How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs With Heat

Written by michael wolfe
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Bedbugs are a difficult pest to kill, as they are resistant to many common insecticides and to all but the most extreme and prolonged cold. They can, however, be killed by exposure to very hot temperatures. According to "The War On Bedbugs" blog, extreme heat kills bed bugs by disrupting their bodies' lipids, affecting their water balance, and damaging their cell structures. Placing infected items in a hot dryer, an oven, or in boiling water should eliminate all bugs present. For objects and areas that can't be treated in this fashion, use a portable space heater.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Oven
  • Boiling water
  • Dryer
  • Space heaters
  • Thermometer

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    Identifying and Eliminating Bed Bugs and Mites

  1. 1

    Begin by identifying objects and places that you suspect of being infested with bed bugs. Divide the objects into those that could be placed in an oven, those that could be boiled in water, and those that could be run through a clothes dryer.

  2. 2

    Place all dryer-appropriate objects in a dryer. According to the University of Kentucky, placing objects such as clothes, backpacks and toys in a clothes dryer set at high heat for 20 minutes will kill all bed bugs;, however, claims that to be safe the objects should be dried on high for at least an hour.

  3. 3

    All objects that can be effectively dried by heat but which would be damaged if tossed around should be placed in an oven set to at least 65.6 degrees Celsius, where they should remain for at least 30 minutes.

  4. 4

    Place objects that cannot be effectively dry-heated, such as cookware, bakeware, and kitchen utensils, in boiling water for 10 minutes. When finished, dispose of the water down a drain.

  5. 5

    All remaining items and places should be attacked with a space heater capable of raising the temperature of the air to at least 65.6 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes; use a thermometer to measure which areas have reached this temperature and which have not. Since bugs facing an increase in temperature will usually attempt to escape to cooler areas, remain vigilant and block or kill any bugs that attempt to flee.

Tips and warnings

  • Discard infested items that cannot be heated or treated by another method, or encase them in an allergen-proof container. These could include mattresses, box springs or upholstered furniture.
  • Bed bugs can also be killed by placing infested objects in other warm locations, such in a hot car, in a plastic bag in the sun, and in a microwave. However, because there is little way of monitoring these temperatures, these methods are considered less reliable than those listed above.
  • Be aware that some of these methods may damage the objects being treated by exposing them to excessive moisture and heat. Do not heat electronics or furniture surfaces, and be careful about heating objects that can melt, such as adhesives or plastics.

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