DIY Heat Question(5 posts)
I read a post posted about a year ago about a guy who did his own heat treatment:
Needless to say, there are many things that are not safe about DIY, but if done safely, might it be a solution.
You can get 100k+ BTU/Hr forced air propane heaters for <150 bucks. These things produce HEAT and FAST. What I was thinking is buy a few of those, a couple propane tanks, as well as a generator, and place them in the driveway. Then, run large-diameter duct into the house, being sure that enough windows are open to relive air pressure in the house. You could also run duct to the crawlspace under the house, if there is one...
You then place some temperature sensors and a few displays and run cords out to them as well. That way, you will always know the temps at various points in the house. You could also use a couple temperature probes, drill a couple holes in the wall, and stick the probes in there for measurement.
To be safe, you could shut off the breakers in the house as well as the gas.
Then, you'd just crank the propane heaters on, and monitor the temperature for several hours, all from outside the house. Several quick trips into the house wouldn't hurt either.
I mean, can't a decently handy person do a successful DIY heat treatment? The bugs may go deep into the house, but wouldn't 4+ hours of 130-140 degree heat get all of them?
Don't get mad at me for suggesting this, I'm just a curious engineer...
I'm always wary of success stories like that, because it can take some time to discover you did not really eliminate your bed bugs. Other have reported that damage to property from heat treatment can take time to show itself.
Here's another thread by someone who did a DIY heat treatment which did not eliminate the problem but spread it in the home, making it harder to treat. (Read the whole thread.)
Here's another person who tried DIY heat and did not eliminate the problem.
Someone else harmed their home and family (but I cannot find the relevant thread right now as it was not tagged properly).
Do it yourself heat treatment is not safe or effective. It takes a lot of knowledge and the right equipment to kill bed bugs with heat.
One problem is that you may drive bed bugs elsewhere in the home. This makes them harder to get rid of than they were to begin with.
As I understand it, the heat has to be raised quickly and reach killing temps at the core of every item in the home and the structure itself. Doing this without harm to property and home is not easy.
If you are knowledgeable, skilled, and follow directions well, the U of Florida has directions on how to heat treat items in the room (furniture, etc.). While this will not eliminate them structurally, it may help get rid of the problem, if done properly, and if the structure is carefully treated with sprays/steam/dusts.
You can find links to those directions in the University of Florida material under Comprehensive Guides in the Resources page.
I stress that I am not recommending this in general. It is potentially hazardous to people and property. For the right person, it might help.
Successful heat treatment is as much about art as it is about science. As with many other things, experience goes a long way toward helping insure success. One of the many, many problems with DIY heat treatment--which I do not ever recommend to people--is that the risks if done wrong are pretty high.
Incorrectly done DIY heat treatment might result in any or all of the following:
burning down your own house. (which would solve your bed bug problem, but create a rather more significant new one)
if you don't live in a single family house that is well separated from other structures around it, in a nice, damp climate, you could not only burn down your home, but the homes of other people as well. (Two nights ago, a home in Seal Beach caught fire. It was one of the multi-million dollar homes right on the beach, and the fire was intense enough--the weather dry enough--and the house close enough to other houses, that another home next door also caught fire. Southern California is basically a desert in terms of humidity levels and rainfall, so I know I'm more tuned into this than many people--heck, than I used to be before I lived here.
if you don't burn the house down, you can still cause substantial damage to not only items in your home, but the structure itself or its infrastructure. Improper heat treatment could cause warping of wood items--like doors and door frames--inside the home. In a worst case scenario, it could cause damage to electrical systems. That kind of damage might mean costly electrical repairs or an electrical fire.
Even if none of those things go wrong, there's still the problem with either causing the bugs to flee to structure--meaning that they might take up residence in nearby structures (if they're close enough) or someplace outside (which seems unlikely but possible)--or causing them to go deeper into the structure, making them harder to eliminate.
I'm a big fan of heat treatment. I myself had heat treatment. As an insomniac before I got bed bugs, the idea of being bait over the course of months just made me terrified of ever getting a decent night's sleep again, and being able to get rid of the whole infestation in one treatment was totally worth it to me.
However, I also lost in the years after the treatment both DVRs (which I had neglected to unplug), my microwave (ditto), and my smoke detector (just recently).
At least two electrical outlets in my home seem to have issues now. They are both located closest to where the heating ducts carried the hot air into the apartment. That *might* be coincidence or related to a faulty electrical box (I didn't say anything about this to the boards in general because it wasn't relevant to bed bugs, but a few weeks ago, there was an electrical fire in our complex. One of the boxes from the electrical company meter caught fire and burned through. It was the box under the meter for my apartment, and the electrician just said it was faulty.) I'm decidedly NOT a science type, so I don't understand science or its applications well enough to know what's connected to what, here.
But as much as I like heat treatment, it is important for people who are considering DIY to understand all the risks.
There are a few people with the tech and science know how to do DIY heat treatment safely in the millions upon millions of bed bug sufferers. I'm not worried about them. They're coldly logical enough to understand when general principles won't apply to them.
But I am very, very concerned about the thousands of people who--like me--don't have the science and tech expertise--hands on and theoretical--to be able to safely do heat treatment because some of them in a state of sleep deprivation when they aren't making smart decisions will try anyway, and the stakes when they make mistakes are very costly and dangerous.
I know that the concern of many of the oldtimers on the boards can come across as anger, but it's important to remember that it's not anger, it's really concern. And it's not concern for the tiny portion of the population that might be able to pull off a DIY heat treatment safely and effectively (although, again, even the smartest amateur lacks the actual expertise of having done many treatments before, so the efficacy is likely not going to be as good), it's concern for the much larger portion of the population who not only lacks the expertise of professionals, but the needed skill sets to do it safely--let alone effectively. Because the consequences of doing it wrong are so high, I think it would be irresponsible for me to suggest that it's a viable option.
Engineers are one of the few professions that has a number of people with the right skill and knowledge bases to be able to pull this off; engineering is, after all, an applied science, which is as close to the skill set you're gong to need as most professions (other than pest controller) today have.
But imagine if an elementary school teacher, or a neurosurgeon, or an anthropology professor tried DIY heat treatment. Do most of those professionals have the skill sets necessary?
Someone who was a chemical engineer posted about his/her own success with DIY chemical treatment. It was absolutely successful, and the person pulled it off safely. But I also work with someone who's father is a chemist--from her description, I think he actually writes MSDSes for some substances--who accidentally overexposed himself to the chemicals he was working with and ended up hospitalized for it.
Even being a professional in a field or a closely related field is not a guarantee that the person in question is skilled enough to pull off the practical application of a body of knowledge in a real field situation. Some are. No doubt about it. But as far as posts of things that we're suggesting to the general public that will be safe and effective? That's why DIY heat isn't something you'll see the oldtimers around here recommend.
damage to your home.
Thanks for the tips guys.
Anyone know if there is a list of chemicals out there listed as effective for bedbugs? I've got a cypermethrin WP spray, but I'm not sure if it is useful for bedbugs. I read one review of someone with success with it, but the label does not mention bedbugs....
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