Can you kill bedbugs with a hair dryer?
The answer is yes… Kind of.
As we learned in our article about using steam cleaners to kill bedbugs, heat is definitely one way that professional exterminators kill bedbugs. That said, they use large industrial-grade heaters to bring up the ambient temperature in the entire space to a level that will kill bedbugs. A regular consumer-grade hair dryer creates substantially less heat. The hair dryer would kill a bedbug after about 30 seconds of direct contact. If you’re going to be standing there for 30 seconds pointing a hair dryer at a single bedbug, you’re never going to get anything done. Plus, the heat from the hair dryer is just going to cause other bedbugs in the vicinity to retreat further into hiding, and they will be harder to kill. It might even blow them away before it kills them.
Is a hair dryer hot enough to kill bed bugs?
Here are the simple facts:
- Bed bugs will die if exposed to 120°F temperatures for 15 minutes or more
- Bed bugs will die if exposed to 118°F temperatures for 20 minutes or more
- Bed bugs will die if exposed to 113°F temperatures for 90 minutes or more
The optimal temperature for killing bedbugs is 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. BUT, it must be maintained for at least 30 seconds of direct contact to ensure that all bed bugs are killed. You won’t kill the bugs that are hiding in the couch or mattress, within the cracks in the floor, inside the walls, in electronics or outlets, between pieces of molding… and the thousands of other tiny crevices in your house. Professional exterminators use large heaters that can raise the temperature in the entire house, and maintain it for a sufficient period of time to kill off all of the bugs. This ensures that a few stragglers don’t survive and end up re-starting the infestation all over again.
Ultimately, while the hair dryer will kill a bedbug, it will never get rid of your bedbug infestation. The hair dryer cannot raise the ambient temperature of the entire room to a high enough level to get all of them. It would simply take too long to kill all of the bedbugs that way, and while you were trying, the other bedbugs are still spreading and breeding. You need to make sure that you kill every single bug so that the problem does not return again in time. The only way that a hair dryer would be effective for bedbugs is if they are in a crack or crevice where they cannot easily escape, and you have the time to point the hair dryer at them for a while. That said, it’s only going to kill the bedbugs that you can easily see and find. There are going to be a lot more hidden bedbugs, and tiny bedbug eggs that you are not going to find as easily.
How do you check for bed bugs with a hair dryer?
Some people have commented that hair dryers are a good way to detect a bed bug infestation. You can use the heat to coax bed bugs out of their hiding spots. Once you have lured them out of hiding, you can make a visual identification and know for sure whether there are bedbugs present.
Instead, some ordinary steam cleaners can be used to kill bedbugs, as those are able to heat a larger area at a time and sustain that temperature. But, they still have to be one part of an overall bed bug extermination strategy to ensure results that last. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend thousands of dollars – we’ve put together a guide to getting rid of bedbugs without an exterminator which explains how to get rid of a bedbug infestation cheaply.
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