The Magic Heat Chamber Process

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Heat Chamber Treatments

Heat is a nonchemical option treatment. Excessive heat kills insects by disrupting cellular membranes and denaturing enzymes needed for their survival. It has been shown that heat will kill many types of insect such as, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, wood boring beetles, clothing moths, carpet beetles, etc. The treatment process involves heating all wood, furniture, clothing, artifacts, books, electronics, etc., in the chamber to a minimum of 120F (at the core) and holding this temperature. The benefit of heat treatment is the ability to treat without the use of chemicals and the relatively short period of time (hours instead of days).

At temperatures (of 120F) animal protein within the insect cell becomes irreversibly denatured resulting in death (Strang, 1992). The eradication of insect pests in such a sensitive area requires a method which includes precise control over all the environmental parameters.

Some of the distinct advantages of heat are:

  • A highly effective, proven, non-toxic treatment option
  • Heat kills all the life stages from eggs to adults
  • Heat is non-chemical, non-corrosive and non-residual
  • No extensive sealing is required
  • Heat is environmentally friendly and cost effective
  • Heat reduces the need for pesticide applications
  • Most treatments are completed in one day
  • Death is due to desiccation - Moisture removal critical
  • Personnel can walk through the treated area and inspect the process.
  • Heat works in all weather conditions and reaches places that fumigants cannot, killing all insects.

In the following publication from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources PEST NOTES Publication 7440 Revised September 2002 it states that;

Heat treatment has been used as an effective strategy to manage stored product pests. This effective, safe, and environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals is increasingly becoming popular due to consumers' preference for pesticide-free products, global environmental/regulatory concerns, and increased insect resistance to chemicals. Heat remains an effective alternative to ozone depleting fumigants like methyl bromide (Montreal Protocol, US Clean Air Act) and other fumigants with high GWP (global warming potential).

"Exposure to 120F at 25% RH for 60 minutes kills the entire life cycle of all insects", B. Subramanyam, PhD, Kansas State University

Heat treatment to kills stored product pests (Mueller, 1998; Burks et al., 2000). According to Fields (1992), all insect life stages will be killed if exposed to 43-46C (109-115F) for hours, to 50-60C (122-140F) for minutes, and to over 60C (140F) for seconds.

Time versus Temperature Mortality Studies:

The survival and mortality of adults and life stages of bed bugs was investigated in a controlled environment chamber with a constant rate of temperature increase of 6.5F/h. The temperatures ranged between 86 and 131F, with exposure times of 2 - 120 min. Results: Complete and immediate kill of adult bed bugs occurred when temperatures reached at least 118F. For failed emergence of eggs, complete and immediate kill occurred at 122F. Temperatures in the range of 113 - 122F required a time component, displayed in the table, below:

Temperature Time (Minutes)

113F90 minutes8 hours
118F 2 minutes 90 minutes
122F 0 minutes 0 minutes

Practical implication: A distinct advantage of heat is that unlike chemical treatments, heat can penetrate cracks and crevices and inaccessible areas where bed bugs reside or harbor. To ensure control, it is important to achieve and maintain temperatures above 118F for more than 90 minutes to effectively kill all life stages of bed bugs. In practice, considering the clutter in the treated space and the need to penetrate cracks and crevices, treatment times are much longer, ranging from 6 to 8 hours, and hence 118F would be highly effective.


The Magic Heat Chamber Process

Process of Heat Treatment is a simple three-step process: slowly reaching the core temperature, holding the core temperature, and cooling down. Step one is a controlled warming up of the ambient temperature, usually by 10 degrees per hour to avoid potential problems. The warming-up time is usually four to six hours. Once the temperature reaches 125 to 140F, it is held steady for an additional 4-8 hours. Because insects have an external exoskeleton, they are affected greatly by moisture and temperature. Extensive research has shown that insects (adults, larvae, and eggs) will die if exposed to low humidity and temperatures in excess of 120 degrees F. After reaching the core temperature (120F), the ambient temperature is allowed to cool down back to its original condition. The entire process can take as little as 12 hours.

Magic's heat treatment involves raising the internal temperature of the chamber between 120-158F and circulating the air to form convection. The process allows the core temperature to reach the necessary 120. All of the treatment will be monitored using data loggers and computers. This will help evaluate each treatment and maintain consistency throughout the entire process.

Using only heat and air circulation (convection), sound biological principles, Magic's heat chamber will eradicate damage-causing insect pests, such as bed bugs, wood destroying insects, clothing moths and carpet beetle etc., from a wide spectrum of materials, including wood, paper, textiles, leather, fur and natural specimens, in objects ranging from artwork and furniture to rugs, tapestries and garments.


Materials that can be heated

According to textile experts at the Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute (Laurel, MD), most garments designed as 'dry-clean only' (e.g., cotton, woo, silk, linen, rayon, nylon, poly blends) will not be harmed provided they are dry before being placed in the (heat chamber) at moderate (less than 160F) settings. While dry cleaning procedures also kill bed bugs, there is risk of infesting the establishment when buggy items are de-bagged, tagged, and sorted.

The treatment and restoration of rare and valuable objects, in a sensitive and non invasive way, is a priority for anyone concerned with conservation. Insect pests account for much loss and damage every year and are partly responsible for the slow erosion of our cultural heritage (Pinniger, 1994).

Clothing, luggage, furniture, artifacts, etc, all can be placed in the heat chamber and treated. In many cases the heat chamber treatment will sanitize the items. Heat Chamber treatment is an alternative to traditional treatment methods and very effective. We here at Magic Pest Management LLC will service the New York City and Long Island Area.

Advantages of using Magic's heat chamber

1. Quick turnaround time! In general drop off one day pick up the next.

2. Do not discard you belongings. You do not have to discard or throw out belongings / possessions in many cases.**

3. Save money eliminate expensive dry cleaning bills.

4. Pesticide free treatment.

5. No concerns of pesticide resistance.

6. Only one treatment required.

** Inquire about specific items that can be treated.