How does heat kill bedbugs?

in Bedbug Questions

Question by Klaingar R:
How does heat kill bedbugs?

What happens? What physical or chem processes are involved?
I was wondering in particular why they shrivel/flatten
I always thought it was blood in their abdomen. I don’t think it could evaporate due to heat or steam though would it?

Best answer:

Answer by ǝǝ1Am
Yes, heat will kill bed bugs. In a 2002 issue of an industry journal, Pest Management Professional, Dr. Hanif Gulmahamad states, “It has been reported that bed bug eggs have been killed after an exposure of one hour at 113F, and first-instar nymphs died after 15 minutes of exposure to the same temperature. For adult bed bugs, the thermal death point is reported to be 111.2F.” There are additional references to similar temeratures (Usinger, 1966) and in Chapter 8 of the Mallis 9th edition, Handbook of Pest Control.

What happens is that the heat is too much for their system to handle

better? Leave a comment.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

pengurl056 February 18, 2011 at 12:25 am

I would assume that heating the bedbugs would result in the denaturing of the proteins. The proteins would no longer retain their native conformation (normal structure) and this would render them non-functional. Without proteins no DNA is replicated/transcribed/translated and thus the bedbug would eventually die.

This is only one possibility though. The heat could also cause some heat-shock activated proteins to start a signal cascade that results in cell apoptosis. But that is a BIIIIGG guess. I’m not even sure IF that could happen in humans let alone bedbugs. Hope this helps :).


keshar February 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

heat is a good evil. we are warm blooded animals but the more heat means hyperthermal conditions. even humans can die of more heat. One thing you should know is even the hot smoke can burn the human flesh.

so, more heat causes increase in the metabolism initially and then unstable metabolism. this causes the malfunctions and can easily lead to dysfunctions and the death.


Trina February 18, 2011 at 1:39 am

Basically the heat disrupts the cell walls of the bed bug. As the cell walls heat, they because more and more fluid and loose, until finally the rupture in an event called cell lysis. Once a cell bursts like that, it can no longer regulate the amount of water and nutrients in the cell, and the cell dies. When this happens to too many cells, the entire organism, in this case a water bug, dies. Usually the heat is applied long enough that all the cells in the dead bug undergo lysis, and the prolonged exposure to heat causes any liquid in the bed bug to evaporate, leaving behind a dead bed bug devoid of any liquid.

Let me know if you want more details about the exact process. 🙂


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