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I conquered them [DIY heat treatment]

(11 posts)
  1. logikbuys

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 4 2013 14:30:59
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    We picked up these critters from Excalibur Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. Long story short, after all of the info I read, it sounded as though heat remediation was the only way to go to ensure they don't return. I didn't have $4000 for the service, nor was it offered in my local area.

    WARNING: Attempting heat remediation on your own could end up with you burning down your house!

    - Bought 75,000 BTU Forced air heater and several gallons of kerosene
    - bought indoor/outdoor thermometer with a wireless sensor
    - flipped all mattresses and box springs upright
    - removed anything that may explode or catch fire. (think aerosol cans, rubbing alcohol, etc..)
    - took cardboard box and cut it to fit my doorway, and cut a hole just big enough to put the mouth of the heater through.
    - put wireless sensor in room to be heated, and monitor it
    - taped cardboard to door, put heater mouth through hole, and heated every room in my house to 150F

    I have been waiting to see if they came back before I posted in one of these groups. I have been BB free for over a year now.

    Again DIY heat remediation is extremely dangerous, exercise extreme caution if you choose this method.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 4 2013 14:49:54
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    logik,

    I am glad you solved your problem, but no one here should be trying to replicate your method and my response here is directed at anyone else reading this:

    Multiple people have burned their homes down trying to do their own heat treatment for bed bugs. Some have injured themselves and others. Obviously, as you noted, this is a dangerous proposition.

    Moreover, people whose homes survived their experiments have found that the problem wasn't solved. That's because killing bed bugs effectively with heat is tricky.

    Anyone who wants to try this should first call their insurance company and ask if a resulting fire will be covered by insurance. I seriously doubt it. AND depending on your situation, you may be liable for damaging others' property, or injuries to other people.

    DIY treatment for bed bugs is possible, but heat treatment is not a DIY job. Please do not attempt do-it-yourself heat treatment.

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

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 4 2013 16:43:24
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    Dear logikbuys and other folks,

    Firstly, congrats to logicbuys for his responsible post.

    I know some of you may be thinking: "Why do I say this?" Here's why:

    > He posted a warning about his methodology.
    > He apparently did some homework.
    > He waited a year to see if he was bed bug free.
    > Used wireless sensors to check on the heat process.

    Are there various faults and hazards present within the process posted above? Yes there are.

    Can we perform DIY Heat treatments successfully? Well, the short answer is yes however, the odds of success are slim unless you're well educated, well equipped, well prepared and capable of doing such work.

    My professional clients and colleagues who do heat treatment ma invest of $100K in heat system equipment and an "entry level" really tasty system may set you back about $40 K. Yes, as new technologies and equipment become available the costs are coming down somewhat but the cost of true professional equipment is many times more than hiring a pro.

    In any case, we NEVER want to bring fuel fired heaters into our homes. We've already burned down enough structures due to bed bugs in the US.

    PLEASE be careful out there folks ! paul b.

  4. homesower

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Aug 10 2014 10:54:45
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    I am curious about the specs on the heater.

    What is the exit temperature? I'd be concerned about the chance of igniting something.

    The cardoard on the door sounds like a potential problem. What was the temperature on the outside of the heater where it was in contact with the cardboard. Obviously it didn't ignite, but I am curious as to whether it was close or had a lot of safety margin.

    I've considered something like this, but my vision was more like having the heater outside and using metal ducts to take it through a window.

  5. diyheat

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Nov 4 2014 2:40:24
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    interesting post, thanks. I just went through a similar exercise with some minor differences:

    - removed the doors and replaced them with a plywood panel with two openings (1) an observation window, covered in plexiglass (2) a circular opening for inserting the 8" end of the propane heater ( rimmed with a 3" metal collar to avoid contact with plywood)

    - two temperature monitors inside the room : a high reading above and near the point where heat entered the room and a low reading on the floor, far from entrance, in a closet. The two intended to measure, approximately, the range between the hottest and coldest points in the room

    - two large fans in the room to distribute heat

    - safety : monitor temperature inside and near heater outside the room; open all available windows outside the room being treated to ensure adequate O2 supply and CO dispersal; monitor temperature in attic above room; ensure no flammables within 6 feet of point of entry of heat into room.

    - trickiest part is the continual firing/shutting -off heater to maintain the desired temperature range in the room. I left heat on until the high point measurement reached 155 then shut it off until the high heat dropped to 145. This cycling kept the low point reading at round 120 - barely adequate, but I wasn't comfortable pushing the hottest point in the room above 160.

