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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Do-It-Yourself vs Professional Bed Bug Treatment

You’ve heard about bed bugs and now you’re concerned these little pests have made their way into your bed? A survey from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) found that 1 in 5 Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home, or knows someone who has. The good news is that while bed bugs can cause skin irritation and itching, they are not known to transmit disease and their bites do not cause any real health threats. A bed bug infestation is absolutely treatable and manageable with the proper methods.

A few telltale signs of a bed bug infestation to watch for:

  1. Tiny brown bugs that are just under ¼” long and are relatively flat and oval in shape
  2. Cast skins and bed bug feces within your bedding
  3. Itchy or inflamed bite marks in a line or zigzag pattern commonly found on the hands, neck, face, shoulders, legs, and arms
Why DIY Bed Bug Treatments Don't Work

Sound familiar? Let’s talk about getting rid of these little critters. It’s a common misconception that it’s safe and effective to get rid of bed bugs on your own. Here the the most common home remedies and why they will not effectively remove bed bugs:

Ultrasonic Devices: Like with most theories of using ultrasonic devices as home remedies for pests, these devices have no effect on bed bugs whatsoever. Ultrasonic devices have never proven themselves to be effective control tools. If anything, expect the bugs to utilize them as a haven since they often emit small amounts of heat.

Baking Soda: There is no scientific evidence to suggest that baking soda is a successful home remedy for bed bugs.  Baking soda actually breaks down when it comes into contact with water, so the idea that it can absorb the thick fluids found on a bed bug shell is quite questionable. Although it may seem to work in some instances, it is not a guaranteed fix to fully remove a bed bug infestation from a property.

Moth Balls: Studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of moth balls as a home remedy for bed bugs. Results show that the moth balls failed to wipe out bed bugs after 7 days. Although between 44-60% of the adult bed bugs died, the eggs and bed bug nymphs still survived. 

Talcum Powder: Like with baking powder, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea of talcum powder getting rid of bed bugs by causing them to dehydrate. This is because the powder is not sharp enough to penetrate a bed bug’s exoskeleton. Using talcum powder as part of a bed bug trap does have some success, but it does not fully eradicate a bed bug problem.

Tea Tree Oil: This bed bug home remedy is only partly effective when it is sprayed directly onto the insect, and thus will not fully solve a bed bug problem. Furthermore, it is argued that only undiluted tea tree oil will work, which is something that can be harmful to humans and is NOT advised.

Dryer Sheets: There is no scientific evidence to support the success of dryer sheets repelling bed bugs. Even if the scent of the dryer sheets does repulse bed bugs, they will often find a way around them to get to their food source.

While they appear to work in the short term, over-the-counter bed bug products and other home remedies simply can’t eliminate the problem completely. 90% of bed bugs are genetically resistant to common household insecticides. Using these do-it-yourself methods can spread the problem and make it worse.

You may have also heard about killing bed bugs with heat. Bed bugs can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing, to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. So methods involving hairdryers, clothes dryers, or portable heating units, are not only unhelpful and dangerous, but chances are, you’re missing all of the nooks and crannies these pests like to hide in. Effective heat treatments heat rooms to 120-140 degrees for a couple of hours.

So, What Should You Do If You Have Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs can be taken care of effectively using proper control methods without damaging or throwing away your furniture. Be sure not to move your bedding or other items in the infested room to another room; this only spreads the bed bugs to other areas. However, you may bag up your clothing items and take them directly to the clothes dryer and run them through a cycle. Additionally, don’t store things under or around your bed until it’s been fully cleared of the infestation.

It’s absolutely vital to act immediately and request a free estimate from a professional bed bug company. A single female bed bug can lay 10-20 eggs per week, which translates to 500-1000 hungry bed bugs a year. Expertly trained bed bug professionals are on hand to assess the situation and create a personalized action plan to banish your bed bugs.

If we discover bed bugs on your property, a Batzner bed bug specialist will discuss the two bed bug treatment options with you and recommend a plan of action. Which treatment we recommend depends on the number of infested rooms, how widespread the pests are, costs, and other case-dependent factors.

Conventional Treatments

Conventional bed bug treatments use a concentrated application on harborage locations. This method typically includes three applications, each scheduled two weeks apart to coincide with the bed bug reproduction and incubation cycles. Tenants and pets must vacate during the service and can return after the treated areas have dried (typically four hours from the time we arrive for service).

Heat Treatments

Heat treatments eliminate bed bugs at all stages of the life cycle. A heat treatment is best when results are needed quickly or a chemical-free solution is desired. During the treatment, temperatures are raised to 120–140 degrees, which is lethal to bed bugs. For added protection, a conventional treatment is applied. People and pets must vacate the premises for 9–12 hours.