It’s been established that heat treatments are the most effective and fastest way to kill bed bugs.  Scientists and pest professionals agree that heat treatments should be the preferred initial treatment in most bed bug cases.  Chemical treatment follow-ups or pre-treatments are also an option if performed by trained professionals.  Additionally, K-9 inspections are an effective pre and post-inspection technique to ensure that your heat treatments are successful.  But before you jump to perform a heat treatment, there are things that you can do to help make the process go a bit smoother and add to the success rate of your treatments.  These tips and tricks are perfect for DIY heat treatments or before your pest technician come to perform a professional treatment.

Always discuss pre and post-treatment preparation with your pest professional before you start your prep work!

Proper preparation is a mandatory requirement for your heat treatment to be effective. If you’ve hired a service technician, they should outline this in detail and provide instructions on what to do. Preparation is generally done by the resident, although in some cases, companies will offer preparation for an additional charge, or in some cases, the resident may be charged a penalty for not completing the preparation list. Be sure to speak to your service technician beforehand if you cannot complete the list.

Preparation involves providing access for pest control treatment as well as taking measures to ensure that bed bugs are destroyed or contained.

If a home is not properly prepared, successful elimination may be practically impossible.

SAMPLE PREPARATION LIST FOR HEAT TREATMENTS

______Items stored under the bed provide an infinite amount of bed bug hiding places. Be very careful and open all containers and slightly pull the bins from under the bed.  Air should be able to move inside and around the bins easily.

______ All furniture in the dwelling usually need to be pulled away from the baseboards and walls, and it is commonly asked that all furniture containing potential hiding crevices, such as bookshelves and desks, be opened or even emptied and left open for the exterminator to treat. Ask your technician what is necessary.

_____ Open all the drawers in any dressers, side tables, cabinets, or shelving. Make sure the items inside are loosely packed, and heat can permeate the items.

_____ Remove and properly discard cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, paper, and plastic bags, old newspapers, stacks of magazines, and similar items in all potentially infested rooms. Be sure to seal and mark them in plastic bags before removal. (Remember, bed bugs love clutter, it provides an infinite number of places for them, and those “cluttered” items might be where they are hiding)

_____ Unplug all electronics except major appliances.  Usually, it will be safe for electronics to remain in the treatment area but always check with your pest professional.

_____ Remove framed pictures and posters from the walls to avoid damages.  Lay them flat in the room.

_____ Vinyl or faux wood blinds may have a low heat tolerance; they may need removed and placed in a pile of other heat-sensitive items on a table.

_____ Remove items that may melt, like candles, deodorant, chocolate, and lipstick.

_____ Remove medications and perishable foods.

_____ Collect all aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, lighters, soda cans, and pressurized containers and remove them from the treatment area.

_____ Don’t bag up too many items!  Items in bags can be hard to treat.  Do not over-prepare!

____ Alert your pest professional of any sprinklers.  Heat can set off the sprinkler system, so the sprinkler heads need to be caped and protected.

 

For items and areas that cannot be treated, or may have been challenging to treat, there are several steps you can take to ensure that bed bugs aren’t hiding in those items.

  1. Always inspect heat-sensitive items carefully.  Small things that show signs of bed bug activity can be placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer, or sprayed with professional chemicals to kill and bugs.
  2. Make sure you launder all bedding, stuffed animals, drapes, clothing, and other washable items to ensure that bed bugs aren’t still hiding there. Items should be dried on the hottest setting possible on your dryer.  Items should be secured in a plastic bag and tied in-order to transport to your laundry area.  This helps to avoid the spread of bed bugs to other areas of your home.
  3. After treatment, you should vacuum all areas around the bed and other furniture. Empty the vacuum bag or container into a trash bag that is tightly sealed.
  4. Make sure any discarded items are sealed in plastic and labeled as “Bed Bug Infested” before dropping in the garbage.

 

Always follow professional advice for ways you can prepare your room for a heat treatment or inspection.  Some professionals may have different requirements depending on the equipment used. 

Want to perform your own heat treatment?  Check out our heat equipment rental providers at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/.  You can find a professional rental location near you that offers equipment, professional add-on services and tutorials on how to perform your own heat treatments!