature, and exposure time. Bed bugs exposed to 113°F will die if they receive constant exposure to that temperature for 90 minutes or more. However, they will die within 20 minutes if exposed to 118°F. Interestingly, bed bug eggs must be exposed to 118°F for 90 minutes to reach 100% mortality. Note that whole room heat treatments are based on a thermal death point of 113°F, yet these treatments have been very successful. This is due to the use of powerful fans to create convection currents within the heated room. These currents heat the bed bugs very rapidly, thus increasing their mortality.”
- Dr. Dini M. Miller, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech