How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

If you’re looking for answers on how exterminators manage to get rid of one of the most resilient household pests we have to contend with, you’ve come to the right place!

  • In this article, we’re going to run you through the three main ways an exterminator will work to remove bed bugs from your household.
  • You’ll also learn about the ways bed bug treatment has changed over the past fifty years. You may discover that many things you thought you knew about how to get rid of bed bugs are out of date!
  • Finally, we’ll tie all that together to get you up to speed on the three crucial things a good exterminator will do before starting the bed bug control process.

Knowledge is power, right? So let’s get you powered up to effectively deal with these irritating, embarrassing, and ridiculously resilient little pests.

And remember, if you’re looking for bed bug exterminations in Cincinnati, we’re here to help!

Three Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

There are a plethora of bed bug treatments out there. Mattress covers, furniture interceptors, vacuuming, and steam, are all methods you’ll see discussed on YouTube or mentioned in pest eradication forums.

Customers ask us about these all the time, wanting to know if they’re effective solutions.

The short answer?

They all have their place.

When we work with a client to destroy their bed bugs, we will almost certainly bring a combination of these methods into play. But none are strong enough to make a dent in isolation.

The real grunt work of bed bug control rests on chemical treatment, cold treatment, or heat treatment. These three bed bug treatments are what we’ll look at in greater detail in this article.

Chemical Treatment

Bed Bug Chemical Spraying

It’s a relatively common and understandable trait to seek out quick and easy solutions. Ask most people with an illness which they’d prefer for treatment: a single pill or a course of physical therapy. Nine out of ten will take the pill, for obvious reasons.

It’s just the same with pest extermination.

Here’s a quick (we promise!) history lesson. For years, if you needed to get rid of bed bugs, some form of insecticide would be used, often delivered via fumigation. For the last hundred years, we’ve resorted to a pharmacopeia of toxic substances, from sulfur to mercury chloride.

Then Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t worry, we can’t pronounce it either) came along. With DDT, everything changed. Suddenly, we were armed with a compound that wouldn’t just kill off your current infestation, but which would keep killing new waves of bugs. Moreover, this magical stuff could get rid of bed bugs at every stage of their life cycle, from eggs to mature adults.

So the obvious question is, why isn’t this the silver bullet we’re using today?

Two words: insecticide resistance. 

In the 1960s, we thought we’d all but eradicated bed bugs in the US. But today, we’re dealing with a nationwide epidemic.

The reason is kind of scary.

Bed bugs have slowly but surely developed resistance to DDT. Science tried to stay ahead of the bugs, devising successive waves of DDT alternatives – lindane, chlordane, diazinon – but all ultimately lost their effectiveness.

Being the highly adaptable creatures they are, bed bugs developed an arsenal of behavioral, morphological, and biochemical defenses against chemical treatments.

Put simply, they kept coming back stronger.

The more chemicals we threw at them, the more chemical resistant they became.

Chemicals are still in use today, but hopefully, this quick history of our chemical war on bed bugs will show you why, these days, chemical treatments are rarely the definitive solution to a bed bug infestation. They can help. But we needed to find better weapons to get rid of bed bugs.

When chemicals are used, they almost always require multiple applications, more significant disruption to your home, and higher overall financial outlay.

Cold Treatment

Bed Bug Temperature Guide

When the full extent of chemical resistance became a known quantity, exterminators faced the challenge of finding a new line of attack.

One method we hit on was cold treatment.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, really. Using a device that distributes frozen Carbon Dioxide, the exterminator’s goal is to snap-freeze and insta-kill all bed bugs and bed bug eggs on a treated surface.

Cold treatment side-steps the whole chemical resistance problem, and owing to its focus on extreme environmental change, affords bed bugs limited opportunity to evolve biological resistance.

Further improving the case for cold over chemicals, this is a non-toxic solution. We’re talking about no residues, no harmful pollutants, and a much better outcome all around for the environment.

Do you sense a “but” coming?

Here’s the big problem with using cold treatments: Sure, bed bugs may not be able to adapt resistance as they have over the years with chemicals, but bed bugs are naturally highly resistant to the cold.

Did we mention these things are ridiculously resilient?

To get rid of bed bugs, cold simply isn’t the best solution. A bed bug can survive happily at temperatures approaching minus 15 Fahrenheit. Moreover, you’ll need to keep temperatures down near that level for days before you can definitively know the population has been eradicated.

