Bed Bug Heat Treatment Options: Top 3 Best Bed Bug Heaters of 2019

Curious about killing bed bugs with heat? Join the club.

As more and more people catch on to the benefits of natural pest control options, heat is becoming one of the go to options when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs.

But does it work? And which heat treatment for bed bugs is the best? We’ve got you covered on all fronts here. Read on for everything you need to know about killing bed bugs with heat.

Does Heat Kill Bed Bugs?

In short: yes, heat kills bed bugs. In fact, heat is being used to kill bed bugs more and more often. It’s not hard to see why.

First of all, it’s a way to kill bed bugs without using any pesticides. Chemical insecticides can have harmful effects not only on the bed bugs they’re supposed to kill, but also on anybody exposed to them.

As we become more aware of the potentially harmful effects of chemicals in our environment, more and more people are unwilling to apply them in their home.

Plus, thanks to their astonishing reproductive rate, bed bugs are becoming more and more resistant to the pesticides most commonly used against them. If we keep throwing chemicals at the problem, pretty soon the chemicals won’t work anymore.

One of the major advantages of heat is that the bed bugs aren’t going to become resistant to it. And a happy side effect is that your home won’t smell like a mad scientist’s lab after treatment.

At What Temperature Do Bed Bugs Die?

120°F. Memorize that temperature. If you’re looking to kill bed bugs with heat, that’s the minimum temperature you’re going to need.

Doesn’t sound that hot, does it? And it’s not, by human standards. It’s certainly warm enough to make us uncomfortable, but it’s nothing compared to the heat of even a conventional household oven.

But when it comes to bed bugs, sustained temperatures of 120°F and above work wonderfully well at killing bed bugs and their entire families.

Why Use Heat to Kill Bed Bugs?

Sure, using heat to kill bed bugs works. But so does diatomaceous earth. And freezing bed bugs. And countless other bed bug killers.

So why is killing bed bugs with heat so great?

Heat makes a superior bed bug killer for one big reason: it kills bed bug eggs. This is critical if you want to actually solve an infestation, rather than merely reducing it.

Bed bugs lay eggs the same way teenagers distribute memes: carelessly, enthusiastically and prolifically. Which is why no bed bug treatment will be effective without dealing with the eggs.

But this is something that very few chemicals can do. The tough shell of a bed bug egg protects the growing embryo from all but the harshest chemicals.

However, even the toughest bed bug eggs are vulnerable to heat. The application of high temperatures will cook those eggs in no time.

So if heat’s so great, how do you use it in your own home to get rid of bedbugs? Here, you have a couple of options. Let us count the ways.

Bed Bug Heat Treatment

What was that temperature I told you to memorize? That’s right, 120°F. Bed bugs and their eggs die at this temperature. But it’s important to note that they don’t do it right away. It can take a couple of hours to kill a bed bug at this temperature.

Many pest control companies use a heat treatment to bring an entire house up to this temperature and hold it there for hours at a time, killing all bed bugs inside. They do this in a few different ways, but no matter what heat source they use, the process is more or less the same.

Bringing large commercial heaters and fans to move the hot air around, they will raise the temperature of your house above the point of bed bug death.

As you can imagine, this is a very time-consuming treatment that requires a lot of specialized equipment. Don’t think that merely cranking the thermostat in your house is going to get rid of bed bugs, because it won’t.

Even if you could heat your home to 120°F with your regular heater, you need to remember that bed bugs are very mobile. As the heat rises, they will seek out the coldest part of the house. So the coldest part of the house needs to be 120°F or higher.

This means that the warmest regions, such as up close to the ceiling, will be far, far hotter.

Heat treatments can work if done correctly. After all, the science behind them is sound. That doesn’t mean that you won’t find horror stories of failed treatments and disappointed customers.

When choosing a pest control company, it’s essential to do your research. Do they provide any kind of guarantee? What’s their track record like?

It’s also important to note that bed bug heat treatments are costly. Expect to spend thousands of dollars on a treatment like this. And as with any other contractor that you invite into your home, you don’t necessarily want to go with the cheapest quote.

Best Bed Bug Heaters

Unlike chemical pesticides, no special licenses or training are required to use heat. So if you’re wondering if you could save a few bucks by taking the bed bugs on yourself, you’re right.

There are products on the market designed to help you perform your own treatment at home. But which one do you choose? ZappBugg is the market leader in DIY bed bug heat treatment.

They make a variety of different bed bug heaters that effectively roast generations of bed bugs to death. Here are three of the best available right now.

ZappBug Heater

At 43 x 24 x 22.8 inches, the ZappBug Heater isn’t going to be able to treat your sofa. What it will be able to do is heat up any small items you place inside it.

Think books, shoes, clothes and other household items. Essentially, this device is an insulated bag with a small electric heater and fan attached.

Plug it in, and the heater and fan will begin to pump hot air into the container.

How easy is the ZappBug Heater to use?

The ZappBug heater comes with a built-in timer that will shut the heater off when the treatment cycle is complete. It also includes a wireless digital thermometer so that you can check that the internal temperature exceeds the 120°F needed to kill bed bugs.

