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bed bugs and steam heated homes

Joe V_2Joe V_2 Member Posts: 234
When I was a field service tech, I did work for a cereal manufacturer that used the plant's steam heating system to heat the entire building to 120+  for 24 hours to do a bug kill semi annually.

  Of course, all electronics and plants had to be removed but I was wondering for homes with steam heat, if this would be possible in the event of a bed bug sighting?  How high have you raised a home's temperature? 

We're going to NYC in October and my wife is more terrified of bed bugs than terrorists, thieves, and muggers. 


  • Al Letellier_21Al Letellier_21 Member Posts: 402

    I believe that 160* is required to do the job. My friend in CT has dogs that sniff them out and he was looking into using heat until I asked him about safety for the sprinkler systems in hotels, etc. 160 is getting pretty close to heat needed to pop a sprinkler and any malfunction could cause more problems that just the bugs....
  • Brad WhiteBrad White Member Posts: 2,393
    Agree with Al

    Bedding in a dryer at high temperature for an hour or so is one recommended approach for the materials. I am intrigued to see 120F do anything but annoy the bed bugs and kill off the weak ones if anything.

    My nephew Chris was an exterminator (oddly we called him "bug" as a kid, so be careful of steering career choices that way.)

    Anyway, Chris said that their company had an electric heating mat they would place on the mattresses, to mimic body heat regardless of time of day. (Bedbugs do not have watches nor iPhones,  nor are specifically nocturnal, so can lay dormant for months waiting a warm body to feed upon.)

    Anyway, after an hour of matt time, they go in to kill the suckers.

    But heating the house? Probably not going to be effective but it may draw out a few.

    My $0.02 anyway.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Joe V_2Joe V_2 Member Posts: 234
    You are probably

    right about the temperature needing to be hire.  I saw some snippets of the "bug convention" in chicago on the news.  They were using everything from Nitrogen Vapors to Trailers that could be loaded with beds and clothing then heated.  Thought it would be interesting to see if a home steam heating system would do the same.
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