How Does Bed Bug Bombs Work

US EPA

Bed Bugs

Should I Use a Fogger?

While we can’t tell you whether or not to use a fogger, we can explain some things about foggers and how to use them safely to help you decide.

We register all pesticides to ensure they are safe to use, presuming you follow the label directions. This includes foggers (the full name is "total release foggers," to distinguish them from pesticide application equipment that is designed to emit a fog-like pesticide spray, but is under the control of the user).

When and How to Use a Fogger

To use a total release fogger, you place the canister in an appropriate location, activate it, and leave the room (perhaps even leave the building if directed by the label).

Total release foggers are approved for use against a variety of indoor pests, including bed bugs. Not all foggers are labeled for use against bed bugs, so you need to read the label before purchasing a fogger to ensure you are getting one that lists bed bugs on the label.

Effectiveness of Foggers

Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of total release foggers against bed bugs. Bed bugs often hide, especially during the day. Foggers should not be used as the sole source of bed bug control. The pesticides used in total release foggers must contact the pest to kill it. If the material does not reach the cracks and crevices where bed bugs are hiding, they will not be killed.

Fogger Safety Tips and Videos

If you are considering using a fogger:

  • Read the label before purchasing it to be sure to buy a product registered for use against bed bugs.
  • Read the label before using the product, to ensure you use it correctly.
  • Only use the number of foggers required for your space. More is not better and too much could cause an explosion.
  • Turn off pilot lights and unplug appliances to reduce the potential for an explosion.
  • Leave the room or the building as directed by the label and don’t return until the amount of time listed on the label has passed.
  • View our videos on fogger safety for some tips.
  • Bedbug Treatments: Facts and Myths

    What works and what doesn’t to get rid of a bedbug infestation?

    • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

    Bedbugs aren’t easy to get rid of, and in desperation, you might be tempted to try the first remedy you read about online. Unfortunately, many of these methods are ineffective—and some can even be dangerous. If you ever find yourself in a battle with these pesky varmints, make sure to separate fact from fiction before you fight back. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will save you time, money, and aggravation.

    Fact: You’ll Need to Call Pest Control

    The most effective means of getting rid of bedbugs is to call in a trained professional and have them apply a pesticide. Many pros also recommend giving your home a thorough cleaning because bedbugs can hide anywhere and pesticides can’t be applied to everything you own. You’ll need to get rid of clutter and launder anything washable in hot water. You may also need to steam-clean your carpets and furniture.

    Fact: Pesticides Don’t Always Work

    Bugs can develop resistance to pesticides over time, especially if they’re overapplied. Chemicals, such as deltamethrin, that were once commonly used to combat certain pests are no longer effective. According to research from 2017, bedbugs may be developing resistance to pyrethrums, the most common chemical used to combat them.

    Fact: You May Not Have to Toss Your Furniture

    If the infestation is caught early, a professional pest control application and diligent cleaning should remove these critters from your furniture. More severe infestations are another matter. If your mattress is torn or separated at the seams, bedbugs have likely moved inside, making treatment near impossible. In such circumstances, replacement may be your only option.

    Fact: Mattress Covers Work

    A number of companies make bedbug resistant mattress covers that form an impenetrable barrier around the exterior of your mattress. If you’ve had your home treated for a bedbug infestation, using a mattress cover can prevent any remaining bugs in your mattress from getting out and biting you.

    Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs With Bug Bombs

    Bug bombs, or total room foggers, release a pesticide into the air in your home. Most bug bombs contain pyrethrin, one of the chemicals used to combat bedbugs, so you might think this product is an effective way to eliminate an infestation. Not so.

    First of all, bedbugs (and other crawling insects) typically flee when pesticide is released, heading for cover in the deepest, most inaccessible crevices of your home. Second, effective treatment requires directed applications in all the places where bedbugs hide: behind moldings and casements, inside electrical boxes, or inside mattresses, for example. Chemicals released by a bomb simply can’t reach such places adequately to kill all the bedbugs in your home.

    Myth: Bedbug Sniffing Dogs are Highly Effective

    While companies that use bug-sniffing dogs may claim a success rate of over 90%, the truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of testing to see if these claims are true. (And at between $500 and $1,000 for their services, that’s an expensive "maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t.") In 2011, two researchers at Rutgers University did put some bedbug-sniffing dogs through their paces in real apartment buildings, and the results were nowhere near as effective as advertised. The accuracy of the dogs’ detecting abilities averaged just 43%.

    Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs by Turning Up The Heat

    Heat treatments do kill bed bugs effectively, but simply turning up your thermostat isnota heat treatment. To roast bedbugs in your home, you’d have to heat the entire house evenly to over 120° F for at least an hour (including the voids between interior and exterior walls and the insides of your furniture). No home heating system is designed to do that. Professional heat treatments usually involve sealing your home and using multiple heat sources throughout the house to raise the temperature.

    Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs by Turing Off The Heat

    Temperatures below 32° F can and do kill bed bugs outside of the home—if temperatures remain below freezing for a prolonged period of time. but who wants to live in a freezing house? Moving out for the two to three months that it would take to starve bed bugs of their source of food (you) is equally impractical.

    When to Use a Bug Bomb to Control Pests

    Debbie Hadley/Getty Images

    • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

    Bug bombs—also known as total release foggers or insect foggers—use an aerosol propellant to fill an indoor space with chemical pesticides. These products are often marketed as all-purpose extermination tools that are easy for a homeowner to use.

    But is a bug bomb always the right choice when confronted with a home pest problem? Learn when to use a bug bomb—and when you shouldn’t.

    Bug Bombs Work Best on Flying Insects

    Bug bombs are most effective on flying insects, such as flies or mosquitoes. They don’t provide much control at all for cockroaches, ants, bed bugs, or other pests that most concern homeowners. So unless you live in the "Amityville Horror" house, you won’t find a bug bomb to be of much help with your insect problem.

    Consumers are often fooled into using bug bombs for roaches and bed bugs because they believe the airborne pesticides will penetrate every crack and crevice where these insects hide. Quite the opposite is true, though. Once these hidden pests detect the chemical fog in the room, they’ll retreat further into walls or other hideaways, where you’ll never be able to treat them effectively.

    Got Bed Bugs? Don’t Bother With a Bug Bomb

    Are you battling bed bugs? Entomologists at The Ohio State University say not to bother using a bug bomb. Their 2012 study showed bug bomb products to be ineffective for treating bed bug infestations.

    The researchers studied three brands of insect foggers that list pyrethroids as their active ingredient. They used five different bedbug populations collected from Ohio homes as their variables and a laboratory-raised bed bug strain known as Harlan as their control. The Harlan bed bug population is known to be susceptible to pyrethroids. They conducted the experiment in a vacant office building on campus.

    The OSU entomologists found that the insect foggers had little adverse effect on the five bed bug populations collected from the field. In other words, the bug bombs were virtually useless on the bed bugs that are actually living in people’s homes. Just one strain of the field-collected bed bugs succumbed to the pyrethroid foggers, but that was only when those bed bugs were out in the open and directly exposed to the insecticide mist. The foggers did not kill bed bugs that were hiding, even when they were only protected by a thin layer of cloth. In fact, even the Harlan strain—bed bugs that are known to be susceptible to pyrethroids—survived when they could take shelter under a piece of cloth.

    The bottom line is this: If you have bed bugs, save your money for a professional exterminator, and don’t waste your time using bug bombs. Using ineffective pesticides inappropriately only contributes to pesticide resistance, and it won’t solve your problem.

    Bug Bombs Can Be Hazardous

    Regardless of the targeted pest, a bug bomb should really be a pesticide of last resort, anyway. First of all, the aerosol propellants used in bug bombs are highly flammable and pose a serious risk of fire or explosion if the product is used improperly. Second, do you really want to coat every surface in your home with toxic pesticides? When you use a bug bomb, a chemical cocktail rains down on your counters, furniture, floors, and walls, leaving behind an oily and toxic residue.

    If you still feel a bug bomb is your best option for pest control, be sure to read and follow all directions on the label. Remember that when it comes to pesticide use, the label is the law! If the bug bomb treatment doesn’t work the first time, don’t try it again—it’s not going to work. Consult your county extension office or a pest-control professional for help.

    How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast: Scientifically Approved Ways and Products

    If you have found yourself reading this article, there is no point in explaining to you what kind of small brown bugs have settled in your mattress. Based on recommendations of scientists, we have prepared a detailed guide for you. From this review, you will learnhow to get rid of bed bugs PROPERLYand defeat them once and for all.

