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DIY Heat Treatment

(3 posts)
  1. InnerChaos

    Joined: Jul '10
    Posts: 1


    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Jul 31 2010 14:18:33

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    [Admin note: This is a bad plan and nobody should replicate it. Read below this message for more on why.]

    Now let me start off by saying that no one should try this unless they are fully aware of the fact that they can burn down their house or ruin some of the stuff inside. They say leave this up to the professionals, and I will say that too. This is just my story.

    We have been getting bit up by bed bugs for about a month. We tried to sleep in the living room, they followed. We had no where to sleep, which made me desperate to kill these things. After doing some research and finding out about the heat treatment, I decided to try it out myself. I am on a budget and don't have the money to pay for an exterminator to do the heat treatment. We have a friend of the family that is an exterminator that came over and told us we have bed bugs. He sprayed once through the whole house but we were still getting bit up.

    I found out that at 113 degrees, the heat kills all life cycles of bed bugs. Most places bring the temp. up to about 120-130 for a few hours. I figured I could do this myself seeing as its the middle of summer time. So I borrowed a kerosene heater, an electric heater, and 2 fans. I set them up in each room, making sure the kerosene heater was at least 4 feet away from everything. I cranked that heater up to full blast, turned on the fans pointing downwards since heat rises, and put the fans so they are blowing back and forth. I checked every 5-10 minutes to make sure the house wasn't catching on fire and I had an inexpensive "point and shoot" thermometer. Got the rooms up to around 130 degrees, making sure everywhere in the room was that hot not just by the heater. After about an hour or two I went to the next room.

    The bed rooms were pretty easy to get to that temp since they were smaller then other parts of the house. I had trouble with the living room though since the ceilings go all the way up to the second floor. I got it up to about 108 degrees in there.

    After I did all that, we've been able to sleep in our bedroom and not get bitten. One of the bigger bedrooms still had bed bugs when we tried to take a nap up there. One crawled right out.

    I must have gotten a lot of them with this technique though. We had the exterminator come back today and he couldn't find any bed bugs anywhere. We found one dead one on the box spring. The exterminator sprayed and left. Hopefully this is the end of these pests!

    Like I said, I wouldn't try this on your own unless you are aware of the fact that you could destroy everything you own. But I've done it and had somewhat success. Been able to sleep without getting bit since I did it. Worst comes to worst is definitely killed the eggs. I tried this after the bed bugs basically driving me crazy and waiting on the exterminator to come back all the while getting bit up. If you're on a budget and want to try this, keep a close eye on the room you are doing. Have a digital thermometer, one that you can point and get a reading is the best. Fans are the key! Since heat rises, the temp will be higher in the top of the room and by the heater. Fans move the hot are all around the room. I set a little fan up pointing under the bed to make sure the hot air got under there. I took temp. readings and made sure every part of the room was at least 113, but I went for 120 to be safe. Turn off all electronics! Electronics have a storage rating of 145 degrees. Do not go over 135 degrees to be safe! Wouldn't want to melt your television!

    Hopefully this will help out someone who is going as crazy as I am. I've had success with this method, but also had an exterminator come and make sure we didn't have an bed bugs still. If you have no place to sleep and just want to get a good nights sleep, turn that room into an oven! Make sure after you do this you don't bring any bugs back in there if you only do one room! And they can travel about 100ft, so I did all the rooms upstairs on the same floor. Be very careful! This can be done, but is risky if you do not keep a close watch on everything. Keep the doors to the room closed and put a towel by the crack so no heat can get out. Check often! It will be very hot in there so do not stay in the room for more then a few minutes. Just enough to go in, take some temp. readings, and get out. I kept a bucket of water nearby just in case but everything went perfect. Didn't damage anything in any of the rooms at all.

    113 degrees is the target. If you've tried and tried and are going nuts, you can try to roast them! Try and get it up to the temp. as quick as possible. If it's a large room you might want to try 2 kerosene heaters. kerosene heaters heat up an area very fast! The problem with electric is that it won't heat up fast enough and if you use more then one of them it will probably trip the breaker. I had this problem using 2 electric heaters so I just used one and set it on fan to blow the heat around the room. Good luck! Just sharing my story. Not saying this is something you should do, but I have done it. So I just wanted to let everyone know it is possible.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 19,734


    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Jul 31 2010 20:09:30

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    This is a bad plan and nobody should replicate it.

    First of all, there are reasons professionals raise the temperature of the entire structure at once -- they do not do one room at a time, as you did. They also do not aim for 113 F because they know that the core temperatures of every item in the home and the structure itself must reach the killing temperatures. That necessitates going much higher.

    It's my understanding that heating one room at a time allows bed bugs to migrate from one room to another. Heat applied unevenly or too slowly can also cause bed bugs to migrate deeper into the structure and hide out until it's all over.

    The method you use could burn down your home and belongings ( which you seem to acknowledge). I am glad you did not do so. However, this does not mean that what you did is safe or that anyone else should try it.

    Perhaps even more significantly, you admit that your home still has bed bugs. (A sign they may have migrated from room to room, or that they may have dug deep into the structure to ride out the heat, both things that are not supposed to happen if an experienced, knowledgeable professional conducts heat treatment.)

    You cannot say that you successfully treated your bed bug infestation this way. I am not sure how long ago you conducted this "treatment," but it is probably too soon to know exactly how many bed bugs survived.

    I plead with everyone not to try and replicate what is basically a dangerous and failed experiment. I know how awful bed bugs are. But this really is not a good idea.

    Finally, please note that there are plans on the internet for creating a thermal chamber to treat possessions. These methods were developed by University of Florida researchers to eliminate bed bugs in the furniture and belongings in student dorm rooms.

    Someone with the know-how and correct equipment may be able to follow them safely and de-bug furniture and belongings in a controlled manner. It does not, however, offer a method of treating a home. Your home would still need to be treated with sprays or other methods.

    You can read about the University of Florida methods in this Bed Bug Manual (see "Economical, Localized Heat Treatment for Control of Bed Bugs infestations" in the Table of Contents). (If you want to find this again, it's now in the Resources page.)

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Nobugsonme

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    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 19,734


    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Aug 28 2010 14:30:55

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    user253 - 1 hour ago  » 
    I have to reply to this. First of all this a DIY forum. People should not discourage these ideas. The people discouraging are most likely in the business and dont like competition.

    Sorry, but you're wrong.

    First, this site is not a "DIY Forum". It's a forum about bed bugs. Yes, some people need to self-treat their bed bug problems. It's not recommended. If you must do it, there are safe ways, ways which work, dangerous ways, and ways that don't work..

    I want to stress that I am not in "the business", don't provide heat treatments (or any other kind). I'd rather you self-treat in a safe manner than in an unsafe way which is likely to backfire and not get rid of the problem.

    I reiterate my point above: self-administration of heat treatments is a fire hazard and can also make bed bug problems worse.

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