How to Choose a Bed Bug Killer
Natural, chemical and mechanical bed bug killer options include
insecticide based and natural options.
Mechanical methods are also used
including steam, freezing sprays and vacuuming. Do it yourself
approaches require the use of multiple products to kill bedbugs.
Professional heat based and carbon dioxide spray approaches can be
used without the use of chemical methods.
There are many available methods available for killing bed
bugs. The available bed bug treatment methods are described below. To
begin, this is a great video from ABC News on types and bed bug
Hiring a Professional Bed Bug Exterminator:
Professionals have tools and bed bug products at their
disposal that are not available to homeowners due to regulations and
the cost of the treatment method. Because each exterminator has
different levels of experience and the cost of extermination can be
$750 or more, it pays to contact several companies.
We suggest starting with Home Advisor (1.888.214.8380)
since they offer up to 4 free quotes.
Compare the quote received with firms you find on our
bed bug exterminator database.
- Bed Bug Killer Methods used by bed bug exterminators
Bed bugs are killed at 113F. Heaters are brought into a
structure and superheat individual rooms or the entire building to the
required temperature. This method is 100% effective, but
expensive. No chemicals are used and all items are treated.
The downside of this approach is the high expense. Thermal
remediation bed bug heat treatment can cost from $2,000 to
$6,000, while chemical bed bug treatment processes can run anywhere
from $1,300 to $5,000.
Spray: Bed bugs and bed bug eggs are literally frozen
using a carbon dioxide freezing spray. This approach is
effective and can even treat electronics, a problem area for
insecticide based approaches.
- Bed Bug
Insecticides: Exterminators will use a combination of
knock down products, which act as a bed bug killer on contact, and a
residual spray that provides several weeks of protection. Many of the
most effective bed bug insecticides can be purchased on line from
companies such as Bed
Methods: You can see bed bugs with the naked eye. A vacuum
crevice tool can be used to suck them into the vacuum. The
problem is that bed bug eggs cannot be removed with this method.
Steam will kill both bed bugs and bed bug eggs.
- Bed Bug Dogs:
Bed bug sniffing dogs can be trained to search for and identify bed bug
hiding places. Be sure to accompany the dog/exterminator for
visual proof that the bed bug problem exists. The use of a
dog can be expensive with many exterminators charging several hundred
dollars for an inspection using a dog. Studies show that bed bug
sniffing dogs are 98% accurate.
Before hiring anyone, ask about their specific experience and
the aforementioned approaches are used to kill bedbugs.
Become a Do It Yourself Bed Bug Killer
It is possible to treat bed bugs at home, however it takes
persistence and the correct mix of products. We always
recommend hiring an experienced exterminator, however we understand
that not everyone can afford the fees. The following is a step by step
guide go becoming a bed bug killer yourself.
Bed Bug Products You'll Need to Do the Job Right:
- Bed Bug Sprays:
Here you have a choice of insecticide based sprays and natural spray
products. In terms of insecticide based sprays we suggest Sterifab
as a mattress safe knock down spray (kills bed bugs and bed bug eggs on
contact). A good natural alternative that is also mattress safe and
that will kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact is Bed
In addition to a knock down spray, it is also recommend for those using
an insecticide based approach to use a residual spray as well. These
sprays interfere with the lifecycle of the bed bug. They take
a few days to work, but provide protection for several weeks.
For this purpose we recommend using
Phantom Spray. New York residents should use Bedlam
instead (Phantom not available in New York).
When using sprays, test to make sure they don't stain objects being
- Bed Bug Dust:
A bed bug dust is a natural product that is made out of ground fossils.
It is also called fossil
dust or diamtomaceous
earth. It is applied at the end of the treatment. When bed
bugs cross through a thin layer of dust, it sticks to their exterior
and eventually acts as a bed bug killer.
- Mattress and
Box Spring Covers: Mattress
and box spring covers need to specifically labeled as
protecting against bed bugs. They are applied after the
mattress and box spring are treated with a knock down spray and trap
any bed bugs and bed bug eggs that might have been missed.
Since over 50% of bed bugs hide in or around the bed, this
step is critical.
Bed Bug Killer
Money Savings Tip: To save money, bed bug products can be
purchased as part of a bed
bug kit which have every type of bed bug killer product
needed to do a thorough job.
Step by Step Bed Bug Killer Instructions
- Set aside a safe area where you can place items that have
been treated. This can be a hallway or bathroom just off the
room being treated.
