Will Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs Damage My Home?

Will heat treatment for bed bugs damage my home? Will chemical pesticides leave a nasty residue on my belongings? How long will I have to be out of my home?

Those are pretty common questions a lot of people have. In this article, I’ll answer these questions and share some helpful info too.

Bed bugs and some basics to know

bed bugs and some basics to know

Did you know? Bed bugs lay as many as 12 eggs a day or up to 250 in a single bug’s lifetime!

Infestations can get out of hand quickly. When that happens, you want a treatment option that works fast.

When it comes to the safest and more effective plan of action, heat treatment is the way to go. Generally speaking, heat treatment eradicates bed bugs without damaging your home or your belongings.

In comparison, pesticides and bug bombs can leave behind dangerous chemical residue. They’re also not 100% effective at killing both the mature bugs and the eggs, so reinfestation is probable.

Let’s look at how heat treatment works, what the process looks like, and what pests it can exterminate.

What Bugs Does Heat Treatment Kill?

what bugs does heat treatment kill

A pest control technician will heat your home to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit when you get heat treatment for bed bugs.

While heat treatment effectively kills bed bugs and their eggs, it can also kill other pests such as:

  • Termites
  • Stink Bugs
  • Fleas
  • Cockroaches

Heat treatment doesn’t just kill insects. The treatment can also kill bacteria and viruses that rodents and other pests spread. The feces and urine of rats and mice can contain dangerous viruses like Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or HPS.

Heat treatment can destroy these dangerous viruses that might lurk unseen on your shelves, counters, and floors. If you can’t get rid of rodents in your home, you should at least get rid of the diseases they carry.

Will heat treatment for bed bugs damage my home?

will heat treatment for bed bugs damage my home

Heat treatment is a very safe option. Unlike fumigating with pesticides, you don’t have to worry about removing most of your belongings from the house before treatment.

The heat itself will not damage your home or belongings. However, there are specific steps you should take to ensure your belongings are safe before, during, and after the treatment process.

  1. Secure all small or light objects that flowing air might be able to move or knock over. These objects can include paperwork, fragile items on shelves, and small tables.
  2. Remove all items that are at risk of exploding, melting, or wilting.
  3. Remove any fish tanks that are larger than 10 gallons.

Heat treatment will not damage your home. As long as you follow the specific guidelines that your exterminator lays out for you, your belongings will be safe and sound.

At What Heat Temperature Do Bugs Die?

Bed bugs, stink bugs, and termites typically die at around 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs of these insects can’t survive past this temperature either.

Cockroaches and fleas can survive temperatures up to 155 degrees Fahrenheit, but they typically die in temperatures above 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

The exterminator can still eradicate these pests with the same heat treatment used for bed bugs. If you have a problem with cockroaches or fleas, speak to your exterminator so that they can adjust the procedure accordingly.

Some bugs are very resistant to heat, and others even thrive in hotter conditions. For example, flies love hot weather, and their life cycle speeds up with the heat.

Fly eggs hatch nearly three times faster when the temperature is over 99 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re trying to get rid of flies, heat treatment is not the way to do it.

Yellowjackets, hornets, and wasps also become more active and more aggressive in hotter temperatures.

What Can Heat Treatment Damage?

what can heat treatment damage

While the heat will not damage your home or furniture, certain items can explode at such high temperatures. You should always remove any aerosol cans, ammunition, fire extinguishers, and unopened bottles or cans of drinks.

Other things like candles or wax models can melt if you do not remove them before treatment. Finally, living plants will likely die in such high heat, and the treatment can damage certain musical instruments.

Will Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs Hurt Electronics?

Heat treatment does not damage electronics. You should carefully review the instructions that the exterminator sets out for you to ensure the treatment is 100% effective. These instructions usually specify that you shouldn’t remove any electronics from your home.

The heat treatment will not damage computers or televisions, but you risk re-infecting your home if you remove them before the heat treatment. When you have a terrible infestation, bed bugs are more likely to hide in electronics like laptops, alarm clocks, speakers.

The technicians will make sure that your electronics are not directly in the path of the heat source. The heat will kill the bed bugs without harming your electronics.

How Long Does It Take to Heat Treat a House For Bed Bugs?

how long does it take to heat treat a house for bed bugs

Effective heat treatment for bed bugs takes less than a day from start to finish. Not only is heat treatment the safest option for eradicating bed bugs, but it’s also the fastest.

Before Heat Treatment

Before heat treatment, you will have to make sure your house is clean. An exterminator won’t heat treat your home if you have pet waste, trash, or rotten food. Remove all trash and make sure your living space is neat and clean.

During Heat Treatment

For heat treatments to be effective, a technician will heat your house to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit for anywhere from three to six hours.

The length of the heat treatment depends on how bad your bed bug infestation is and how large your home is. Even if your infestation is terrible, heat treatment is the fastest treatment option.

For example, fumigating an entire house can easily take at least 12 hours to be effective. In comparison, certain pests like stink bugs die within 30 minutes of heat treatment.

After Heat Treatment

After the heat treatment, your home will need time to cool down. If the heat treatment took about six hours, you would most likely have to wait two to four hours for the house to cool.

Most exterminators recommend entering the house after treatment to turn on the air conditioner. You can then leave for a few hours, and your home should be cool enough when you return.

When you return to your house, you should follow your technician’s instructions to remove the dead bugs and eggs. The most effective way of doing this is to vacuum.

Make sure you vacuum any mattresses, bed frames, cushions, carpets, hard floors, and furniture. After some light housekeeping, you can enjoy your new bug-free home!

How Do I Cool Down My House After Heat Treatment?

how do i cool down my house after heat treatment

Cooling down your house after heat treatment is simply a matter of waiting.

Most exterminators and pest control specialists recommend that you return home, turn on your air conditioning, and leave the house for a few hours while it cools down.

If you or a family member has any allergies, asthma, or COPD, it’s a good idea to stay the night at a hotel or with a friend while the house cools down completely.

By following instructions and hiring a reputable pest management company, heat treatment can eradicate your bed bug infestation safely and effectively with minimum disruption to your daily routine.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »