Will a heat treatment kill all bed bugs?

A: Proper use of high temperature heat is effective at killing bed bug nymphs, adults and their eggs. The goal of a heat treatment is to get the areas where bed bugs hide (the nooks and crannies!) to 122° F rather than just getting a space to that temperature. At 122° F, bed bugs and their eggs succumb within minutes.

Can bed bugs return after heat treatment?

A: Heat treatment cannot prevent re-infestation as bed bugs are known to travel. It is possible for bed bugs to be re-introduced into a space previously heat-treated. For spaces prone to bed bug re-infestation, we recommend following a heat treatment with a preventative natural residual program, e.g. food-grade diatomaceous earth.

Will a THERMOCLAVE heater kill other pests?

A: While the majority of the THERMOCLAVE product line is marketed toward bed bug elimination, a temperature of “130° F for three hours will kill all stages of any insect.” (Mallis, Handbook of Pest Control, 7th ed., p.371). The larger models are designed to produce the level of heat necessary to kill pests found in food processing and other manufacturing facilities. We also have anecdotal evidence of roach elimination as a byproduct of bed bug heat treatments.

Why don’t you have a heater model that runs on 110/120V?

A: Standard household current does not provide enough energy for THERMOCLAVE heaters to reach the desired heat output in the amount of time we desire. If you are comparison shopping, consider that heaters operating on 110/120V will take longer to get a treatment space to the 122° F kill temperature or more heaters will be necessary to treat that space.

Can I use the 220V electrical outlet from an electric oven, clothes dryer, or air conditioner to power a THERMOCLAVE heater?

A: Possibly. The answer relies on the THERMOCLAVE model being considered.
  • The LTM 9 requires a 208/240V outlet with a 50A circuit breaker. An electric oven will often meet that requirement.
  • The LTM 9-1 was developed as a result of the 20A circuit used for PTAC units found in many hotel & motel rooms. The LTM 9-1 requires access to three 208/240V 20A circuits.

How long does the heat treatment process take?

A: There are many variables that factor into the amount of time necessary to heat treat a space. Those include, but are not limited to:
  • Size of the space – square footage, taking into account ceiling height, i.e. cubic footage
  • Construction of the space – drywall, cinder block, concrete, etc.
  • Heater output
  • Heater placement – placed in the center of a space and elevated off the floor (on a stable, level and noncombustible surface!) will lessen the treatment time.
  • Fan efficiency and movement – greater fan CFM's and changing their placement during the course of a treatment will help to speed up a treatment time.
  • Amount of furniture and other items in the space – a cluttered space will take much longer to reach the target temperature.
For example, a THERMOCLAVE LTM 9, combined with two distribution fans, can treat a 300 sq. ft. room in as little as 4-6 hours.

Why do I need fans?

A: High-Efficiency Hi-Temp fans, when combined with a heater, help to create the convection heating atmosphere desired during a heat treatment. The increased movement of heated air during a treatment helps to achieve the 122° F temperature threshold sought. THERMOCLAVE packages include high efficiency fans that produce up to 3,250 CFM's, and are designed to operate in high-temperature environments. Fans designed for household use are generally not as powerful and may fail when exposed to the high temperature environment of a heat treatment.

With such high heat, do I have to be concerned with its effect on electronics and other items?

A: Electronic equipment is not known to be affected by heat treatment, but those items should be turned off and unplugged. Most items can be left in the space being treated with the exception of heat sensitive items which include: houseplants, fresh food, medicines, cosmetics, wax-based items, anything pressurized (spray cans, oxygen bottles, etc.) and flammables (alcohol, solvents, etc.).

What do I do if I have a sprinkler system?

A: Sprinkler heads have varying degrees of sensitivity and regulations regarding them. We recommend consulting with your local authorities or fire department officials on how to handle your particular system when considering heat treatments. While sprinkler head covers are available in the marketplace, they may not be sufficient or may violate local fire codes.

How do you know when you are finished with a heat treatment?

A: When the temperature of the areas where bugs live has reached 122° F. While the ambient or room temperature may reach 122° F, the temperature along baseboards, in chair cushions, or in a mattress may still register lower than 122° F. This is why temperature probes are used – to get a temperature reading on the places bed bugs hide. Once those areas and/or items have reached 122° F, the heat treatment process is complete. Also depending on the level of infestation, it is possible to see evidence of dead bed bugs.


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