Thermal Strike Support and FAQ

General Questions
HELP!!! I’m traveling and have found bed bugs – what should I do???

Staying in a place that has bed bugs can quickly turn a dream vacation into a nightmare, but the main thing to focus on would be is not bringing them home. 

Early containment is critical to protect yourself from releasing these unwanted pests into your home.  Researchers at Cornell University in New York have this to say, “It’s unlikely that a bed bug would travel on you or the clothes you are wearing.  You move too much to be a good hiding place.”  When you’re traveling, bed bugs can easily stow away inside or along the seams of your luggage or backpacks.
Although bed bugs themselves are visible, inspection of your luggage isn’t going to be effective as bed bugs can lay small eggs or hide themselves away in crevasses.  Most chemicals and sprays require direct contact with the bugs and are ineffective to destroying eggs.  This is where heat has the clear advantage as it penetrates throughout the luggage and is effective on both bed bugs and their eggs.
Don’t wait until you get home to figure out the next step.  ThermalStrike Ranger and Expedition provide solutions for heat treating suitcases and bags without needing to unpack them.  Both of these products can be shipped overnight from Amazon’s warehouse centers across the country so that you have the solution waiting. 


Most items like clothing, books, and shoes will be just fine with a heat treatment, but review our list of items that might be sensitive to heat – such as medicines, cosmetics, or expensive electronics that might need extra care.  Sensitive items can be wiped down with an alcohol wipe and set aside.  The rest of the items can be left inside the suitcase and placed inside of our heat treatment products.

Can plastic bags be used during heat treatment?

Yes.  Regular garbage bags or Ziplocks work great.

Containment is the first step towards getting a bed bug infestation under control and regular garbage bags or ziplocks are often used to quarantine items for heat treatment.  If you have items bagged up, it is best to keep them bagged not only before the heat treatment, but also afterwards to prevent the items from getting exposed to another round of bed bugs.
 

I left my suitcase outside in the freezing cold – did this kill the bugs?

No - Even in the coldest climates, bed bugs can go into a dormant state and survive for up to 30 days.  Heat has a much different effect as temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit will begin to break down the bugs protective skin layers as well as the biological proteins necessary for life.  Higher temperatures accelerate this process and one minute at 120 degrees is the lethal temperature to ensure 100% extermination of the pests and their eggs.

How Hot are ThermalStrike Products?

To get a better understanding we needed to pull in our engineer, Mike Lindsey.
“Designing a heating system is a balance of making a product that is effective, quick enough, and safe.  The temperatures inside of the ThermalStrike systems aren’t much hotter than you might experience from a car parked in the sun.  A primary difference is, of course, we bring that heat in on all sides for an extended period of time so that all items can come up to the lethal temperatures.  ThermalStrike products focus on fully surrounding the items being treated with uniform heating around 150 - 160 degrees.  This is similar to most commercial dryer cycles and high enough to penetrate through all the items, but is cool enough to protect both the user and their items.”
 

How Dangerous Are Bed Bugs?

Finding bed bugs is more often a mental fatigue from either the lack of sleep, embarrassment as bites become more visible, or the financial stress of having to deal with the growing issue.
Bed Bugs have not been proven to spread disease and some may not even show signs of a being bitten.  Most people, however, will break out with a visible and sometimes itchy bite.  As an infestation begins, this may result in only a few bites over the course of a month.  If left untreated, however, this number will begin to grow exponentially as the bugs continue to breed.


Bed Bugs have not been proven to spread disease and some may not even show signs of a being bitten.  Most people, however, will break out with a visable and sometimes itchy bite.  As an infestation begins, this may result in only a few bites over the course of a month.  If left untreated, however, this number will begin to grow expanentially. 

Can I use heat treatment to kill other insects?

At ThermalStrike, our priority has been treating bed bugs. So far, we have only tested our heat containers to be 100% effective against adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs.