The device folds flat for storage. Due to its small size, it’s also useful for travel. It’s just about the right size to put a small suitcase inside to heat treat if you’ve been traveling and are worried about bringing bed bugs home with you.

The treatment time varies according to how you pack the machine, but remember that the longer bed bugs are exposed to the heat, the better your chances of killing them all. Expect to leave the machine running for five or six hours to be on the safe side.

Tips for using the ZappBug Heater

On the subject of packing the heater, it’s important not to fill it too full. The more space there is inside the ZappBug Heater, the hotter it will get and the more confident you can be that bed bugs will be eliminated.

It’s better to have to run multiple cycles with the machine only half full than to overfill it. Take the time needed to make the treatment successful. Otherwise, you’ll just end up having to do it all over again anyway.

Does the ZappBug Heater work?

The ZappBug Heater is more than capable of reaching and maintaining the temperatures required to kill bed bugs. In tests, it does a good job of ridding small items of bed bugs as long as the machine isn’t overfull.

Overall, it’s an affordable, compact way to kill bed bugs on a huge variety of household items. In fact, it’s the best in its class.

However, given that this is the company’s most compact heater, you may find it’s still a little large for your needs. While the bag is supposed to fold flat for storage, it can be a real challenge to get it to do so once it’s being used.

Of course, a heater this size isn’t going to work for everything in your home. If you have large items that you want to heat treat for bed bugs, you’ll need a bigger bed bug heater. Which brings us to…

ZappBug Oven 2

Even more Oven-y than its predecessor, the ZappBug Oven 2 offers more space than the heater to treat larger items. At 39″ x 39″ x 27″ the Oven is considerably bigger than the Heater.

It can handle full-size suitcases as well as more clothes, books, files, papers, shoes and so on than the small unit.

But the principle is the same. By heating outside air and forcing it into the bag, the ZappBug Oven 2 raises the temperature of the items inside it to that magical 120°F at which the bed bugs start to die, and keeps it there for hours.

Tips for using the ZappBug Oven

Just like with the ZappBug Heater, you need to take your time to use the Oven right. The larger size can mean it takes a while to get up to temperature.

And once you put the items you want to treat inside, you need to leave them there for hours to let the heat do its work. Plan to have the machine running for pretty much the whole day if you want to be sure you’ve killed all the bed bugs.

Because the Oven 2 is so much bigger than the Heater, it requires two heaters to bring it up to temperature quickly. The electrical draw of these heaters is high enough that you should not plug them both into the same circuit.

The unit comes with a 25-foot extension cord so you can plug one of the heaters into a different circuit to the other. This should prevent the heaters from tripping a circuit breaker.

It’s not an especially difficult thing to deal with, but you will need to have a vague idea of what different circuits are available in your house. Typically, kitchen outlets are on their own circuit, but you will want to consult the diagram in your breaker box to be sure.

It may come as a surprise to see that this bed bug heating bag has vents. There is a good reason for this. Hot air expands, and there needs to be some way to release the expanding air so that the bag doesn’t burst during heating.

However, it does have the side effect that some heat is bound to escape. Running a ZappBug Oven 2 will warm up any room you’re in, so bear that in mind if you are planning a treatment.

ZappBug Room

The trouble with bed bugs is that they’re so good at hiding. A bed bug will live almost anywhere that gives it ready access to people it can bite.

But as the name implies, a bed bug’s favorite place to live is in your bed. Or failing that, the sofa. An armchair. Anywhere that people spend significant amounts of time being still, you can expect to find bed bugs.

So the ZappBug Heater and Oven have one major flaw. They’re not big enough to treat furniture. It’s no good getting all the bed bugs and eggs out of your clothing and shoes and books if there’s still a thriving population under the seams of your mattress.

Hence the development of the ZappBug Room.

The principle here hasn’t changed; only the scale is different. The ZappBug Room utilizes a lightweight frame to support a massive bag that creates a room 18″ x 111″ x 57.5″ in size.

This is big enough to treat mattresses, sofas, chairs, tables and other items of furniture that bed bugs can easily hide in. Once the ZappBug Room is sealed and the heaters are turned on, bed bugs will no longer have anywhere to hide from the killing heat.

Tips for using the ZappBug Room

While the large size of the ZappBug Room is its major selling feature, it does present some drawbacks.

The manufacturers claim that one person can assemble the room by themselves in 10 minutes, but if you are less handy or less mobile, it might be a good idea to have some help. You’ll probably also need some help loading furniture into the Room.

Stack it carefully, because the canvas sides won’t support a mattress leaning on them. As with other ZappBug products, it’s important not to overfill the room if you want the heat to penetrate every nook and cranny.

The Room boasts four separate heaters, all of which will need to be powered on a separate electrical circuit. The device comes with multiple extension cords so that you can plug the heaters into different locations around the house, but it will take some thinking and some basic knowledge of your house’s wiring set-up to achieve this properly.

When it comes to the best bed bug heaters, ZappBug has some good options at a variety of price points. The complexity of using each device isn’t great, but it does grow as you get towards the top of the line with the ZappBug Room.

But by putting in a little effort, you’ll have a powerful weapon in the battle against bed bugs in your home. There’s no question that heat works to kill bed bugs. And these ZappBug heaters are a great, DIY way to use heat to your advantage.

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