How to prepare for bed bug heat treatment

The mouse is drinking coffee

A bed bug heat treatment is the best option after a traditional chemical treatment failed to control the original bed bug infestation that would normally lead to a build-up of pesticide resistance.

There are other great benefits in doing a full heat treatment such as killing all stages of life development in one efficient sweep. As a result, the property can be put back in use without further delay, and the tenants do not have to suffer so many bites.

bed bug heat treatment propane gear

Preventing Heat Damage

However, there are downsides to heat up an entire room above 56 °C. Fine electronics are notoriously sensitive to heat damage and would therefore need to be removed from the room in question to be on the safe side.

bed bug heat treatment monitoring temperature

Also, plants and aquariums would certainly suffer dramatically.  This is why we instruct our clients to remove heat-sensitive items into the bathroom or kitchen that will not be heat treated using space heaters as it may otherwise damage the white goods and domestic appliances.

The next concerns are down to the materials contained within the rooms. Some wallpaper may curl, or get unglued off the walls. Some laminate may peel off from the furniture it covers. Some plastic fittings may soften and lose their stiffness and eventually distort.

In some instances where susceptible items cannot be removed from the room, we shield heat-sensitive items from the heat by covering them with sheets and foil. And in some circumstances, we have to carry out the heat treatment manually using the professional pest control cimex eradicator steamer, which is a more time-consuming, more labour-intensive process.

bed bug heat treatment in bedroom

Removing certain items from rooms heated with space heaters

  • mobile phones, video games consoles, TV sets, computers, alarm clocks, radio sets, speakers, and other items containing electronic processors.
  • candles, waxwork, oil painting, artwork, expensive and precious items
  • medications, makeup, perfumes, cosmetics in general.
  • plants, pets, anything alive.

Flagging to the heat treatment specialist any concerns

  • presence of cheap laminated furniture from Argos or possibly Ikea
  • build-in TV within furniture or attached to the walls
  • Ottoman beds
  • wallpaper, gilding, antique furniture with wood or stone inlay

Bed bug heat treatment cost

The rule of thumb is that a full bed bug heat treatment is roughly 3 times as expensive as a traditional chemical treatment.

This is because of the time being spent on the initial visit to do the heat treatment is a full day in most cases. On the follow-up visit, we also spend a fair amount of time going over the beds and sofa with the steamer. In comparison, a traditional chemical treatment would normally be a total of 2  slots of 1 hour.

bed bug heat treatment cimex eradicator steamer

Bed bug heat treatment package

The full heat treatment is by far the most powerful and far-reaching treatment there is. It can easily reduce the bed bug infestation by a good 95-100% on the first visit alone. But it remains a process, full heat + back up chemical treatment followed up with steam + back up chemical treatment two weeks later.

But there is a significant difference between lab conditions and real life. Some adult bed bugs that are hiding at skirting board level, or in electric sockets are able to crawl away from the heat. This is what constitutes the residual activity that can be reported by some clients.

To overcome any bed bugs that may survive the initial heat we would normally follow on with a light backup chemical treatment of the area. If one of the tenants is pregnant or allergic to chemicals, we would hence use an organic solution instead.

Going into more details

There are many instances when using heat treatment is necessary. The main appeal of heat treatment is that you can destroy the adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs in one go, meaning you no longer have to endure the bed bug bites. Because of the high bed bug heat treatment cost, we want to ensure that all is done to make the most of this premium service. 

The bed bug heat treatment is the recommended and only appropriate method of eradication when the property is vacant, a tenant is pregnant or with infants, or suffering from a health condition that forbids the use of pesticides. Our bed bug heat treatment service is guaranteed. It’s extremely effective but quite invasive compared with other methods. Therefore, it does require some prior preparation on your part.

However, significantly moving furniture around or performing your own form of pest control beforehand is to be avoided. Doing so can force bed bugs and other pests into harder-to-reach places, making them harder to target with heat treatment. It’s best to leave things relatively undisturbed for maximum effectiveness. Your pest control expert should tell you this once you’ve booked your session, but it never hurts to be forewarned. Here’s our guide on how to prepare for bed bug heat treatment.

Our heat treatment packages

We have two-three heat treatment packages that cater to different circumstances and requirements. The preparation involved for each bed bug heating system may differ significantly depending on which you are considering.

  • Heat pod treatment for bed bugs: small bed bug heat tent 120 x 120 x 200 cm or large bed bug heat tent 240 x 120 x 200 cm
  • Steam cleaner for bed bugs: Cimex Eradicator Steamer
  • Full bed bug heat treatment: propane bed bug heater or GreenTech bed bug heaters

The heat pod treatment for bed bugs can be used as a bed bug heat box to heat treat luggage for bed bugs, or to heat treat a couch or full bed. The steam cleaner for bed bugs is a professional pest control steam machine for bed bugs that applies superheated dry steam in crevices and on all soft furnishing. The full bed bug heat treatment is the best to kill bed bugs with heat but it requires the most bed bug heat treatment equipment being introduced inside a property.

What is the bed bug heat treatment cost?

The bed bug heat treatment cost will vary depending on the method used and what is actually being treated.

The most complete and premium service is the full bed bug heat treatment that will rely on Propane Heat Blasters and on the professional pest control Cimex Eradicator steamer. For comparison, the cost for a three-bedroom flat would be £1040+vat. The full details can be found on the bed bug heat treatment page.

In some instances, we can also use a heat-tent to treat contaminated items. A Large heat tent would treat a king-size bed and mattress at £320+vat. A small heat tent would be used for smaller items such as suitcases at £250+vat.

Finally, for reference, the cost of a standard Bed bug chemical treatment for a three-bedroom flat would be £358+vat.