If you think that sounds hard to achieve, you’re one hundred percent right.

Oh, and you know how bed bugs inhabit cracks and crevices, like mattresses, bed frames, cushions, and clothing? All that stuff happens to be insulation. The more burrowed-in a bed bug is, the harder it is to expose it to lethal cold. The bed bugs you most have to worry about remain mostly untouched.

Not cool (or at least, not cool enough).

The bottom line is, while cold improves our options somewhat, quite frustratingly, it still lacks that silver bullet effectiveness.

Heat Treatment

Then there’s heat. Again, you won’t need a complex diagram to understand why this extermination strategy works.

A carefully positioned battery of ultra-powerful heaters are used in conjunction with fans to circulate hot air throughout an affected home.

What level of heat are we talking about here?

The goal is to get the air heated to greater than 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

The research tells us a bed bug population will begin to die out at temperatures hovering around 110 degrees. Bump that up to greater than 120, and you hit a biological tipping point, and the bed bugs die – pretty much instantly.

And here, we’re finally getting close to a solution that sticks.

It turns out, bed bugs are tough, but heat is their biggest – perhaps their only! – readily exploitable vulnerability.

The other thing about heat is that it’s easier to achieve than cold.

Now, 130 degrees Fahrenheit sounds pretty darn hot. And don’t get us wrong, you wouldn’t want to hang out in that heat. But it is a lot easier to bump the ambient temperature of a house up to this level of heat than it is to get it down to minus 15 Fahrenheit.

Moreover, all that insulation those bed bugs like to hide out in? It’s far less good at resisting heat than cold. Heat gets into cracks and crevices that cold and chemicals are less likely to touch.

All of this begs the question, then. Is heat treatment the silver bullet treatment method for getting rid of bed bugs? Is it the answer for which we’ve all been looking?

Well, yes and no.

Bed bugs infestations are still hard to manage. As far as insects go, bed bugs are pretty much the perfect storm of sneakiness, toughness, and capacity to spread.

But heat is, without question, one of the most effective treatments we have for hitting the little blighters where they’re most vulnerable.

In most situations, some augmentation with additional chemical treatments is part of the solution. But in our many years of experience, heat is the best way to get rid of bed bugs, hands down. Even if it isn’t the whole solution, it should be part of every bed bug extermination strategy.

You also have simple logistics to consider. Heat treatment is:

  • Less disruptive than chemical treatment.
  • More straightforward to achieve than cold treatment.
  • The safest and least expensive option available to the industry.

How to Choose a Good Exterminator

Now you know more about bed bugs and the methods at our disposal to get rid of them. But there’s one other important part to the bed bug picture: the people doing the exterminating.

How do you pick a good’ un?

This is a really important question.

A lot of people out there claim to deliver a professional service, but finding the real deal – businesses with cutting edge equipment, years of collective extermination experience, and backed up by hardcore entomological expertise – are harder to find.

First, you should know what a good exterminator isn’t.

Three Misconceptions About Exterminators

  1. A good exterminator is all about extermination: 

Nope. Killing isn’t enough.

A good exterminator’s focus is all about stopping the life cycle of the bugs, starting right at reproduction. That’s the only way to keep bed bugs out of your home, not just tomorrow, but six months from now.

Take-home point Number One: The best tool an exterminator has is a deep understanding of bed bug biology. 

  1. A good exterminator will only use one method to get the job done: 

Often it sounds a bit like this: “This guy’s great because he has all the nasty, deadly chemicals.” Chemicals are part of the picture, but for all the reasons we explained above, they aren’t the whole picture.

Very occasionally, one method of bed bug eradication will work on its own. But the vast majority of the time, a good exterminator will be all about integrated pest management, a process of carefully combining a range of extermination methods to attack bugs on multiple fronts.

Take-home point Number Two: A good exterminator is looking for a total pest control strategy, and this usually requires a combination of treatment and preventative strategies. 

  1. A good exterminator will always opt for the “nuclear” solution: 

Many of our customers imagine we’ll rock up to your home in an Haz-Mat suit with weapons-grade chemicals strapped to our back.

Some people find this idea terrifying. Others find it reassuring.

But the truth of it is, the age of shock and awe chemical treatments for bed bugs is behind us. It doesn’t work. It’s bad for the environment. Oh, and did we mention it just doesn’t work? There are far more effective bed bug extermination methods (namely, our good friend, heat treatment).