However, we have received numerous reports from our customers of ThermalStrike products being used successfully against other types of pests, such as furniture beetles. We cannot guarantee the success of our heating units against pests other than bed bugs, but in theory, our units are more than capable of reaching the thermal death points of multiple pests and harmful organisms.

For reference, we have listed some thermal death points here

Is it possible to have my order shipped in a discrete box?

Yes. They already are shipped with discretion in mind.

Our products ship in regular, nondescript brown cardboard boxes. You should only find the following labels:

  • Shipping Label - which won't identify the contents
  • ThermalStrike Sticker - About 2"x2", and reads "ThermalStrike Heated Technology"

Rest assured! There is no mention of bed bugs.

What's so special about 120°F?

There have been numerous laboratory studies on temperatures and the associated treatment times required to kill bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) Among them are:

• 60 minutes at 113F (Getty 2006; Gulmahamad 2002)

• 7 minutes at 115F (Usinger 1966, Gulmahamad 2002, Quarles 2007)

The US EPA recommends a minimum of 120F, as do many US pest management professionals. This is why we mention that our luggage reaches over 120F core temperature. The maximum temperatures achieve by our luggage can be up to 160F. On our website, we therefore give a temperature range of 120-160F, to indicate that we easily meet the government recommended treatment temperature.

Heat treatment exterminators will always operate well above 120F to reduce the chance of low temperature spots. This is especially important when attempting to raise the temperature of an entire residence, since the area is large, and may be irregularly shaped. Heat treatment exterminators also depend on air circulation to disperse the heat.

Why are there different time settings?

Think of ThermalStrike heating units like ovens. The length of time will depend on the item(s) you are trying to heat. For example, a bunch of densely packed books will take longer than loosely packed clothing, and work boots will take longer than running shoes. Because everyone’s “ingredients” are incredibly different, we can’t really give a set treatment time.

Under recommended use, the 8-hour setting should be more than sufficient, but we have lower duration settings if you are confident that you are reaching the right internal temperatures (above 120F) with your mix of belongings. Because of everyone’s packing is so different, we tend to leave this choice up to the user.

Expedition
I can't find the manual for my ThermalStrike Expedition.

Don't worry! We have a digital copy available for download and printing. Click here.

Ranger
Will Bed Bugs escape through the zipper during treatment?

No, Bed Bugs will not escape through the zipper during treatment.

When exposed to heat, bed bugs will move away from a heat source and actually go deeper within the items under treatment.  The walls will reach temperatures of up to 160F.  Bed bugs will move away from the heated edges, and any attempts at crawling up the walls would eliminate the bugs instantly.

As part of our testing, we’ve released vials of bed bugs with a washcloth onto platforms at different heights, starting the unit from room temperature and an open lid.  The released bugs will initially seek harborage either under the vial or within the wash cloth. The lid would then be shut with wires and cameras going into the product via where the zippers come together. We would then start the heat treatment. In all scenarios, the bugs would not leave the wash cloth.

Luggage
Will Bed Bugs escape through the zipper during treatment?

No, Bed Bugs will not escape through the zipper during treatment.

When exposed to heat, bed bugs will move away from a heat source and actually go deeper within the items under treatment.  The walls will reach temperatures of up to 160F.  Bed bugs will move away from the heated edges, and any attempts at crawling up the walls would eliminate the bugs instantly.

As part of our testing, we’ve released vials of bed bugs with a washcloth onto platforms at different heights, starting the unit from room temperature and an open lid.  The released bugs will initially seek harborage either under the vial or within the wash cloth. The lid would then be shut with wires and cameras going into the product via where the zippers come together. We would then start the heat treatment. In all scenarios, the bugs would not leave the wash cloth.

Accessories & Bedding Protection
Help, my thermometer is stuck at "HHH"?

If the thermometer is stuck at “HHH”, it is usually because the batteries are low.

The thermometer uses 2 button batteries, common type LR44. We’ve listed the equivalent battery types by manufacturer here.