Bed Bug Killers, Deterrents and Natural Products
The insecticide market is flooded with several plant-based materials and detergents parading as bed bug control agents. Unfortunately, most of these products have little or no effect on bed bugs. In a survey to check the efficiency of such products, only two (Bed Bug Patrol and EcoRaider) out of 11 tested products caused over 90% mortality when sprayed directly on bed bug nymphs under laboratory conditions. EcoRaider also destroyed 87% of bed bug eggs. The other 9 products had no significant effect on bed bugs and their eggs.
Researchers from Ohio State University have shown that although foggers are used in fighting indoor pests, they have absolutely no effect on bed bugs. Due to its inefficiency in combating bed bugs, people tend to use high amounts of very toxic chemicals in their fogger, thereby putting themselves at risk of personal injury and fire outbreak, as the insecticide is inflammable.
Studies have shown that bed bugs have developed resistance to pyrethoid. This entails that this popular class of insecticides cannot control bed bug infestation.
Use of disinfectants and home cleaning agents
Some people believe that disinfectants and other house-hold cleaning agents can eliminate bed bugs, but contrary to what many believe, Rutgers University researchers proved this assertion wrong when they tested several disinfectants by spraying them directly on bed bugs. The disinfectants had no effect on the bed bugs.
Using Moth Balls
Some people believe that since moth balls are able to repel and kill other insects, they should also be effective in killing bed bugs. Because of this, they place moth balls under mattresses and inside spring box, as a way of repelling bed bugs, but unfortunately, this means is not efficient in controlling bed bugs. According to a research from Rutgers University, which studied the effects of two moth ball products, Enoz (99.5% naphthalene) and IMS (99.8% paradichlorobenzone), “after one week of sealing up adult bed bugs, bed bug nymphs and eggs in moth ball-containing plastic bags stuffed with clothes, only less than 50% of the bed bug adults died, while the eggs remained unaffected.”
Rubbing Alcohol products are made of 70% or 91% isopropyl alcohol which according to researchers at Rutgers University, can only kill 50% of bed bugs if applied directly. Although many web pages recommend this as a way of controlling bed bugs, this research proves that it isn’t very efficient. Also, rubbing alcohol is potentially dangerous, as it can cause fire hazard.
Oil-based Repellents and Dryer Sheets
People cover their beds or furniture with dryer sheets, hoping that it would repel bed bug, but on the contrary, this measure doesn’t in any way repel bed bugs. Use of pyrethoid or plant oil-based repellents do not efficiently repel bed bugs either.
Ultrasonic Pest Repellents
There are lots of pest repellents that do little or nothing to repel bed bugs. Researchers from North Arizona University examined four different ultrasonic pest repellents, and none of them was able to affect the behavior of bed bugs.
Change of Sleeping Location
Leaving your room to another location will not eliminate bed bugs because they can stay without food for a few months. Also, they can trace you to the new sleeping location by sensing your body heat and expelled carbon dioxide. The more you change sleeping locations, the harder bed bug control becomes, because you’d only be causing them to spread to other areas of the house.
Cost Effective Ways of Controlling Bed Bugs
Keeping items in plastic bags or containers: This method is an efficient and cost –effective way of controlling the spread of bed bugs because bed bugs do not like climbing on smooth plastic surfaces. Keeping items inside plastic bags keeps them from being infested by bed bugs. Also, reducing cluttering by stuffing clutters in a plastic bag or container eases the stress of eliminating bed bugs. Treat infested items by heat laundering, heating, steaming or freezing, to eliminate bed bugs, before storing the item in a plastic container.
Encasing Mattress and Box Springs
Encasing mattress and box spring reduces the availability of a hiding place for bed bugs. It reduces their population and eases bed bug inspection, as they won’t have much harbor age to hide in. With $5 to $10, you can get a vinyl encasement. However, vinyl encasement rip easily, so it is better to go for more reinforced encasement.
