spraying for bed bugs

How Effective Is Bed Bug Spray

Bed bug infestations can be one of the most frustrating things a home or business owner can face because of their illusive nature.  In this week’s blog post we will take a look at how effective bed bug spray is on exterminating bed bugs. Bed bugs are experts at staying hidden until feeding time which happens to be when most of their victims are asleep so they can be hard to see, much less control.  Most people aren’t even aware they have a problem until the biting and itching begins and by then there is almost certainly an established infestation.  These pests aren’t going to just go away; some form of treatment will be necessary.

Most experts agree that effective control of these pests is best left to a professional pest control technician, and even the pros can find that controlling bed bugs can be quite difficult.  Finding a reputable pest control company should be the first choice for treatment whenever possible, but for a variety of reasons some people want to take a do it yourself approach.  They typically start out doing some research and usually end up following recommended steps such as sealing cracks and crevices, encasing bedding and more.  Ultimately, the decision to use an over the counter bed bug spray will be where most people end up.

While there are many tactics to curb an infestation, to completely eliminate the problem some type of insecticide will be required.  Most of us would think that a professional insecticide would certainly be the most effective, but studies have shown that some over the counter bed bug sprays can be quite effective as well.  These bed bug sprays will naturally have a lower toxicity than their professional counterparts, but a few actually have been shown to be just as effective as the higher toxicity choices.

A study of these bed bug sprays, typically referred to as biopesticides, was performed at Rutgers University and the results were promising.  They tested 11 plant oil or detergent based products specifically sold as effective treatments for bed bugs.  EcoRaider™ and Bed Bug Control™, both oil-based insecticides, achieved the best results, even performing better than certain professional grade products in certain areas.  It should be noted that these tests were conducted by spraying the products directly on bedbugs.

While this approach was effective at actually killing bed bugs, there were some shortcomings.

Regardless of the insecticide, the egg stage of the bed bug life cycle is the most difficult to eradicate.

While directly spraying the eggs was very effective with EcoRaider, and ineffective with the other products (including the professional sprays), the chances of actually locating the bed bugs and their eggs in a non-test infestation would be very unlikely.  The chances of completely controlling a real world infestation with an insecticide, professional or over the counter, would be very low.  Sprays can certainly help the situation, but in the end an integrated approach by an exterminator will almost certainly be necessary.