Treatment for bed bugs comes in several varieties. Some methods can be used at home by amateurs, while others are more effective with the supervision of a pest control professional. Many DIY procedures will not fully eliminate bed bugs, but the treatments can lessen their numbers and help alleviate some of the suffering property owners and residents undergo when faced with an infestation. In order, the methods are vacuuming, freezing, laundering, pesticides, and heat treatment.
The first three treatments are ones amateurs can do at home when dealing with bed bugs. Vacuuming is a simple procedure which can pick up bed bug eggs and larvae from the floors. This can also help eliminate fecal matter and improve the overall cleanliness of the room. Freezing involves wrapping up smaller items from the infected area and storing them in a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill any bed bugs lurking in the materials. This works for little furnishings that will fit in a freezer, but is ineffective for large rooms. Finally, people can wash their clothes, sheets, and curtains in hot water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit to kill and drown bed bugs and larvae hiding in the fabrics.
Pesticides can be purchased at general and hardware stores, but should be left to the professionals. Although there are seven different categories of bed bug chemicals, the main ones used are pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and desiccants. Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are toxic compounds which can kill and repel bed bugs for a short period of time. They are effective, but some bed bugs will be able to smell the chemicals and will relocate for a short period of time. Once the pesticide is no longer a threat, they will return to their original home. Desiccants are a more effective treatment. These products cause the waxy outer shell of bed bugs to disintegrate, eventually weakening and killing them. Unlike pyrethrins and pyrethroids, bed bugs cannot detect these pesticides as easily and are less likely to move to another section of the house.
The final treatment for bed bugs is the application of heat throughout an entire property. A professional pest control operative will heat an entire property up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and will leave it at this temperature for 3-4 hours. The efficiency of heat treatment for bed bugs comes from the fact that bed bugs cannot survive at these temperatures and will die out in the uninhabitable conditions. Heat treatment is the most effective treatment available because it spreads throughout an entire home and business evenly and stops bed bugs from hiding in another location. The heat additionally works on bed bug larvae and eggs, eliminating the future generations of pests.
When choosing a treatment for bed bugs, people should weigh the pros and cons. In many cases, people will need to use techniques from Integrated Pest Management, which is a process where an individual combines different methods to control pests. Calling a professional will help property owners completely exterminate pests from a property, while using DIY methods and cleaning techniques can help clean rooms and prevent future infestations of bed bugs before they begin.
Jose D. has been providing pest control solutions to North County San Diego residents since 2000!