Thermal treatment for bed bugs destroys home of two Cincinnati families

by nobugsonme on May 18, 2011 · 3 comments

in bed bug treatment, cincinnati, fire, thermal treatment

A thermal treatment for bed bugs has ended in sorrow.

Two families were displaced when a two-family home in Carthage, Ohio caught fire during structural heat treatment. According to,

Cincinnati Fire District Chief Glenn Coleman said one of the six [propane] heaters Tyree was using ignited carpet in a living room, a fire that went unnoticed in the empty home until flames could be seen through the windows. Coleman estimated the damage to the house at $90,000, a total loss.

Local 12 WKRC produced the report below:

If you can’t view the embedded video,you can watch it on WKRC’s website.

A firefighter suffered a minor injury, but thankfully, no one else was harmed.  The neighboring house also suffered minor damage.

The treatment was conducted by Richard Tyree of R.S. Tyree Pest Control & Bed Bug Be Gone, in a process using propane convection heaters and blowers which takes 6.5 hours.

Note that included in the segment above is an interview with Tyree’s competitor Douglas Cahill of Baked Bed Bugz, who claims that propane heaters can be used safely but should not be placed inside and notes that he uses electric heat (rather than propane) and a monitoring system.

This profile from January in the local media suggested Tyree was charging only $300-500 on average for thermal treatment, which — if accurate —  seems extremely low.

Tyree told WKRC he had done “hundreds” of thermal treatments in the past and had not had problems before.

Local 12 News notes that this story has prompted local politicians to renew calls for an EPA exemption to allow the use of Propoxur in Ohio:


If you can’t view the embedded video, you can view it on WKRC’s website.

You can see past stories about Ohio’s Section 18 request for Propoxur here.

You can see past stories about bed bug treatment leading to fire here.  A disproportionate number of those stories — at least three of them — are about people setting their homes on fire while attempting Do It Yourself bed bug treatment in the Cincinnati area.

That says a lot about the desperation of Cincinnati-area residents regarding bed bugs.

A tip of the hat to spideyjg and Cilecto for their comments in this forum thread, and to Master Pokes for first drawing my attention to the story in an email on Monday morning.

1 Carpathian Peasant May 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm


I didn’t see a link to this on the Greater Cincinnati (local) page.


2 nobugsonme May 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for letting me know, CP!

There was a typo on one of the tags.

You should now see it if you click “Bedbugger stories about bed bugs in Cincinnati” at the end of the Cincinnati information.

3 The Bed Bug Answer June 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

You need to be really careful using propane for bed bug remediation. Folks I have spoken to in the industry say the heat can be hard to control and get hot real quick.

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