Before you hire a bed bug heat treatment company you should know what to expect from the company and the process. I will tell you what a good process should look like by a company doing it the right way. And I will let you know what red flags you should look for to avoid a company that is only interested in making a quick dollar off of you in your time of need. This knowledge will help you make an informed decision. Knowledge is power.
Bed Bug Quote
Don’ trust any company that will give you a quote over the phone. A quote specialist needs to examine your home thoroughly in order to properly see the layout, any factors that may affect heating, and tell you exactly what preparation needs you must do. The industry standard is around $1 per square foot. They may tell you a rough estimate up front but giving a concrete quote over the phone is a big red flag.
Another related red flag is an absurdly low quote. Like everything, you get what you pay for. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. I once had an acquaintance that got a quote of $500 after I gave them a discounted quote of $1200. After they failed and that company disappeared off the face of the planet she called me and I took care of it.
Bed Bug Heat Treatment Equipment
The expectations are simple here. They should use a hydronic bed bug heating system. Electric systems just are not as effective and open-flame systems are downright dangerous. Hydronic systems use a diesel furnace in a trailer and pump hot fluid through a series of hoses into a series of radiator-like fan coils that dissipate heat into the air. If hydronic is better why doesn’t everyone use it? Simple. It is by far the most expensive equipment to buy.
It is not a fast process. A small house (under 800 sqft) may be done in around 6 hours. I’ve spent as long as 18 hours treating a home, but a normal process is at least 8 hours. It takes 30-60 minutes just to set up. Another hour or 2 to get the temperature up to beginning kill temp. A good company will “cook” for 2 hours. In large house, the equipment will nee to be moved around and the process repeated. Finally cleanup will take another 30-60 minutes. Any time stated under 8 hours should be considered another red flag.
I mentioned kill temp earlier. In open air, it is said bed bugs will die instantly at 122F. This is a good rule of thumb, though I’ve seen them crawling still at slightly higher temps. Normall, the “cook’ will start at 122F and will reach temperatures exceeding 150F. This is necessary to penetrate drywall and baseboards to eradicate any bed bugs that may be hiding there.
Basic preparation involves running clothing through the dryer and bagging it all. Items that can melt and flammable items must be removed from the home as should money and jewelry. Electronics should NOTbe removed. Here is why. Leaving clothes in closets and drawers can be acceptable if not in excess. Clothing should never be taken from the home during treatment and returned after without going through a dryer. You should never be asked to dispose of your furniture. If they can’t treat your furniture, then what is the point of treatment at all?
Bed Bug Treatment Guarantee
Bed but heat treatment is expensive. You wouldn’t buy a product without a guarantee, and you should not buy a service without one. A typical guarantee is anywhere from 60 to 120 days. In reality, if you still have bed bugs following a treatment you will normally notice them within days. The length of the guarantee is not as important as just having one. If you don’t find bed bugs for two months after treatment and then finally do, you probably got re-infested. Most importantly, a guarantee is worthless if it is with a non-reputable company that will disappear leaving you holding the bag.
Red Flags When Choosing a Bed Bug Heat Treatment Company
Pay attention to all the warning signs:
- Quote over the phone.
- Quote absurdly low.
- Cheap equipment. Ask what system they use.
- Time to treat under 6 hours
- Temperature under 130F
- No preparation
- Over preparation
- No guarantee
Hopefully these tips will help you make a better, more informed decision when choosing a bed bug heat treatment company.