Heat Treatment for bedbugs: cost and effectiveness

11 Replies

I have a 1200sqf 3/1 ranch with a mild bedbug infestation. I'm trying to figure out the most effective approach (chemical vs heat vs cold vs fumigation, etc). Mt specific question relates to heat treatments. Does anyone here have actual experience with heat treatments? What is the approximate cost for a small SFH? How effective is a single treatment - or is it advisable to plan on a "double-hit"?

Comments much appreciated!

@Andrew S.  I dealt with this in a condo, and it was $1200.  It worked!  They brought the canine back to sniff out the bugs, and they didn't find any.  

Originally posted by @Dawn Brenengen :

@Andrew S. I dealt with this in a condo, and it was $1200.  It worked!  They brought the canine back to sniff out the bugs, and they didn't find any.  

 Thanks Dawn!  I sent you PM.  Do you really mean to say the exterminator has a dog on staff to check for bedbugs?

Originally posted by @Andrew S. :
Originally posted by @Dawn Brenengen:

@Andrew S. I dealt with this in a condo, and it was $1200.  It worked!  They brought the canine back to sniff out the bugs, and they didn't find any.  

 Thanks Dawn!  I sent you PM.  Do you really mean to say the exterminator has a dog on staff to check for bedbugs?

 I've been to 2 bed bug demonstrations and they definitely have dogs that are trained to sniff out bedbugs.  There are services (at least around here) where you can have them come out to your property before you get a tenant, and give you an independent 3rd party certification that you do not have bedbugs.  So if bedbugs come up in the future, there's no way the tenants can claim the bugs were already there.

This probably wouldn't hold any salt in an apartment complex type of situation, because they can come in from any apartment, however for a single family house it would be the tenants themselves that would bring them in (or their guests).

@Dawn Anastasi  

"I've been to 2 bed bug demonstrations and they definitely have dogs that are trained to sniff out bedbugs. There are services (at least around here) where you can have them come out to your property before you get a tenant, and give you an independent 3rd party certification that you do not have bedbugs. So if bedbugs come up in the future, there's no way the tenants can claim the bugs were already there."

Thanks Dawn A. - yes, this is exactly why I was asking!  I would seriously consider bringing in the canine every time a new tenant moves in, if that is available at a reasonable price.

Originally posted by @Andrew S.:

Thanks Dawn A. - yes, this is exactly why I was asking!  I would seriously consider bringing in the canine every time a new tenant moves in, if that is available at a reasonable price.

 Every locality is different, but the price here is $75 for the canine inspection and certificate.

@Andrew S.  Yes, they have trained dogs on staff to sniff out the bugs.  Actually, I highly recommend doing it between each tenant because if you have the inspection done and bed bugs are found later, they will be the tenant's responsibility.  If they are found later but there is no proof the bugs didn't exist before the tenants got there, they are a landlord responsibility, and they are expensive to get rid of!

@Andrew S.  

We had tenants move out and left behind a bad infestation. We wanted them GONE, so we went with the heat treatment, since that is supposed to be more effective. For half a duplex, it was $1800. And they were still there after! They had to come out and spray a number of different treatments before they were gone, and the place was vacant so it should have been easier to treat. They said that this is rare, and that heat treatments normally are effective.

I would love to have the canine come out to inspect at each turnover, but the closest canine team would have to come 1.5 hours drive, and they charge by the job and hour, so pretty pricy.

I personally have not had the issue. I had a friend who had them in one of his rentals. His bid for heat treatment was $2400. I advised him that beg bugs will die at 115 degrees for 60 min and that is easily Obtainable with some job site heaters in each room. Fire hazard.. Yes but much cheaper. we ran the furnace full blast we had heaters in each room. we maintained 120 degrees for 3 hours. Killed every last one. Hasn't had them back in 3 years.

Good luck!

Bergdorf goodman - the highend store hired beagles to find bed bugs.

We hired exterminators that sprayed the area. They got them but it took them 2 tries. Tenants don't do it but if they put a cover over their bed (drape it so it doesn't touch the floors) the bed bugs can't get to them. Or if they tape off the area (super cheap) - you'll catch them walking on the tape and they get stuck (like mouse sticky traps but regular gorilla tape works). 

Hey, @Andrew S.  I'm coming at this a bit late so I certainly hope your situation has been resolved by now.  In addition to being a real estate investor I work for a company that distributes a dry ice cold bed bug treatment product and in general I am big fan of treatments that employ heat, steam, and/or cold.  As long as the technicians are properly trained and they properly prep the home heat should be an effective solution.  The only things I might be concerned about in your situation is the wax ring around the base of the toilet.  If the home isn't properly prepped I understand that these can be damaged by heat.  On the subject of bed bug dogs that service is going to be as good or bad as the team doing the inspection.  Bed bug dogs can be extremely, even shockingly accurate.  They are also subject to handler error, fatigue, and poor training in some instances.  I hope by the time you are reading this your bed bugs are a distant memory.  Unfortunately your part of the country experiences more than its fair share of infestations.  

I had a tenant bring in some bedbugs with his mattress (or so he thought). I bought some spray from Lowe's for around $12, IIRC. He sprayed everything with it and it seemed to solve the issue.

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