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Is heat treatment worth the cost?

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  1. goingcrazywithbb

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 16 2012 12:19:26
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    I live in Seattle and there are very few options out here. I've already had one company come out and charge me $850 for 1 bedroom. They are coming again for a 2nd treatment on that 1 bedroom for another $400.
    I got a quote for a heat treatment for my entire house for $3600 - should I do it? Does it work in the long run? Please help.

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 16 2012 13:03:36
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    As with any other treatment (Vikane, chemical pesticides, mechanical killers like dusts, physical removal, using dry vapor steam to kill bugs and eggs, cryonite, etc.), heat treatment is only as effective as the PCO using it makes it and as the particular situation warrants.

    As with any other suspected bed bug infestation, the first step is to confirm that you do in fact have bed bugs and only bed bugs. If you have bed bugs and carpet beetles, for example, and you get rid of the bed bugs but not carpet beetles, you may continue to think you have bed bugs, when really the bed bugs are gone and the carpet beetles are still there. Since treatments are different for different pests, a repeat of heat won't solve your carpet beetle problem.

    In addition, the upside to heat is also one of its greatest weaknesses. Heat is a one-shot treatment. For people for whom the process of being bait is difficult if not impossible to tolerate, one shot treatments like heat or Vikane can be very appealing.

    However, do keep in mind that such treatments are most effective in cases when the exposure to bed bugs can be clearly traced to one particular event. For example, I had heat treatment after I picked up bed bugs at a hotel. I am 99.5% sure I got bed bugs at one of two hotel stays in Feb or Mar 2008. I am 90% sure I know which exact hotel.

    I knew that my workplaces were not infested. I knew that my neighbors were not infested. The adjacent units were all inspected.

    Since heat treatment has no residual effect whatsoever, if there's any real chance that you're being re-exposed to bed bugs (you got them from work, from public transit, etc. and those infestations are not under control), heat may not be the best option--either from a pest control point of view or from the point of view of starting to ease the anxiety that many people feel when they are waiting to find out whether they are bed bug free.

    In addition, I live in a small one bedroom apartment. I have heard about professionals treating just one room with heat from other people on the boards, but I don't personally understand how that works, do I can't comment on that.

    People considering heat should also keep in mind that while quality PCOs do good work and try to minimize the damage, heat treatment is not easy on your home and your property. I forgot to unplug my DVRs and my microwave; both stopped working after treatment.

    I have continued to have electronic devices that failed sooner than I would have expected fail years after treatment, and I'm not sure the electrical system in my apartment is in as strong a shape as it was before. (To be fair, I'm pretty sure my apartment was badly wired to start out with. Many of my plugs have the polarity reversed, for example.)

    Heat treatment is expensive up front, and that expense goes up with the size of the structure being treated.

    I do think that heat can be a useful tool--as can Vikane, or conventional pesticide treatment, or passive or active monitors.

    However, how useful it is and to what extent the benefits outweigh the disadvantages really depends on a lot of details specific to any given situation. And most importantly, probably the single most important factor in the equation is how skilled the particular PCO you're considering using is.

  3. goingcrazywithbb

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 16 2012 14:02:44
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    Thank you for the information. We have confirmed we have them and we know where we got them from.
    I do not know if they are in my car - so if I do the heat treatment - what can be done to our cars and garage to confirm everything is dead?

  4. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 15:20:47
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    While it's technically possible for bed bugs to infest a car, it is surprisingly rare for them to do so. (Unless you've been sleeping in your car or otherwise hanging out in the car with items that are infested--and by hanging out I mean spending hours in there with the infested items), chances are very good that the car is not infested.

    I didn't treat my car. I didn't even have my car inspected. That's the case despite the fact that I live in an apartment with no laundry facilities on site; to do laundry, I have to put the laundry in the car and haul it somewhere. I had bed bugs for at least 6 weeks without realizing it. Nobody ever worried about the car.

    Is there a particular reason that you're concerned about your car? Or is is just generalized anxiety that results in feeling like the bugs could be anywhere now that you're aware they exist?

    The answer to the car question is pretty much the same as the answer to the does heat work question:

    It all depends on how good the PCO is.

    Find a PCO whose expertise you trust, and then put yourself in that PCO's hands. What you're really paying for when you pay for a PCO is the expertise and knowledge of the person in question since that expertise and knowledge should help the PCO figure out how specifically to treat your particular infestation.

  5. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 16:23:34
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    Dear goingcrazy,

    I have a prior commitment but will respond to your questions when I return.

    C u then. paul b.

    As a consulting entomologist I provide services for entities such as property managers, health/housing/emergency depts, schools, hospitality/resort/cruise industry, homeowners, food service, retail, pest professionals & product manufacturers. I recommend only efficacious methodologies, products and equipment. Professional relations have included Actisol, AMVAC, Atrix, BASF, Bayer, Catchmaster, FMC, GMT, Eaton, MattressSafe, Nisus, ProTeam, Rockwell, Syngenta & Woodstream. No compensation for product sales occurs. As inventor of Knight Safe bed bug sleep tent provides a royalty.
  6. BugsSkeeveMe

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 18:57:15
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    I just had the thermal done yesterday. They suggested I not sleep here the first night because it was so hot in in the house. I am home today acting like a normal person for the first time since I was formally diagnosed with bedbugs. My house looks like a different place because during the chemical treatment I ended up getting rid of 1/4 of my possessions including my bed. I could have kept them all had I known about the thermal earlier but I can't change that. The thermal cost me $3,400 but the peace of mind I have knowing that everyone inch of my home has been treated is priceless. The level of effort that went into heating every inch of my home is great. I am confident that they got the job done. My contract also includes a 30 day guarantee and canine inspection at the 30 day mark. I trust my PCO (A3 Superior), they know this business and they actually care about their customers. Please make sure you pick a PCO that has a lot of good references. The last thing you want to do is invest in the treatment and not have a good service provider. Tonight I am going to sleep peacefully in my own home. I miss my bed, I wish I would not have thrown it away because with thermal I could have kept it. I'll have another soon enough, for now I'm just happy and very grateful to have access to the thermal treatment.