    Yes, they are indeed the nasty parasites which are so hard to eliminate as they are incredibly tenacious and skillful at hiding. How to kill bed bugs effectively? A bed bug bomb seems to be the fastest way to get rid of the bloodsuckers. But is it true?

    In order to find out the truth, we have compiled the opinions of scientists from more than ten American universities. We’ll bust the myths about the ever-popular bug bombs which are utterly useless against these insects. And here you will findTOP 15 proven bed bug killing products.

    Table of Content:

    The Scientists’ Opinion on How to Eliminate Bed Bugs

    There is no magical panacea against bed bug infestation. IPM Program specialists confirm this and recommend combining chemical and non-chemical methods for the best control. Here are the most effective treatments.

    1. Mattress protector.As the scientists claim (and real life experience attests to this), the majority of bed bugs (about 70%) settle in mattresses, box springs and bed frames.

    That is why you should devote most effort to treating the mattress. Cover it in a special mattress protector for 12 months. Within this period, all the adults and larvae will starve inside it.

    You may like:LINENSPAZippered Encasement, Bed Bug Proof Breathable Mattress Protector is theBest Sellerin the Mattress Encasements category.

    After that, you will have to destroy the remaining 30% of pests. What is the most effective way of doing this? What do entomologists have to say about various bed bug control solutions?

    2. Bed Bug Killing Products: Liquid Insecticides and Dustsare best to eliminate serious infestations.The main aim of the insecticides is to kill insects in inaccessible places. The scientists distinguish both natural and chemical insecticides as well as Diatomaceous Earth among contact treatments.

    You may like:Diatomaceous Earthis organic and completely safe for people and pets. Check the current price

    Ortho Home Defenseis able to kill not only regular bed bugs and their eggs, but also pyrethroid-resistant insects. Find the best price.

    Harris Bed Bug Liquid Killerwith Deltamethrin as active component kills bed bugs fast on contact. Find the best price.

    However, bear in mind that certain species have adapted to the pyrethroid insecticides. That’s why you should make sure the manufacturer states whether the product is effective against pyrethroid insecticide-resistant insects.

    The ever-popular boric acid is, unfortunately, useless in this case. As the experts explain, “boric acid is useful for cockroach control because roaches groom themselves and boric acid is a slow-acting stomach poison. Bed bugs cannot ingest it”.

    3. Trapsserve more as a monitoring rather than killing measure. The University of Minnesota experts consider them to be multifunctional.“Bed bug interceptors not only help to reduce the number of bed bugs that can reach the bed but also act as a monitoring tool to help determine whether bed bugs are present.”It is therefore sensible to use them during the entire process of eliminating the bloodsuckers. You will find more traps in our review of the Best Bed Bug Traps.

    Foggers (Bug Bombs). Despite the common misconception, the scientists are positive that foggers and bug bombs are ineffective against any home pest insects. There is no effect because no poisonous fog droplets can reach the insects’ shelters and kill them there. Moreover, a reverse repelling effect is observed as the parasites hide even further down the cracks and breed there.

    How Bed Bug Control Products Work | Effectiveness

    Mattress covers

    Isolate the insects and doesn’t let them escape outside or enter inside the mattress. Effectiveness: 9

    Insecticides

    The most powerful killer. Pyrethrins, pyrethroids, neonicotinoid, chlorfenapyr. Effectiveness: 10

    Natural solutions

    Geranium, clove, peppermint and other essential oils. Kills on contact. Effectiveness: 7

    Diatomaceous Earth

    100% organic insect killing product. Dehydrates parasites to death on contact. Effectiveness: 8

    Traps

    Means of parasite population monitoring. Effectiveness: 9

    A Single Bug Bomb Can Kill All Bed Bugs Immediately: True or False? False.

    So, it’s time for some serious actions now! Many people try to use bug bombs and foggers, but the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, NY specialists, warn us:“Foggers and bug bombs are not effective against them”.

    This is so because the sprayed droplets of the synthetic fog cannot penetrate hidden spots inhabited by the bed bugs. The University of Kentucky scientists agree with this.

    They insist that the home insect foggers (“Bug Bombs”) are useless against crawling insects.When applied in this manner, very little insecticide actually penetrates into cracks, voids, and other hidden locations where cockroaches, ants, silverfish, and most other household pests congregate and spend most of their time.

