Why Heat Is Your Best Option for Killing Bed Bugs

Why Heat Is Your Best Option for Killing Bed Bugs

Why Heat Works and How Toxic Insecticides Can Make the Problem Worse

People who have experienced bed bugs know how difficult they are to control and eliminate!  Most people trying to get rid of bed bugs on their own (DIY) using insecticides 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 insecticides 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 insecticides for bed bug control 

  1. Insecticide 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. It has been determined by entomologists at the University of California that by the time a community of bed bugs has reached the tenth generation up to 40% of that population has developed a resistance to all classes of common insecticides approved by the FDA for bed bug eradication.
  2. 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.). Treating these hiding bed bugs with insecticides may be impossible, not to mention spraying chemicals on these items may be unsafe, illegal and simply unwise. Why does the USAF prohibit insecticides from being sprayed in their pilot barracks? Because they have proven, with science, that insecticides can harm these expensively trained pilots and want to protect them from any potential neurological damage that might adversely affect their ability to safely fly the most sophisticated, expensive aircraft on planet earth.
  3. Insecticides 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 insecticides and will avoid them.  Therefore, by spraying insecticides around the perimeter of an infected area, it will not usually kill them but instead 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 insecticides, a localized infestation in a bedroom may be spread across a wider area causing bigger problems in the future (small, localized infestations are MUCH easier and less expensive to treat).
  4. Insecticides do not kill bed bug eggs and require MULTIPLE treatments – Since an infested area is sure to have bed bug eggs, which will hatch if not eradicated, insecticide “treatment” is always going to require multiple applications over many weeks!  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.
  5. Some items may need to be discarded – many people have been directed to throw away beds, furniture, and other infested items due to the ineffectiveness of using chemicals.  These losses add to the costs of insecticide treatments that you can see are not likely to be effective anyways. Using heat means you will not need to throw anything away which will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
  6. Lots of resident “pre-treatment” required and invasive process – Insecticide 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. It has been proven over time that most populations of folks suffering bed bug infestations will not be able to do what it takes to properly prepare an apartment or home for an insecticide bed bug treatment. Is 75 year old Mr. Jones going to be able to do anything on that preparation checklist? Of course not.
  7. Insecticides are Poisonous – 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, like your state's Department of Agriculture, are you really comfortable with insecticides designated for ‘Restricted Use’ by the FDA sprayed in your bedroom (where you spend 1/3 of your life breathing deeply) and other parts of your home? Do you think the FDA has tested the safety and efficacy of these “Approved” chemicals on pets? They have not.

Why Heat Is Always Your Best Choice for Eliminating Bed Bugs 

  1. Heat always kills 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! Your are creating a bed bug sauna that is inescapable.
  2. Heat can penetrate everywhere including unreachable places – when done properly, the convection effect created by heaters and fans used to kill bed bugs, effectively penetrates mattresses, box springs, furniture, and even walls to kill the bed bugs wherever they hide!  And since bed bugs are at first attracted to heat, they are less likely to scatter during the treatment.
  3. You Can Keep Your Stuff – with fans creating a “convection effect”, heat can penetrate and treat nearly all items in your home and you can avoid throwing away expensive beds, furniture, electronics, or anything else that was infested prior to treatment.
  4. Simple “pre-treatment” checklist – 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.
  5. Heat Treatment is Non-Toxic – Heat treatment does NOT require ANY toxic insecticides.  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.

 See the Formula Tested, Proven & Backed by Math and Science:

1000 Watts (1kW) of electric power puts out 3,412 BTUs/h of heat. 

10,000 Watts (10kW) of electric power puts out 34,120 BTUs/h of heat. 

See for yourself: 

Conversion Table  

QUESTION: How many BTUs/h 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?

ANSWER: 31,200 BTU’s or 9143 watts (9.1kW) 

Prove it for yourselfBTU Calculator

Expert entomologists 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



From: 2020 NPMA Global Bed Bug Summit

Presenter: Chow Yang Lee, Professor & Endowed Presidential Chair in Urban Entomology, University of California

Topic: The Global Perspective of Insecticide Resistance in Bed Bugs



  • Approximately $1B will be spent mitigating bed bugs in the US in 2020
  • Both species of bed bugs (common and tropical) have been widely reported to develop resistance to all major classes of insecticides including pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates, neonicotinoids, pyrroles, chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • “The worldwide resurgence of both common and tropical bed bugs over the past two decades is due in large part... to insecticide resistance”
  • By the 10th generation 40% of a bed bug community population will have developed resistance to insecticides
  • “Resistant insects develop cuticular barriers by evolving a thicker cuticle or by altering the cuticular structure to reduce the penetration rate of the insecticides into the insect body”
  • “Resistant bed bugs may detect the presence of insecticides and avoid contact with the treated surfaces or be repelled away from coming close to the treatment.”
  • “A properly carried out heat-treatment should be able to completely eradicate all stages of bed bugs (including eggs)” 

I spoke with Mr. Lee, one-on-one after his presentation at the Global Bed Bug Summit and have read all of his latest research papers, available upon request.

I was left with three baffling realizations:

  1. The most recent science has proven, yet again,  that bed bugs are now resistant to insecticides manufactured and sold to kill bed bugs
  2. All classes of insecticides approved by the FDA to kill bed bugs actually make infestations more widespread than they were before being applied.
  3. Both do-it-yourself (DIY) folks and professionals continue to use these ineffective insecticides in the false belief they will solve the problem.

Call or text 970-443-8119 today for honest answers to your intelligent bed bug questions!