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How do I kill Bed Bugs?

How to get rid of bed bugs. I get asked a question around that statement daily. Here’s a brief summary . There are several ways to kill bed bugs but one thing we need to make clear is that the treatment for bed bugs is not a do-it-yourself project. There have been instances where people have seriously injured themselves trying to exterminate them, so please, always consult with a professional, credible pest exterminator.

A lot of clients ask me why can’t they just purchase a can of bed bug insecticide from their local hardware store and spray beds, fabrics etc. The answer is you can and you will kill some bed bugs but these pesky bugs can hide in the most tiniest of spaces and unless you spray them directly, you’re not killing them and most importantly no bed bug insecticide kills the eggs. You will knock them back and the ones left are multiplying every 7-10 days.

Freezing is a technique that can be used to kill bed bugs. Obviously we’re talking about a professional with correct equipment and this procedure involves the technician using cryonite to freeze the bugs on contact. I need to emphasize that the words “on contact” is vital with this procedure. Bed bugs will die immediately with cryonite but bed bugs are structural pests. They hide in cracks and crevices and can travel up to forty feet for their “blood meal” so this process will again knock them back but it’s hit-or-miss.

The use of chemicals works well for bed bug removal when carried out correctly. I emphasize “correctly” because there are standards that need to be adhered to, to ensure effective extermination. If a bed bug extermination company tells you they can get rid of them with one treatment, PLEASE, do not waste your money.

Bed bugs have become resistant to certain chemicals and as such, pest exterminating companies must be up to date with what chemicals work and what don’t. An example of this are insecticides with pyrethrum as the acting agent. Studies have shown that bed bugs are resistant to this even though it was the best exterminating agent years ago. If a company does not keep up to date with changes in this field, then you are wasting your money. Make sure the company you use is affiliated with NPMA, National Pest Management Association.

Ok, back to chemicals. Correct application involves three crucial elements. These are:

  1. Liquid: This liquid is sprayed into all cracks and crevices and it has a residual of 45 days so any bed bug that comes in contact with this chemical will die.
  2. Dust: This is used as a barrier treatment and is applied to all areas around the room such as baseboards and floorboards. What this does is dehydrates any bed bug that walks over it.
  3. Aerosol: This is a spray that is applied to furnishings, fabrics etc

The combination of the above three elements with the right chemicals, applied by a professional is the first step in the removal of bed bugs. BUT, as mentioned previously, chemicals DO NOT kill the eggs. A second treatment (and most reputable companies will do three treatments every two weeks) is required as this will kill any eggs that have hatched. During the treatment phase clothing should also be placed in a dryer for 20 minutes and bagged until the entire procedure is complete.

Please note that chemicals used by a professional exterminator are extremely safe to humans and animals.

Heat treatment is by far the most effective but is also the most expensive. This process involves heating the entire structure with specially designed heaters and blowers and reaching the desired thermal kill temperature for bed bugs. It’s a one day treatment, meaning bed bugs including eggs are killed in one day. The crew usually starts at 8.30am and your home is bed bug free by around 5.00pm. There’s no need for laundering since everything is left in the home and technicians monitor (via wireless probes) the entire heat penetration and adjust throughout the treatment to ensure every part of the structure has reached the desired temperature. I should add that if a reputable company is used there is absolutely no risk of damage to anything within your home.

I hope that gives you a better understanding of the options. There are pros and cons for all and most do get rid of bed bugs. But please, make sure you shop around, ask for references and let THEM tell you how they are going to get rid of your bed bug problem.


Till next time



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