Bed bugs are certainly stressful little pests. They can cause insomnia, anxiety, and all sorts of psychological issues. Perhaps it’s the stress of dealing with an infestation that drives some homeowners and pest control companies to dangerous extremes, often resulting in much more troubling issues.
Over the past several years, heaters and fans have been used to raise the ambient temperature of a home to a level hot enough to kill bed bugs and their eggs. While most bed bug heat treatments are conducted safely by trained professionals, some are not. If you do choose to go through with a heat treatment, be sure to check the company’s references, insurance coverage and credentials to ensure you are hiring a safe and effective company. Our home is our largest investments, so conducting your own due diligence is extremely important. The following are some examples of improperly conducted bed bug heat treatments:
Heat Treatments Gone Wrong:
June 11, 2013 in Woodbury, New Jersey: Four firefighters were injured by a house fire that started when the homeowner used a space heater, a hair dryer, and a heat gun to kill a bed bug infestation. The second floor of the home was set on fire around noon, and rekindled later that day after the firefighters put down the flames.
February 14, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio: A possible heater malfunction led to a second-floor fire in the Wisconsin Boulevard house. Officials say a pest control company was performing an extermination involving fans and heaters, intended to heat the house to at least 140 degrees. No one was home when the fire started, and no one was injured.
October 31, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire: 14 people, including 5 children, were evacuated from a triple-decker in the city’s West Side after a fire broke out, leaving the building uninhabitable. Exterminators had placed several heaters in one of the apartments, and one of the heaters likely malfunctioned.
July 11, 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta: Four residents were injured at a 50-suite condominium in a fire that caused $3.5 million in damages. The Calgary-based Bed Bug Task Force was using a propane heater to exterminate a fourth-floor infestation when the heater ignited, causing a fire that quickly spread through the building. The company was fined $10,000 under the Alberta Fire Code, and is now being sued for nearly $4 million by the condo corporation.
Besides using heat, there are equally effective ways to combat bed bugs. Encase and elevate your mattress, steam-clean your home, and apply residual sprays and powders.