Take-home point Number Three: More toxic does not mean more effective.

Here’s What a Good Exterminator Will Do Differently

It boils down to three things. A good exterminator will:

  • Inquire – They’ll always ask you questions. Where have you seen evidence of bugs? Did you recently purchase second-hand furniture? What happened in your home before you noticed them? Do you have bug bites? Do you have pets? Allergies? All these questions are a crucial part of finding a treatment strategy that’ll work for you.
  • Investigate – And by investigate, think Sherlock Holmes level investigation! A proficient exterminator will forensically examine your home to better understand the problem you’re facing.
  • Integrate – Years of experience (and a substantial body of excellent research) have demonstrated to us, time and again, that heat treatment should be part of every bed bug extermination strategy. However, a good bed bug exterminator will be well-versed in ways to bring a careful use of supplementary chemical treatments into play to support the heat treatment.

You’re Up To Speed!

So there you have it. Here’s the TLDR (too-long-didn’t read):

  • Bed bug extermination practices have changed a lot over the years. These days, the gold-standard is heat treatment. And as you’ve learned, it also happens to be safer and less expensive than chemical treatment in isolation.
  • When you’re shopping around for an exterminator to finally rid your home of these truly nasty little greeblies, make sure they inquire, investigate, and integrate.

Keep these in mind, and you’re well on your way to a pest (and bug bite!) free home.

Ready to learn more? Check out our detailed guide on heat versus chemical treatment for bed bugs. And if you live in Ohio and have a bed bug problem on your hands, drop us a line or give us a call on 614-443-7378 .

Got bugs? We’ve got answers.

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Should I Tell My Boss I Have Bed Bugs?

Should I tell My Boss I Have Bed Bugs

When most of our customers first realize they have a bed bug problem on their hands, they have two questions. Their first: “How do I get rid of these horrible things!” Their second: “Oh god, should I tell my boss?”

Well, we have all the answers you need on how to get rid of bed bugs on our bed bug Dayton treatment page. So, let’s turn our gaze in this guide to the tricky question of whether you should let your employer know your home is infested with bed bugs.

Let’s get the legal dimension dealt with right away. You aren’t legally obligated to tell. Your home life is your business, and no state or federal law requires that you divulge a bed bug infestation to your employer.

Three Reasons We Don’t Have a Definitive Answer

You may be frustrated (or perhaps relieved!) to read this next bit.

We’re not going to give you a definitive answer to the question of whether you should tell your employer about your bed bug problem – for three interconnected reasons:

  1. We don’t know your work environment – You may have a boss just itching (no pun intended) to lay staff off. You may work in an extremely judgmental environment where any problem of this nature would sound the death knell of your career. For anyone who works paycheck to paycheck, this stuff counts.
  2. We don’t know your financial situation – There’s a good chance you may be required to take time off to deal with the infestation. That time off may be unpaid. You may not be able to afford that. If that’s you, far be it from us to tell you to make a decision with financially disastrous consequences.
  3. Ethics boils down to the individual – A lot of this boils down to ethics. We all draw our own ethical lines in the sand.

So, steering well clear of “shoulds,” let’s take a look at the practical, social, and ethical considerations when deciding whether you should tell your boss you have bed bugs.

Practical Considerations

Bed Bug Biology

According to the EPA, it’s highly unlikely a bed bug infestation will break out in an office or similar work environment. These spaces tend not to have the furnishing bed bugs thrive in.

However, bed bugs are highly mobile and can move from individual to individual. Especially when you were unaware you had bed bugs, one of your colleagues may take bed bugs home with them.

So the bad news is, a bed bug problem can spread via a work environment.

Financial Impact

Many larger companies will have formal HR policies prescribing what to do when an employee reports a home infestation of bed bugs.

These policies frequently involve sending the employee home until the situation is resolved. So steel yourself – you may face some financial fallout.

A (Tough!) Work Preparation Routine

If you are in a position where you feel you have no choice but to go to work, you’re going to need to commit to a reasonably rigorous preparation routine until your infestation is dealt with by an exterminator.

Dry all your clothes on high heat, sealing them in a plastic container. Be sure to get changed right at your front door. You’ll also need to repeat the process every time you come home.

The bottom line is, if you feel you can’t divulge your infestation to your boss, the onus is on you to do everything possible to protect your colleagues.

