logo for print

Killing Bed Bugs with Electric Heaters

Killing bed bugs with heat is a popular method with many advantages. Your choice in bed bug heating elements will play a critical role. Successful treatment is supported by a rapid yet even temperature rise in the higher temperature range of the warm-up process. There are four key components to achieve rapid late-stage uniform heating:

  • warm starting temperature
  • tight envelope
  • airflow
  • reliable high-quality heating elements and controls

Beginning with a warm and even preheated start-temperature is a good place from which to leap. That warmth should be held long enough to permeate the structure as well as the objects within it. The bed bugs should not feel uncomfortable at this preheat temperature. This pre-warming will help the technician reach a well-distributed target temperature (120°F - 140°F range) more quickly.


Tutco-Farnam provides standard and custom electric heating elements for bed bug treatment products.

Sealing up cracks around doors and windows will stop the heat from leaking out and makes for a stronger closed loop heating system. It also seals off possible bed bug escape routes.

The technician strives for even heat. The goal is to deliver a uniform temperature rise around the room, eliminating cold spots. Move objects away from walls. Get more surface area in contact with the air. Use air movers (fans) to circulate hot air. Toss piles of clutter during the heating process or put them in the dryer on high. If everything within a space is a uniform temperature then there will be no cold spots to provide relief.

Reliable high-temperature bed bug heating elements with a complementary control system help to quickly and accurately hit the mark and hold steady for the remainder of the process.

There is a wide range of bed bug products requiring electric heating elements. Bed bug heaters are in units large and small. At Tutco-Farnam, we’ve made air heaters for fan housings, air movers, floor dryers, and custom enclosures of all shapes and sizes. There is a good chance we’ve made something similar to the solution you seek. Click one of our product families above or contact us to share your project requirements.

The Nature of Bed Bugs

The Cimicidae are parasitic hematophagous (bloodsucking) insects. When we talk about bed bugs we’re usually referring to a species of Cimicidae that feeds on humans. The lifecycle of a bed bug starts with an egg. The nymph hatches and will molt as it grows into an adult. Bed bugs are good at staying hidden in the dark and typically come out at night to feed, doing so every 5 - 10 days. Actual feeding only lasts 5 - 10 minutes. Using a needle-like mouth protrusion they penetrate the skin of the host and inject saliva that breaks down blood cells. The bed bug then sucks up the blood.

Treating an Infestation

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate especially from older structures. While there are DIY solutions on the market, infestation sufferers commonly turn to professional exterminators to get the job done. Technicians aim to kill the bed bugs and eggs while doing so safely and without damaging any items within the environment being treated. Reducing the number of treatments is another desirable goal.

Treatment methods include chemical (pesticides and desiccants), temperature (heating and freezing), steam, and vacuuming.

Why Use Heat?

Thermal treatments are an alternative to toxic pesticides though they are also used in conjunction with chemicals. Bed bugs start to die when the ambient temperature reaches 113 F. The common target temperature is 120°F, causing bed bugs to die within minutes. There are many reasons why exterminators use heat.

  • Bed bugs are becoming resistant to traditional chemicals like DDT and pyrethroids
  • Toxins in pesticides are a potential health hazard. Heat is non-toxic
  • Heat leaves behind no residue
  • Heat spreads and permeates reaching every corner
  • Many report the need for only a single treatment with heat
  • Damage-free (after removal of low melting point items like candles and crayons)
  • Heat kills all varieties of bed bug as well as bacteria and viruses
  • Heat is ovicidal (kills the eggs)! All stages of bed bug life die with heat

Heat Treatment Equipment


  • Electric
    • A closed system. Slower to heat in the beginning. Reheating the same air (in a closed system) is faster in the later stages.
    • Finer heating control.
    • Some bed bug heaters may have high amp requirements. Units plug into 240v like a plug for an electric range oven.
    • A technician can step away from the system and check back on it or monitor it remotely.
  • Steam
    • Often used with chemical treatment
    • Steam has limited penetration
    • A technician will be attentive at all times
  • Propane
    • An open system. Heat is ducted into the structure. Gets hotter faster. Shorter treatment times.
    • A technician needs to remain attentive.
    • Overkill for small jobs.
  • Air movers are used for heat circulation


Different locations can have different equipment and service needs. Pest control operations tend to offer packages geared towards their different customer types including…

  • Homeowners
  • Housing authorities
  • Property management companies
  • Property maintenance departments
  • Institutions

Types of locations include…

  • Houses
  • Apartments
  • Multi-family housing
  • Hotels / motels
  • Hostels
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Dormitories
  • Movie theaters
  • Public transportation

The equipment needed to treat these locations ranges from small portable units on up to truck or trailer units with onboard power generation.


Treatment times are affected by several variables including the number of square feet being heated, building materials, the objects in the room, climate, the starting temperature of the space, and the degree of infestation. Equipment setup will make a difference too. A single high power unit may not distribute heat as evenly as several mid-power units working together, for example.

Heating Elements for Bed Bug Equipment

Tutco-Farnam designs and builds electric heating elements used by bed bug equipment manufacturers in their high-temperature products. We have the knowledge, experience, and tools to provide an industrial-strength solution that meets your toughest project requirements. Let us support your next bed bug product with rugged and reliable heating solutions from Tutco-Farnam. Contact us today and see what Tutco-Farnam can do for you.

Tutco-Farnam Custom Products

Determine Your Heater

Inlet Temp
Exhaust Temp
Calculators +
Menu +