Bed Bugs Spray – How To Choose The Best One

By Mark | Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

When you first realize you have bed bugs, your instinctive response is to douse your house with chemicals to kill all of these pests that have been terrorizing your nights. So, you’ll probably start looking for a bed bugs spray to treat your house with.

However, once you start looking for the best bed bugs spray, you’ll probably quickly realize that you don’t know how to choose between all the bed bugs sprays on the market, and more scarily, you don’t know whether bed bugs sprays are even effective at killing bed bugs!

So, in this post, I’m going to answer the following questions about bed bugss sprays so that you can be better informed before you go buy them (click on any of the questions below to jump straight to that section):

Will a bed bugs spray solve my infestation?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a cheap but safe chemical you can just spritz around your home and all of a sudden all those annoying bed bugs would just drop dead and never invade your home again? I often wished for that solution during that nightmarish period when I had bed bugs. And, if you’re in the same situation I was in, then you probably also long for a relatively inexpensive bed bugs spray that will ensure that you no longer have to worry about or be bitten by bed bugs.

So, will a magical bed bugs spray end all of my bed bug problems?

Let’s be honest – there are a ton of bed bugs sprays on the market (none of which I make, by the way), and many of them just don’t work. In fact, in my opinion, relying on a bed bugs spray alone is a sure way to keep at least a few bed bugs alive around your home.

What you should really do is use a spray in conjunction with other extermination methods, such as the Vapamore Dry Steamer and/or Diatomaceous Earth. (Keep on reading for the last section of this post or check out my post on how to get rid of bed bugs if you want to learn more about methods of killing bed bugs other than using a bed bugs spray).

So, bottom line is yes a bed bugs spray may be able to kill bed bugs, but no, a bed bugs spray by itself is unlikely to put an end to any sizable bed bug infestation.

Bed Bugs Sprays - Which One Is The Best?

(A quick note about bed bug evolution – there are suggestions that some bed bugs have evolved to be resistant to certain pesticides, so not all bed bugs sprays will keep working in the future. We have been updating this page as new information comes to light about the efficacy of different bed bugs sprays. And we will change our bed bugs spray recommendations if any of the sprays is shown to be ineffective at killing bed bugs.)

How do I choose a bed bugs spray?

It’s tough choosing a bed bugs spray as none of them are that amazing. The main difference between the bed bugs sprays appears to be the ingredients used in them.

Some sprays use natural ingredients such as essential oils (like rosemary, citronella, and other similar essential oils). These bed bugs sprays are often labeled as “green” and safe to use around the house.

Other bed bugs sprays contain more chemicals that are labeled as pesticides. These chemicals are often not naturally occurring in nature and are hence often considered more dangerous by the public.

In general, the bed bugs sprays with more chemicals in it are more effective at killing bed bugs (in fact, DDT nearly eradicated bed bugs before its use was banned).

However, in the end, none of the bed bugs sprays are that effective. So, your decision will mostly depend on how natural the chemicals are and how safe for your family and pets you want the bed bugs spray to be.

Which brands of bed bugs sprays do we recommend?

As I mentioned above, which bed bugs spray you pick will mostly depend on whether you want your bed bugs spray to contain “natural” chemicals or man-made chemicals. With that in mind, here are the 3 bed bugs sprays we currently recommend:

  1. Our Recommendation for a “Natural” Non-Pesticide Bed Bugs Spray”
  2. Bed Bugs Spray - Eco Defense

    We currently recommend the Eco Defense bed bugs spray made from all-natural ingredients. Reviews of this product suggest it’s relatively effective at killing bed bugs still.

    We used to recommend the Bed Bug Bully spray. However, recent reviews suggest that people are finding Bed Bug Bully to not kill bed bugs.

  3. Our Recommendation for a Bed Bug Pesticide
  4. Bed Bugs Spray - Steri Fab

    In general – and you could probably guess this – “natural” products are not as effective as synthetic pesticides. In fact, if a product does not contain any pesticides, then the manufacturer is not required to prove to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that such products are at all effective at killing or preventing bed bugs. All of that said, I completely understand the desire not to be spraying random chemicals around one’s children and pets, or even one’s self. So, while it’s tempting to try the Eco Defense Bed Bugs Spray, the truth is that it doesn’t work as well as something like Steri-Fab.

    Steri-Fab has a small quantity of the common pesticide, d-phenothrin, which is often used to kill fleas and ticks. In general, this type of pesticide is fairly effective at killing bed bugs, although I’ve found that with any spray, I need to spray several times over a period of days or weeks for it to be effective.

