Turning Up the Heat on Bedbugs

Not long ago, I wrote an article on the use of heat to kill Bedbugs. Since that time there have been numerous mentions of using heat to eliminate Bedbug infestations in mainstream media. This is a growing trend and will soon be the most requested form of treatment for many, especially hotels and apartments. The biggest benefit to hotels is the fact that the individual room will only have to be out of service for several hours compared to days or weeks with conventional (chemical) Bedbug treatments. This of course means that the hotel can place the room back into active rotation and again rent the room quickly. For apartments, the use of heat typically means less stress on the tenants as there is less pre-treatment preparation needed compared to that of a conventional treatment.

Bedbugs can’t stand the heat!

The bottom line to the hospitality industry is money. Although treating with heat is more expensive up front, the long-term costs are much lower as the room can most likely be used by a guest that same night of a treatment. The daily cost of renting a room especially in high-end hotels, will make up the cost of a treatment using heat in only a few days. Treating for Bedbugs in the hospitality industry is in many ways easier for the professional because the rooms do not have many belongings. In most situations, the hotel only contains a bed(s), dresser, night stands, desk, chairs, pictures and television stand. The items do not contain clothing and other personal belongings encountered when treating homes and apartments. In most situations, hotel management is understanding of the Bedbug treatment process and helps by keeping the room(s) out of service until the treatment process is complete but there is always the issue of time. Also if there was a guest complaint and/or negative media attention, the pressure becomes greater however when it reaches that point, hotel management will usually do whatever it takes to eliminate the Bedbug infestation even if it means keeping the room out of service for several weeks but heat does not require this. The room can be heated quickly, the temperature needed to reach death is held for several hours and the room is then aired out in order to return to normal temperatures. The interior process may take an average of 4-6 hours.

Apartment buildings and/or condominiums pose an entirely different challenge when treating for Bedbugs. Occupant participation is the biggest challenge. Since conventional treatments require the tenant accomplish many tasks before treatment is to begin, resistance is usually felt by the superintendent, the board or managing agent trying to coordinate treatment. The use of heat removes many of these obstacles while eliminating the infestation generally in one treatment. The largest factor in this environment is cost. Using heat to kill Bedbugs is many times more expensive than conventional treatments, causing many to not entertain this option. However there is an increase in the use of heat as some are seeing the benefits for the occupants. As a rule of thumb, the preparation needed is to remove anything that you would not leave in the trunk of your car on a hot summer day and reduce clutter.

As with anything, there are positives and negatives. In many cases, the positives of using heat are out-weighing the negatives for people and/or establishments infested with Bedbugs.  The use of heat is also increasing in the residential arena. Heat can be used as a chemical free option that is supplemented with steam and vacuuming versus chemical.

Be sure to speak with a reputable professional that thoroughly explains every option available for you. Each type of Bedbug control effort has its challenges for both the professional and infested person and knowing all of the pros and cons is crucial.

For more information on Bedbugs, please visit our Bedbug FAQs page.