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One of the most effective solutions to get rid of bedbugs is steam. If you have at home a powerful steam machine (steamer) and use it correctly in the affected areas. First, you must apply specific products to eliminate these insects (you have to choose the products very well) and then pass the steamer at a distance of 3 centimeters from the sheets. It would be ideal to seek help to carry out this work, between two or three people will be easier.
It is a bit of a heavy job since you have to remove the mattress, put it in a place where you can move freely and take a good time to pass the steamer. Also, you should let the mattress dry completely before putting the bedding back on.
How to use steam to control bed bug?
Steam is a good way to eliminate bed bugs and a good alternative to the use of insecticides since it generates harmful effects neither on the environment nor on the health of people and pets.
Furthermore, bed bugs are insects with a great capacity to develop resistance to certain insecticides, with which the use of steamers to control bed bugs pests is becoming more frequent.
However, special care must be taken when carrying out heat treatments based on the release of steam. Although heat is a good method of eliminating bedbugs, there are some phases of the biological cycle of this species that are more resistant than others. Thus, the temperature and the time of exposure become key to the total elimination of the pest using heat.
All stages of development of this insect die when exposed to temperatures of 50ºC. Nymphs and adults die before reaching 50ºC, but the eggs are able to resist temperatures of 48ºC for more than an hour of exposure to this temperature.
Apply heat with steamer
For treatment to be truly effective, heat must reach all possible pests (eggs, nymphs, and adults). The best way to achieve this is by applying steam, as it can enter any crack or hole where bedbugs hide.
It is very important to keep in mind that when the steam comes into contact with a solid material or with the air itself when these elements are found at temperatures below 50ºC, it causes the steam to cool down. If it cools below 50ºC, it will not kill bedbugs when it comes into contact with them, as the temperature will be below their lethal temperature.
To avoid this type of situation, professional pest control companies use machines that apply superheated dry heat up to 180ºC at the point of exit, and which have been specially designed for bed bug control. Thus, when the steam is applied to the infected area, it reaches at least 80ºC, sufficient temperature for eliminating all the life stages of bed bugs.
Advantages of steam
Steam is a solution with a low environmental impact and is not harmful to human health. It allows the elimination of infestations without releasing molecules that are potentially dangerous or harmful to health or to ecosystems in the environment or in the air.
It is unnecessary to use protective equipment, nor to evacuate the place to be treated, nor is it necessary to ventilate the spaces after applying the steam.
Thanks to its low content in the form of liquid particles, the steam flow does not leave surfaces or fabrics wet and does not cause damage or alterations to the materials where it is applied.
After using the steam and completing the cleaning operations, the spaces can be used again immediately.
Steam versus heat treatment
If you can’t kill bedbugs with steam, a secondary method is to try the method of applying heat to the entire room or area in which they live. This type of heat treatment should be done by a professional, who will raise the temperature of the affected area to 120 ° Fahrenheit (49 ° Celsius) for a few hours, eliminating bedbugs in all of their hiding places. If not, the alternative is to bring the site to minus 0 ° Fahrenheit (-17 ° Celsius) for four days, which will also clear the infection.Steam is an ally for objects where insecticides cannot be used.
They feed on blood, leaving their hiding places normally at night, attracted by the body heat and CO2 that we exhale, producing several bites at the same point and generating welts that resemble mosquito bites or hives.
For their control, increasingly effective methods have been developed, together with greater education and information to the public (mainly those affected) about their identification and biology.
One of the innovative options for its eradication is the use of steam. This method is an effective tool as it can eliminate all stages of bedbugs, including eggs due to thermal shock, with the advantages of not using any biocide.
Use of steam
The use of steam appropriately and carefully can eliminate the bugs present in a single treatment. However, it must be complemented with subsequent reviews to confirm their extermination and it must be taken into account that we do not leave any residual insecticide.
To achieve good results, a deep knowledge of the pest and its biology is essential, together with a thorough review and meticulous treatment.
The quality of steam is important. Therefore the equipment used must be able to generate it at a high temperature. In turn, the steam must be “dry” at least 94º C with less than 5% humidity. The application must be made by running approximately 30 centimeters every 10-15 seconds and maintaining a steam flow to the minimum possible to avoid the dispersion of the bedbugs. For all this, the treatments are laborious, slow and long.
Note that at the end of the application, the treated surface must have a temperature of at least 70-80ºC.The use of steam is especially useful in eliminating bedbugs in objects where the use of insecticides is not possible and the application of heat is difficult to manage, such as cushions, mattresses, and sofas, carpet edges, etc. Among its main limitations, highlight the impossibility of using it in electrical areas.