Bedbugs and Bureaucrats

by Sam Kazman on June 16, 2011

in Blog, Features

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Bedbugs are finding their way from more and more hotels into more and more homes.  One way to get rid of them is to wash infested bedding and clothes in hot water.  Hot means at least 118 degrees F; a warm water wash of  only 104 degrees will kill only ten percent of the critters.

An extended bout of high-temperature drying is also recommended.

But with laundry machines and dryers coming under increasingly stringent federal energy efficiency regulations, sufficiently hot wash and dry cycles are becoming a thing of the past.  Many new washers have thermostatically controlled mixing valves, which adjust wash water temperatures to levels set by the manufacturer.  That high-tech feature isn’t aimed at satisfying market demand, but at meeting either the efficiency regs or the criteria for special manufacturer tax credits (yet another program to boost energy efficiency at all costs).

Since hot water accounts for most of the energy used in laundering, these programs all aim at restricting it.  Could there be a bedbug lobby at work here?

As for dryers, many new models have “eco-cycles” that run at lower temperatures.  Whether you can still get a sufficiently hot drying cycle will depend on the particular model.  As they say, results may vary.

And so while politicians satisfy their itch to control, we’re left scratching ourselves.  Call it an eco-rash.

My thanks to New York landscape designer Cynthia Gillis for raising this problem.

caninelillie June 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm

See my “bed bug dog Lillie” finding bed bugs on YouTube

Frank Como June 17, 2011 at 9:25 am

Frank, the BedBugChaser here, you may want to Google “Alarming combo: Bedbugs with ‘superbug’ germ found” this story is scary, isn’t it? Also, Avtron just finished our latest and greatest weapon in the war on BedBugs, go to to see the what the future holds for the BedBug. This system will also eliminate STINK BUGS!!

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