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Poisons and Chemicals That Kill Bed Bugs

table of contents

" Bed bug poisons come in five different forms including sprays, dusts, liquids, fumigation products such as bombs. Each category is described below along with product recommendations. Be sure to follow the manufacturers directions for use in homes and near areas people live since not every product is pet safe, mattress safe or safe to use around children (until dry). In general bed bugs are very hard for individuals or professionals to treat. Multiple products are needed which are most economically purchased as part of a kit. Most treatment require more than one product application to each of the infested rooms. "

Bed bug sprays

Sprays come in aerosol or pump, and are either comprised of insecticides (chemicals) or natural formulations (enzyme or plant extracts.) 

Sprays also have certain characteristics including:

  • Safe for use on mattresses or on a bed
  • Sprays that kill a bed bug infestation on contact
  • Sprays that provide an invisible barrier that will kill any bed bugs you might have missed
  • Pesticides that can penetrate and kill bed bug eggs, nymphs (young bed bugs), adults and often other pests that are part of an infestation.

Spray Recommendations

When treating a bedroom infestation, you will need to treat the mattress, bed frame, around furniture, as well as in any cracks or crevices. You will also need products that have been tested against insects that have shown a resistance to insecticides.

We recommend chemical based products for killing bed bug populations. While certain natural products work, they are not as effective. In terms of what you should purchase, we suggest buying:

  1. Mattress Safe Contact Spray: If you were to purchase only one product, we would suggest Sterifab.  It is a pump spray that is mattress safe, is tested on insecticide resistant bedbugs, and will kill both eggs and insects on contact.

    Read more about Sterifab.

    An alternative in a aerosol form is Bedlam, a spray with similar features to Sterifab.

    Read more about Bedlam.

    Both Sterifab and Bedlam have a 10 day residual effect where an invisible layer of spray will kill any bed bugs that cross through the area that was sprayed. Aerosols are easier to apply into cracks along floor boards and bed frames, which is one reason why kits usually contain both products.

  2. Residual Spray for Cracks and Crevices: Bed bug eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days, which is why adding a longer lasting residual spray to your treatment plan makes sense. Phantom (Pyrrole-Chlorfenapyr) is a good choice as it is invisible to bedbugs and has been tested for insecticide resistance. It is NOT mattress safe.

    Read more about Phantom.

  3. Temprid: If you only want one spray

    Temprid Spray is a professional grade product that is now available in a convenient spray. The product is very popular among professionals for use in homes, offices and hotels. The spray will kill most of a bed bug population on contact (nymphs, adults, eggs), and will provide 6 months of residual protection. It has been tested and is effective against insecticide that are resistant to pyrethroids. The product is safe for use on many types of surfaces such as mattress seams, fabrics, carpets, upholstery, hardwood, and other similar items. It is non-staining and low odor.

    Temprid comes with an applicator for spraying across broad areas, and another for around windows, cracks and crevices. Its active ingredients are beta-cyfluthrin.

    Read more about Temprid.

    Items such as clothing and bedding should be bagged in the room to be treated and then washed in hot water. This is the best form of bed bug control for these types items. Eliminate any clutter before beginning treatment.

Natural Bed Bug Sprays

Natural bed bug sprays are referred to a low toxicity products. A recent study have found that two product, while not quite as good as chemical based sprays, can be effective.

These products are Bed Bug Patrol and EcoRaider. Both are made from essential oils. In the study both achieved greater than 90% control of bed bug nymphs and "were the most effective" of the eleven products tested. 

EcoRaider caused 100% mortality in two trials after ten days. Bed Bug Patrol achieved 91% to 92% mortality. EcoRaider was the only product to kill bed bug eggs, the most difficult part of the life stage to kill. 

bed bug spray and required products to get rid of bed bugsKit including all the required products and is an effective solution for effectively eliminate bed bugs. Treatment methods and instructions are included. Available for purchase here

Bed Bug Dusts

Dust are either natural products (diatomaceous earth) or are made with insecticides. Dust products work by attaching to bed bugs as they crawl through thinly applied surface area.  The dust clings to the bed bug, breaking through the outer layer of the insect, which in turn causes death.  

Dusts 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. Left undisturbed dust products will remain in place, providing lasting protection.

Natural dust (made from fossils)  is relatively low cost and can be bought online from companies such as Amazon for a 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.  

Many professionals prefer an insecticide silica product due to its better consistency. If you would like an insecticide based silica dust product consider CimeXa. CimeXa will kill hatchlings, nymphs, and adults and has been tested on pyrethroid-resistant insects.

The silica dust is effective in high humidity (will not absorb water vapor), and has low toxicity. It is viable for up to 10 years if not disturbed.

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 Insecticides

Another class of bed bug poisons are referred to as being micro-encapsulated or concetrated.  These include:

  • Onslaught® (esfenvalerate)
  • Demand CS (lamba-cyhalothrin, pyrethroid)
  • Suspend SC (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).  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. Chemicals in Onslaught can kill a broad spectrum of insects such as fleas, spiders, and of course bed bugs.



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.

DO NOT use bed bug bombs. Bombs are not effective as they push bed bugs into the walls.

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.

faq

What kills bed bugs instantly?

Bed bugs are killed instantly by a contact insecticide-based spray that contains chemicals known to kill adults, nymphs (young bed bugs), and eggs. Popular examples of sprays include the pump spray Sterifab and aerosol Bedlam.

What is the best poison for bed bugs?

The best poison for bed bugs is any product that will kill bed bugs on contact and provide some lasting residual protection. Sprays that kill insecticide-resistant infestations are preferable that contain active ingredients such as Permethrin (Sterifab) or Sumithrin (Bedlam), or Chlorfenapyr (Phantom Spray).

how can I get rid of bed bugs myself?

Homeowners can get rid of bed bugs themselves with a multi-product kit. Kits contain all of the products you need such as a mattress safe contact spray, a residual spray, bed bug dust, and a dust applicator.  Kits also contain step-by- step instructions.

what home remedies kills bed bugs instantly?

Home remedies to kill bed bugs include the use of your vacuum or holding a hairdryer over the insects for 10 seconds. You can also use food-grade diatomaceous dust in a thin layer applied with a dust applicator. Make sure any product used is EPA registered and is labeled for your specific use. 

can bed bug spray or insecticides harm pets?

Every bed bug spray that contains chemical insecticides poses some risk to pets. That said the risk is small, particularly if you use a non-residual spray. 

We recommend Sterifab for families with pets as a non-residual product. You can also use a tested natural product such as Bed Bug Patrol. Both are good choices, but expect the chemical sprays to work better.

Read more about bed bug insecticides and pets.

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