May 20, 2022 8:57 pm

Home » Pets » Insects Arthropods ArachnidsJoin Sign in EzineArticles – Expert Authors Sharing Their Best Original Articles Search Prudence Williams Basic PLUS Author | 19 Articles Joined: August 13, 2011 United Kingdom What Are Bed Bugs? How to Kill Bed Bugs

Bed bugs, scientifically known as Cimex lectularius, are small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. The adult has an oval-shaped structure and is reddish-brown in colour.

The upper surface of its body has a crinkled appearance and it is about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long. Its body is covered with short golden hair and its head is broad with a pair a prominent compound cone-like eyes.

The insect has 2 antennae segmented into 4 parts. It has weak flexible beak-like piercing mouthparts. It has 6 well-developed legs and simple claws to climb up rough surfaces.

It is very difficult to kill bed bugs and so a range of treatments is used to treat an infestation one of which is steam and heat treatments.

Steam treatment

Steam treatment using a portable steam machine is effective, but time-consuming. You must place the nozzle directly over the infested surface and move it at a rate of 30cm every 1 to 15 seconds. The quality of the steam is crucial. The machine must produce steam of a low vapour flow and high temperature.

The recommended setting is dry steam with less than 5% humidity at 94°C applied at high pressure. Low vapour output prevents the treated surface from becoming very wet. The machine must produce a minimum temperature of 60°C (140°C).

The steamer should hold at least 50 ounces of water – enough to last for an hour of continual usage. After treatment, the treated surface should record at least 70°C – 80°C on the infrared digital thermometer.

Keep the steam flow rate at a minimum. Use a suitable nozzle to avoid distributing the bed bugs. Vacuum all bed bugs after applying the treatment. The surfaces you have to cover determine the length of time it takes.

It takes at least 1 hour to set up the machine and clean the mattress alone. Add extra time for plush furniture, carpets, rugs and other appropriate surfaces.


a. Steam kills bed bugs at all stages in the life cycle when applied properly.

b. Steam flushes them out of the harbourage.

c. Steam combined with other treatments can reduce a significant amount of the population.

d. Steam can reach areas a vacuum cannot reach.

e. Steam treatment is a cheap effective way to kill bed bugs.


a. Steam treatment requires patience.

b. Steam must be applied slowly and closely to the infested items for effective results.

c. Steam treatment is a continuous process. Taking breaks between treatment gives the pests time to escape.

d. Steam treatment on its own cannot eliminate the bed bug population.

e. The treatment has no residual effect and there is no guarantee against re-infestation.

f. Steam cannot penetrate the mattress and other materials.

g. The treatment is not suitable for every surface.

h. Steam can damage wood, electronic devices, paper and other items sensitive to water.

i. Sometimes the treatment has to be applied multiple times to get the required results.

j. If used inappropriately, the steam can blow away pesticide residue in the treated area. The towel over the nozzle may obstruct the release of steam pressure and prevents the steam escaping forcefully to kill bed bugs.

Steam is not the magic bullet to solve the bed bug problem. You must combine it with other treatments to kill the pests. If you choose to use a desiccant, wait until the treated surface dries before you apply the powder.

The use of mattress encasement after applying steam treatment is good.

Health and safety issues

Steam needs a minimum heat of 60°C. This exposes you to extreme heat. Moisture contributes to mould. And, using pesticide in an area that has just been treated with steam can be dangerous to occupants in the house.

Prudence Williams has been studying about bed bugs for quite a while. How to Exterminate Bed Bugs.Net is a bed bug resource blog. To get information on bed bugs go to []

Tag line: We’re number one. We provide insight.”

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.