Bed bug oven in a trailer: the Insect Inferno

by nobugsonme on September 28, 2010 · 4 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, heat

Last Tuesday, a number of news reports from the Bed Bug Summit mentioned this product, the Insect Inferno:

It’s basically a heat treatment facility in the form of a trailer, which allows you to load your mattresses, furniture and other household items inside, so they can be baked to kill bed bugs.

People typically get trucks (or pods) fumigated with Vikane, but few pest control firms seem to be offering heat treatment of furniture and belongings. This set-up is promising for people who want to move out of an infested dwelling without taking bed bugs with them, and for decontaminating furniture and belongings during treatment.

I wrote to Corey and Sue Westrum (via the contact page on their website) to ask about the cost of this device and to ask about how many are currently owned by pest control firms and others.

Sue gave me permission to quote their email in full:

Thanks for your questions.

We definitely have companies that own our product; unfortunately as far as giving you a list of them I have a confidentiality agreement with most. I’m sure you understand that places such as hospitals and hotels don’t want to be associated with having a product to eliminate bed bugs and their eggs.

We do have 5-6 currently in circulation, including using it in our own pest control company.

The cost varies of course because we have different size trailers, but they can cost anywhere between $25,000 – $40,000.00.

I saw on your website that someone had asked about the availability to the consumer. We are mostly selling these directly to Pest Control companies to use in addition to their in home treatment. When using the Insect Inferno to heat treat beds, couches, tables and all upholstered furniture we are keeping homeowners from having to throw away household items, which can be very costly.

If you have any others questions, please contact me.

Thanks again
Corey and Sue Westrum
Insect Inferno, Inc.

Thanks, Corey and Sue, for answering my questions.

At $25-40K each, this is not a product aimed at consumers. However, as Eve suggests in the forums, owning one would be something non-profits and social service agencies might consider, and for which they might be able to get a grant to fund.

Imagine a shelter that bakes guests’ belongings before they bed down, or a non-profit which helps people move without bringing bed bugs with them, or which bakes people’s possessions in order to help speed up home treatments?

Imagine being able to sell or give people bed bug-free secondhand mattresses and other furniture (as Eve suggests).

Could you use one as your moving truck?

And imagine the potential sales for a mattress or furniture-delivery firm that bakes its stock before delivery each morning. Many of us would consider paying a bit more if we knew we were getting a bed bug-free sofa or bed.

We’re always happy to see new tools that may be helpful in the war against bed bugs. Thanks again to the Westrums for answering my questions and providing the photos above.

1 parakeets September 29, 2010 at 8:51 am

This was great to hear. I hope they franchise the idea and make a lot of money. For the rest of us–just a reminder that for things like clothing, sheets and blankets, a hot dryer can serve as an excellent heat treatment “mini insect inferno” — when something like this truck is not available. I volunteered in a homeless shelter years ago and even at that time the shelter was having clients who came in put their clothing and blankets (a lot of homeless people carry blankets with them in Boston) in hot dryers first when they checked in. I’m sure it helped.

2 nobugsonme September 29, 2010 at 11:07 am

Thanks, ‘Keets!

Let us not forget the humble dryer! It is indeed a very effective tool.

As for the Insect Inferno, my understanding is that the Westrums are selling this item as a product, for now. I think it would be up to others to turn it into a service.

3 Ratorja October 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm

This is an awesome idea to hear about. I had thought about communities setting up heat chambers where people could come and use them as needed, even if it had a small cost involved. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

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