An alarming one out of five American homes has had a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can live in just about any environment. And while bed bugs got their name for their preference to live in bed mattresses, bed bugs can live in rugs, couches, curtains, seat cushions, and furniture crevices. Bed bugs have even been found in cars, appliances, electrical receptacles, flooring, and loose wallpaper.
Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of because of their size and ability to multiply rapidly. Although they haven’t been proven to spread disease, bed bugs cause a variety of adverse physical and mental issues. Some people have allergic reactions to a bedbug bite, which can be severe and include whole-body reactions and anaphylactic shock.
Secondary infections resulting from a bed bug bite include ecthyma, impetigo, and lymphangitis. Knowing that you’re living in a bedbug-infested home can also hurt your mental health, causing anxiety and insomnia. Fortunately, there are ways to rid your home of bed bugs completely. In this guide, we will discuss how to kill bed bugs instantly. We’ll talk about natural home remedies and conventional bug treatments.
Can I get rid of bed bugs on my own?
You can purchase pesticides and chemicals that kill bed bugs. Trying to eliminate bed bugs on your own may seem like a cost-effective solution. However, without expert knowledge in all the places where bed bugs may hide, you may not stop the infestation. But the bigger problem with trying to take matters into your hands by buying pesticides from the store is not having the experience to handle harmful chemicals properly. These chemicals can be toxic when exposed to your family and pets.
So while you can try to get rid of bed bugs on your own, it’s not recommended because of the potential health risks and the likelihood that you will not eradicate them completely.
Natural Home Remedies
Fortunately, there are natural home remedies for killing bed bugs that won’t harm you or your family members, including:
Using a steam cleaner is a solution you can try at home. Steam cleaners can be used both on the mattress and in the room where you sleep at night. If there are infestations within furniture or appliances, they can be steamed as well. Unfortunately, many store-bought steamers don’t reach the heat levels that effectively kill bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle. Only professionals have industrial-grade heat solutions that successfully exterminate bed bugs.
Bed bugs can’t survive in temperatures below 45°F, so freezing items for a few days is an effective way to kill bed bugs on your own. You should never use heat or cold treatment methods if you have children younger than five years old living with you because these treatments require that the room be closed off while the treatment is being done.
Bed bug mattress covers are lightweight, waterproof, and seal bed bugs inside the mattress. The best part about these covers is that they are completely safe to use on any mattress or box spring because there aren’t any chemicals used in making them. However, bed bug mattresses are only effective at killing the bed bugs sealed within the cover. They don’t stop an infestation that may have already started in other rooms.
The Pros and Cons of Natural Home Remedies
While home pest control methods of eliminating bed bugs do provide natural solutions, the problem is that killing bed bugs using natural methods takes time. Bed bugs are extremely resilient creatures. According to the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources Department, bed bugs can live without feeding for up to 400 days in certain conditions. Someone trying to exterminate bed bugs on their own won’t have the professional experience to determine whether they successfully killed all the bed bugs in the first round. And if you leave just one area unresolved, those bed bugs can quickly multiply and the infestation will begin all over again.
Also, some freeze treatments will need three days before it’s completely safe for the room to be occupied again. If you don’t have enough spare time on your hands or if you’re dealing with a bedbug infestation in several areas of your home, that means not being able to use those spaces for possibly days.
Conventional Bed Bug Treatment
There are many exterminators out there specializing in various types of pests. Some of them will use the same solution regardless of whether it’s bed bugs, cockroaches, or fleas.
Organic-based pesticides are popular for most exterminators because they don’t pose the same risks as a chemical treatment. However, organic treatments may take longer to work and require more thorough preparation of your home before it’s completely safe for you and your family again. Here are some common conventional bed bug treatments that many exterminators still use today:
Bed bug insecticide usually involves chemicals such as pyrethrins and pyrethroids. Pyrethrins are botanical insecticides derived from chrysanthemum flowers, while pyrethroids are synthetic chemical insecticides.
The issue with using chemical-based bed bug solutions is that they can hurt you if not used correctly. It’s important to always wear protective gear when using an insecticide or pesticide because the chemicals can cause skin irritation and allergies as well as damage your eyes and respiratory system (if inhaled). Exposure to a pesticide or insecticide can lead to acute poisoning and asthma.
It may surprise you to learn that even the bed bug pesticides that have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been linked to various health issues, including cancer, organ damage, and hormone disruption. There have also been reports of a strain of bed bugs that have become resistant to pesticides.
Killing bed bugs using desiccants (silica gel) involves using chemicals that draw out the moisture from bed bugs. Bed bugs have a waxy protective outer coating. Desiccants work by destroying this protective layer on the bed bug’s body. The silica gel particles penetrate the bed bug body and into the pest’s exoskeleton joints. When the bed bug moves, these particles impact the bed bug’s organs. And without its protective layer, the bed bug slowly dehydrates and ultimately dies.
Desiccants can be lethal to bed bugs; however, the chemical is also harmful to humans. Some forms of desiccants include diatomaceous earth and boric acid. Most desiccants are composed entirely of amorphous silicon dioxide, which is extremely detrimental to human health if inhaled. And repeated exposure to its fumes has been linked to lung cancer and nonmalignant respiratory diseases. Immediate exposure can also cause skin irritation, shortness of breath, and nasal irritation.
To prevent human inhalation, the use of desiccants in bed bug eradication is limited to cracks and crevices. Therefore, desiccants are typically used in conjunction with other treatments, like trapping or insecticide sprays.
A bed bug bomb is a chemical fogger that’s used to kill bed bugs in a big area all at once. Bug bombs are dangerous because they have the potential of causing respiratory problems and skin irritation if you’re exposed to them for too long or inhale their chemicals. Bug bombs are typically used outdoors in large areas such as garages or basements. Using a bug bomb indoors is dangerous because the fumes from the bed bug spray will spread throughout your home and can cause hazardous exposure to chemicals.
Most bed bug infestations are localized to one or two rooms, so a bug bomb can’t reach the bed bugs in other areas, not solving the entire bed bug problem. Bug bombs also kill only adult bed bugs but not bed bug eggs, nests, or pupae stages. Technically, bug bombs kill bed bugs, but if they can only kill the adults, then the bed bug eggs and pupae can cause a whole new bed bug infestation.
When is it time to hire professionals?
Generally, it’s time to hire a professional bed bug exterminator at first sight of the pests. Bed bugs survive by staying hidden. Therefore, the infestation has worsened once a bed bug population becomes visible.
There are many methods of killing bed bugs instantly, including natural home remedies, organic solutions, and conventional methods. These solutions may kill bed bugs instantly, but they will not stop the bedbug infestation entirely. Some of these methods require several rounds or may not kill bed bugs at all the stages of their lifecycle. And many of these options pose health risks to humans and pets.
When it comes to pest control and killing bed bugs instantly, VORTEX Bed Bug Solutions specializes in bed bug eradication. We use a 100% effective heat treatment that kills bed bugs at every stage of their life cycle. Our certified technicians use a zero-emission solution that is environmentally friendly because it’s chemical-free. Our method heats to the “kill zone” at 122°F in under 30 minutes, delivering a bed bug eradication program that is completed within 24 hours. Our process requires minimal preparation and, therefore, less disruption to your home or business.