Minneapolis Public Housing Authority is using thermal methods to kill bed bugs

by nobugsonme on January 2, 2010 · 2 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in public housing, thermal treatment

The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority is using thermal methods to treat bed bugs in public housing, according to a new article in the Star-Tribune:

“Hang tight, it’s gonna feel like Hawaii in there,” says Henry, assistant director of maintenance operations for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA), as they lug four giant heaters into a one-bedroom apartment.

The crew sets up some sensors, and Henry flips a switch. Within minutes the place heats up to near 100 degrees. At 120 degrees the bugs begin to die. Henry maintains that temperature for six to seven hours in a regular bedbug bake-off.

It’s a task he performs in at least four apartments a week these days, and he’s just one of a growing number of bedbug bakers across the Twin Cities and the nation.

Bravo to Minneapolis for employing the most effective method for bed bug eradication in its public housing units.

Thermal is one of two reliable one-shot methods for killing bed bugs, and the only one you can employ in a single high-rise apartment unit.

Assuming that MPHA is also ensuring that all infested units in a building are simultaneously detected and treated, and assuming they are also educating tenants about how to prevent reinfestation, this sounds like a very good situation for tenants.

1 Gerry Weitz January 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm

This is a good non-chemical method for treating bed bugs. There are questions that remain about its effectiveness, as bed bugs will gravitate to cooler confines of an apartment block. I wonder how high the temperature was set in these units, because if you are going to 125%, it may be significantly cooler in some recesses of the apartment building. I have been told of companies that set the temp at 150 or higher to be sure that all areas get full heat.
What I have never seen documented and this really defies documentation, is the toxic effect of melting equipment, appliances and personal items. Also, you mentioned some assumptions. This is not a small part of bed bug treatment. If the bed bug education is not explicitly provided and if the cooperation is not totally monitored, well guess what… the bed bugs are back.

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