Thermal heating requires heating an area to between 120-140ºF. The average time to bring a typical 400 square foot space up to 130ºF in 45 minutes to 1 hour. Treating a hotel room, takes 6-8 hours from set up to tear down. An emphasis must be placed on heating the area quickly, as the bed bugs are known to flee from the high temperatures and return once the heat has returned to normal. Heating an entire room to a temperature above 120ºF degrees is not always effectively plausible. For example, if it is 20ºF degrees outside, then it would be quite difficult to raise the internal temperature of the room rapidly. Other risks associated with heat extermination include possible damage to walls and other heat-sensitive structures within the room.
Steam is the most effective method of killing all stages of bed bugs. Delivered correctly, steam will contact bugs on the surface and those hidden inside stitch seams. Steam kills the bugs immediately. Steam is particularly useful for carpeting, upholstery, the mattress/box spring, and deep cracks and crevices. Steam is useful for box springs because it can penetrate the fabric (and padding) and the many crevices that form during construction of a bed. Steam can also be useful on tubular steel frames, particularly when multiple holes are present.
Where Do They Come From?
Bed bugs can be transported on clothing, in travelers’ luggage, or in bedding and furniture but lack appendages to enable them to cling to hair, fur, or feathers, so are rarely found on hosts.
It is said that these bugs may have come from Europe, Africa and Asia. These pests are amazing hitchhikers so it is not surprising how they are able to span the globe, undetected. Favoring luggage and furniture, it is believed that these pests have latched onto the belongings of American travelers, traders and even soldiers. Their mode of transportation has not changed, still the adventurous hitchhikers. These bugs are heavy with wanderlust. Their tiny proportions make them stowaways and effective hitchhikers. Bed bugs are capable of concealing themselves in small crevices, seams, nooks or crannies of luggage, suitcase, hatbox or even cling directly to the clothes of a person. Studies have shown that a crack big enough to fit the corner of a credit card is enough to house several bed bugs. Dwellings can become infested through eggs that "hitchhiked in" on pets or nearby infested dwellings.
When Are They Active?
Bed bugs are usually only active at night, usually just before dawn, but will feed during the day when hungry. Usually during the day, they hide in cracks and crevices in walls, floors, beds and furniture. When only a few bed bugs are present, they live close to human sleeping areas; when numerous, they can be found throughout the room.
These pests bite people typically when they are sleeping, resting or sitting for long periods. Hungry bugs will move out from their hiding places, in search of exposed skin. Typically, the head and neck are prime feeding sites. However, bare arms, hands and legs may also be bitten. In heavy infestations, these bugs may also move into folds of clothing or under sheets to find a feeding site.
When searching for a place to feed, these bugs can move very quickly. Once an appropriate site is found, they feed for 2-5 minutes until full, and then move quickly away from the host.
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