    Did about 4 hours/room and completely stripped/scrubbed hallway between rooms. House did not burn down, but we'll see whether it worked . Some notes - if I have to do this again, which I expect to:

    - cycling manually is a pain; definitely worth getting some electronics to connect the thermostat reading in the room to the heater ignition to automate this.

    - the temperature range in the room remained wide, even with fans, and with all openings sealed and curtains drawn to provide insulation: more fans, more thermometers

    - keeping the propane burners outside or far from the room(s) being treated may be necessary where ventilation not adequate but high temperature ducting is expensive (though if only rated to 500F more reasonable)

    - electric heat is less trouble but much more expensive : any serious heater need a 3-phase 20KW towable generator which runs about about 165 a day where I am and the heater units, eg Mosebach, very hard to find as rentals. The low-end heaters can run off house current (250V, 50Amp breaker) but need the appropriate cable. Propane is messier but way cheaper : heater rental 40 per day (can buy one for about 200), plus about 7 gallons of propane.

  6. jschulz

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Mar 28 2017 22:03:14
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    I got bed bugs at my summer cottage in Northern Michigan a couple years ago. It was late in the fall. I called an exterminator who came out twice, and I also put traps under each bed leg and put bed bug proof covers on the box springs and mattress in each bedroom.

    I then winterized the cottage and left the windows open for the winter. It gets brutally cold in Northern Michigan and I was led to believe that bed bugs cannot survive very long below freezing. Six months later in the spring we opened the cottage... and the bed bugs were still there. Wow, they are insidious. Very stressful.

    We finally heated the cottage to around 120 degrees for a couple hours and never saw a single bed bug after that. I will not say how I heated to cottage since the naysayers will spring to life and skewer me. I can say that we turned the thermostat up as high as it would go and after a few hours it got over 100 degrees. I will not say how we got the other 20 degrees (up to 120) because I don't like to be skewered. Suffice it to say that I also used three cheap electric heaters that I had on hand from Wal-Mart, one in each bedroom, which helped a little, and the cottage has a gas stove with four burners. Don't get any ideas since four burners and a stove all running simultaneously gives off carbon monoxide among other risks.

    We never again saw another bedbug after heating the cottage to 120 degrees for a couple hours.

    In case I ever had the problem again, I ordered two propane heaters from Home Depot on-line for $100 each (30 - 60k BTUS depending how far you turn the knob), and two propane tanks.

    Perhaps I was too careless, but earlier this year I picked up bed bugs at an AirBNB rental in Chicago. I found one on my shirt one horrible morning about a week after returning from Chicago and started looking around the room and found three more bedbugs in the traps under the bed legs, and two of three were still alive. Horrible. But at least I was prepared; otherwise the bugs would hold the advantage.

    The wife went up North and got our propane heaters, diatomaceous earth, and more traps that we put under all the other beds in the house, and extra bed bug proof mattress covers. The wife spent the day taking everything, all bedding, etc to the laundromat and putting it in the driers on HOT. Don't wash the bedding since it will not get as hot when you dry it. Put everything straight into the drier. You can wash it and dry it afterwards if you wish.

    Before I came home from work the wife turned up the thermostat a few degrees and then I turned it back down when I got home. I didn't want the furnace turning on while I was baking my bedroom and possibly spreading carbon monoxide through the house. We removed from the bedroom all aerosols and anything that could melt.. We propped up the mattress and box springs, opened the dresser drawers, etc, and I turned the propane heaters on. I had a temperature sensor on the floor that communicated wirelessly to the pickup that I placed near me in the hallway. It quickly got to 100 degrees in the room, and then it went more slowly. I sat in the hallway 100% of the time reading the news and I had a fire extinguisher at hand. I checked the room frequently. A lousy evening. Be aware these heaters give off some carbon monoxide. Do you understand? If you go in the room you are breathing in some carbon monoxide. Danger. Warning.

    Risky? Sure. But I am cyclist and risk my life 3-5 times per week out on the roads. And bed bugs represent a traumatic life experience and I cannot afford a professional service. I also found that electric heaters for bed bug extermination cost in the thousands of dollars and I also felt they would be too risky for the electric system in my house.

    Anyway, the only problem I had was that the propane heaters have a thermal overload switch that started tripping around 105 degrees. They measure the temperature of the incoming air. I had to remove the propane heaters one at a time when it tripped, wait a moment then put them back in the room. I have since bypassed the thermal switch in case I ever have to deal with this again. Just reach way inside with pliers, unplug the wires from the thermal overload switch and short them together. OK, naysayer, have at it.

    BTW, the the propane tanks were in the hallway with me, NOT IN THE ROOM, unless you want something really bad to happen, and the hose lines fit easily underneath the door.