Social Considerations

You May Face Stigma

In a very real sense, this is personal. Even if you feel your co-workers and employers are unlikely to judge, for many of us, it just goes against the grain to divulge something so personal. You may encounter stigma from co-workers who don’t understand that a bed bug infestation is nobody’s fault.

If you’ve gone through this ordeal, you’ll likely realize pretty quick how horrible it feels to be on the receiving end of unfair judgment. Make sure you pay it forward if ever a friend or colleague has the same problem. Lend them support and show them that you don’t judge them personally. A bit of empathy really helps!

And yes, there are professional considerations here. As unfair as this is, you can’t control how your boss will react. They may be misinformed and judge your professional acumen because you stepped forward.

The Good News! You Have Great Educational Resources

An easy way to deal with these social challenges is to go in prepared with information. Print out these information sheets from the CDC and EPA. Take every opportunity to inform your workplace that bed bugs are nothing to be ashamed of. They’re a problem to be tackled like any other public health issue.

Ethical Considerations

Then we get to where the rubber hits the road: ethics.

The fact is, it’s incredibly challenging to avoid spreading bed bugs when you have a widespread infestation in your home. Unless you discovered your problem very early, the chances are it’s already happened.

And of course, every home that experiences a bed bug infestation becomes a new vector for the problem to spread.

It’ll be tough. You’ll be relieved when it’s over! But unless you have a genuinely pressing reason not to tell, letting your employer know is really just the right thing to do.

Just One Exterminator’s Opinion

Like we said at the beginning of this article, we’re not in the business of telling folks what they should do. We all have to decide for ourselves! But if you want our opinion, here’s what you should do.

Sometimes “Adulting” Is No Fun

Let your boss know.

Yes, there are exceptions. If you know your boss is an awful human being and will judge you (possibly even firing you), then obviously you’re dealing with a crazy situation and may need to resolve your problem quietly. You might also want to find a new employer!

Generally speaking, though, having that awkward bed bug conversation is a necessary evil. Rip the bandaid and have the peace of mind you’re not making it a big secret.

Deal With the Problem Quickly

Some home problems are OK if you get around to them eventually. A bed bug infestation is not that problem. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to get rid of these nasty little blood-sucking pests.

Our number one advice in this situation is that you have an exterminator professionally heat treat your home for bed bugs as soon as possible.

Swift action will get your problem resolved sooner. Acting fast also means you can tell your boss you’re taking practical steps. Win-win.

And Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself!

If you do bring bed bugs to work, please don’t beat yourself up over it! Guilt won’t help anyone, and these creatures are traumatic enough as it is without adding to your woes with misplaced blame.

Remember, anyone’s home can experience an outbreak of bed bugs.

The best and only thing you can do is take action. Talk to an exterminator the moment you see bed bugs in your home. Then relax and let the experts take care of the rest.

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Do Bed Bug Covers Work?

Do Bed Bug Covers Work

Most people who learn they have bed bugs start by looking for quick fixes.

Bed bug mattress covers are frequently one of the first solutions people try when they want to get rid of a bed bug infestation. The logic is pretty obvious. If bed bugs live in the bed, surely covering up your mattresses in a thick, impermeable layer of sturdy outer fabric ought to do the trick!

But do bed bug mattress encasements work? Well, unfortunately, the answer isn’t neat or clear cut. In this article, we’ll look at bed bug biology, infestations, and why protective covers may be part of an infestation solution, but never a complete one.

Bed Bug Mattress Covers: What They Are, and How They’re Supposed to Work

Insect preventing bed mattress covers operate on a very basic principle. They encase the mattress in an impermeable barrier, preventing existing insects in a bed mattress from escaping while preventing new ones from setting up camp.

These bed mattress encasements are usually made of tough cotton or similar textile, with sturdy sealing mechanisms. Some variants only protect your bed mattress. Other bed mattress encasements encase both the bed mattress and its accompanying box spring.

Do They Actually Work?

Ah, the six million dollar question! To answer this accurately, we’re going to have to take a step back and talk about bed bug biology, and what your typical infestation looks like.

The term “bed bug” is a misnomer.

They don’t just live in beds. Nor do these resilient and resourceful critters confine themselves to your soft and padded furnishings. These diminutive insects are roughly the width of a fingernail, and they’re capable of successfully hiding throughout your home, from carpets to clothing to wooden furniture crevices.

