Heat Did It!(13 posts)
[Admin warning: the poster below describes a procedure which s/he admits poses serious danger of causing a fire. The heater described shoots out flames. Please DO NOT attempt this. Not only is damage to people and property a serious danger, but given the difficulty of ensuring every part of every item reaches the required temperature at its core, the procedure may not even work.]
I wanted to share this because it worked for us.
In short, the people who lived in the other side of our duplex moved out and left TONS of bed bug infested furniture behind. It took the guys who cleaned the place out a week with truckload after truckload being taken out every day. Our landlords refused to acknowledge that the neighbors were where the bed bug problem came from and said they weren't going to pay for treatment. Code enforcement was involved, I was told to clean a lot and that should get rid of the problem. I went through all of the things I see posted here. We did the vacuuming, cleaned all of our clothes (every stitch of fabric in the house, actually) in HOT water, HOT dryer, bagged them and sealed them. We tried the Ortho Max spray, which didn't work. We ended up putting down DE and that seemed to work really well. There were still a few bites here and there because of the long-acting work of the DE. But things were better. Anyhow, our landlords were encouraging us to leave because they wanted to sell the house (my guess is, without having to do any treatments and without me there telling any potential buyers about the bugs, which I told them I would do). So, we found another apartment and were left with the issue of, how do we move and leave these things behind?
So, this is how we did it.
First, I dried and bagged all of the clothes, curtains, rugs, etc. once again. Once they were bagged, they went out of the house and were taken to the new apartment. Then I started packing some things and checking them closely before they were packed in NEW boxes and taken out of the house, to the new apartment. The day of the move, we used a truck from my husband's work. He is a food service delivery driver so his boss let us use one of their trucks. We loaded the truck with everything else. Things were packed pretty loosely. My husband happened to run into an exterminator from Orkin on a route one day who told us what we should do with the truck when we moved. He said that if we could get our hands on a Salamander Heater, we could heat treat the truck ourselves. My father-in-law had two of them. So, he brought them to our house. We backed up the truck to the front porch and positioned the two heaters so that they would heat directly into the back of the truck. After pulling the door shut a little more than halfway, we turned them up and our "cooking" began. The entire time the truck was heated was about three hours. We figure we got to our goal temperature of 120 degrees about an hour and a half into it. We just kept on heating and the truck got to at least 160. Once we finished, the guys loaded our other things onto the truck and the door was opened and shut many times. At one point in time, the door was left open for about half an hour while they loaded things into our minivan. By the time we were ready to leave for the new apartment, my husband checked the thermometer in the truck and even after all of that opening and shutting of the door, it was still 127 degrees in there. We moved everything in successfully and have had no further problems. Actually, the encasements we had put on our mattress and box spring got shredded during the move. We didn't put new ones on the bed and have had two great nights of sleep with no bites.
So...there is a way to do the heat treatment yourself without burning your house down. And I know that not everyone has the capability to do what we did. We were very fortunate to have the tools that we needed to get the job done.
Just a word about the Salamander Heaters though. They are dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. There was at least eight feet of space between the heaters and any of our belongings because these heaters shoot out flames. We didn't use any fans in front of them. They were pretty powerful all on their own. I just wanted to share our success in case it helped anyone else!
Warning added above. I appreciate you admitting there's a serious danger of fire, and I am glad you're safe and appear to be free of bed bugs, but I don't think anyone should be following your lead.
I do want to add that the heaters were watched consistently during the entire time this was happening. My father-in-law worked with the heaters for years so he was well aware of what they were capable of. There really was no other option for us at this point. We didn't have the money for any treatments, the landlord was not going to pay to treat the other side of the house, and we were being asked to move. So, I am glad that we had this option available to us and that it seems to have been successful.
I am not an expert on heat treatment, and not familiar with Salamander heaters.
Would the situation you set up be described as conduction heat?
Yes, I believe so. My husband would probably know the answer to that question more than I would. But, according the definition of conduction heat, I believe that's correct.
Conduction heat is known to be problematic in killing bed bugs. The reason is that with conduction heat, there can be cool spots and bed bugs will find the cool spots and hide there until the heating period is over. Convection heat is much more effective.
Hopefully your troubles are over, but you may want to be aware of this, and it's another reason (besides danger of fire) that others may not wish to replicate these methods.
I don't know how long ago you did this move, but you might want to use a passive monitor or otherwise monitor for bed bugs on an ongoing basis. (Actually, I think everyone should, whether recently cleared of bed bugs or not!)
I asked my husband about the conduction heating and he wasn't sure either. We moved this past Saturday. I think most of the bugs were taken care of by the DE (put down about three-four weeks ago). The heat was just a precaution and a way to treat our beds and other things that couldn't really be checked thoroughly enough.
I was thinking about the monitors. Can those be purchased at the store or do I have to order them online?
Local pest control firms may carry them but they may be easier to find online -- there are FAQs under "Detection" in our Useful Stuff page.
It sounds like you heated up a trailer, then placed items in them.
It's unclear if any of the items you placed in the truck were infested to start with.
It's unclear if all the items were heated to the appropriate temperature "through and through".
As you have not specified how long it's been, it's unclear if your protocol was successful in ridding your goods of bed bugs.
In short, "you did heat", but it's not clear that "heat did it".
And, as others noted, this was a highly dangerous and irresponsible move. It's nice that your husband's boss was OK with their truck used like this. Rental agencies would not be so cool if it were their truck.
Cilecto raises some really important points.
Cilecto, what you're saying might be true...my husband's boss was perfectly fine with heating the truck. We do know that at least one of the mattresses was still infested because the cover we had on it had a tear and my son was getting bitten, almost up until the day we moved.
I wanted to be clear that we loaded the truck and then we heated it. And you're right, we can't be sure if the heat got everywhere in the truck. But, we had a thermometer in what my father-in-law considered a cool part of the truck and we know that it did get hot enough in that spot for quite a while.
As you know, when you have bed bugs, many people will do "anything" to get rid of them. We were out of options and this one was presented to us by a professional who told us it would work. We are now three weeks in our new apartment and have not seen a bug and are bite-free.
I believe we were as safe as we possibly could have been. And I believe that what we did worked.
It is now exactly four months from the day that we heated our belongings in the truck and moved into our new apartment.
I am happy to report that we are STILL bed bug FREE!
I am thrilled with the results of what we did. I'm amazed that we were able to be so successful all on our own.
I do know that we were infested, especially my son's bunk beds. He's sleeping so well now. It's amazing how these pests really take over your life. You put all of your efforts into eliminating them in so many ways and victory seems far away.
Regardless of how anyone else chooses to handle their bed bug infestation, I wish you the best of luck and quick success!
I am really glad you don't have bed bugs now. I still think the method sounds dangerous.
I say this not to take away from your current blissfully bedbug-free state, but because I don't think people should use this model.
All good wishes to you, though, and thanks for the update.
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