The Wrong Way To Heat Treat For Bed Bugs

In May 2011, a Cincinnati exterminator from R.S. Tyree set up 6 propane powered convection heaters to kill bed bugs in a family’s home.  The propane heat which comes out at 150 degrees caught the rug on fire. The tanks then exploded and proceeded to burn down the home completely.

So what went wrong? Let me count the ways...

  1. While the exterminator was only trying to get the space to 135, you cannot control the temp coming from a propane heater.  Propane heat comes out at 150 degrees, which is really hot and will damage all sorts of items in a room or home.
  2. The exterminator was sitting in his truck relaxing when the fire started.  He was not monitoring the process adequately, safety was ignored.
  3. The equipment being utilized was not designed for the task at hand.  In addition, he had placed the propane tanks INSIDE the home that was being heated.  Common sense should tell you that pressurized tanks of flammable gas should not be heated to 135 degrees.

What should you look for in your whole room heat treatment provider?

  1. Electric heat is safer.  The temperatures rise slowly and are easily controlled by automatic shut off devices.  If you want your max temp to be 135 degrees you just set the shut off gauge for that particular temp.   No flammable gas, no hassles, no fires.
  2. Monitoring of the process is key, a constant vigil. There are custom software packages designed just for this purpose that utilize wireless temperature gauges that can be placed throughout the room.
  3. Make sure the equipment is designed for use in controlling pests, not to keep a construction site warm. Look for equipment that is approved for safety by a third-party (UL, ETL, CSA).

As a bed bug specialist, I use Temp-Air's Thermal Remediation Heaters and monitoring system which is UL approve and CSA recognized as an insect control device.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

WDDO Canine Certification for Bed Bug Detection

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