Why Heat Treatments Fail.

Why Heat Treatments Fail.

The heat treatment process varies from one pest control company to another. They  are not the same, although more inexperienced companies may disagree. The truth of the matter is there are many different methodologies used.  Some are more successful than others.  At FL Bed Bug Experts, we use a scientific approach that is an EPA accepted methodology.          

So, why do many heat treatments fail?  How do we know if it was a failed heat treatment or a re-infestation?  


To Figure this out we must first dive into 4 simple things to remember:

1.Temperature / Time 

The location must reach the lethal temperature to successfully eradicate a bed bug infestation.  The home must reach the proper temperature for the appropriate time or bed bugs will find a cool spot and survive the heat treatment.  

2. Level of infestation 

It is very difficult to know exactly how long you have had a bed bug problem.  People can usually pinpoint the first time that they noticed a stray bug or two but won’t know how bad the infestation really is.  This is because bed bugs are excellent at finding hiding spots and typically come out when you’re sleeping.  Pest control companies will not even know the true severity of the infestation until a thorough inspection has been completed during the heat treatment.  The level of the infestation not only determines the length of time for the heat treatment but could also play a role in the temperature as well.   For example, someone that has a mild bed bug case (1-3 months) and properly prepared for the treatment, will typically require the standard heating time versus someone that has a severe case (6+ months) which will require a longer heating time.  This is only a portion of the formula to successfully eradicate your bed bug problem.  There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as the amount of clutter in the location.

 3. Improper Preparation!

Last but not least.  Improper preparation is the number one reason why heat treatments fail.  All companies will give you a prep list on how to prep for their best practices for their specific service.  As a consumer needing a bed bug removal, you would think you would want to follow the prep list exactly as it was given to you. But, more times than not, the consumer does as little as possible and does not prep correctly. Here is the real truth, as a consumer, you have to prepare the home correctly to be able to ensure a service success.  Clutter is a heat treatment’s Kryptonite, by failing to remove clutter completely it creates a recipe for failure of a service. No matter how concise the service is there will always be an opportunity to allow a single insect to survive which will create a new infestation.

4. Failure to Follow Pre and Post Heat Treatment Instructions!

It is important to follow the specific instructions given on the day of the treatment.  Many people leave for the day and bring some of their belongings with them and don’t realize that there could be bugs in their belongings (ex. purse, diaper bag, tablet, computer, computer bag etc.), only to bring them right back into the home post treatment causing a reinfestation.  

Additionally, it is extremely helpful to know where the original infestation came from if at all possible.  Playing detective could save you a lot of time, money and frustration.  We see this happen all of the time. A good example is a home where there are children living with parents in two different locations.  If one parent has bed bugs and does not know it, the children will most likely bring them to the other parent’s home when visiting.  Now you have two homes infested. If one parent treats the home with a successful bed bug extermination service and allows the children to go back to the second parent’s home that hasn’t been treated, the bed bugs will most certainly hitch their way back on the children’s belongings and reinfest the home once again.

In conclusion the most important factor to ensure a successful bed bug treatment is “YOU”. In the end, you are going to spend a fair amount of money to have a service performed. You will have to be displaced from your home for a day while the treatment is being conducted. You more than likely will never want to do this again. So you will have to ensure the home is prepped properly and take all of the necessary precautions discussed prior to your heat treatment.  You will have a much higher success rate of becoming bed bug free.  


Written by Angel L. Rivera, FL Bed Bug Experts

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