There is no question in our minds–the best bed bug remedy available today is heat. High temperatures kill bed bugs and their eggs in one treatment without any pesticide or chemical residue. But what did people do before heat? And what kinds of things do people try when they get panicky?

Here’s what they thought in 1850:

Miss Leslie's bed bug remedies

By 1916, they were being a bit more scientific and probably had more success, but the poisonous gas they pumped into their homes was pretty horrific:

“Undoubtedly the most efficient remedy for the bedbug is to fumigate the infested house or rooms with hydrocyanic-acid gas. This gas will penetrate into every crevice in the house or room where the bedbugs conceal themselves and has an immediate effectiveness which gives it an important recommendation, especially when the infestation is considerable or of long standing….The fumes of burning sulphur are also a very efficient means of control where the conditions are such that this method can be used…There is, however, a considerable risk of injury to household fabrics, furnishings and wall papers from the strong bleaching quality of sulphur fumes.” The Bedbug by C.L. Marlatt

So you could either flood your home with cyanide–nice!–or ruin all your personal belongings. Hmm…

Heat still sounds better.

How about nowadays? What are people trying on their own? We’ve read about people who have been sickened by using pesticides on themselves or on their bedclothes, which is very dangerous. But last week a family in Ohio decided to take their bed bug infestation DIY pretty far.

They set their living room on fire.

Heat treatment is the fastest and healthiest remedy for bed bugs available, but it is not a DIY undertaking. Trying to heat up your living room to 130 degrees with space heaters is not going to work and it is unsafe. If you have a bed bug infestation in your home, call a professional!

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