How Effective is Heat Treatment for Bedbugs?

My hubby came home from work the other day with some news.

“You’ll never believe this,” he said, speaking of his almost-4,000-person office building. 

“What?” I asked, almost absent-mindedly.

“Bedbugs!” he exclaimed.


I was no longer absent-minded. “BEDBUGS?! Where?!”

“At work!” he laughed.

“At WORK?! How in the world?!”

Apparently a co-worker on a different floor had brought in a blanket from home because she was cold. And apparently her home was infested with bed bugs. And now…they were spreading throughout the office building.

My skin was immediately crawling. “Do you feel itchy?!” I demanded. “Let me look at your head! Don’t you bring those nasty things home!!!”

I think the crisis has passed at his office building, but it certainly made me do a bit of research, especially due to the fact of all the “super strains” that are out there these days.

I mean, just when we thought we’d gotten rid of extensive bedbug problems, they come back with a resistance to common insecticides and chemicals used to treat them. Bedbugs are parasitic, meaning that they feed on human blood, and they can be extremely hard to get rid of once your home is infested. Mattresses, box springs, carpets, furniture and baseboards are all prime hotspots for bedbug infestation, and these little pests can hide in areas as small as nail cracks in the wall. Most bedbug infestations will be within a couple of meters of their human meal host, which is why they’re most commonly found in beds and bedrooms.

What is Bedbug Heat Treatment?

Sites where bedbugs can be commonly found along with other areas such as clothing, briefcases, computer bags and other items that may be found in the bedroom are good candidates for heat treatment to get rid of bedbugs. It is possible for heat to kill bedbugs, providing that the temperature is high enough. However, unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to heat treatment for bedbugs and it depends largely on the timing of detection and uses of the correct treatment methodology.

Hot Box

By placing items such as shoes, dry cleaning, clothing, and even luggage into a hot box, bedbugs can be killed using sustained heat. Heat is able to penetrate into small crevices which are unable to be inspected but make excellent hiding places for pests such as bedbugs. Lethal temperatures for bedbugs range from around 117-122 degrees Fahrenheit, and the walls of hot boxes reach higher temperatures than this in order to kill any bedbugs. How the box is heated is crucial, and it’s a good idea to use or another professional company in order to carry the treatment out as incorrect methodology could cause fires.


Steam is another method of heat that can be used to kill bedbugs, larvae and eggs. Steam treatment involves about as much labor as other methods of killing bedbugs, however it’s not designed to penetrate deep enough to obliterate any bedbugs hiding in crevices and small nooks and crannies which cannot be inspected. Steaming works on items such as beds, mattresses, box springs, blankets, sheets, curtains and pillows and is an effective way of getting rid of bedbugs that are visible without causing damage to the infested items.

Home Heat Treatment

If you have a large infestation of bedbugs in your home, it may be necessary to use full home heat treatment for bed bugs in order to get the situation under control. This involves raising the temperature of a whole room or property to lethal levels so that any bedbugs inside will not survive. Although this can be an expensive method of getting rid of bedbugs in your home, it’s also considered one of the most effective and will get rid of any eggs and larvae in your home so that the bedbugs are gone for good.

There’s no need to let the bed bugs bite with the different types of heat treatment available for your home. And thank goodness! I sure feel better!

Have you ever dealt with bedbugs?

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10 thoughts on “How Effective is Heat Treatment for Bedbugs?

  1. OMG I’m getting itchy just reading this post! I’d have to call in a professional – I’m not sure how I would deal w/ this situation – I think I’d have to defer to the hsuband and have him send me on a luxury vacation while he handled it, lol.

  2. In December, one of kids skin was itchy and crawly for a few nights. We researched online and felt that she had bed bugs symptoms. How in the world? We’ve never had this before and she had not been on anyone elses’s bed. We had a little girl who we babysat who slept on her bed. So I am not sure. But now that I think about it, we’ve also had a bunch of kids over for the girls birthdays. So maybe one brought in….not sure.
    I did not realize that they stick around. But now that you mentioned it, every now and then that same kid would have an itch or says she feels like what her skin felt like before. I gotta go heat up that mattress somehow. Thanks for the tips!

  3. I have never dealt with bedbugs. I’ve never seen one. I never, ever want to see one. 🙂 Having said that, the other night on Shark Tank I saw a company that comes to your house and cleans your mattresses with a machine in their big truck. The mattress goes into the machine and is cleaned with steam, heat, and special lighting. Just the thought of bedbugs makes me freak out.

  4. Gosh we had what we thought was a bed bug issue many years ago but it turned out not to be. All bugs are not my friends so I would have not handled this as well as you did!

  5. When I lived in Orlando, we got bed bugs. I tried heat treating, Orkin, and everything known to man. I never did get rid of them. Those things are a real nuisance! My husband and I ending up divorcing (over unrelated matters 😉 ). He got the house, all the furniture (and it’s bed bugs) in the deal.

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