You will come upon a wide range of products designed to kill bed bugs, from sprays and foggers to traps and diatomaceous earth. The success of these products can vary greatly and it ought to be said some chemical based products and solutions can be very harmful to health. Having said that, there is one bed bug killer which is completely chemical free - STEAM. Bed bugs simply cannot tolerate high temperatures making steam an effective weapon for getting rid of the little vampires.
I have been asked previously "can't I just turn up the heating?" The simple answer is no. Doing this is only going to encourage the bed bugs to try and escape - possibly into some other, cooler part of the house which means you now have bed bugs in more than one location - totally defeating the purpose! If you stand any chance of killing bed bugs using heat the temperature has to get to at least 450oC and be generated instantaneously, making a steam cleaner the perfect solution.
The major advantage steam offers over any other bed bug treatment is that it will kill not only mature bugs but nymphs and eggs as well. A good number of bed bug solutions simply cannot pass through the surface of eggs meaning they can go on to hatch, breed and begin the whole process again.
The best way to use steam as a bed bug killer;
1. Like with any treatment it is very important that you carefully check the room for signs of bed bugs. This will permit you to make sure that bed bugs really are present.
2. Before attacking with your steam cleaner make sure you vacuum the whole room - absolutely everything - the mattress on your bed and the inside and underside of drawers to closets and soft toys.
3. If you are shopping for a steam cleaner make sure you get one which delivers high temperatures > 450oc combined with "dry steam." The dry steam will prevent your mattress, carpets or anything else becoming too wet which may lead to problems with mold and mildew.
4. To be able to kill bed bugs including eggs and nymphs successfully it is critical that you work slowly and methodically with the steam cleaner. The nozzle must make direct contact with the surface you are dealing with otherwise the temperature of steam will be reduced making it significantly less effective.
5. This is not a quick technique for killing bed bugs. It will take time and patience you must go inch by inch across the surface being treated. The recommended pace is 30cm every 10 - 15 secs.
6. Steam is not toxic but it really is still hazardous - at temperatures exceeding 450oC under pressure it can cause serious scalds and burns. It is very important that you read and follow the manufacturers instructions for your steam cleaner to the letter!
Where should you begin?
Without doubt the best place is the bed. Pay special attention to areas along seams, around buttons, handles and also labels. Along the bottom of the headboard is often a favourite hiding place. Tackle the box spring (if you have one) in the same way.
You can then move on to pieces of furniture chairs, sofas, drawers, closets again pay special attention to any seams, buttons, small cracks, joints and so on. Then you should move on to soft furnishing like curtains, cushions, rugs and so on - don't forget any soft toys!
Bed bugs will get around - they will travel and climb up to 100 feet to locate food. Therefore you really do have to inspect and treat each and every inch of the infested room, including the really obscure locations like smoke detectors, light switches, electrical sockets, photo frames, alarm clocks, the list is unending.
REMEMBER - steam and electricity don't mix consequently don't be tempted to treat an electrical socket with your steam cleaner!!!!
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