How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Bad Idea #3: DIY Heat Treatment


Which of these items have NOT been used as a DIY bed bug heat treatment: camp stove, blow dryer, propane heater, heat gun, stove, or space heater?

Yes, they’ve all been used and all have caused home fires. Heat kills bed bugs–proven fact. Do-it-yourself heat treatment causes house fires–also, proven fact. That’s why DIY heat treatment for bed bugs is Number 3 in our Top 10 Bed Bug Bad Ideas. Read these examples from the news of DIY bed bug heat treatment gone wrong, then put away the barbecue and call Thrasher Termite & Pest Control.

From the News (I am Not Making This Up!)

A Lexington, Kentucky, woman read on the internet about using heat to kill bed bugs, so she lit a camp grill in her bedroom. The result? No more bed bugs, but no bedroom either. Luckily the resulting fire was confined to her bedroom, sparing the rest of the house. A Chicago landlord accidentally blew up an apartment while trying to get rid of bed bugs. His bright idea? Use propane tanks and an open flame to heat the unit. The landlord isn’t talking about the resulting explosion (strong enough to send a sink, toilet, and bathtub flying through the ceiling) nor about the fire that destroyed 90% of a small family’s belongings. Homeowners in South Jersey attempted to “heat” bedbugs out of a piece of furniture using a space heater, a hair dryer and a heat gun when the fire started. (Seriously, I am not making this up!) One of the homeowners and a completely innocent firefighter were hospitalized for treatment of inhalation burns. Maintenance workers at a Minnesota apartment complex used space heaters and heating coils wired directly to an electrical panel in an effort to kill a suspected bed bug infestation.  Firefighters were summoned to the building by a fire alarm. In checking units, officials found the door to unit 119 warm to the touch. Luckily, a fire had not yet started, but the apartment building had to be evacuated due to the dangerous condition.

About the Author:

Garrett Thrasher is Vice President and General Manager of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal, Inc., Chairperson of the San Diego District of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), a member of the bedbugFREE network, and a member of the National Pest Management Association. Author of The Bed Bug Battle Plan: Field Tested Solutions for Bed Bug Extermination and Prevention (ISBN: 1500838209), Garrett’s solid understanding of bed bugs, their behavior, current outbreaks, and experience on camera has made him a leading contact for news and media outlets. He is also a sought after speaker on the topic of managing online reviews for positive impact. He has spoken at PestWorld and PestTech, and was featured in PCT Magazine and the PCT Podcast. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal is accredited by QualityPro–the mark of excellence in pest management.


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  4. Anne March 9, 2016 at 7:15 am - Reply

    I don’t know… I got a really good bug heater from and its the first thing I have tried that has actually helped. I mean I am seeing with my own eyes the bugs are dead. Have you seen the products from that site and you know they don’t work? I feel so confused.

    • Garrett March 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Anne: You bring up a good point. Not ALL DIY heat treatments are a bad idea, just those involving open flames, propane, alcohol, area heaters, barbecues, flame throwers, etc! ThermalStrike products are manufactured specifically for the DIY bed bug treatment market. They include product safety instructions that must be followed. You’ve seen the results. Yes, heat kills bed bugs. Misuse of heat sources can kill you. You’ve found a product that was designed for the intended purpose, includes safety features, and does the job. Awesome! We still cannot condone using other sources of heat that are not designed and tested for bed bug eradication. There are just too many tragedies in the news.

  5. Zequek Estrada April 28, 2017 at 8:28 am - Reply

    I love DIYs, but I admit that there are some things that should be left to the professionals. Hearing that lady’s experience trying to get rid of bed bugs has increased that belief. It’s true that there are probably DIYs that work to get rid of pests. However, sometimes after hearing stories like this I can’t help but think that it’s not worth the risk, and it’s better to call a commercial exterminator.

    • Buzz August 18, 2017 at 11:27 am - Reply

      We agree! Bed bugs eradication require expertise. This is one reason that the state of California now requires that landords use only licensed pest control companies for bed bug control. No more asking the maintenance personnel to do their best!

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