Heat Temperatures/Times Needed to Kill Bed Bugs(9 posts)
The guidelines for temperatures needed and times to hold at that temp can be
found in the recently released NPMA best code of practices on the last page.
I wanted to post this again as I keep getting product ideas and/or people
send me specs of their homemade packtites they built. Many are still stuck
on the idea that 113 F will work, and they aren't entirely wrong, its just
that the bugs will need to be held at that temp for SEVEN hours. 118 F
requires an hour and a half. 120 isn't in the chart above but from the work
it was based on by Stephen Kells the time was 45 minutes. Please DO NOT use
113 F for an hour or 116 for
30 minutes or 118 for a little while etc when using my Packtite or your
homemade unit. You will find them alive if you are lucky enough to find
them. And if you want to build your own, if the coolest spot only gets to
113 F, that is where you will find them alive after 6 hours. I speak from
lots of experience as are early prototypes that weren't hot enough we would
find them in those cool spots alive. One of our last prototypes had an area
that would only get to 116 F, after
45 minutes at that temp, we opened the unit and their was an alive bed bug
right by the thermometer sensor reading 116. Retreat items that have not
achieved these temps/times.
Disclaimer, I make Packtite, Packtite Closet, Bed Bug Blue, Bed Bug Beacon.
What is the temperature range produced in your packtite units?
What caused that one area to have the lower tempertures?
That was a prototype from four years ago we fixed the problem before we sold any units. Sorry if my post was unclear. The problem was a combination of too little heat and not enough air circulation, a lack of either is a killer. But once again, that was a preproduction problem on the road to making the first packtite years ago.
Thanks DJ !
What is the temperature ranges that the packtite units are producing now?
With the original Packtite we have temps in the 135-165 range, it will depend on what is in the unit as far as how high the temps of the air inside the unit are. Generally air inside the unit when a decent amount of items are inside is 150 ish.
The closet is actually a little cooler since it has much more forceful air circulation and items can be spread out more do to the extra volume of space available.
The early experiment I spoke of involved an early version with the same heater but with a plastic shelf instead of metal and a different top bar, the plastic absorbed a lot of heat and the bar did not allow for air flow. Funny thing is all our readings looked great because we put probes where we "thought" would be too cool. We quickly learned that the best way to know is to put bed bugs in there, they are much better at figuring out cool spots as their lives depend on it. That is why it is always one of my top criteriawhen judging any bed bug product, did they test it with actual live bed bugs?
Isn't the key -- did they test it with actual live bed bugs that were free to move around?
(I can see someone putting a vial in and killing them all, and not rulings out cold spots...)
I am also interested in how you do that. Do you just count the bugs and make sure you catch them all again at the end? Do you have a special testing room, with something like a massive pitfall trap to make sure they don't get away?
The NPMA paper does a nice job summarizing and simplifying the work of Dr. Kells. The original research included an extensive sample size and statistical analysis of the lethality of temperatures. What made this paper groundbreaking in dispelling the standard of 113F was how the bugs were heated at a slow controlled rate which is much more characteristic of a heat treatment.
I've included a link to the original research paper here.
It's also important to note that it is the eggs have a much higher resistance to temperature than other stages of life. At 113F, 99% of the adult bed bugs were killed at 95 minutes while at the same temperature the eggs took seven hours. So, the times and such mentioned above should be followed for all heat treatments devices to destroy all stages of life.
Disclaimer, I make ThermalStrike Expedition and ThermalStrike Commuter.
We do our testing in homes that are infested and undergoing treatment. Our first tests were done about four years ago now in a lady's house who had a pretty good sized problem. We would bring in the unit and load up her infested stuff and see what happened. Nice thing about doing it this way is you don't risk infesting your own facility. And yes we would just rifle through the stuff afterwords and find em dead or if it was a failed prototype, we'd find em near the sensors where it was too cool. Temp probes are great, but nothing beats a bed bug for finding out where you have failed.
I have a Packtite that I use as a preventative and alway get it to over 120 for at LEAST and hour. With my dryer, I have found it gets to 140 or 150 pretty quickly (i use the thermometer from the PT) and tumble stuff for 20-30 minutes. Is that enough? Again, only for clothing that I wore in movie theatres and such.
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