Efficacy Of Thermal Remediation For Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Control In Apartmentswith Different Clutter Levels
  Key Words  
  Heat treatment, Cimex lectularius, cold spots
  Katlyn A. Catron, Molly S. Wilson, and Dini M. Miller
  Whole-home thermal remediation for bed bug control was conducted in fourteen apartment units in Lynchburg, Virginia. Apartment units were divided into categories of low, medium, or high levels of clutter to determine if the time to bed bug lethal temperature (55o C), and treatment efficacy were influenced by household clutter level. For each apartment unit, clutter was quantified, and a clutter ratio was determined by dividing the volume of clutter by the volume of apartment space. The Temp-Air Thermal Remediation System was used for all treatments. In preparation for treatment, four heating units and 10 fans were placed in each apartment, and all furniture drawers and closet doors were opened. Remote temperature sensors were placed in hard-to-heat locations. Sentinel adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs were hidden next to sensors. Heaters and fans were turned on, and sensor temperatures were monitored from outside the unit every 15-30 minutes. The average times for sensors to reach the bed bug thermal death point was 2 hours 51 minutes (low clutter); 3 h 4 min (medium clutter); and 3 h 32 min (high clutter ). These times were not significantly different (P > 0.05). It was discovered that even with manipulation of the heaters, fans and belongings, certain locations ("cold spots") never made it up to lethal temperature. In some of these locations, sentinel bed bugs were able to survive treatment. Overall, we concluded that clutter was not a major contributor to the time or efficacy of whole home thermal remediation. Instead the presence of "cold spots" was the greatest challenge to treatment success