Two types of sprays are needed to effectively kill bed bugs along with bed bug dust. The lowest cost way to do this is to buy a kit with all of the products you need. If you were to buy only two sprays we recommend Sterifab (pump spray) or Bedlam (aerosol) for its' immediate killing action combined with the residual longer lasting effect of Phantom spray. These sprays have been tested against insecticide resistant bed bugs.
If you are going to buy only one spray in a local store or from Amazon we recommend:
- Home Depot: Harris Egg Kill and Resistant Bed Bug Spray or kit (only buy black labeled products, do not buy other Harris products)
- Amazon: Ortho Home Defense Dual Action Bed Bug Killer
- Wal-Mart: Raid Max Bed Bug & Flea Killer
What You Absolutely Need
What you absolutely need:
- Knock down spray to kill bed bugs and eggs on contact
- Residual spray to kill any bed bugs you might have missed
- Bed Bug Powder which is a natural product that will kill any bed bugs that come in contact with the powder.
What else you need:
- Vacuum to reduce the size of the bed bug population
What Else You May Want:
- Hand steamer that will heat surfaces to the required 113F that will kill bed bugs and eggs
- Mattress, box spring and pillow covers. These will trap any bed bugs that you may have missed during treatment. It is not necessary to throw out a mattress that is in good condition.
Where to buy
We recommend buying a kit online from Bed Bug Supply. Kits will save you money and include all of the products mentioned. The company can also provide valuable advice as you attack the problem.
Bedbug spray comes in both an aerosol and pump spray. There
are also several types of ingredients including chemical and natural
Sprays are used directly on bedbugs, bed bug eggs and in cracks
and crevices. All of the options listed below are good
choices for killing bedbugs, with the biggest decision to go with an
insecticide or non-chemical option.
It is a good idea to remove all food, pets and children from areas that are going to be treated. Use bed bug sprays in well ventilated rooms. Be sure objects dry completely before using mattress or box spring covers to avoid mold. Cracking the window a bit could help the drying process.
When treating a room, sprays should be considered to be only one part of the treatment plan. Other helpful products include a vacuum, hand steamer to kill eggs, a bed bug dust product (DE) (to kill bed bugs that hatch from eggs that were missed) and mattress/box spring covers. See our step by step guide to how to get rid of bed bugs.
Be aware that in some cases, bed
bugs might show resistance to the active ingredient in the spray
purchased. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use a spray, but also be
sure to use some of the other approaches mentioned along with the
spray such as bed bug dust, vacuuming and steam.
The best advice is to assume that a bed bug is hiding in every crack, crevice and electronic device located in the room being treated. Armed with your vacuum, spray, dust product (for residual killing effect), hand steamer (heat kills bugs and eggs) and some knowledge, and effort, you can treat a bed bug infestation yourself.
When traveling, the goal is to prevent bed bugs from hitching a ride in or on your luggage. To prevent this from happening we recommend:
- Use a bed bug travel spray product like Bed Bug Control on luggage before leaving home. The bottle has an easy to apply sprayer. It's small size also makes it very portable. To use Bed Bug Control, lightly spray it on the outside of your luggage, especially along the zipper. Even if your hotel or cruise line is not infested, luggage can be in contact with other pieces of infested luggage.
- Inspect all hotel rooms before unpacking luggage. Check the corners of any mattress for stains. If the mattress (remove sheets and coverings from one corner) is 100% clean, probably no bed bugs. If you see stains, call the manager and request a room inspection or change rooms.
- Keep luggage zippered at all times. Keep luggage off the floor and away from walls.
cost of treatment
There are advantages to hiring a bed bug pest control expert since they already have the knowledge, know where to look and may have access to products that consumer cannot buy or afford. The big difference of course is cost with an exterminator costing $750+ and a home treatment kit costing approximately $160. If you are just buying a bedbug spray, this of course will be substantially less.
considerations when buying a spray
Sprays will vary based on some of the following factors.
- Safe or not safe on mattresses
- How long the spray "field" will kill any bed bugs you may have missed (the residual effect)
- Pet and Child Safety (don't allow into room until after sprays dry)
- Effectiveness at killing eggs
- Labeled for indoor use
Sprays are usually formulated at .03% to .5% concentration of insecticide to water. The sprays are applied to areas where bed bugs are hiding. If the bed bugs or eggs are sprayed, they are killed on contact. Many sprays leave behind a residue which is supposed to kill the insects when they walk through it. Studies show that residual fields are not that effective unless applied in areas where the bed bugs are hiding and sitting on the residue.
Mattress Safe Sprays
Mattress or Fabric Safe bedbug spray products (all brands listed below state that they are approved for use on mattresses):
- Chemical Pesticides (both types are good choices and are effective against insecticide resistant insects, an important factor when treating bed bugs in the Northeastern United States)
- Pyrethroid - Phenothrin (Brands: Bedlam, Sterifab)
- Pyrrole - Chlorfenapyr (Brands: Phantom)
- Natural, Organic and Non Pesticide Bed Bug Sprays
- Plant Extracts (Brands: Bug Patrol)
Products that are not mattress safe
These products are not mattress safe and should only be used according to the manufacturers directions.
- Talstar one
Recommended Bed bug sprays and reviews
Any of these bedbug spray products are good choices for killing bed
bugs. If purchasing an aerosol, a thin straw that fits into the sprayer
can help get insecticide into tight cracks and crevices. Recommended products have been tested to kill insecticide resistant insects.
Insecticide bedbug sprays
Phantom Spray for bed bugs (Recommended)
Many bed bug experts recommend Phantom for bed bugs. It is also a good choice if you have other insect problems as noted below.
