Should you use chemicals or heat to kill bed bugs?
Chemicals vs. Heat: Cost Comparison
If you research bed bug treatments, you will find that chemicals seem to be the cheaper option. There’s usually a cost difference of several hundred dollars between the two treatment methods, but is it really the cheaper in the long run?
Let’s take for example our friend, “Sarah” (name changed to protect the already traumatized). Sarah called us in absolute hysterics. She had moved into a rental house about 8 months prior and had been battling bed bugs in her home. Whether they picked up the bugs from the moving truck, the bugs were already in the home, or they picked them up post moving in…they weren’t sure. She and her husband first attempted a DIY treatment of store bought chemicals, because who wouldn’t want to try and eradicate these pests with a low-cost DIY option? Two weeks later, both Sarah and her husband were experiencing welted bites on their bodies again. Sarah took to the bugs with vengeance not only spraying her home, but also using a fogger as an additional method.
Do bed bug chemicals and fogger work? Several weeks later, Sarah and her husband were experiencing bites again. They called a local chemical company (because they saw it was a cheaper up front cost than heat), and the chemical company had to come out not once, but for six treatments to eradicate the bugs. 6-8 treatments is standard when dealing with chemicals, but not only were they inconvenienced due to multiple visits and removing themselves and their pets from the home, but they were also told to throw out their mattresses, furniture, and other belongings.
Overall, after purchasing new mattresses, furniture, and belongings, the chemical route was more expensive. In addition, after trying DIY, a company chemical treatment, then heat treatment later, the cost really adds up.
With heat treatment, you are not required to throw out your mattresses, furniture, or possessions, which will save you hundreds up to thousands of dollars in new purchases.
Chemicals vs. Heat: Expense of Time
As mentioned above, when using chemicals to kill bed bugs, you may displace yourself as well as your pets multiple times and for long periods of time. Chemical treatments on average require 6-8 treatments over a several week period.
Chemical treatments also require a long list of preparation steps, to include bagging all clothes and laundering them, moving all furniture away from walls, and removing outlet and light switch covers.
Heat treatment for bed bugs is a one-day treatment and ranges from 6-8 hours long. By the time you leave and come home from work, the treatment is complete and you can enter your home again. The preparation list is minimal, usually involving simple steps such as decluttering and removing a few heat sensitive items.
Chemicals vs. Heat: Effectiveness
Like Sarah experienced, chemicals don’t always kill bed bugs.
Why don’t chemicals kill bed bugs?
Common chemicals and sprays for bed bugs have lost their effectiveness over the years as bed bugs have adapted to treatments by developing a thicker exoskeleton. Unlike many other crawling pests, bed bug feet are non-porous, so chemicals cannot enter their system by simply walking through a treatment area.
Since bed bugs consume blood as their food source, it is not a simple process to lure bugs into chemicals or poisons. Currently, there is not a known chemical for treating the eggs and as such, multiple chemical treatments are required to achieve complete eradication. That is, if you are lucky enough to have bed bugs that aren’t resistant to chemicals.
Can chemicals work? Yes. But are they most effective? No.
See our comparison chart for heat vs. various methods:
Chemicals vs Heat: Heat kills immediately
When exposed to a heat temperature of 122 degrees, bed bugs die immediately. The heat not only kills adult bugs, but it shrivels and dehydrates the eggs.
Additionally, in some situations, bed bugs have already migrated into furniture, such as drawers or bedframes, and even baseboards. Heat-treatment bed bug experts, such as ThermalRid, will not only fan the hot air through the room and furniture, but they will heat the walls as well. Experts use sensors to monitor the temperatures within the home, which reach an average of 140 degrees.
See more information on the ThermalRid heat treatment method:
Chemicals vs Heat: Allergies and Toxins
People are becoming more conscious of the toxins in some chemical and DIY treatments. Both humans and pets can have allergic reactions to some chemicals, foggers, and DIY options if inhaled. Some products may say non-toxic, but come on?! They’re made to kill things! If you appreciate go-green, environmental friendly options, then heat treatment is the way to go.