Using Propane to Eliminate Bed Bugs

A portable heater resting on the floor in a bedroom.

Bed bugs are a major nuisance. Once they find a way into your home, they can be incredibly difficult to get rid of, especially if you don’t act quickly. There are plenty of pest control options available, but killing bed bugs with heat – more specifically, propane heaters – has plenty of benefits you may want to consider. Here’s how using propane to eliminate bed bugs works and why it might be right for you.

Will propane kill bed bugs?

The short answer: yes and no. Propane gas on its own is not enough to get rid of your bed bug problem. But propane heaters can be used as an effective, 100% eco-friendly alternative to conventional insecticides. It’s often referred to as “heat treatment,” where affected rooms in your home or building are brought to extreme temperatures and bed bugs are quickly eliminated.

How bed bug heat treatment works

How bed bug heat treatment works is relatively simple. Using one or more propane heaters, the temperature in your home is brought to a level much too high for bed bugs and theirs eggs to survive. The treatment lasts anywhere from three to eight hours, depending on what’s needed. In many cases, most if not all bed bugs will be eradicated after only one treatment with no need for a follow-up.

Since heat easily radiates into linens, fabrics and inside mattresses, heat treatment is one of the most effective treatment options out there. No matter how small the crack or crevice, heat will find a way into the space. Insecticides, on the other hand, need to be applied to each affected area by a pest management professional, which can make treatment more difficult and time consuming.

What temperature kills bed bugs?

Bed bugs will not survive in temperatures 125 degrees Fahrenheit and above. To ensure that heat treatments are effective the first time around, interior temperatures should be brought to between 135 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For reference, that’s about as hot as the average sauna.

Killing bed bugs with heat yourself: can it be done?

Yes, bed bug heat treatment is something that you can do on your own, as long as you have the proper equipment and take the recommended safety precautions and preparation steps.

Tips for DIY bed bug treatment

Keep in mind that getting an entire house or building up to such a high temperature takes time and effort. For starters, you need the right equipment. This should include a propane heater, one or more propane tanks, industrial fans to keep the air moving and something to monitor the temperature. The treated area must also be sealed tight so heat doesn’t escape. This might involve using caulk or foam to tightly seal windows and cracks in the walls or doorways.

Bed bug heaters are available for purchase or rent in a variety of sizes and strengths. A general rule of thumb: the larger the treatment area, the larger the heater. For example, if you only need to treat a small bedroom or just a mattress, a portable propane heater should be enough to get the job done. For a whole-home treatment, an industrial-sized heater may be required.

Remember that high temperatures will damage some of the belongings inside your home. Other items, like flammable materials, could be a safety hazard in extreme temperatures. Be sure these items are removed prior to treatment. It also goes without saying that people should not be inside of the home or building for the duration of treatment.

Using U-Haul propane for bed bugs

If you’re going the DIY route, U-Haul has the propane supplies to help you get the job done. With propane tanks of all sizes, a variety of portable space heaters available and thousands of refill locations across the United States, working with U-Haul to complete your heat treatment has never been easier.

Shop for propane tanks, accessories or find a refill location near you today.

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