Then there’s the pest’s prolific breeding cycle. An adult female will produce up to a dozen eggs each day. Moreover, a laying insect will instinctively move away from existing infestation sites. Infestations, therefore, spread incredibly quickly.

In almost every infestation we encounter, bed bugs have spread throughout several rooms of a home before homeowners are aware they have a problem. By then, they’re not just living in your bed.

So, back to the question at hand: Do protective bed mattress encasements kill bed bugs? No. At least not in a meaningful way. While a properly installed mattress cover will cause your unwanted visitors in that mattress to slowly starve to death, this does nothing to prevent bed bugs from infesting multiple rooms of your home.

How Long Does It Take to Kill Bed Bugs With a Bed Mattress Encasement?

Unfortunately, the outlook for bed mattress encasements as an infestation solution gets even worse. Entomologists frequently refer to bed bugs as “resilient,” but that word doesn’t quite cut it when we’re talking about the extreme survival smarts of Cimex lectularius.

Even though these insects will try to consume human blood at least once per week, if it loses access to nutrition, a bed bug won’t simply up and die — not by a long shot.

These resourceful pests will power down into a near dormant state; some studies suggest they can stay in stasis in your bed mattress for up to eighteen months. At any time in that year-and-a-half, if the slightest gap or tear presents itself as an opportunity — you guessed it — they will reappear, hungrier than ever.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bed Bug Mattress Protectors

bed bug on cover

So now you have the basic lay of the land with bed mattress encasements. To sum all the above up in a few words: a specialized mattress encasement will separate bed bugs in your mattress from a food source, but there is no proof they’re effective at killing these pests, nor will they resolve an infestation.

Here are a few questions customers frequently ask about bed bug mattress covers:

1. Will Bed Bug Mattress Encasements Stop Bed Bugs From Biting Me?

Bug bites can happen anywhere on the body and are one of the more traumatic aspects of an infestation.

The good news is that an insect prevention mattress encasement will stop bed bugs in your bed mattress from biting you. However, you’ll need to install it properly, ensure the zip is entirely closed, and regularly double-check that no tiny tears or perforations form.

And of course, you may still be bitten by those lurking elsewhere in your home.

2. Do Mattress Encasements Prevent Bed Bugs?

Here, sadly, the answer is a resounding no.

Remember, these prolific little survivors don’t exclusively inhabit beds. The creatures will happily live in your bedding covers, carpet, tiny fissures in your furniture, and any places your pets hang out (to name just a few of their familiar haunts).

3. Do Regular Mattress Protectors Work for Bed Bugs?

A specialized bed mattress encasement costs significantly more than regular household mattress encasements. It isn’t all that surprising then that people wonder if a regular mattress protector might do the trick.

Unfortunately, regular mattress protectors are completely useless against bed bugs. A regular mattress protector is not designed to protect every inch of a mattress, and it provides no protection whatsoever against insects finding and living within your mattress.

4. What About Bug Interceptors? Will They Help?

Good question! Interceptors are small dishes that you can install under conventional furniture legs, including some beds. They’re a low-tech way to prevent crawling insects from infesting furniture.

They definitely help.

Combined with mattress encasements, an interceptor will decrease the likelihood of your bed getting some unwelcome visitors, and they’re a cost-effective part of any solution. However, they only prevent incursion into specific items of furniture. They won’t completely prevent or resolve a house-wide infestation.

Here’s where you can learn more about bed bug treatment for other furniture.

5. What Kind of Bed Bug Mattress Encasement Should I Choose?

The golden rule is, buy quality. Any tear or minute gap in a bed mattress cover will render it useless. Make sure it completely encases your mattress, that it’s certified to be bed bug proof, and that online reviews are generally favorable.

If you can, carefully inspect a cover before purchase, paying particular attention to the stitching around zippers. If any aspect of the bed mattress encasement seems flimsy or unreliable, we suggest you pass. Testing one mattress before buying additional covers is also a sensible idea.

If in doubt, talk to a pest control expert near you. They’ll be able to recommend a quality product that is right for your bed, family, and home.

What’s the Solution?

Mattress encasements won’t protect your home from a typical bed bug infestation. So, what will?

