Tips and Tricks


Welcome to our “Tips and Tricks” blog for users of PestPro bed bug heat treatment equipment. We are constantly talking with professionals who work in the area of bed bug control to try to improve performance of our equipment and treatment effectiveness overall. These professionals include entomology experts, pest control professionals, and users of our equipment among others.

We regularly come across ideas which we think might be valuable to you in making your treatments more effective, and the purpose of this blog is to share those ideas with our customer community.

If you have a tip or a trick that works for you that you would be willing to share, please let us know at 970-221-1036 or via email.

We hope you enjoy these comments and find some or all of them useful in improving your bed bug treatments. Happy heating!

Hotel Training Video

A Better Way to Keep That Fire Sprinkler Cool

faucet-coverHere is a little trick that will allow you to rest easier when thinking about the risk of setting off a fire sprinkler.

We recommend using a styrofoam faucet insulator to protect sprinklers and keep the air surrounding the sprinkler below the temperature of the air in the room.  And in fact, doing that will give you a few degrees of extra protection.  However, if you place a dampened rag or wash cloth inside the insulator cup, you will increase your margin of protection by 10 degrees or more.

We proved it by placing a wireless temp sensor in the insulator cup with the damp cloth.  In a 130-degree room, the dampened cloth kept the temperature around the sprinkler at a cool 110 degrees.

Since most sprinklers in residential areas are set to activate at 155-156 degrees (red fuses), 110 gives you a 45-degree margin of protection.  Try it and see for yourself on your next job.

Can Bugs Hide Inside the Mattress?

An internationally recognized bed bug expert recently questioned our standard treatment protocol which calls for extending a treatment for three hours after reaching 120 degrees.  She felt that running for three hours didn’t automatically guarantee that internal temperatures in mattresses, pillows, and upholstered furniture had reached fatal temperatures.

Although we had tested this earlier while developing the protocol, we repeated our tests using a food thermometer with a 1/8” steel spike and accuracy of +/- 1 degree C.  The thermometer allowed us to check temperatures  4-5” below the surface of mattresses, foam couch cushions, armrests, etc.  What we found was that the internal temperatures were 8-10⁰ F cooler than the surrounding air, and that the internal temperatures basically paralleled the external temperatures, meaning they went up at the same rate, but stayed 8-10 degrees cooler.

What this means is that by the time your air temperatures reach 130 degrees, which is typically 30-60 minutes after you get to 120⁰, the internal temperature of insulated items is at or above 120⁰.  So if you continue heating for three hours after reaching 120⁰ in the room, the internal temperature of insulated items is without question above the required 120⁰.  You can test this yourself using a quality thermometer such as Grainger models 3KTW1 or 5WG21, or other similar devices you can find online.

Use Milk Crates for Better Air Movement

Here is an idea that improves results and makes one-man operation easier, especially when it comes to positioning the mattress and box spring.  Instead of “a-framing” the mattress, set it up on milk crates as shown in the picture.  It is much easier when you are working by yourself, and it gets both pieces of bedding up off the floor.

The same is true for other furniture, clutter, and even your recirc fans.  Anything that keeps air from freely circulating around an object, or the floor that it is setting on, can be improved by putting it on a crate.  Crates can be had online or at some shipping or moving stores locally.

Use of milk crates

Thanks to Greg Osborne of Bug Bakers of Columbus OH for the idea.

Mylar Space Blankets in Bed Bug Heat Treatment

One of our users is employing mylar space blankets to speed the initial heat-up process, particularly where heat-absorbing materials like concrete are present.

The idea is that heavy heat absorbers are covered during the initial heat-up so that all the heat goes into the air and other items in the room. Then, once the room is up to temperature and the heaters are cycling on and off, remove the space blanket and subject the previously-covered space to full, lethal temperature at a time when the heaters have excess capacity to heat the covered area.

Space blankets are super-cheap, and if they save 30 minutes or an hour during heat-up, they easily pay for themselves. This seems like it ought to work, but we don’t have any field data. If you try this idea, please let us know about your experience.

Hand-held Infrared Thermometers

If you don’t yet have a hand-held infrared thermometer, they can be a handy device for insuring that all those cracks and crevices are reaching the temperature that is fatal for the bugs. Unfortunately, most of the devices you will find in the hardware store typically have accuracy of plus or minus 10-15 degrees F. That isn’t accurate enough to help in a bed bug application.

But we just became aware of a very reasonably-priced meter from Fluke Instruments. Their model 62 MAX+ is accurate to plus or minus 2 degrees and is available on the web for under $90. We just got one and it seems to do a great job.