If you’ve read many of the posts on this site, then you know I’m pretty devoted to helping people figure out what kills bed bugs and their eggs. To that end, I not only actively help people I know, but I also go out and read what other people are finding that works, and what other people are recommending. And you know what?…
There is a HUGE disconnect between what kills bed bugs and their eggs and what people are recommending, particularly on internet sites.
Now, don’t get me completely wrong. There are some very good sites out there that offer some truthful and accurate information (and I like to think that KillAllBedBugs is one of those sites). If you search hard enough, you’ll definitely come across some sites that will recommend solutions and treatment methods that actually work. In the process, however, you’ll also find many hundreds of sites that are simply trying to sell you the latest bed bug spray.
I’ve done so in other posts, but what I thought I’d do today is to give you the most up-to-date information that we have on what you can use to kill bed bugs and their eggs. (Note that I’m assuming you’re not hiring a professional exterminator – not because you shouldn’t – but rather because these tips are simply geared for people who want to treat the problem on their own and perhaps save a bit of money in the process.)
So How Can One Effectively Kill Bed Bugs and Their Eggs?
- First of all, you must focus on the eggs. I know this seems counter-intuitive, since you are probably dying to kill the LIVE bed bugs that are biting you every night, but in terms of treatment, if you can’t destroy the eggs, then you’re never going to succeed in your extermination battle. With that in mind, it’s almost impossible to use a spray to destroy the eggs. Even you find one strong enough that it will neutralize the eggs on contact, you will never be able to be thorough enough to actually spray it directly onto all of the eggs, since they’re often hidden behind wallpaper, under the carpet, in light fixtures, etc. In addition, sprays generally do nothing to eggs in any case.
This means that, above all else, you MUST get a dry steamer. One of the only effective ways to destroy bed bug eggs is to heat them up to a hot enough temperature (and no, turning the heat up in your home won’t come close). I would get a dry steamer before I’d get anything else, and I’d use it extensively on my bed, furniture, floors, carpet, and even my walls (although be careful about getting wallpaper too damp, as it will loosen the adhesive). I don’t personally think that any one tool is enough to effectively eliminate bed bugs in every instance, but a dry steamer is one of the two tools that I wouldn’t do without.
- Secondly, focus on residual bed bugs. Hopefully, with a dry steamer (and any spray that you may use), you’ll kill most all of the bed bugs and eggs. However, there is never any guarantee that your efforts will be 100% successful, so you’ll need something that will kill any bed bugs that emerge from hiding after you treat your home a few times.
That tool should be diatomaceous earth. Why diatomaceous earth? Mostly because it lasts. As opposed to most sprays, you can put it down, and it will still kill bed bugs that walk across it 2 weeks later. That doesn’t mean that you should re-apply every week or 2 for a couple months, but it does mean that you can hopefully kill live bed bugs before they’re able to bite you or, more importantly, lay more eggs. As an added benefit, diatomaceous earth is pretty cheap, which makes a difference, because you’ve probably already spent a fair amount on a good dry steamer (although not near as much as you’d spend on a good exterminator).
- Finally, treat, treat, treat. The point I want to make here is that whatever treatment method you choose (even if you don’t go with a dry steamer and diatomaceous earth as I’ve suggested), you need to treat multiple times, even after you think that you’ve killed all the bed bugs. Bed bugs live for quite a while without feeding, so they could easily be hiding in places that you didn’t treat. Unless you keep treating and re-treating, you’ll just keep getting recurring infestations. Being thorough the first time makes sure that you don’t allow the stragglers to repopulate in your home.
These are just the basics, and we really recommend that you put together a much more comprehensive step-by-step attack plan. I find that most people who have a strategy for how to deal with bed bugs and how to keep them from coming back are by far the most successful. People who act haphazardly and just buy every new product that they come across tend to kill some of the bed bugs and their eggs, but they miss some and generally experience many recurrences. Please don’t let that be you!