This bedbug spray cannot be detected by bed bugs, so that when the insects move into sprayed areas, they will be killed. Only a small amount of the product needs to be applied. Phantom aerosol spray will also kill other insects such as Ants, Beetles, Spiders, House Crickets and Flies, Spiders and Termites.
Phantom spray should be used in cracks, hiding places and especially the box spring./ Also, be sure to look under the mattress label, a common hiding place for bedbugs.
Precautions: Use in a well ventilated area. Do not smoke when spraying. It is safe to use on mattress seams, folds and edges, the places where a bed bug is likely to hide. Be sure to read the entire label in terms of how to apply.
bedlam bed bug Spray
Bedlam is also an aerosol. It is a good choice for treating the mattress and box spring. This product is pet safe (of course don't spray it on your pet and make sure it dries before pet enters the room).
Bedlam is water-based and non-irritating, and so it can used to spot treat bedding and mattresses when controlling bed bugs. In addition, the product will not stain water-safe fabrics and surfaces. Bedlam is labeled for use in homes, apartments, schools, hotels and healthcare facilities.
Bedlam bedbug spray can be applied to carpet, around baseboards, floorboards, bed frames, wall hangings, headboards, furniture, door and window frames, mill work and walls. It is also safe for mattresses, box springs, walls, furniture, bedding, floor and floor coverings, rugs, garments, luggage, closets, drapes and other window appointments.
Belman bedbug spray claims to have a lasting effect in areas sprayed for 2 to 4 weeks. The product is also effective on bedbug eggs.
Sterifab pump spray
Sterifab is a knock down spray that kills eggs and insects on contact. It is a good non-toxic choice for those who are concerned
about using a stronger insecticide, particularly for treating the
mattress. The product uses alcohol as a base and is regarded by the EPA
as being Generally Regarded as Safe.
Sterifab is water based and is safe to use on fabric and bedding surfaces. It can also be used on furniture, carpets, recreational vehicles and most inanimate surfaces. STERI-FAB is a bactericide, sanitizes, fungicide, mildewcide, insecticide, deodorant, germicide, viricide, and disinfectant.
Sterifab has no residual effect after the spray dries. It kills bed bugs on contact only.
bed bug sprays at Amazon
Ortho Home defense dual-action bed bug killer
Many of our readers ask which bed bug spray to purchase at Amazon. We recommend Ortho Home Defense Dual Action Bed Bug Killer since it has been tested to kill pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs.
- Works for 2 weeks after spraying
- Safe for mattress seams
- Works on carpet and furniture
- Non-staining for water safe fabrics (test in an inconspicuous area first for all sprays)
- Good for treating the outside of luggage after traveling (spot treatment or in cracks and crevices only)
Active ingredients are:
- 0% 3-phenoxybenzyl-(1RS, 3RS, 1RS, 3SR)-2
- 2-dimethyl-3-(2-methylprop-1-enyl) Cyclopropanecarboxylate
- 1.00% n-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide
- 0.05% Imidacloprid
-bed bug sprays at wal-mart
If shopping at Wal-Mart for a bed bug spray we recommend purchasing Raid Max Bed Bug & Flea Killer (click to arrange for in-store pickup or to order online.) The spray has similar ingredients to Bedlam, one of our recommended products. While we do not have specific test results on the product we can expect it to perform well based on the active ingredients.
- Kills on contact
- Indoor use only
- Vacate room and ventilate after treatment
- Apply as a spot treatment
- Mattress and box spring safe
Ingredients: 3-phenoxybenzyl-(1RS,3RS,1RS,3SR)-2,2-dimethyl-3-(2-methylprop-1-enyl) cyclopropanecarboxylate (0.40%), N-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide (1.53%), Other ingredients (98.07%)
Organic bed bug sprays
Bug Patrol is a natural pump spray that uses significant
concentrations of plant extracts to kill bed bugs. It will kill bed
bugs on contact and as a natural product is safe to use. If you are
looking for a spray to use on live bed bugs, this is a good choice.
Ingredients not recommended
Insecticides that use pyrethroids are not very effective. Bed bugs are highly resistant to these products. Pyrethroids include:
- Bifenthrin (Wondering if Talstar kills bed bugs? Talstar bed bugs insecticide is manufactured by FMC. In seeking a better performing bed bug product they developed Transport. Talstar will likely work as a direct contact treatment and provide some degree of residual activity. However, it is not a current leading choice of exterminators.)
- Cyfluthrin (Bayer Advance from Home Depot)
- Deltamethrin (active ingredient in JT Eaton Bed Bug Spray - Kills BedBugs II, Harris Bed Bug Killer, Suspend CS)
- Prallethrin (active ingredient in Hot Shot)
- Sumithrin (d-phenothrin)
- Other products ending in ‘thrin’
Brands not recommended
- Hot Shot (active ingredient is prallethrin)
- All bed bug foggers, all brands (foggers cause bed bugs to move into the walls)
- Harris Yellow Label
Registered for control of bed bugs on surfaces other than mattresses
- lambda-cyhalothrin (brand Demand CS)
- propoxur (crack and crevices only, bed bugs not on label)
- (s)-hydroprene (Gentrol Insect Growth Regulator)
Insecticides registered for control of Bed Bugs on Mattresses
- silica aerogel dust + pyrethroid
- ground limestone
insect growth regulators
Products called insect growth regulators stops a nymph from growing into an adult that can reproduce. The main ingredient in these products is hydropene, which comes as an aerosol or liquid.
Studies show that these products do not work well. They will kill some insects, however others will survive.
This free brochure provides additional information on bedbug sprays.
Questions and answers
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