This article was written by Karl J., Professional Bed Bugs Exterminator.
Bed bugs are making a very strong return in our homes this year. Professional exterminators like me are very busy getting rid of these unwanted insects and we are definitely charging a premium for it. The truth is that even if we use very strong chemicals, bed bugs are slowly getting used to the pesticides and we cannot guarantee that only chemicals will be able to do the job, even with numerous treatments. Also, many customers do not want us to spray harsh chemicals on their mattresses and around their children’s room (with good reasons). I wrote this article because I am a firm believer in the power of steam, a powerful natural disinfectant and sterilizer, and a highly efficient tool to remove bed bugs from your life. The great advantage of steam is that unlike insecticides, steam will kill bed bugs at every stage of their development, including the eggs. Vapor steam is an easy-to-use, natural and very safe tool that most professional will use either before applying chemicals or in lieu of pesticides. So, if you want to get rid of bed bugs on your own or supplement your pest control firm’s work, this article is for you.
First, let’s get the facts straight : More and more government and municipal agencies are starting to recommend dry vapor steam cleaners as an effective tool to kill and remove bed bugs from surfaces such as mattresses and pillows. Studies discovered that bed bugs and their eggs are very sensitive to extreme heat (it’s their major weakness) and will die instantly when in contact with temperatures over 120ºF. Decent steamers, like the Dupray Tosca or the Hill series can produce steam up to 378ºF, which is more than enough to exterminate the bugs. Before You Start Steam Cleaning Steam itself is a very important stage of the bed bug removal process but for major infestation; don’t hesitate to call a professional for help. The steam cleaner will be very important in the following weeks to remove all the bugs that they might have missed or the bedbugs that are most resistant to chemicals. A study from the United States (Meek, 2003) has shown that a program that employs steam followed by insecticides provides much better long-term control than with the use of insecticides alone, which is not always successful. Why Dry Vapor Steam Cleaners? Dry vapor steam is essential to achieve good results and avoid mold problems, especially when treating mattresses and other slow-drying materials. You should always aim for a dry steam cleaner that produce steam with around 5% water content. The quality of the machine you get is also fundamental. Commercial-grade machines work usually much more efficiently because the vapor they produce reach higher temperatures. Quality Tools And Techniques Can Make A Huge Difference When using steam, it is important to expose the bed bugs to the lethal temperatures. Most steam machines come with different brushes, accessories and multiple attachments. For bed bugs removal, the triangular brush heads or rectangular floor tools work best. The steam lances and small diameter tips are usually less efficient because they emit too much pressure, blowing the bugs away from the surface. The best way to sanitize a mattress, couch or recliner is to attach a thick microfiber cloth on the triangular tool and slowly pass on the surface. The microfiber acts like insulation and the steam will reach it’s highest temperature, effectively killing bed bugs and eggs as far as a few inches away from the head. Make sure you are holding the head directly over the surface to transfer the highest temperatures on the mattress. Apart from the mattresses, You can steam most furniture, floors, baseboards, walls, ceiling and more! How to know if it’s efficient? Because the high temperature is so important, you must absolutely make sure that the steam hits the bed bugs directly. To make sure the process is working, you can use an infrared laser thermometer to check the surface after you steamed it. Seconds after the treatment, the surface should read between 60-80 degrees Celsius or more (140 to 170 F).
Remember, a steam cleaner is as good as it’s operator. To attain best results, you must pass carefully and slowly around furniture and make sure that neighbours and landlord are collaborating with your pest control management actions. Which Are The Best Steam Cleaners For Bed Bug Removal? I would definitely recommend the Dupray Hill Injection Steam Cleaner for major bed bug removal and killing because of it’s unmatched maximum temperature (the most powerful portable 110V unit currently on the market), it’s continuous refill capability and it’s digital dial, displaying the working temperature are extremely convenient. Another great model for smaller bed bug problems would be the Tosca Steam Cleaner, a great model designed to be used for over 2 hours before having to stop and refill. It’s high temperatures and low price (995$) make it the ideal chose for home owners and small commercial users. For more information about Dupray’s commercial and residential steam cleaners for bed bug removal, please contact them by email of toll-free at 1-800-881-8482.