BedBug Poison


Bedbug poison comes in multiple forms. This page describes some of the latest and most popular treatment options. Bedbug poisons usually take 5 different  forms including:  sprays, dusts, liquids, fumigation or silica gel products.

It goes without saying that pesticides are poisonous.  Follow the manufacturers directions carefully and keep out of the reach of pets and children.

All of the products listed will kill bed bugs on contact and act as a bed bug poison.  Differences come down to how they are applied, chemical vs. natural and the types of surfaces that are safe for treatment. 

Our simple recommendation is that if you are a home owner, consider purchasing Sterifab spray (pump spray) or Bedlam (aerosol)  to treat the mattress and box spring and cracks/crevice. If you'd like a spray just for cracks and crevices,  use  Phantom since it has a longer residual effect. 

 After treatment, spread bed bug dust in cracks and crevices and inside the box spring for a long residual effect. Be sure to seal both the box spring and mattress in a zippered cover after it dries from the spray.

Details on each type of bedbug poison is provided below:

BedBug Poison: Sprays

Sprays come in aerosol or pump, and are either comprised of insecticides or natural enzyme or plant extract formulations.  Sprays are also differentiated by any residual or lasting effect they have after they are applied.  

BedBug Spray Recommendations:

Mattress/General Use: If you are looking for a good general purpose Bed Bug spray or bed bug poison, and you need to treat the mattress, bed frame, around furniture as well as cracks, crevices etc., then Sterifab (pump spray) and Bedlam (aerosol)  are  good choices.  Both are rated mattress safe, and  will kill bed bug eggs.  Preference is more based on whether or not you prefer a pump or aerosol spray.  These use pyrethroidsphenothrin/ as the active ingredient.

Both products have up to a 10 day residual effect, so treatment should be combined with other longer term products such as Phantom (see below) or the use of a bed bug dust.

Cracks and Crevice: It would be helpful to also purchase a spray such as Phantom for cracks and crevices.   It has a long residual effect, so the treatment will help to kill any bed bugs or late hatching nymphs (baby bed bugs) that you might have missed.  This is a very effective product and is somewhat new to the market.  It also is undetectable to the bed bugs, so they will talk through it, making it lethal to the bed bugs.  The active ingredient in Phantom bed bug spray is Pyrrole - Chlorfenapyr.

Organic or Natural Bed Bug Spray:  If you prefer to use natural or organic products, there are a few effective spray choices.  These products use plant extracts as a bedbug poison (Bed Bug Patrol),  or enzymes (Kleen Free) to kill bed bugs.  These products are effective on contact, but do not have a residual effect.  if you have children or pets that are frequently in the room, these products are worth considering.   No matter which product you use, make sure the sprays dry before children, pets enter the room.

 If you use a natural product,  consider a spray to be only part of the treatment since they don't have a residual or long lasting effect.  They "knock down" or kill bed bugs when the spray comes in contact with the bed bug itself.  It should be used with a bed bug dust (described below), vacuuming, and washing all linen in hot water, and the use of a hand steamer (also explained below).

BedBug Poison: Dusts to Kill Bed Bugs and Silica Gels

Dust and gel (which are ground into dust) work by attaching to bed bugs as they crawl through the dust.  The dust clings to the bed bug, breaking through the outer layer of the insect, which in turn causes death.  Dusts and gels are used after spray, heat, vacuuming and other treatments as a last layer of defense.  It is perfect for spreading around electrical outlets (since it is dry), along baseboards, inside box springs etc.

Bed bug dust is a natural products that also goes by the name of diatomaceous earth.  It is relatively low cost and can be bought online from companies such as Dermisil for Bed Bugs for a relatively low price (under $25 per16 oz bag).  New construction in cities where bed bugs are a problem as New York are now using bed bug dust products inside walls as a preventative in anticipation of the insects moving from apartment to apartment.  

A silica based product which is also referred to as Drione dust has similar properties and is available in a product call Pyganic dust.

BedBug Poison: Insect Growth Regulator (IGR)

An insect growth regulator (IGR) interrupts the life cycle of the bed bug by making them sterile so that they can't reproduce.  Since it doesn't kill on contact, but works to reduce the size of the bed bug population over time, it is often used in combination with other products.  One well known brand of bed bug IGR is Gentrol.

Micro Encapsulated BedBug Poison Products

Another class of products are referred to as being micro-encapsulated or concetrated.  These include Onslaught® (esfenvalerate),  Demand CS (lamba-cyhalothrin, pyrethroid), and a suspended concentrate (liquid), Suspend SC (deltamethrin).  All of these products have a lasting residual effect and are best used in cracks/crevices.  They are all professional grade products and may not be available to home owners in certain places, depending on local law.

In general, these types of products are sold in a concentrated form, are then mixed with water and sprayed in cracks/crevices (not mattress safe).  Here are some specifics:  They are all used for a variety of insects, including bed bugs ,and have indoor and outdoor use (see labels).  Most can also be mixed with an IGR or insect growth regulator for added impact.

DemandCS: A general surface (non food, mattress), crack and crevice or spot treatment which can be used in 21 day intervals if necessary indoors.  It can also be used outdoors around the perimeter of buildings.  It can be applied with a paintbrush or as a spray.  The product can also be mixed with Archer IGR (insect growth regulator).

SuspendSC: This product when used according the manufacturers instructions can be used throughout the home (not on mattress).   it is a concentrate which is then mixed with water.  It is applied via a spray tank.  It is used as a general service and crack and crevice spray.

Onslaught: This product uses what is known as a controlled release technology to provide a long lasting residual effect.

BedBug Poison: Fumigation

Bed bug fumigation using insecticides  is often used when an entire building is infested and the treatment of individual apartments is impractical.  While this can be an effective approach, it requires the evacuation of a building for a period of time.  It is not preferred since it is the use of a chemical on every surface in the apartment.  Applications also do not have a residual effect.

As an alternative to bedbug poison, forced air heaters are often used, an option which is available from professional exterminators that are part of the Temp Air system.  This involves a company bringing in large forced air heaters, which super heats the apartment or building to the required temperature.  Bed bugs and their eggs are killed at 113 degrees F.  The Temp Air system heats beyond this point so that the proper temperature is reached in each place that a bed bug might be hiding.

The target temperature, which is 120 degrees in all parts of the building (to ensure 113 is reached), must be maintained for at least 2 hours.

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