About Radiant Solutions
Radiant Solutions is a team of experienced exterminators specializing in bed bug heat treatment. We service both residential and commercial clients and tailor our treatment to each customer’s needs. To understand our approach and why it is so effective, we must learn a little more about the creepy crawly critter known as the cimex lectularius or, more commonly, the bed bug.
The bed bug
One of the toughest pests to control, bed bugs are becoming an increasing concern in the United States. Their success and recent comeback are largely due to increased international travel, pesticide resistance, and indiscriminate targeting of human hosts. Their bites can cause allergic reactions similar to flea or mosquito bites. While bed bugs do not spread disease, their bites are itchy, and worrying about them is enough to keep many people awake at night.
Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood. They target all people indiscriminately, regardless of lifestyle or habits. They are very efficient hitchhikers and are easily transported between people, their belongings, and their furniture. Because of this, bed bugs can be introduced into a structure via anyone who has been exposed to a bed bug infestation even for just a short time, regardless of the severity of that infestation. Bed bugs are attracted to our body temperature and exhalation of carbon dioxide, and are able to hide in our clothing, luggage, laptops, backpacks, and any other sort of bag. They are found mostly in cities where travel and tourism are prevalent. No matter who you are, bed bugs can stow away in your belongings as you travel, and will in turn be introduced to your destination.
Traditional treatment methods are becoming less effective
Another factor in the spread of bed bugs is pesticide resistance. The pesticides that had been used to almost entirely eliminate bed bugs in the U.S. have been discontinued for use in pest control because of the environmental and health risks they carry. Further, many strains of bed bugs are resistant to the common chemical insecticides that pest control companies use today, such as pyrethroids. In addition, bed bug eggs are not harmed by common pesticides, and can hatch up to two weeks after a conventional spray treatment.
How to recognize bed bugs
The clues to identifying a bed bug infestation are their fecal matter (reddish brown spots around their harborage site), shed skins from molting, bed bug eggs (which are white, extremely tiny, and grouped in clusters) and the bed bugs themselves. Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” in length, broadly oval and very flat. Being tan to dark brown in color, a well-fed adult bed bug will resemble an apple seed in size, shape and color. Nymphs look and behave like adults, but are smaller and paler in color. Bed bugs emit a distinct sweet odor which is detectable by humans in severe infestations. Dogs can be trained to recognize this odor, and sniff out individual bed bugs or their eggs during an inspection.
It only takes a few bugs to create a massive infestation if left untreated, so it’s a terrible idea to delay inspection and treatment when you suspect you might have bed bugs. This is where we come in.
Where they live and how they feed
As human blood is the preferred meal of bed bugs, they hide in dark, non-drafty areas, near their meal host. Since they cannot jump or fly, they usually live in the furniture where we spend long periods of inactivity. Beds offer the ideal harborage for bed bugs (hence the name) because of the ease with which they can feed on us while we sleep and quickly return to their hiding spot. A bed bug needs three to ten minutes to complete each blood meal, during which anticoagulating saliva is injected into our skin. Bed bug nymphs (immature bugs) molt five times to reach maturity, with each molt requiring a blood meal. Without feeding, nymphs can survive over two months. Adults can go for six months or longer without feeding. Bed bugs will crawl distances in excess of one hundred feet to find food, meaning they will infest multiple rooms or apartments in the same building in the search for food. If humans are not available, bed bugs will seek out any warm-blooded animal, including household pets such as dogs and cats, and even mice, rats and bats.
Bed bugs will infest any space where humans spend time. They hide in cracks and crevices, and depending on the level of infestation, there is no limit to where they may be found. In houses and apartments, they are mostly associated with the area around the bed. They can be found in mattresses, box springs, stored items under the bed, and in any crevice of a wooden bedframe. They will also hide in upholstered furniture, night stands, behind wall hangings, under baseboards, behind electrical plates, under carpets between the tac-strip and baseboard, etc. In hotels, a common place to find bed bugs is behind the headboards mounted on walls. Bed bugs are also attracted to the warmth and cover of electronics, being sometimes found inside laptops, TVs, phones, radios and clocks.
Now for the good news: There is a new way
At Radiant Solutions, we specialize in bed bug heat treatment to ensure that your bed bug problems go away immediately and don’t come right back like they can with some other methods.
Neither bed bugs nor their eggs can survive in environments in excess of 122°F. A Radiant Solutions heat treatment utilizes electric heaters, powered completely by our mobile generator, to raise ambient room temperatures up to 135°F. This is enough to kill bed bugs at all stages of life without damaging personal belongings or setting off sprinklers. We can precisely monitor the temperature in any part of a room, using wireless temperature sensors which constantly update to our computer. We make sure the heat is applied for a long enough period of time to ensure adequate heat penetration of mattresses, box springs, upholstered and other furniture. With a combination of heaters and fans, we are able to direct the required amount of heat at any potential harborage site.
One big advantage of using heat to eliminate bed bugs is the quickness of the process, as opposed to a conventional spray treatment (which usually takes four or more weeks). A heat treatment will only take one day. Other advantages of using heat are that most furniture does not need to be dismantled or discarded and there is no residual pesticide left in the home (as with spray treatments of fumigation, which is a concern for some customers). We can provide chemical spray and insecticidal dust treatment in addition to the heat treatment if it is desired or recommended. While we believe that heat is the all-around best method to treat for bed bugs, an integrated pest management approach is the most successful way to eliminate bed bugs entirely and reduce the risk of re-introduction.