At Nextgen Pest Solutions we often get asked, “What is the best treatment for bed bugs?” People are often overwhelmed by the different standard treatments but also by options like heat, cold, and fumigation.
Which is the best bed bug treatment? It really comes down to your situation. Let’s look at why.
Standard Bed Bug Treatments
We offer all types of treatments, but over 90% of the treatments we do are standard “spray” type treatments. These treatments are so popular because they are typically the quickest, easiest, and cheapest for our customers. Over 67% of the time, one visit can solve the problem.
If it is a moderate to severe problem, it may take two or three visits about 14 days apart. It is very rare for a treatment to take more than three visits to eliminate a problem.
We also get asked, “How safe is the treatment?”. All products we use are EPA approved for use in your home and have the lowest possible toxicity rating of “CAUTION”. If you check the cleaners under your sink, you will see cleaners follow the same EPA scale. Most likely many of your common cleaners will even have a higher toxicity rating of “WARNING” or “DANGER” on the front of the bottle. This means our products are very safe for people and pets when properly applied by professionals.
So why would you want anything else? In specialized situations, heat, cold, or fumigation have advantages. Here are those advantages
Bed Bug Heat Treatments
Bed bugs die in less than a second at 123° Fahrenheit. We can heat items, a room, or an entire house up to about 145 degrees and kill all the bed bugs in that area. It takes about 4 to 8 hours for heat treatment. Heat is great for areas that cannot be sprayed or is not easily accessible (medical equipment or complicated furniture for example). We sometimes use heat in conjunction with standard treatments to treat special items in a home. We put the difficult to treat items in a heat chamber while we do our standard treatment on the rest of the home. With heat, there is also no residual. This gives many people peace-of-mind that no chemicals were used in their homes.
Heat does have some drawbacks. First, obviously, some items will be damaged by heat. We recommend only having a professional do heat treatment to ensure your electronics and other items don’t “melt” in the process. Heat tends to accumulate in certain areas and miss others. We monitor the area and ensure certain areas don’t get too hot and all areas exceed the minimum temperature.
Second, it takes longer than you might think. Items like padded furniture, mattresses, wood, and drywall are all great thermal insulators. If you don’t get every hiding spot to 123° the treatment will be a failure. Typically, it takes 4 to 8 hours to complete heat treatment. Putting infested items outside in the sun or in a hot car typically doesn’t work (and can spread bed bugs to your car).
Third, a lot of equipment is needed and for room/house treatments a lot of propane is used. This gets expensive fast. Heat treatments are typically the most expensive bed bug treatments available.
Lastly, if only heat is used, there is no residual. The biggest problem we have to watch out for on a heat treatment is the re-introduction of bed bugs. It is very easy to bring some bed bugs with you while we treat and then bring them right back into the home when we are done. For this reason, we often use heat in combination with standard treatment and/or treat your cars.
Bed Bug Cold Treatments
Cold temperatures can be used to kill bedbugs too. We use the proprietary Cryonite system to “freeze” bed bugs. Cryonite uses CO2 snow that is -110°F to instantly kill bed bugs. It kills on contact and leaves no residual. This is our go-to treatment for vehicles. For small to medium-sized areas Cryonite offers the same advantages as heat but with faster treatment time and lower cost.
The only negative to cold treatments is that for very large areas it becomes more practical to use other treatment methods.
Bed Bug Fumigation Treatments
Tent fumigation is effective on bed bugs. Fumigation will kill every bed bug under the tent. The fumigant penetrates into every piece of furniture, every wall, and every other possible hiding place. Fumigation is 100% effective at killing bed bugs. Fumigation leaves no residual so there are no concerns for your family or pets.
However, fumigation is expensive and very inconvenient. Fumigation is typically a 3-day process, so it requires you to leave your home for several days. Weather can delay this process further. The heavy tarps can damage roofs and landscape plants. All food, drinks, and medicines need to be removed from the home.
The biggest problem with fumigation is that there is no residual. Since homeowners need to leave for several days, people often accidentally pack bed bugs in their luggage and bring the bed bugs right back into the home when they return 3 days later. It is a costly mistake and they have to start the process over again. If fumigation is done, we recommend also using a preventative treatment afterward just in case some new bed bugs sneak inside.
Hopefully, this overview of the top bed bug treatment methods will prove helpful for you if you have this pesky bug. If you have any questions about bed bugs or any other pest, you can feel free to call or visit Nextgen Pest Solutions (https://ngpest.com) to speak to our licensed pest experts at (470) 336-4315.