Friday, May 30, 2014
No, my place is not infested with them. As summer approaches it’s the main travel season in Qatar so there is a likelihood that during your travels in Europe or wherever you could pick up unwanted hitchhikers – bedbugs.
I'm always concerned when I travel about staying somewhere with bedbugs, whenever I get an insect bite I'm always thinking in the back of my mind “was this bedbugs?” (in truth I believe it’s always been mosquitoes but I get a bit concerned nonetheless).
While most people grumble about the temperatures in Doha it does provide an excellent way to deal with bedbugs without having to use pesticides or other chemicals.
Insects tend to have very specific tolerances to heat and their “thermal death point”, the point at which the insects will die, varies from species to species but is pretty exact – below that temperature they live, above it they die.
According to this entomology website the thermal death point for bedbugs is:
45 degrees celsius for 90 minutes to kill adults and nymphs
48 degrees celsius for 20 minutes to kill adults and nymphs (90 minutes for eggs)
49 degrees celsius will kill all bedbugs quickly.
I’ve actually seen lower numbers elsewhere (43-46) but "better safe than sorry" so let's go with the higher numbers.
So ensure that no bedbugs will infest your home after you travel by taking advantage of the Doha summer:
1) After returning to Doha, don't put your luggage into the house. Remove any perishable items such as medicines and cosmetics and leave the luggage in the car (or if you took a taxi take the luggage to your car and put it in the trunk). Electronic equipment will usually be fine but if you're worried about laptops being exposed to heat then check them for bugs and then bring them inside. I usually leave my electronics in the luggage but I've never had a laptop with me so I'm not sure about their heat tolerance.
2) Immediately after entering your apartment remove all of your clothing and either run it through the washing machine (making sure to dry them on high heat, it will be more than 49°) or put your clothing in a plastic bag and put it with your luggage in the car. Shoes too.
3) Leave your car out for the day in the sun with the windows rolled up. As you know cars heat up more than the outside air temperature so the car will easily go above 45°. Feel free to use the car for errands and things but try to leave it parked outside in the sun.
4) In the evening retrieve your things from the car, if there were any bedbugs they will all have been killed.
Simply washing all the clothes in the luggage isn’t enough, if bedbugs have hitched a ride they could be hiding in the seams or fabric of the luggage itself so make sure that the luggage as heated as well by leaving it in the car.
I do this trick whenever I travel from the late-spring to early autumn even if I didn't see any signs of bedbugs during my travels, just in case.