Use of Bed Bug Traps
Bed bug traps are specially designed to detect bed bugs and reduce infestation. Pitfall style traps cost a few dollars, and can help reduce bug population while infestation is being treated. You can place the trap under the legs of your furniture, or any other corner that could be a hideout for bed bugs. Using these traps is a more efficient way of detecting bed bugs than manual inspection. For a building-wide bed bug inspection, bed bug traps can detect up to 95% of infestation. You can also place the traps in places away from the bed and furniture, and check inspect them every -2weeks to know if your home is still infested, and the areas where the bed bugs are distributed.
Hot Laundering and Hot Drying
Bed bugs cannot withstand extremely high temperatures. Frequently putting materials through drying cycles quickly eliminates bed bugs. Heat laundering and heat washing not only kills bed bugs. It also eliminates their eggs, which may be hiding inside bed sheets, blankets, pillow cases or even wearable clothes. In this case, use of insecticide does not effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs hiding in clothing.
Putting Non-washables through Containerized Heat Treatment: Shoes, suit cases, electronics and other non-washable items can be treated by putting them into a heat chamber. A typical example of containerized heat treatment box is Thermal Strike™. This fordable box can eliminate all bed bugs within four to eight hours. It costs about $200.
For items that can neither be laundered nor subjected through heat treatment, freezing is an ideal way of eliminating bed bugs. Telephones, shoes, books and other easily flammable materials can be debugged by wrapping them in plastic bags and putting them in freezers for up to four days.
Steam machines are effective tools for eliminating bed bugs. They heat up materials to about 100°C, which completely eliminates both mobile bed bugs and their eggs. Small steaming machines like HAAN steam cleaner costs about $60, and works perfectly to eliminate bed bugs. For treatment of large areas, you can buy a high capacity steamer, cost of which ranges from $100 to $1,300. To use, apply steam directly on suspected bed bug hideouts like mattress and sofa seams, wall cracks and crevices, etc. Repeat this procedure regularly till you clear all bed bugs. It is best used together with bed bug traps, and of course, visual inspection. You must however take caution, as seams may damage fabrics.
Vacuum machines can quickly remove a large number of live bed bugs, their eggs and shed skins. Before commencing vacuuming, cover the vacuum tube with a knee-length stocking and fasten it with a rubber band before fixing the attachment. This prevents the entrapped bed bugs from infesting the vacuum machine. When vacuuming, target bed bug hideouts like cracks and crevices, seams of upholstered furniture, zippers, turfs and mattress seams. After vacuuming, dispose the stocking into a sealed plastic bag and eliminate by heat treatment or any other thermal method. Note, however, that vacuuming may not eliminate bed bug nymphs or eggs hiding in cracks.
Although disposal isn’t always advisable when it comes to tackling infestation, sometimes, it could be the only option. If a mattress or furniture is heavily infested such that it is extremely difficult to treat, the only option would be to dispose it, especially if it is in disrepair or no longer in use. Also using metal bed frames instead of wooden bed frames, in the case of severe infestation helps.
DEET – containing Repellents: If you’re visiting a home that you suspect may be infested with bed bugs, you’d need to seek measures to protect yourself. DEET treated repellents are effective in repelling bed bugs and other insects, and they can be applied on fabrics and surfaces. If you don’t see bed bugs listed as one of the target insects, make sure you ask a pest control professional to be sure that the repellent can serve for protection against bed bugs. Make sure you follow the direction on the label, and also note that DEET products are not recommended for use on furniture.
Fighting bed bugs is no easy task. To successfully eliminate bed bugs, you need to adopt an integrated pest control management principle that involves physical inspection, combining different control approaches, doing a follow-up evaluation and repeating the treatment processes until all bed bugs are eliminated. It may sometimes seem like all bed bugs have been eliminated, especially after treatment; instead of assuming, visually inspect the apartment, and also use bed bug monitors to confirm if there are other bed bugs hiding out somewhere.