Is heat or cold best for bed bug treatment?

Asked May 20, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

I live in Central New Jersey. I have met with a Terminix rep. who said they use CO2 and diatomaceous earth in their treatments for bed bugs. Would a company using high temp. equipment be more effective in eliminating bed bugs? Does either treatment work for clothing, picture frames, shoes, books, etc. If left in place? My home is 2 stories. Rooms I Believe are effected are bedroom and den. We are only 2 people in a 4 bedroom home. Should we treat entire house, including closets? Lots of questions here. We are in our 70's but have no experience in this area. Was referred to your site by Rutgers Entomology Dept. Would be happy to pay for your advice. Would nominate you for Sainthood if you could recommend a good company, or list of competent, honest companies who do this work. Bless you. Thank you. Tom

Middlesex County New Jersey

1 Response

Neither cold nor heat are very good for eradicating bed bugs! They will cost a lot and the efficacy rate is low. It is my general recommendation to avoid the national chains as they tend to spend a lot of money on advertising and little on actual training of their technicians. I would check for a local or state firm that is a member of the state pest control association (the national pest control association has no real standards and will gladly register folks if they pay their dues!), and is in contact with your local land grand university, like Rutgers. Ask them how many bed bug treatments they have performed and ask for a couple of references from customers...and call! I would strongly recommend looking at our Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force web site (just enter in this name in your search engine). On this site, you will see information on bed bugs, how to detect them (you really need to be sure that you actually have an infestation), how to select a professional company, and the recommended treatment options. You will need to do some "pre-cleaning" to get ready for any kind of treatment. This is all described on the web site and I would avoid any company that does not advise you on what you need to do to prepare your home for treatments! Even with the best of pesticide treatments, bed bug control usually takes two to four visits! Basically, you will have to clean the bed areas (washing and drying, then encasing the mattresses in bed bug proof cases), picking up and cleaning any clothing on the floor, any other loose items, etc. The company will then come in and spray the baseboards, under and behind any wall hangings, electrical outlets, furniture joints and undersides, etc. They should also leave a trap or two to determine if their treatments are effective. Hope this helps. Bed bug infestations are not an easy thing to manage!