After a bed bug inspection has resulted in a positive confirmation of bed bugs being present in a home the inevitable question that follows is “how do you get rid of bed bugs?”.
Of all the questions we get on a daily basis this one is, by far, the most important one and the answer is as follows;
The process of getting rid of bed bugs is known as a bed bug extermination. There are essentially two ways to get rid of bed bugs or, two types of bed bug extermination; The first is known as Traditional Bed Bug Extermination and the second is known as a Bed Bug Heat Treatment.
Traditional bed bug extermination consists of methods that have been used by bed bug exterminators for many years. These methods involve applying various chemical pesticides in the appropriate place and quantities throughout the treatment area to offer the best chances of a successful bed bug elimination.
In addition to the application of the pesticides (usually a Pyrethroid based product), the bed bug exterminator will apply steam to effectively kill any bed bug eggs that are present and visible. The heat of the steam renders the bed bug eggs dead within just a few seconds and is very effective for this purpose (more on how heat kills bed bugs below). The final product that a bed bug exterminator will use is a dust – also usually infused with a Pyrethroid – that kills the bed bugs as they walk over it. Bed bugs, when cut by microscopic dust particles, are unable to heal and subsequently dry out and die as a result.
Chemical based insecticides used by the bed bug exterminator are known as ‘residual’ products meaning that they are effective for a period of time after the application has been completed. The length of time that the product is effective for varies from a few to six weeks to up to six months or more depending on the product that was used. Usually, a bed bug extermination company will provide a minimum of two treatments as part of their bed bug elimination program to address the fact that the eggs that exist during the initial treatment will hatch in the time between the treatments (usually around 2 weeks apart) and the exterminator can kill the hatched insects on the second treatment before they have a chance to procreate and create more eggs – unless a product that kills the eggs as well was used. By doing this, the exterminator hopes to ‘break the life cycle’ of the bed bugs living in the home.
Usually, a bed bug extermination company will provide a minimum of two treatments as part of their bed bug elimination program to address the fact that the eggs that exist during the initial treatment will hatch in the time between the treatments (usually around 2 weeks apart) and the exterminator can kill the hatched insects on the second treatment before they have a chance to procreate and create more eggs. By doing this, the exterminator hopes to ‘break the life cycle’ of the bed bugs living in the home.
The second and much more successful way to get rid of bed bugs is known as a Bed Bug Heat Treatment. This type of treatment does not involve the use of pesticides at all. In fact, the heat treatment simply involves heating up the entire home to between 140 and 150 degrees for multiple hours.
It is well documented that a bed bug and a bed bug egg will die if exposed to a temperature of 122 degrees for less than 60 seconds. A bed bug heat treatment exceeds that temperature considerably to ensure that every nook and cranny of the home, including the inners of sofas and mattresses, are heated to well above the ‘thermal kill range’. By doing this, the exterminator ensures that all areas of the home are treated properly.
There are various ways that the high temperatures necessary to get rid of all of the bed bugs is achieved in a home. The equipment varies from electric heaters, propane heaters and to the most advanced type of bed bug heat treatment equipment – the ‘Closed Loop Glycol’ system.
Regardless of what type of system is used for a bed bug heat treatment, if the home is heated to the sufficient temperatures for the required length of time, a successful outcome is quite likely.
The question of how to get rid of bed bugs is an important one and the home owner should choose a bed bug extermination company that has experience in dealing specifically with this particular insect. Bed bugs can be hard to get rid of but armed with the right knowledge on how to select the proper company, your experience with bed bugs does not have to be all consuming.