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Here’s why a 99.999% success won’t cut it with bed bugs

by Tommy Underhill
July 3, 2021

Way back in October of 2019 I wrote about bed bug sprays that seem to work as advertised... but not as well as the marketing suggests.

For over a year I’ve been spraying bed bug foggers and still get bit. Some times I spray every night. I don’t often see adults, but babies are everywhere. I’m afraid to sleep! Directions on the Hot Shot bottle say I only need to treat every two weeks... why must I every other night?

I have the answer. A 2014 study tested the field efficacy of EcoRaider, a pyrethroid (Hot Shot), and a neonicotinoid mixture spray. After 12 weeks of treating per the label’s directions, both EcoRaider and Hot Shot caused a 93% bed bug count reduction. The third mixture spray didn’t do quite as well.

Back in high school and college, achieving 93% in a class was “good enough”. I got the A! Working to get 93% in all my classes would result in a perfect 4.0. In the world of treating bed bug infestations, anything less than a 100% kill is a total failure, results in reinfestation, and will require a retreatment.

Spoiler alert: GreenTech Heat Solutions has comprehensive electric heaters and packages, the most powerful portable direct fired/propane heaters available, and generator-powered bed bug equipment solutions that keep you in control in the battle against bed bugs and other insects. All our bed bug heater packages include training and Master Heat Technician Certification is included with all our professional-grade packages.

Is a goal of Five Nines good enough?

The Gold Standard in the computer server world is 99.999% uptime. When you can achieve the Five Nines, you have a good server provider. Let’s compute a real-world number to Five Nines: downtime of 0.864 seconds per day or 25.92 seconds per month.

That level of perfection is not good enough when eradicating bed bugs. Let’s take a closer look at the real-world ramifications of achieving less than a 100% kill with any bed bug treatment.

One breeding pair of bed bugs can become 7.7 million bugs in 4 months!

I don’t think there is any question for the need to do all that you can to kill bed bugs the minute you suspect them. A bed bug infestation is a health hazard which can affect your peace of mind when you try to sleep, drive away customers, ruin a hard-earned reputation, and make you uncomfortable in your own office, house, or apartment.

For this example’s sake, let’s assume the bedbug treatment achieved the Five Nines and is 99.999% effective. You celebrate because you eradicated all the bed bugs in your space except for one male and one female.

In the first month after treatment, your one pair of bed bugs will find each other. The male will mate by traumatic insemination. He pierces the female’s abdomen with his aedeagus and injects his sperm through the wound into her abdominal cavity. Soon afterwards, the female begins laying somewhere around 5 eggs per day.

Eggs require about ten days before they hatch. With an adequate supply of food (that means us!), a larva will take one blood meal per week, grow, molt, and will reach sexual maturity somewhere around five weeks after hatching. It’s probable you will not know you have this growing bed bug problem for several weeks to a month or more. Here are a few quick, back-of-the-envelope calculations:

  • Somewhere around day 12 the first eggs begin to hatch.
  • Two weeks after infestation, you have 14 bed bugs. Congratulations!
  • At the end of the first month, your bed bug colony has grown to 80 insects.
  • As the second month ends, your colony has about 3,600 hungry bed bugs.
  • By the end of month three, you can have as many as 172,000 insects. They’ll want to eat about 2 pints of blood per week, if they each got a full blood meal.
  • Month four winds down and an unchecked and well-fed infestation has reached a population of 7.7 million insects spread across the entire life cycle. That many insects can weigh as much as a pound!
  • In a typical week, they’d consume more than 2 gallons (16 pints) of blood. To put this into perspective, the average volume of blood in an adult human male is about 12 pints. A 14-pound baby has about a pint of blood.
  • At the end of month five, the first pair is reaching the end of their lives.
  • At the end of the sixth month, the second generation of 80 bed bugs is reaching the end of their lives. As the infestation grows, the number of end-of-life bed bugs is insignificant compared to the quantity of hatching eggs.
  • As long as there is a food source, bed bugs will continue to eat, mate, and multiply.
  • Bed bugs can ingest seven times their own weight in blood, which would be the equivalent of an average-sized male drinking 120 gallons of liquid.
  • I’ve watched a horde of hungry bed bugs drain all the blood from a baby mouse.

The numbers become scarily staggering. Conducting a bed bug treatment that achieves the Five Nines when there is 7.7 million bed bugs will leave 77 bed bugs to restart the cycle. Any treatment that cannot achieve a 100% kill is guaranteed to provide a reinfestation. GreenTech Heat has a better solution.

The GreenTech Heat 100% Solution

Heat indiscriminately kills everything within the treatment area. When properly conducted, a heat treatment is 100% lethal to all stages of insect life, 100% of the time. Temperature measurements provides an empirical ensurance that every bed bug in the treatment area was exposed to the proper time at a lethal temperature and achieved a 100% kill. No other bed bug treatment methodology can provide this level of surety.

No games or gimmicks. No spray, hope, and pray you got all the bed bugs. GreenTech Heat has the best single-day heat treatment solution for killing bed bugs with heat. So how does GreenTech Heat get you to a 100% kill every time?

  • The best bed bug heat equipment.
  • The best temperature measurement strategies.
  • The best bed bug heat training.

No other company can match the results you will achieve with GreenTech Heat equipment and training.

GreenTech Heat technology is 100% effective for bed bugs, cockroaches, and all other insects. Heat kills microbes, viruses, and bacteria that can cause allergies and odors. GreenTech Heat equipment allows you to self-treat with heat on your schedule and as your needs demand. Our certified training lets you do it right and do it safely the first time. Heat safely kills insects and microbes everywhere they may be found in a single one-day treatment. Call us at 888-699-3944. We have bed bug heaters for sale to get started with heat today.

We do not provide heat treatment services.

GreenTech Heat designs, manufactures, and sells portable electric and propane heaters, fans, and treatment accessories specifically designed for the efficient killing of all insect pests, especially bed bugs and their eggs. In some cases, owning our equipment has a lower total cost and greater timeliness than utilizing an outside service.
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