  7. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 20:05:53
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    Dear goingcrazy,

    Above you've already seen some good points to consider.

    Additionally:

    > Those sensitive items that may be compromised or ruined by heat may be treated in an alternative fashion. Check with your pest pro as he should know if ways to do this.

    > Remember, once the heaters are turned off, there is no residual. As such, I recommend that heat treatments are supplemented with pesticide applications as well.

    > The construction and conditions at your home may affect the efficacy of the heat treatment. For example, if your home is a slab or has concrete walls it may be difficult to reach the target temperatures for the required duration. These areas where heat are absorbed or lost are known as "heat sinks" in the industry. If such areas are present at your home, ask the pest pro how he intends to address these areas.

    > BB eggs can hatch in about four days and they can go from first instar to reproductive adult in about 21 days given ideal conditions (your mileage may vary). As such, be sure you closely monitor for your 30 day warranty period.

    > It would be wise to use monitors/traps during your warranty period to assure that post-treatment activity is detected in a timely fashion before your warranty expires.

    > I recommend that active monitors be used as well as passives.

    Questionbs:

    * How do you think you got bed bugs in your home?

    * How long ago did you first notice bed bugs in your home?

    * How many people live in your home?

    * Who is being bitten?

    * Where/what rooms do the bites occur in?

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  8. jeffklein

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Feb 20 2012 11:57:29
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    A couple of points. In most cases we dust outlets, switch plates, pipe runs etc. We also pre treat the area with residual insecticides. So there is a barrier. Heat works synergisticly with the pesticides increasing speed of death. As far as electronic devices we unplug everything and have had no reports of damage or early replacement due to the process. We did melt a tv that was too close to a duct but that was 5 years ago and we have learned a lot since then. By the way it still worked but looked like an Erte piece of art. We replaced it. We find that once you factor prep, rug cleaning, dry cleaning, throwing out of items, boxspring replacement etc thermal can be more cost effective than chemical. We do both and after analysis of both programs they are not too far apart. Also our warranty includes a follow up canine inspection. If there is a failure on our warranteed treatments we come back and reheat.

  9. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Feb 20 2012 19:10:31
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    "BB eggs can hatch in about four days and they can go from first instar to reproductive adult in about 21 days given ideal conditions (your mileage may vary). As such, be sure you closely monitor for your 30 day warranty period."
    Don't forget that this is temperature and feeding dependent, so the scenario outlined above would be more or less summer temperatures for quick hatch and short life cycle. You could definitely see first instar nymphs during the 30 day period if the eggs are still viable because they did not experience high, lethal temperatures. If certain harborages were insulated from direct heat or length of heat exposure, then there could be survival; however, adult insects have a better chance of survival than do youngest nymphs. Eggs require highest heats per exposure time for kill.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult in all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology.
  10. MsLadybug

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Feb 20 2012 22:56:36
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    There is actually a new option in Seattle. Discreet Green Services just got a new heating unit and is offering heat treatments very affordably. For the record I am not affiliated with DSG. I have a bed bug dog in Seattle also so technically they are my competition but I am happy to have an affordable heat treatment option for my clients that have BB's!

  11. EllinR143

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 17 2012 18:30:41
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    Hello. I live in the DC area and have gotten bites while sleeping in our bed 4 times since 9/24. The first two times were six days apart and were nearly a dozen bites on the underside of my upper right arm. Then 10/12, I got just two large bites on the back of my left thigh about an inch apart. This morning I woke up with a couple small bites on the bottom part of my pinky finger!

    We had a professional pest company come out this afternoon and they saw no evidence of bed bugs in the bedroom. For $750, they will treat it with heat, steam, and chemicals. They said we would need to remove ALL the contents of both dressers, the nightstands, and the closet. They will steam, vac, "crack and crevice," treat inside and outside all pieces of furniture, treat the floor boards, around the doors and closets, and around the vanity in the master bathroom. They will put a powder inside the "seal plates" of the electrical outlets and light switches and treat around them. Then they'll come back a week later (we have to keep the room empty of our clothes, but can sleep in it) and steam and vac again. That is included in the cost and has a 30-day warranty. He claimed that even if we don't have bed bugs, it will also kill spiders, mites, etc.

    I just don't know if this is A. True, and B. A wise way to spend our money if we don't actually have bed bugs (he said we could have juveniles that aren't yet visible). Yet, I can't keep getting bit at night. I ITCH! Please advise! Thanks so much! (Oh, and my husband has no bites.)

  12. NorthEast

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Oct 18 2012 13:33:45
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    Don't treat for bed bugs unless you have proof that you do have bed bugs. All life stages are visible including the eggs.

  13. EllinR143

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Oct 18 2012 17:28:16
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    Thank you so much!


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