    It took a couple hours to get the bedroom up to 120 degrees then I held it there for two more hours. I pointed one of the heaters toward the headboard since that is where the bugs often nest. I also pointed it toward an electrical receptacle near the headboard since that is another favorite hiding spot, but I kept the heater at least a few feet away. I then shut everything off and opened the windows. I used way less than half of each propane tank. The only casualty was my window shade that must have a plastic part inside and it cost me $35 to replace it.

    After I shut everything off I found about six dead bed bugs dead on the carpeting. My wife was shocked since she had just vacuumed the carpeting. They must have burrowed into the carpeting and came out to escape the heat, only to meet their demise.

    It has been a few weeks since I baked the room and I am reasonably confident that the problem is terminated. I have checked the traps each morning and evening since then, and I look under the bed with my cell phone flash light, look between the mattresses, etc, every day. I also placed a home made CO2 trap next to the bed and didn't catch anything. I think the heat did the trick again, although I won't be certain for several more weeks. Nipping this in the bud was very fortunate (thank you Lord for letting me see the bed bug on my shirt that horrible morning). I still can feel the bed bugs biting me almost every night, and when I reach to my leg there is nothing there. I also spot them nearly every day, but when I pick them up it is a piece of lint. That how traumatizing this experience can be.

    Good luck and God Bless. Listen to the naysayers and be very careful and weigh the risks for yourself. Good luck and God Bless.

  7. F. Pazos

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Mar 28 2017 22:29:59
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    I would never recommend a DIY heat treatment. Other than extremely dangerous, if not really experience the chances to fail extremely high, cold spots are not that easy to identify, rooms are not that easy to seal, etc. Using kerosene or propane is extremely dangerous, not only for the fire risk, but even a higher danger is the carbon monoxide and dioxide, they KILL people....

    Anyway, congratulations in your success....

    Professional PCO based in Hong Kong specialized in Bed Bugs.
  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Thu Mar 30 2017 1:20:44
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    We finally heated the cottage to around 120 degrees for a couple hours and never saw a single bed bug after that. I will not say how I heated to cottage since the naysayers will spring to life and skewer me. I can say that we turned the thermostat up as high as it would go and after a few hours it got over 100 degrees. I will not say how we got the other 20 degrees (up to 120) because I don't like to be skewered.

    I don't skewer.

    I am glad your bed bugs appear to be gone.

    However, this isn't likely to work for others who read this, because while bed bugs will die at 120F, they aren't going to die if they flee for colder areas of the home, which will be there.

    I wouldn't recommend DIY heat treatment generally, but in this specific case, people who want to replicate your experience may have a hard time doing so for the reasons I note.

  9. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Thu Mar 30 2017 10:04:01
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    There's a huge difference between base temp and core temp. You risk relocating bed bugs to areas that would normally not be part of an inspection.
    I'm not comfortable with a base temp of 130, I prefer to be in the 150s and even then turn the contents during the treatment.

    Killer of bed bugs for Homeless Empowerment Program
  10. mp7ski

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Fri Mar 31 2017 2:17:59
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    BigDummy - 16 hours ago  » 
    There's a huge difference between base temp and core temp. You risk relocating bed bugs to areas that would normally not be part of an inspection.
    I'm not comfortable with a base temp of 130, I prefer to be in the 150s and even then turn the contents during the treatment.

    Agreed, that's why I haven't spent the $2000 on a heat treatment myself. The only companies that service my area use electric heaters and have a target temp of only 130° F for 4-6 hours. Heck, one companie said they only shoot for 125° F for four hours... i just laughed. And they all only heat up the bedrooms and the living room, not the whole house. They do turn contents, etc. but that doesn't solve the countless issues their service has. If I had a very minor infestation that was contained to one room and quite possibly one bed/piece of furniture, I might risk it. But unfortunately that's not the case.

    I am not an expert, any advice I give should be considered as amateur advice and not taken as fact. I mean well with all my posts and try to give back. If you plan on using any of my advice, I suggest doing research into said advice to make sure it is in your best interest.
    Study on Thermal Death Points(pages 18-29 of pdf) : http://www.propanecouncil.org/uploadedFiles/Council/Research_and_Development/REP_12221%20Efficacy%20of%20Heat%20on%20Bed%20Bugs.pdf
    Study on Cimexa: http://www.pctonline.com/article/pct0814-silica-gel-research-bed-bugs/
  11. jschulz

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Sep 3 2017 19:08:09
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    Six months later we have never seen another bed bug. My advice to anyone thinking about a DIY heat treatment, read up on it understand the risks then go ahead and do it and get rid of the critters in one day


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