Back to Biology

Let’s get back to biology. Bed bug mattress encasements aren’t particularly useful because they don’t hit a bed bug’s most significant vulnerabilities:

  • Mattress covers work by separating a small portion of the bed bug colony from its food source (namely, and I’m sorry if this grosses you out, you!). We already know bed bugs can live within these covers for over a year without food.
  • Moreover, all it takes for an infestation to rage out of control is one laying female. Remember, just one such critter can potentially produce up to 500 new bed bugs in its lifetime. Isolating bed bugs using mattress encasements does nothing about the bugs elsewhere in your home.

Heat is the Answer

Bed bugs have one fatal weakness. Heat.

If you expose a bed bug to heat higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it’ll go legs-up instantly. It doesn’t matter where in your house the little critter is hiding, including your mattresses. If you can expose it to sufficient heat, it’ll die. It’s as simple as that.

While other solutions, such as mattress encasements, interceptors, and pesticide dust can all help aid with prevention, the proof is clear. The gold standard in completely eradicating these pests from your home is to blast them with sufficient heat to destroy them outright.

A heat treatment is quick, too! We can typically heat treat an entire home within one day.

No interminable waiting. No stress that your bed mattress protector isn’t working correctly. No grueling process of constant maintenance and upkeep of your mattress encasements.

Give us a Call

If you’d like to learn more about how heat treatment can end your bed bug problems, just talk to us. We’re your local Cincinnati bed bug extermination experts. We’ll help you choose the right approach for identifying, managing, and preventing infestations in your home.

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A Furniture Treatment for Bed Bugs Cincinnati Guide

A few decades ago, bed bugs were thought of as a pest problem you didn’t have to worry about in the US. But since the 1980s, these nasty little critters have returned with a vengeance.

And here’s the really bad news if you live in Cincinnati.

According to 2018 data on bed bug outbreaks, Ohio is the worst affected state in the US for bed bugs, and Cincinnati has the fifth highest bed bug prevalence across the whole US. The city is dealing with an epidemic of this blood-sucking parasite.

Which brings us to the big question! If you’re in Cincinnati and you’re worried bed bugs have infested your furniture, what can you do about it?

Self Treatment or Throw Your Furniture Away?

Let’s immediately deal with the first question were usually asked: Should you simply throw your furniture away? 

Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t necessary. Bed bugs can be eradicated from furniture with the right kinds of treatment.

However, if you do want to get rid of some of your infested furniture, Cincinnati has a bed bug furniture pick-up hotline that can give you advice on how to dispose of your furniture safely and responsibly.

Another option you can consider is self treatment.

Now, you should be aware that getting rid of bed bugs on your own is not a quick and simple “spray-it-and-forget-it” solution — but it’s effective if performed thoroughly.

First, you’ll need to perform a careful examination of each item of furniture, using a magnifying glass, flashlight and thin card to identify the telltale signs of bed bug infestation (usually black spots, blood smears, rice-grain sized eggs, or discarded skins). After thorough vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum, you’ll need to carefully steam every inch of your infested furniture, following up with chemical treatment and bed bug barriers to prevent further infestation.

The easiest and most cost-effective solution is to have a professional provide a full heat treatment bed bug eradication service. 

Heat treatment is ideal for getting rid of bed bugs, because it hits these resilient creatures where they’re most vulnerable. Bed bugs will die instantly when exposed to temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

A pest control specialist will place specialized heaters throughout your home, using fan convection to push heat into every corner of an affected room. It’s lethally effective because heat treatment doesn’t rely on direct application (which first requires finding every one of these incredibly sneaky critters). Once a treated room is hot enough, the bed bugs simply can’t survive — regardless of where they’re hiding.

Heat treatment still requires careful preparation, but it doesn’t entail the complete disassembly and careful inspection of every piece of furniture. It probably goes without saying that this makes the treatment process substantially easier!

Where There’s Smoke There is Fire

Heat treatment for bed bugs has a lot going for it. We recommend it as the easiest and most cost-effective option for most people who come to us with a bed bug problem.

Unlike eradication with pesticides, heat treatment can be performed in one visit. You also gain the additional benefit of not having residual chemicals in your home, a big plus for home-owners with pets, or family members with chemical sensitivity. For more information on this read our heat treatment vs chemical treatment for bed bugs article.

Heat treatment is also fast and discreet. The whole process can be completed in as little as a few hours, and all that will be visible from your street is an unmarked truck and a generator.

If you’re concerned you may have bed bugs in your home, you needn’t stress about it. We can bring you and your family instant relief. Here’s a full description of our Cincinnati bed bug exterminator services.