Is heat treatment effective for bed bugs?

Heating your house to the bed bug eradication heat threshold (above 56°C) denatures the protein structure of the eggs and reduces the bed bug infestation.

Many people instinctively think that they should completely clear their house, rearrange furniture, and perhaps even perform some pest control themselves in order to help the heat treatment procedure. In fact, this cannot be further from the truth.

The benefit of a full bed bug heat treatment is that it will sort out any bed bug infestation from your home and belongings. Removing items while the treatment is being carried out increases the possibility of reintroducing residual bed bug activity that may reside in those items. In principle, what belongs to a room must stay in the room, and what belongs to a corner needs to stay there as well.

Beware, bed bug DIY solutions involving commercial pesticides may prime the bed bugs for resistance. But any solution involving killing bed bugs with heat is possibly the best DIY bed bug treatment that non-professionals can attempt without any adverse consequences. Using a commercial steam cleaner for bed bugs may not be very powerful, but does present the advantage of being very safe. However, do not ever attempt a bed bug oven DIY treatment if you have a gas cooker as this is a fire risk.

Bed bug Heat treatment: What to remove

The first thing you’ll want to do is remove all the rubbish you’ve accumulated in the days leading up to the heat treatment. It being there is unnecessary and will only smell bad after being exposed to the intense heat (and may attract more pests!). It’s also best to vacuum a day or so before the treatment too, especially if you have pets, since hair and fur may interfere with the equipment.

Things that are valuable and/or irreplaceable, such as pets, plants, family photos, and artwork, should be removed from the premises to protect them. Similarly, items that are flammable or likely to melt should also be removed. This includes candles, alcohol, books, posters, aerosols, perishable food, vinyl blinds, and any exposed papers or documentation. Remember, when removing potentially infested items from your home, do so with caution so as not to infect your neighbours or indeed the clothing you’re wearing.

Removing items from your house should be done with care, whether they are to be brought back into your house or not. For the most part, items that you intend to keep in your home should be left where they are (we’ll discuss exceptions to this rule in the next section). Temporarily removing items that may be infected with pests and placing them back into your home following the heat treatment may reintroduce pests to your home. Additionally, leaving potentially infected items outside your house, such as for collection by a waste collector, may cause pests to spread to your neighbours or even back into your house. As a general rule, it’s best not to remove anything from your home.

In principle, we want to avoid any damage. Temperatures above 56°C maintained over a large period can soften plastics and waxes, denature proteins and expand gases. Fine electronics and batteries are particularly sensitive. Cosmetics and perfumes are best kept in a cool environment. So, depending on the bed bug heat treatment method, your belongings may be at risk if not removed.

Bed bug heat box: what to remove

Bed bug heat boxes are mostly used to heat treat luggage or small items coming from an infested flat. Before you carry out the heat treatment, you must empty suitcases of any clothes that can be hot washed directly in the washing machine. Also, remove any of the items in the categories above. The heat inside the box that will escape into the room will be too little to have any impact on your belongings.

Bed bug heat tent: what to remove

The same rules apply to the stuff being treated inside a bed bug heat tent. However, a heat-tent is much larger and more powerful than a heat box. As a result, more residual heat escapes into the room and soft material such as wax and makeup may be affected if too near. So, ensure the bed bug heat tent is set up at least two metres away from it.

Steam cleaner for Bed bugs: What to remove

You can steam bed bugs to death using a commercial carpet steamer as long as you expose every area in excess of five to ten seconds in order to appropriately raise the temperature of the material. At Inoculand, we use a professional pest control steam machine for bed bugs that use superheated dry steam to flash burn bed bugs and destroy the protein structure of the eggshell.

Even though the steam temperature is 180°C, it will not cause any damage to inert material and will only require exposure for a fraction of a second. The process is not dissimilar from the ultra-high-processing (UHT) used in the milk industry that does not burn the milk it is heating up.

Using a commercial steamer for bed bugs over a prolonged period of time increases the humidity level within the room. The steam should not have any impact on belongings or furniture that will be heat treated directly. However, it may affect pictures and sheets of papers that are above the bed; therefore, you should either remove them or move the bed away from the wall.

Full bed bug heat treatment: What to remove

A full bed bug heat treatment will turn your bedroom into a bed bug heat chamber. It will raise the overall temperature of the room over a period of three to four hours, allowing the heat to penetrate deep into the furniture, walls and floors. The heat penetrates deep into the furniture, denaturing the egg clusters found deep within cracks.

This can become a liability for any stuff prone to bed bug heat treatment damage. Therefore, all the items that we mentioned above must be removed and placed in the bathroom, kitchen, or other room that will not be heat treated. You cannot carry out a full bed bug heat treatment with electronics still in the room, unless they are shielded. Also, any pressurised cans should be removed as there is always a small risk they may explode.

What kills bed bugs instantly?

Bed bug heat extermination is a very powerful process, and it takes only a one-minute exposure at 56°C to destroy bed bugs, nymphs and eggs. However, a few bed bugs may still be able to escape the heat by crawling deeper within the wall. So at Inoculand we normally back up our heat treatment with a round of bed bug fumigation, and carry out a second bed bug heat treatment after two weeks to ensure that no residual activity is remaining.

Following these preparation steps will ensure that your home is ready for heat treatment. The bed bug heat treatment cost is in line with all the time and work we will put in, but also the guarantee we will offer you. Here at Inoculand, we have over a decade of experience performing heat treatment all over London and the surrounding areas. If you think you have a bed bug or moth infestation and may require heat treatment, be sure to give us a call on 020 3405 5000. We’ll give you a full brief on whether you need heat treatment and what exactly it entails.