Aside Posted on
Within this sultry season, people do a lot of traveling. With a lot of traveling there’s bound to be a lot of hotel, motel, etc. stays to get some rest from all the traveling. While that’s all good and acceptable, there’s one thing that’s not……. BED BUGS.
Bed Bug Basics
So what are bed bugs, anyway? Everyone has heard of them. They’re essentially little bugs that are nocturnal and feed off human blood. There are actually a lot of different kinds, including some that feed off certain types of animals like chickens, but the ones most people are worried about live mainly off humans. They usually live inside of mattresses, where they have convenient access to a food source – you. They crawl out just before dawn and bite you, sucking out blood for about five minutes. You don’t feel anything until after the bed bug is already safely back in its home.
Unlike vacuuming, steam cleaning is generally very effective at killing any bed bugs or eggs that come into contact with it. Extreme heat will kill them quickly (anything over 120 degrees Fahrenheit or so), and most steamers will exceed this temperature. You will definitely need to get a commercial steam cleaning company, because they will need to run it for awhile and cover most areas in your bedroom. You will want to make sure you cover all the areas they could be hiding, even inaccessible ones. If you hire a pest control company, sometimes they will use steam cleaners in addition to applying pesticides. You should also strongly consider going with what is called “dry steam” – low moisture steamers, which have a lot less risk of mold (a big potential problem given that you will be using it around your bed).
There are some major downsides, though: First of all, it is of questionable value when applied to the mattress itself, which can absorb the moisture from the steam very quickly and keep it from actually coming into contact with the bugs. Second, the temperature is often not high enough to kill them outside of a small area right where the steam comes out. If you can’t wedge the head in close enough in small cracks or crevices, it may not kill them all. Third, some items may be damaged by applying steam to them (especially wooden furniture). Fourth, and most important, it is very hard for you to get ALL the bedbugs this way. If you even miss a few, or miss a couple of eggs, you still have an infestation. They’ll still be biting you, and get right back to breeding again when you’re done.