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Heat vs Chemical Treatment for Bed Bugs: Which Is Best?

If you’re worried you may have bed bugs in your home, your first question will likely be something along the lines of, “how do I get rid of these things, and fast?” You have two main options when it comes to ridding your home of these troublesome little insects: heat treatment and chemical treatment.

In this guide, we’ll look at the pros and cons of both. You’ll also get all the basic knowledge you need to make sure you can be free of bed bugs as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A Few Things You Should Know About Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Life-Cycle

First, to help you put your treatment options in context you should know a little bit about bed bug prevalence, their life-cycle and why infestations are so tricky to deal with.

How Common Are They in the US?

Fifty years ago, bed bugs had been all but wiped out. However, since the 1980s, there’s been a sharp resurgence. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this has happened partly because bed bugs have become resistant to some pesticides, and also because transmission rates have increased as a result of international and domestic travel.

Today, many pest control experts consider bed bugs to be the number one infestation problem in the US. We can attest to this as we serve Ohio which has some of the worst bed bug infested cities like Cincinnati which always makes it on to the top 10 infested bed bug city lists across the nation.

Fact 1: bed bugs are very common.

Why Are They Difficult to Treat?

Bed bugs are extremely stealthy. They’re small, and are guided by a survival instinct of tucking themselves away into tight, difficult-to-reach crevices. They’re capable of lodging themselves in areas little thicker than the width of a fingernail, and can stay there out of sight for months between feeding sessions.

These factors make bed bugs both hard to find, and difficult to eradicate even once you know where they are.

Fact 2: They’re stealthy, sneaky and resilient.

How Quickly Should I Treat an Infestation?

Adult female bed bugs will lay up to anywhere from five to a dozen eggs daily. In its lifetime it will lay up to 500 eggs. A bed bug colony is therefore going to grow very quickly. But that’s only part of the problem. Their movement patterns make it even worse.

A female is hard-wired to retreat from other bed bugs before laying its eggs. This means bed bugs have a tendency to migrate quickly from room to room. A small colony in one bedroom can rapidly become an infestation across your whole house.

Fact 3: Fast action, and quick-acting treatment is important.

Now that you’re up to speed on how bed bugs operate and why they pose such an infestation control challenge, let’s compare your treatment options.

Option 1: Heat Treatment

heat treatment in progress

Bed Bug Heat Treatment in Dayton Ohio

Heat treatment involves raising the temperature in your home to the point it’ll kill bed bugs. A pest control specialist will place specialized heaters throughout your home, gradually raising the temperature to over 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Strategically placed fans circulate the hot air, effectively turning your bed bug infested rooms into a convection oven.

A bed bug will die within an hour or two if it’s exposed to temperatures in the 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit range. They’ll die instantly once the heat increases beyond that. That’s the temperature we aim for.

The whole process is discreet, takes less than a day, and is powered off a single generator.

Heat Treatment Pros

  • It’s usually a single treatment: Done right, a heat treatment to exterminate bed bugs will require just one treatment. Chemical treatment usually requires several visits.
  • It attacks bed bugs where they’re most vulnerable: bed bugs are tough insects, and they’re remarkably good at hiding out of reach. Moreover, some strains are resistant to certain pesticides. The beauty of heat is that, unlike chemicals, it gets everywhere. No matter how many layers of bedding or clothing a bed bug is hiding under, the heat can reach and destroy it. Heat is also deadly to bed bugs throughout all stages of its life-cycle. They can run but they can’t hide.
  • There are no residual effects: Once the heat in your house returns to normal, the only lasting change you’re left with is a lot of dead bed bugs. This is an advantage if you’re worried about chemical residues in your home.
  • Heat treatment is discreet: Let’s face it, having your home treated for bed bugs is not exactly something you want to advertise to your neighbors. Heat treatment is discreet. All that’s visible from the street is a generator, which you could easily be using for anything from running fans to dry paint, or steam cleaning your carpet.

Heat Treatment Cons

  • Heat treatment won’t stop bed bugs from returning: Heat leaves no residual effects. Without residual chemicals providing a preventive barrier, they may return. However, keeping your home freed of clutter and thoroughly cleaning your bedding on a regular basis are both effective non-chemical bed bug prevention measures.
  • You’ll need to prepare your home: During treatment, your house will have to be vacated, including your pets. You’ll also probably need to make sure that heat-sensitive items such as wax and crayons from the house. Our pest control experts can offer advice on what’s safe to keep in your home and what should be removed.