- Treat the baseboards of the room, first with the knock down
spray such as Sterifab,
followed by a residual spray such as Phantom.
Spray Baseboards with a Knock
Residual Spray. Spray cans come with a thin straw that
the top of the spray. Bedlam spray pictured here. Test to
make sure it doesn't stain the carpet. Use Bug
Patrol as Natural Alternative Bed Bug Spray.
- Start by folding the linen on the bed. Place into
a plastic container, plastic bag, or better yet Ziploc
Big Bag, to avoid carrying bed bugs to the washing machine.
Wash in hot water followed by 30 minutes in the dryer.
- Start by going around the bed with the vacuum and an
attached crevice tool to suck up any visible bed bugs. Follow
this with the use of a knock down spray to treat the mattress (Sterifab
if using an insecticide spray or Bed
Bug Patrol of you prefer natural products). Follow
the manufacturers directions. After the treatment, carry the
mattress to the safe area.
Use a Bed Bug Spray
to Treat Seams and Tufts of the Mattress with a Bed Bug Safe Spray. Be
sure to spray around labels and any space you can slide a credit card
5. Treat any
furniture and other items near the bed. Remove the drawers from any
night table and other nearby furniture. Place items in a plastic bin
with a snap lid and dispose of what you can. Treat any
headboards, around picture frames and inspect any electronics. Start
with the knock down spray and then go around with the residual spray (Phantom).
Treat every crack and crevice where bed bugs could hide, including gaps
in the floor.
Treat Around the Window
Treat the Back of the
Spray the Furniture
Tracks, a Common Hiding Place
6. Treat the box
spring, first by vacuuming. Remove or fold back any cloth
that covers the bottom. Use the knock down spray on the box spring
surface and the residual spray inside the box spring (review and use as
per the manufacturers instructions). Move the box spring into
the safe area.
7. Treat the bed frame with
the knock down and residual spray. Be sure to treat all cracks where
the different parts of the frame come together.
8. Take zippered bed bug
covers and after the spray dries on the mattress and box spring, seal
in zippered covers. Reasonably priced covers are available from Bed
Bug Supply. You can also buy bed bug covers from Amazon.
The pillow should be either disposed of or covered with a
zippered case as well.
9. Vacuum the entire room.
If you have carpet, use a steam cleaner. For added protection
add a disinfectant to the mixture that is formulated to kill parasites
such as PuraCleenRX. Test in an area of the room to make sure
whatever you use doesn't stain the carpet.
10. Return the mattress and
box spring to the bed frame.
In terms of electronics and items in drawers, they need to be
inspected and possibly treated. Spray what you can with the
knock down spray. Place other items in a dryer for 30 minutes
such as sneakers. If items can't be treated or place in a
dryer, the alternatives are to either seal items in a plastic
bin for 18 months to starve any bed bugs and late hatching eggs, to
place items in a freezer for 5 consecutive days.
An alternative is to purchase a PackTite
heater to heat items to the temperature required to kill bed bugs
PackTite is a bed bug killer that will kill 100% of bed bugs placed
into the unit.
If bed bugs have been able to penetrate furniture such as a
couch, the only options are to hire a professional for freeze spray
treatment, or to hire a heat chamber truck to heat the entire couch.
For this you'll need a professional or dispose of the couch.
If you live in areas with freezing temperatures, you can leave items
outside for 5 consecutive days, or place them in a freezer for the same
length of time.
Bed Bug Killer Steps after Treatment
The most asked question after treatment is how do you know the
bed bugs are gone. The simple solution is to place some type of bed bug
trap into the room that received the treatment and to look for other
signs such as a continuation of any bed bug bites.
One of the more popular bedbug traps is the Climbup
Interceptor. Bowls are placed under each bed leg.
The bowls trap any bed bugs trying to climb up onto the bed.
If the bowls stay empty for 2 to 3 weeks, the bed bug problem
Again, if your do it yourself approach didn't work, you can always call
in a professional from the Service
Ask a Question or Share Your Bed Bug Experience With Others
Do you have a question or great story about bed bugs? Share it!
References for Bed Bug Killer Information:
Ability of Bed Bug-Detecting Canines to Locate Live Bed Bugs and Viable
Bed Bug Eggs
MARGIE PFIESTER,1 PHILIP G. KOEHLER, AND ROBERTO M. PEREIRA
Department of Entomology
University of Florida