Dr. Chang Lu Wang discusses Do-it-Yourself Bed Bug Eradication at the National Bed Bug Summit
I was able to listen in on the summit through their phone line. Dr. Wang discussed the efficacy of DIY. He stated that it can be effective and affordable with a small infestation of less than 12 bugs. Participants in the study were able to bring their infestation level to zero in eight weeks. For a bigger infestation, professional assistance is desirable. The measures he mentioned were mattress encasement, interceptors and other isolation methods, diatomaceous earth, weekly laundering/drying of all belongings, and manual destruction as well as steam, and vacuuming.
Other researcher’s mentioned that domestic steamers are not very effective, that it must be an industrial grade steamer for the high heat and capacity. There must be an output temperature of over 180ºF and the capacity must allow for a reasonable working duration or else frustration ensues. It was even mentioned that a dry steamer without a towel, but just from the nozzle pushing steam into a crevice beneath floorboards can reach 3 to 4 inches into the floorboard thus reaching kill temperatures inside the floorboards. Furthermore convection vs conduction heat was discussed as to the possibility of bugs escaping during heating process. Convection, where hot air is moved into spaces such as wall cavities allowed for far less movement as the bugs did not attempt to move until the heat of 118ºF was already reached, which results in immediate death for adults (122ºF results in immediate death of eggs). With Conduction, bugs started to move at 80ºF, started to attempt to feed at 95ºF, and started to try to escape as the temperatures reached over 105ºF.