Things to Consider When Using Heat

Heat treatment is a great option. It’s fast, discreet and can reach infestation areas that are hard to reach with chemicals. You will need a prevention strategy in place though. One great option to consider is to use heat in conjunction with chemical treatments around the boundaries of your house.

This gives you the benefits of minimizing chemicals in your home while setting up a residual chemical barrier where it’s most useful.

Option 2: Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment involves the introduction of chemical agents throughout the house. Typically, a pest eradication expert will employ three kinds of chemicals: a contact insecticide to quickly eradicate easy to reach bed bugs, a residual (long-lasting) chemical to kill bed bugs on an ongoing basis, and a dust to provide longer-lasting protection in cracks and crevices in and around infested rooms.

The effectiveness of chemical treatment depends on getting to the bed bugs. Unlike heat, chemical treatment is site-specific. Treatment typically therefore happens over multiple visits, to be sure no bed bugs are missed.

Chemical Treatment Pros

  • Chemical treatment can be highly effective: Especially if you catch the infestation in its early stages, chemicals can eradicate bed bugs quickly and reliably. Moreover, the combination of quick-acting pesticides with dusts and residual chemicals means you can effectively hit bed bugs over time, and throughout every stage of their life-cycle.
  • It can help prevent future infestations: Residual chemicals act as a barrier against future bed bug infestations. While the continued presence of chemicals in the home is not an ideal solution for everyone, it undeniably offers long-term protection.
  • It’s cost effective: Chemical treatment is often slightly less expensive than the bed bug heat treatment option.

Chemical Treatment Cons

  • Chemical treatment requires a lot of preparation: The chemicals have to reach the bed bugs. This means you’ll have to thoroughly prepare infested areas, removing as many barriers as possible to ensure the chemicals reach where the bed bugs are hiding. A chemical treatment requires time, preparation and careful planning.
  • It exposes your home to residual chemicals: While these chemicals are safe for residential use, if you have pets in your home or people with chemical sensitivities, the chemical treatment route may not be for you.
  • Chemicals don’t kill the bed bug egg: Unfortunately, chemical treatments don’t kill the bed bug egg. Remember a female bed bug is laying at least 5 bed bug eggs per day.
  • You’re most likely looking at multiple treatments & it’s not guaranteed to get you bed bug free: Chemical treatments require a pest exterminator to carefully find and target areas where the bed bugs are most concentrated. As you’ve already learned, these critters are sneaky! For this reason, chemical treatments usually work best when applied two or three times over a period of several days or weeks. Therefore, it’s frequently a less convenient and less discreet option.

Things to Consider When Using Chemicals

The big draw of chemical treatment for many customers is that it provides long-lasting protection against bed bug infestation.

The drawback is that it usually requires multiple applications, and some people may not feel comfortable with having chemical residues in their home. It’s also important to remember that, for the treatment to be effective, you’ll need to carefully prepare your home so that the chemicals can reach targeted areas.

The Best Bed Bug Treatment

So, let’s circle back around to the important question: if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, what’s the best treatment to use?

Clearly, whether you opt for heat or chemical treatment will depend on all the factors we’ve looked at in this guide. Some people are drawn to the single-treatment convenience of heat, while others feel that the long-lasting protection of chemical treatment is worth the potential downsides of having residual chemicals in your home.

On balance, for the vast majority of our customers, we recommend heat treatment (our clients love this option because they don’t have to get rid of furniture because of bed bugs). It’s quick, it’s discreet, and it just seems to be the best way to counteract bed bugs’ natural sneakiness and resilience. From years of experience exterminating bed bugs, heat treatment wins every time. We consistently get calls from people who have had their homes chemically treated only for bed bugs to resurface again a few weeks or months later.

And of course, if you do want a preventive treatment, it’s always possible to use chemicals to provide a barrier around the boundaries of your home while relying on heat to deal with your current infestation. This can offer the best of both worlds.

If you have any more questions, just talk to us! We’re experts in dealing with bed bug infestations, and we can help you choose the right treatment strategy for your unique situation.

Integrity Pest Solutions is the leading pest control company in Columbus, Ohio. Art, the owner of the company, has done over 12,000 heat treatment for bed bugs in one of the top states that bed bugs have overrun.

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