The Best Bed Bug Treatments

By Dr. Sheryl Grassie

Bed bugs are on the rise, so you may have had an experience with them, or you may in the future. Bigger than a peppercorn and smaller than a pea, these little vampires prey on humans and other mammals, drinking their blood. And like vampires, they generally come out only at night, biting humans while we sleep. Bed bugs make their homes close to their food source and usually stay, nest, and reproduce in and around your bed.

It is necessary to kill bed bugs and treatment can take some persistence. This article will cover our top 4 picks for best DIY treatments, including best organic, best super strength, most effective non-toxic, and best value. We will also discuss how you get bed bugs, where they live, how to know if you have them, and a list of steps to fully get rid of them.


Our Picks for the Best Bed Bug Treatments

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bed bug killer

Best Organic Treatment

Harris Bed Bug Killer – Diatomaceous Earth

This do-it-yourself organic powder is designed for residential use and is safe for humans and pets. It is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is effective and long lasting.

Diatomaceous Earth starts as a rock that easily crumbles into powder. Bed bugs avoid it, so it creates a natural barrier that keeps them away. It also breaks down their outer shell leading to eventual death. It can be used in conjunction with heat treatments.

bed bug treatment

Best Super Strength Treatment

Ortho 0202510 Home Defense Max Bed Bug, Flea and Tick Killer

Ortho Home Defense is a liquid compound that you can spray in and around all infested areas. It is super strength and kills even the most stubborn and pesticide resistant bed bugs.

It is fast drying, non-staining, and unscented, and kills bed bug eggs and other types of insects like fleas and ticks. The liquid can seep into cracks and cervices to kill bugs that are out of sight and lasts several weeks.

bed bug treatment

Most Effective Non-Toxic Treatment

Bed Bug Killer by EcoRaider

EcoRaider’s formula has been extensively tested for safety and effectiveness. A non-toxic spray that is kid, dog, and environment friendly, it is also a certified USDA BioBased insecticide.

Its fast-acting formula kills eggs and bugs on contact with 100% success. It even kills bugs that are resistant to more traditional pesticides and continues killing for several weeks.

bed bug pack

Best Value Treatment

Harris Bed Bug Killer Value Bundle Kit

This kit includes a spray, a powder, an aerosol, and traps. Start by directly killing bugs with the spray, create a barrier with the powder, use the aerosol to get into hidden areas or cover larger surfaces like luggage, and lay traps to monitor future outbreaks.

The residual effects from spraying can last up to 16 weeks killing eggs and future bugs. It gives long-lasting protection. Buy the entire kit for a great value.


A Little Bed Bug History

Bed bugs were common prior to the second half of the 20th century. Checking for bed bugs and admonishing, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” was just part of life. Starting in the 1950’s and lasting until the 1990’s, strong insecticides nearly wiped out bed bugs. They were so rare that most exterminators had no experience with them. By the end of the 1990’s they began to flourish again. Some of the more toxic insecticides were banned, and that, along with increased resistance by the bugs, lead to a marked increase.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

The first thing to know about getting bed bugs, is that it has nothing to do with cleanliness. They may be in many people’s minds associated with unclean conditions, but in fact they are unrelated. You get them because you or your belongings have come in contact with them and they migrated home with you. This can happen when you travel, when you stay at a friend or relatives, or when something you have comes in contact with the bugs like your luggage, clothing, or stuffed animals. This is one reason to be very cautious about buying used items like beds, bedding, or mattresses; anything made from fabric.

They can also migrate from a neighbor’s home when people live in very close proximity like in an apartment building where they can come through the walls.

 Where Do Bed Bugs Live?

Bed bugs usually reside in bedrooms and have humans as their hosts, but not always. They can set up shop anywhere there is a food source, so near the dog’s bed, or even in a basement if there are rodents such as mice. There are many different kinds of bed bugs and they vary in their needs. Some need a very specific type of blood to reproduce, like bat bugs that need the blood of bats in order to have babies. Any species of bed bug can survive on human or other mammal blood, they just need a blood meal at least once a week or so. Bed bugs prefer warm blooded creatures but will make do with blood of any type as a food source.

Further, bed bugs like to hide. They are fairly thin creatures and can live in tiny cracks and very small openings like behind an electrical outlet or between a mattress and box spring. They like dark isolated corners, but can be on furniture, in carpet or on walls. They don’t like motion so will seek a non-moving area to stay in. They don’t actually build nests like some other insects, but they do group together. They can usually be found in or near the bed or bed frame.

How Do You Know If You Have Bed Bugs?

You are more likely to see bed bug droppings than the actual bugs. They can leave their droppings, and maybe their eggs, attached to your mattress, which can look like mold spots. They can also leave behind blood from a meal that looks like rust spots on bedding or your mattress. If you spot any of these things on your mattress you should check further.

Another way to tell if you have bed bugs is from bites. They may appear first as red marks and become itchy bumps, usually on your upper body, or areas exposed during sleep. Some people do mistake them for mosquito bites. They can be numerous, and very itchy for some, while others have no reaction to the bites making it hard to tell you have bed bugs. A small percentage of people will have an allergic reaction.

How Do You Treat Them?

Treating a bed bug infestation can be an involved process with a number of steps. Let’s walk through some basics.

  1. Start by identifying all infested rooms.
  2. Gather and wash all linens in very hot water and dry on high heat; heat kills the bugs.
  3. Do the same for clothes you keep in the infested rooms.
  4. Take all stuffed animals and other fabric items like throw pillows and put in them airtight containers with bed bug vapor strips. You can also try spraying with an aerosol before putting them in the container.
  5. Decide on DYI or professional extermination.
  6. Treat or have treated by a pest control company, the bed and areas around the bed. Use DIY powders or sprays. You can also heat steam your mattress; the heat will kill the bed bugs. If using professionals, they will know what to do.
  7. After treatment use a bed bug proof cover on your mattress and box spring.
  8. Set traps to monitor any future recurrence.

Summary

Bed bugs are an incredible nuisance! Luckily, they don’t carry disease and can be exterminated. There are great DIY treatments, both natural and chemically based. Read through our top picks and follow our steps for ridding your home from these nighttime invaders.


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