    As a side note, although this spray is still my favorite, there are reports that this sort of pesticide is becoming slightly less effective, as many bed bugs are developing resistance to the d-phenothrin (as well as many other pesticides). In addition, be extra careful if you have cats, since several other products containing phenothrin had their EPA permissions revoked at the voluntary request of the manufacturer after numerous cats and kittens died from such products. However, if you don’t have cats in your home, you might consider hopping over to Amazon to buy a bottle of Steri Fab. We also have a more thorough review of Steri Fab here.

  5. Make your own bed bugs spray
  6. You can make your own natural bed bugs spray similar to the ones on the market using a combination of 2 ingredients:

    1. Some essential oils (like citronella, mint, cloves, and rosemary). These are the active ingredients in many of the all-natural bed bugs sprays.
    2. Some rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). This is one of the active ingredients in Steri-Fab. We also often recommend rubbing alcohol as an effective method of killing bed bugs (e.g., by putting rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and spraying infected areas, or else using it to wipe down a suitcase after you’ve gotten back from traveling).

    You can mix these ingredients together and put them into a simple spray bottle, and voila, you’ll have created your own bed bugs spray. This spray is likely only to be effective when sprayed directly at live bed bugs, so again, please do not rely on this method to kill all the bed bugs in your home.

    Are bed bugs sprays dangerous?

    Most of the bed bugs spray products on the market contain pesticides rather than just all-natural ingredients. These sprays in particular should be used with caution, especially around children and pets. We definitely suggest putting on gloves (and a respirator if you have one). Keep your pets and kids away and make sure nothing disturbs the spray before it dries. And of course, don’t do anything like drink the bed bugs spray, plus always wash your hands carefully after handling chemicals.

    What additional methods of killing bed bugs should I implement?

    As I explained earlier in this post, bed bugs sprays should be used in conjunction with other bed bug elimination methods that’s part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

    In particular, a dry steamer such as this one shown below should be used to dry steam your entire home. This will ensure that many bed bugs are killed by the high heat from the dry steamer. This method is a highly important step in any bed bug elimination plan because it is one of the few methods that is able to kill bed bug eggs as well as live bed bugs. Therefore, make sure you get a dry steamer that will reach high temperatures so you can prevent new bedbugs from being born.

    Dry Steamer Vapamore

    We highly recommend you use the dry steamer throughout your house before applying any chemicals as the heat from the dry steamer can vaporize any bed bugs sprays you sprayed in your home.

    Another method that we highly recommend is using diatomaceous earth. This is a cheap white dust that can be scattered throughout your home to kill stray bed bugs that you missed using the dry steamer. Bed bugs are killed by dehydration when they walk across the dust.

    For items like your mattress and sofa, a bed bugs spray may be used after dry steaming it so that new bed bugs that walk across that part will hopefully be killed by the spray.

    We also recommend regular vacuuming, washing of clothes and bed sheets, and the usage of a mattress encasement as simple but effective bed bug preventative measures.

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(2) comments

Saad Talia

Hi,
Just watched your video. I’m in a fix which goes something like this,
a) I live in a boarding house (supportive housing) for people with mood disorders in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Other residents have had problems, some residents time after time,
b) This time I got hit and it has been weeks of waiting, etc. etc. The professional sprayed my room today. He’ll be back again in 2 weeks time,
c) My living space is approximately 136 square feet and I share it with my cat. We, the administration and I, have been trying to figure out if the cat was/is also being bitten – she doesn’t scratch, doesn’t seem to itch, I groom her 2 times a day and have seen nothing, nothing on her bed (movements and/or bedbugs).
Keeping all I’ve said in mind,
a) Would it be okay if I got some silica gel cat litter, ground it up fine and rubbed the powder into her fur? I figure, if it’s safe for her to use on a daily basis, it won’t hurt her if she grooms herself or licks some body-part,
b) Would a rubbing alcohol spray work if I rubbed it into her fur?
Please advise. I fear that if I can’t show that my area and my cat are bedbug-free, I’ll be asked to get rid of her in one fashion or another. Thus, if I can’t/don’t/won’t, they’ll ask me to leave. That scares me because this is the first stable home I’ve ever had and my cat is my only companion.
Your advice would be most welcome.
With best wishes,
Saad Talia

Reply
    Mark

    I apologize, but I’m not an expert in what would be safe for your cat. (In other words, I don’t know if applying ground silica gel or rubbing alcohol would be safe for a cat).

    My best advice is that bed bugs don’t typically LIVE on animals, although they certainly can bite them and be carried on them. If you’re treating the living area properly and you wash your cat a couple times per week during the treatment, then that should eventually take care of the problem.

    Reply
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