Everyone has similar emotions when finding bed bugs in their home. Disgust, shame and fear are pretty common (though completely unfounded, but that’s another article). Reactions are usually the same; search Google to verify you have bed bugs and then research how to get rid of them, and that’s probably how you ended up here. Typically, the first thought is to lump bed bugs in with your traditional pests such as roaches and ants. Why not call the same company that your grandfather used to spray for termites? As you research, you’ll find you have another option with bed bugs that you don’t with any other pest: Heat treatment. In this article we examine heat treatment against traditional chemical treatment.
Let’s start with preparation. Chemicals require all linens to be bagged and remain sealed through the entire (months) process and homes with above average infestation usually requires all furniture be thrown out. With heat, only items that can be damaged by heat (crayons, aerosols) need to be removed and excessive clothing usually should be run through the dryer and bagged throughout the process (one day with heat).
Then there is the time required. One heat treatment last 6-12 hours, but requires only one treatment. A chemical treatment is 2-3 hours, however it must be repeated. A house must typically be treated 4-8 times with around two weeks between visits. Overall, chemical treatment will take up 8-24 hours just in treatment time and will continue for two to four months. Why? Heat treatment kills bed bugs in all life stages, from egg to adult. Chemicals can only kill the adults and they must come in contact with the bugs.
After both processes, your house will be a mess. Clothes will need put away. Linens will need to be put back on. Chemicals, however, will usually leave a residue often requiring carpets to need cleaning. Any furniture thrown out prior to a chemical treating will need to be replaced.
Finally, and most importantly, we examine the cost. The amount you actually pay an extermination company is comparable for either heat or chemical. It varies by region but will usually cost between $1 and $2 per square foot. Additional factors — such as furniture replacement, carpet cleaning and missed time from work — must be factored in. You should also consider a guarantee. Most heat treatment companies will offer a guarantee whereas this is less common with chemical treatments.
If you still aren’t convinced, think of the environment. The heat is usually generated from clean diesel or propane burners. Just compare that to harmful pesticides and artificial hormones.
Is there any wonder traditional chemical companies are beginning to offer a heat treatment option? Heat requires less work to get the house ready, means less time away from your house and less scheduling, is better for the environment and it costs you less. The comparisons speak for themselves.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am part owner of Dead Hot Bugs in Columbus, Ohio. This article, however, is intended for a national audience with the sole purpose of informing. In some cases chemicals are the way to go, but in most heat treatments are far more efficient in the eradication of bed bugs.
This article was originally written for Yahoo Contributor Network. RIP YCN.