Using heat to kill bugs has been around for a long time. Flour mills have incorporated heat treatments to entire stock or buildings for more than 75 years. Kids have been at it for even longer albeit one bug at a time. Maybe you too as a youngster used a magnifying glass to fry an unfortunate wayward ant.
Bed bugs were for along time a forgotten insect all but eradicated and of little concern. With world wide travel made so much easier and people moving from city to city with ease the bed bugs have come back with a vengeance. The main way this insect travels is in your luggage or clothing. Unsuspecting travelers pick up this blood sucker in hotels, motels and even time share units. Not surprisingly New York is commonly referred to as the bed bug capital of the world due in large part to the many travelers who go in and out on business or vacation.
With this onslaught of infestations it seems that new treatments come out everyday. Sprays, powders and aerosols are constantly being perfected for this specific pest. Non chemical methods are also all the rage. Steam, freezing and heat seem to be the front runners and the machines to deliver them go from the complex to very simple. In true do it yourself style people are searching for low cost answers to rid themselves of this hard to kill invader because these methods are very expensive.
Hair dryers are now being touted as the next best thing for bed bugs and this new approach is welcome news to homeowners but does it work?
Although some results differ, exposing bed bugs for about an hour to 113 degrees should do the trick. Hair dryers are regulated to stay under 140 degrees as that is the temperature which can burn your skin. So the heat needed to kill these bugs using a hair dryer seems sufficient. The obvious problem is the time needed to deliver the heat and the fact that you can only do small areas to sustain the temperature needed. The bed bugs aren’t likely to stick around the area once you start so the likelihood of successful eradication seems remote. I find it hard to believe that some professionals recommend this home remedy but I’m amazed everyday in my profession so it’s not all that surprising.
One home remedy I can agree with and should provide you with at least some relief is to use your vehicle to rid your luggage or other smaller belonging of bed bugs. On a warm day the temperature in your car can quickly rise to 120 degrees and stay that high (or higher) for several hours. By putting your suit case or other items in a sealed plastic bag and inside the vehicle your almost assured of 100% mortality. This won’t help of course inside the home but perhaps it may help if you’re returning home from a trip and suspect you were exposed to bed bugs; it may stop the bed bugs waiting to exit your luggage after you’ve unpacked. I’d remove any liquids, toothpaste or cameras so they won’t get damaged but keep anything else in the case.
Who knows?, maybe hot cars will catch on and we’ll use them for all sorts of our pest control needs.