Want to kill bed bugs on your own, or supplement your pest control firms work?
Steam works well.
This FAQ explains how a steamer can be a useful and cost-effective tool in helping you get rid of bed bugs in your home.
Steam can be used to kill bed bugs on contact. Many professionals use it, often before applying residual pesticides and dusts, and sometimes in lieu of pesticides (where necessary). You can also use a steamer yourself, but we recommend doing your research. This FAQ provides information, links to further information, and examples of steamers and other tools.
Essential information on technique for killing bed bugs with steam can be found in the following articles:
Overview of advice culled from professional articles and forum discussions on killing bed bugs with a steamer:
As with all equipment, the steamer must be properly maintained and the operating temperatures should be regularly checked with the aid of an infrared thermometer. Immediately after steam treatment the surface should be recording at least a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees C (=158 to 176 degrees F)
Key things to look for in a steamer:
The most economical dry vapor steam cleaner we know of is in the $300 price range: Vapamore MR-100 Dry Vapor Steamer from USBedbugs. A number of Forum users have reported positively on the Vapamore MR-100, and the specifications look good. As a bonus, US Bed Bugs sells it for under $300 with free shipping. Mangycur used the Vapamore for several years, and had some frustrating experiences detailed here.
You can also get the Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaning System with Lifetime Warranty from Amazon.comif you prefer.
If youre able to go up to the next price range, KillerQueen recommends the Vapor Clean Pro5 (formerly TR5)for consumers and uses aPro6 himself (formerly TR6 see this post). The main difference between the two is that the TR6 (designed for heavy duty use) offers continuous fill. The Vapamore Pro5 or TR5, selling forabout$599 as of April 2014, is about $200-300 less than the Pro6/ TR6, and will steam continuously for 1.5-2 hours. You can view Vapor Clean TR Pro5 and Pro6 Steamers at USBedBugs.com or Bed Bug Supply.
Bedbugger experts Franco Casini in Italy and David Cain in the UK have long used and praised the Cimex Eradicator, a Polti steamer designed to kill bed bugs. Its extremely hot and efficient at doing so. It became available in the US as of 3/2015, and is state of the art, if pricy ($1495 as of this update). Heres a video of Franco demonstrating the Polti Cimex Eradicator.
Bed Bug Supply writes,
With a maximum tip temperature of 356 degrees Fahrenheit, this is easily the hottest steamer we have ever tested. There is also significantly less water vapor emitted by the Eradicator than by any other steamer weve seen, which means more heat penetration ability and less cleanup after the job is done.
This is the hottest tip temperature were aware of at this price point or lower, and that makes for more efficient and thorough bed bug killing. Although it doesnt have continuous fill like some other models do, the 2L capacity means you can steam for up to two hours without stopping.
The Cimex Eradicator may see some stiff competition from another Italian steamer newly available in North America: the Armato 9000 Commercial Bed Bug Steamer, which offers a tip temperature of 284F, 90-PSI steam pressure capability, a tank capacity of 1.1 gallons, and continuous fill which means you can keep working and topping up the water. This steamer retails for just under $1000 from Bed Bug Supply.
Other user recommendations:
S mentioned using the WhiteWing Steamer in this thread; needtosleep also used it. The WhiteWing is not widely available now. The LadyBug TANCS has also been used with success by some forum users, including Collette, and you can find itat BedbugSupply.com. (Though for that price, you probably want to go for the Cimex Eradicator, which wasnt available in 2008.)
One pro recommended Amerivap steamers (specifically the Amerivap Steamax, which is available from Do My Own Pest Control for about $900.
Readers often ask about dry vapor steamer rentals. In the past, the firm Simplex in Qubec rented the Polti VAP 2000, a dry vapor steamer, for $46 CAN per weekend the link to this offer no longer works and has been deleted, but readers inQubec may wish to try calling the company.wchicago reports that Clark-Devon Hardware in Chicago rents out the White Wing Steamer.
Wed welcome tips on other sources of professional dry vapor steamer rentals worldwide.
Mangycur used an AO R95 paint / pesticide respirator mask from her hardware store.These are some similar Paint/Pesticide respirators from Amazon.com:
Collette, a reader, shared her success story about using steam to kill bed bugs in her home. You can read it here.
Many thanks to Mangycur who wrote most of this FAQ, providing the helpful and succinct overview, suggestions about shopping for a steamer, and information about respirator use above.
Thanks also to everyone else who contributed information to this FAQ, including hopelessnomo, needtosleep, bugbasher, pleasehelp, Winston O. Buggy, Lieutenantdan, and S.
Please add additional links, suggestions, corrections in the comments below.
Heres a video from Bed Bug Centrals Jeff White on using steam to kill bed bugs:
And heres a second video from Jeff White, about how to determine if your steamer is effective in killing bed bugs:
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How to kill bed bugs using steam (FAQs) - Bedbugger.com
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