If you find signs of a bed bug infestation in your home, it can be tempting to take things into your own hands to rid yourself of these unpleasant pests as quickly as possible. But do DIY bed bug treatments work?
Whatever pest you’re dealing with, there are likely home remedies and hardware store brands marketed as a cheap alternative to professional pest control. Below, we’ll dive into some common products and treatments to determine which can kill bed bugs — or whatever you don’t want living in your home.
What kinds of DIY bed bug treatments are out there?
The proper do-it-yourself bed bug treatment for your home depends on a few factors, such as the severity of the infestation, your home’s square footage, and whether or not you have children and pets in the house. Fortunately, there are a few approaches you can take and a few products you can use — though none will be as effective as professional services.
When ridding your home of these unwanted guests, no level of potency or convenience can compensate for the lack of professional training, knowledge, and equipment. Treatments can be more effective when applied in specific areas of the home and at particular times, but the average consumer or homeowner might need to learn when, where, and how to treat pests.
Commercially available bed bug control methods and pesticides each have their benefits and risks. Be sure to choose a treatment option that best suits your situation. Some common pest control options include:
Bed bug and flea “foggers” are aerosol cans that spray a continuous mist of insecticides into the air of your home. These “bug bombs” typically disperse chemicals that disrupt insects’ life cycles at a particular stage by killing the bed bug eggs or larvae and intercept the next generation of the infestation. This approach eradicates insect eggs and larvae, but adult bed bugs could remain in the home for weeks.
Foggers can be effective, primarily if used repeatedly and in conjunction with other pest control products, but they have several side effects and risks. Foggers are highly flammable, and some require the user to disconnect gas lines from the house to decrease the risk of fire. Fogger chemicals are also dangerous to breathe and handle, meaning you, your family, and your pets will need to leave the house for several hours while treatment is underway — and you may have to do this several times over several days. Plus, in some cases, foggers can leave behind unpleasant chemical odors.
Bed bugs prefer cool temperatures — around 70 degrees — in which they can survive for up to 5 months without a single meal. Bed bugs can even survive in lower temperatures by entering a state of diapause, a form of insect hibernation. However, they are severely impacted by high heat. Bed bugs will die if exposed to temperatures above 113 degrees for 90 minutes.
Bed bug heat treatment equipment is available for purchase online but can be quite expensive — especially considering that you will hopefully only need to use such equipment once. If a specific item or set of items are affected by bed bugs, such as linens or clothing, you can quickly heat a small space in which to kill the bed bugs. However, if your entire bedroom or house are infested, it can be quite expensive and time-consuming to heat the entire space to 113 degrees long enough to kill them. Depending on what kind of equipment you purchase, you may not even be able to sustain temperatures without breaking your heating elements.
Bed bugs are attracted to vertical surfaces like furniture legs and dressers because they often lead to a sleeping host. Bed bug interceptor traps are small plastic trays placed underneath the legs of couches and bed frames to deter and trap any bed bugs attempting to climb. The interceptor traps stop bed bugs before they can climb, but they do little in the way of bed bug removal.
Interceptor traps are an excellent way to monitor the severity of a bed bug infestation — the more bed bugs you find in your trap each day, the more bed bugs are likely in your infested areas. If you place interceptor traps under your furniture and see their numbers dwindle, you can rest assured your other treatment options are working. However, trapping live bed bugs does not kill or remove them. It merely keeps them in one spot where they can live for weeks or even months.
Do DIY bed bug treatments work?
It is not difficult to kill a single bed bug. However, locating and killing every bed bug in your home is difficult, especially because they can reproduce extremely quickly. Notorious for their numerous hiding places, bed bugs could be burrowing in your box spring, sofas, or other crevices. To rid your home of all unwanted pests using DIY treatments, you may need to spend a great deal of money and time on the problem, and results are never guaranteed.
Remember: most treatments are effective against only a specific stage of an insect’s life cycle, so treatments must be consistent and repetitive. Be sure to employ several tactics, cover every inch of your space, and repeat as needed until you see no more signs of bed bug infestation.
DIY bed bug treatments vs. professional bed bug treatments
There are many ways to kill a bed bug, but to do it yourself will take much longer and be less effective than hiring a professional exterminator. Expert knowledge, training, and experience can make the whole process faster and more effective. Furthermore, licensed pest management professionals have access to chemicals and protective gear not available at your local hardware store.
Dodson Pest Control’s trained and licensed professionals can eliminate bug problems faster than any do-it-yourself remedy. Our powerful fumigation process can eradicate bed bugs wherever they may be hiding, including in closets, baseboards, bedding, and upholstered furniture. Fumigation leaves no surface residue, making your home safe for children, babies, and pets immediately after treatment, and it eliminates all life stages of bed bugs – including eggs.
Our highly trained technicians can also offer a liquid insecticide treatment in less severe cases. Our liquid treatment kills bed bugs on contact, so you can sleep easily and comfortably again.
What to do if you suspect you have a bed bug problem
If you wake up with bed bug bites and welts, see droppings on or near your clean bedsheets, or see other signs of bed bugs, it’s best to consult pest management professionals to find out what exactly you’re dealing with. Chemicals and treatments that work on one pest may not be effective against another, so identify your pest before you develop a plan of action.
If you have a bug problem — or any bug problem — make sure it gets resolved the first time.