Most Popular Bed Bug Pesticide Options

" There are a variety of bed bug pesticide options available for home and professional use. Among professionals, the most popular options come in the form of liquid and dust.  Less popular are resin strips, fumigants such as foggers and bug bombs, and aerosols. In terms of active ingredients, pyrethroids remain popular, with newer products containing β-cyfluthrin and imidacloprid, and the non-pyrethroid chlorfenapyr, which is completely invisible to bed bugs and kills insecticide resistant strains of the insect. Most professionals, 41% have never had a problem with bed bug insecticide resistance, and find all ingredients mentioned to be effective. The application of bed bug pesticide takes a professional 3 hours, with 2 to 3 follow up visits for additional treatments to kill any insects that might have been missed during the initial visit. "  

Bed bug pesticide choices come in the from of sprays, foggers, liquids and dust.  Each varies by the underlying active chemical or non-chemical ingredient, any lasting effect, effectiveness on bed bug eggs and if the product is mattress/fabric or food preparation area safe.

Pest control experts have access to a broader range of bed bug pesticide products than does the consumer. If you want to try the do it yourself approach to bed bug control, the most economical approach is to purchase a kit from a company such as All Stop, since it comes with all the tools  (Spray,  Dust, Steamer, Covers, Anti bed bug bite and itch reliever) and importantly information on how to kill bed bugs.

Bedbug Video on Sprays

This video provides a helpful overview of different spray products include bed bug pesticide based products and natural products. 

Bedbug Spray

There are many  bedbug sprays on the market.  Three of the most popular bed bug pesticide sprays are listed below.  If you are treating a mattress surface, then the Sterifab and Bedlam products are the best choice, as they will kill bed bugs, bed bug eggs and have a 7 day residual effect (continue killing bedbugs for 7 days).

Phantom is a good choice for cracks and crevices, but can only be used on mattress seams and folds.  This product has a significantly longer residual effect .  

Follow the manufacturers directions on the label.  If you have children or pets, at minimum make sure that whatever insecticide is applied has completely dried.  Of course, refer to the label regarding children and pets.

These bed bug pesticide products include:

Phantom Aerosol Spray : This spray is effective against a broad array of insects in addition to bedbugs.  It's key selling point in that it is undetectable to bedbugs and therefore the bugs will not avoid the areas sprayed.  The product has a residual effect after spraying and is effective on both the bugs and eggs.  The manufacturer indicates that it can be used on mattress seams and folds, but not on the surface.  

Phantom Bedbug spray uses Chlorfenapyr as the active ingredient.  While other base ingredients such as pyrethroid has seen some bedbug resistance, this chemical base has not.

Bedlam Professional Bed Bug Insecticide  : This product is mattress safe and has a 2 to 4 week residual effect against bed bugs and their eggs.  This spray is specifically marketed to target bedbugs.

Sterifab : This product is alcohol based and will kill bed bugs on contact.  It is not marketed as having a residual effect.  It indicates on the label that it is safe for treating the mattress surface, and is generally considered safe by the EPA.  It is also pet safe, but of course should not be sprayed directly on pets.

There are also several bedbugs spray products available that are insecticide free.  These effectively kill bed bugs on contact, but do not have a residual effect.  They are mattress, children and pet safe.  All of the following are good choices:

  • Bed Bug Patrol Spray: Good alternative to chemical based sprays.  Also available as part of a kit which includes mattress covers and bed bug dust.
  • All Stop Dead Bed Bug Spray: Eco-Friendly, true 25(b) exempt, non pesticidal Bed Bug Spray. Fast acting and effective with minimal application on  bed bugs
  • Kleen Free - This Natural Ginesis type spray (mentioned in the above video) is safe to use.  It uses enzymes to penetrate and cause the bed bug to molt before they should, causing them to die.

Bed Bug Pesticide Studies

Recently, Purdue University studied the use of popular pesticides on bed bug infestations. They researched a 15 story apartment building.

Products Used in the Study:

  • Liquid pyrethroid (deltamethrin, Suspend┬« SC)
  • Dust pyrethroid (cyfluthrin (Tempo┬« 1% dust)

The test treated the apartments in 2 week intervals when they observed that the bed bugs weren't fully removed. The study determined that to completely remove bed bugs it requires 2 to 4 treatments.

A University of Kentucky study showed that pyrethroids are starting to lose effectiveness against some bed bugs, but since there is no way to determine a resistant bedbug, the products are still used.

Professional Bed Bug Pesticide Products Available For Use:

Product Name(s) Class Formulation*
Chlorfenapyr Phantom pyrrole SC
Cyfluthrin •Tempo SC Ultra
•Tempo 20WP
Tempo WP
pyrethroid SC
Cyfluthrin &
•Intruder HPX pyrethroid
Deltamethrin •DeltaDust
•D-Force HPX
Suspend SC Lasts up to 3 months per application. Odorless and clear.
pyrethroid D
earth or Silicon dioxide
• Natural Guard Crawling Insect Control
• Safer Brand Ant & Crawling Insect Killer
Esfenvalerate •Onslaught pyrethroid ME
Hydroprene Gentrol insect growth regulator that stops reproduction. Comes in an aerosol. EC
Lambda cyhalothrin Demand CS
•Bug Stop-Spectracide(OTC)
pyrethroid ME
RTU liquid
Permethrin •Prelude pyrethroid EC
Phenothrin with isopropanol with MGK264 Sterifab
pyrethroid RTU
(PEP) with
butoxide (PBO)
and pyrethrins
botanical (PEP) synergist (PBO)
with piperonyl butoxide
•Prescription Treatment PI
•CB-123 Extra
•565 Plus XLO
pyrethroids and synergist
Silica and
* Pyganic Dust
Tralomethrin •Saga WP pyrethroid WP
Table of Bedbug Poison Products

* A (aerosol), D (dust), EC (emulsifiable concentrate), ME (microencapsulation), RTU (ready-to-use), WP (wettable powder), SC (suspended concentrate)

Thailand Toursists Killed by Chlorpyrifos Bed Bug Insecticide

The insecticide Chlorprifos is legal in some countries for use as a bed bug insecticide.  It is banned in the United States for tthis use, with use limited to outdoor areas.  In other countries such as New Zealand, it can only be used by professional exterminators. It is also banned by the EU Biocidal Products Directive, since it is an organophosphate.  While organophosphates are found in many common products, they are linked to developmental problems in fetuses and children.

In Thailand, there is a case under investigation where the insecticide Chlorprifos is suspected of being applied incorrectly in a hotel called the Downtown Inn.  A Tourist named Sarah Carter died after staying in the hotel died after exposure to the bed bug insecticide (5/11/11).  Other tourists are thought to have died reason.

You read the U.S. EPA report on Chlorpyifos here.  The U.S. does not see the product as a risk when used outdoors.

You can view a video on the Thailand bed bug tourist deaths.

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