Bed bugs cannot withstand extreme temperatures, exposure to very high or low temperatures will kill them quickly. The use of high temperatures to kill bed bugs is safe and very effective.
However a gradual increase in temperature will not kill bed bugs, it will merely encourage the bed bugs to scatter whilst trying to escape the heat which could potentially spread the problem to other areas in the house which is the last thing you want.
The ideal temperature to kill bed bugs is anything over 45oC and the best way to achieve such temperatures quickly and efficiently is through the use of steam. The use of steam to kill bed bugs is extremely effective because it not only kills full size bugs but bugs at all stages of development from the eggs upwards which most insecticides are incapable of doing.
The use of insecticides in combination with steam to kill bed bugs has been shown to be a very effective combination. The dangers of insecticides are very real both to humans and animals and the thought of spraying mattresses and bed frames and box springs with these chemicals does not make sense due to the harmful effects they can have on health. There are pest control companies who will not treat mattresses with insecticides for fear of lawsuits in the future if clients suffer health problems related to the insecticides.
If you are planning on using steam to kill bed bugs here are a few helpful tips:
1. The steam cleaner must be capable of producing steam which has a low vapor flow but a high enough temperature.
2. If you are to prevent the bed bugs from being blown about the flow of steam must be minimal and this will also stop the surface becoming over wet.
3. To kill bed bugs with steam it is essential that a full and thorough inspection of the infected room be carried out before treatment begins. If this is not done successful eradication will not be achieved.
4. Make sure that the instructions for the steam cleaner are read properly to ensure that every safety measure is followed.
5. Due to the low vapor output it is essential that the nozzle is placed directly onto the surface of the mattress or whatever is being treated. Any little gap between the end of the nozzle and the surface will allow the temperature to drop quite dramatically and reduce the effectiveness of the steam in killing the bed bugs.
6. It is a fairly long process as the nozzle must be moved over the surface slowly and meticulously – around 30cm every 10-15 seconds is recommended.
The best place to start in your quest to kill bed bugs with steam is the mattress, ensuring that extra attention is given to seams, under handles and labels.It will also be necessary to treat the inside and out of the bed base. Unfortunately the fabric on the outside of the base will have to be removed to allow the inside to be treated. It is possible to put this back using staples once the treatment is complete and the bed bugs killed.
Other furnishings should then be treated in the same way items such as chairs and sofas again the areas around seams and buttons should be given extra attention. If you have a sofa bed be sure to treat the mattress also. Other soft furnishings will also need attention such as cushions, curtains (these bugs can climb!) and so on.
Killing bed bugs with steam is an ideal treatment to use on carpets and rugs too.