    The main point is also that the ingredients within “bug bombs” also tend to be repellent, causing insects to scatter and move deeper into wall voids and other hard-to-reach areas, which means they are hiding a bit further! It’s pointless to rely on any repellents either as their bloodthirstiness is stronger than the smell.

    And What Is the Alternative?

    Professional insecticidesare the most effectivemeans of dealing with the bed bugs today. Skip to STEP#5 Treat Cracks and Crevices Using Liquid Insecticides

    Bed Bug Killing Plan: 10 Steps to Eliminate Bed Bugs

    All scientists agree that eliminating bed bugs is a hard work.“Management will require employing several nonchemical methods such as vacuuming, washing bedding at a high temperature, using steam or heat treatment, and sealing up hiding places. Insecticides may be required to eliminate serious infestations. The best approach is to combine chemical and nonchemical tactics with increased sanitation and habitat modification practices”(University of California Statewide IPM Program).

    Where to begin? What measures and in what sequence should be taken? We have drawn up a plan of action so that you know how to get rid of bed bugs successfully. The plan includes 10 steps.

    1. Inspection.This will allow you to control the situation. Bedbug eggs and larvae are hard to notice, since the former are minuscule while the latter are transparent or whitish. Therefore, look for signs of their presence in your room, such as black dots and blood stains.
    2. Ultimate cleaning.Even if the first idea that comes to your mind when you see bed bugs is to flee, get yourself together. You still have some cleaning to do. Also, throw away old trash and wooden furniture that you do not use. Check the second-hand wooden furniture when buying. On returning from s trip, take ALL of your stuff (even new and clean things) to the laundry.
    3. Vacuum cleanthe carpets and floors, as well as all corners and crevices to remove as many adult parasites and their larvae as possible. The vacuum cleaner will not help to get rid of eggs (as they are too sticky), so use sticky tape in case you notice the eggs.
    4. Wash all of your clothes and bed sheets at 120°F.What kills the adults, larvae, and eggs is high temperature. Try to steam clean those items you can’t wash.
    5. If possible,take all the furniture outside, into the sun, as they do not like extreme heat. If you have substantial infestation at home, and so a lot of things are to be treated, or if you travel frequently, a thermal camera for treating infected objects (such asDr Infrared Heater, 18 cubic feet portable heater quickly reaches 120-155F in minutes and effectively kills bed bugs for Check current price)will be handy.
    6. Although most often these human parasites are found in the bedrooms, sometimes they happen to migrate to other rooms, in the bathroom, for instance, somake sure you check everything. If necessary, make repairs and seal cracks and crevices in the walls and the floor.
    7. Warn your neighbors; ask them if anyone has the same problemas it is easier to kill the bed bugs together than alone. Do not be ashamed as they can settle even in the most luxurious buildings. As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention specialists claim, “Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found”.
    8. Insulate the bed as the main source of infection. Do not dispose of it, even though it seems to be the easiest solution. Take away tables, chairs and other furniture which is directly adjacent to the bed. If possible, move the bed away from the window sill and walls.Treat your bed with insecticides and pack the mattress in a special zipped mattress protector.When on a trip, don’t put the suitcase on the hotel furniture, especially the bed. Use protective cases for the suitcases to prevent bed bugs from getting into your house.
    9. Use insecticides to treat cracks, crevices and all bed bug hiding places under furniture and carpets, behind baseboards, outlets and pictures. Have a spare liquid insecticide in order not to waste time buying it in case you find a bed bug.
    10. Exterminator.Professional services are the last on our list for two reasons. You should call an exterminator in case you fail to cope with the problem on your own and, of course, if you can afford it. Exterminator services is the most expensive solution while being the most effective one.

    You are about to find out why the bugs can infest any house, even a 5-star hotel, how to react to their appearance, how to behave during a vacation so as not to bring them home, how to kill bed bugs and how long do it take to clean the house of the infestation.

    Let us warn you: it is a hard and long job to do. But if you are consistent and practice the integrated approach of combining the timely cleaning with the use protective covers for the beds and insecticides, you are guaranteed to succeed.

    STEP #1 Inspection: 5 Obvious Signs of Bed Bugs

    Clearly, it is much easier to identify adults than to note the presence of larvae on a light-colored mattress. A larva’s body is much smaller than an adult’s one, it is transparent or whitish. Mission impossible is finding the pearly eggs which are the size of a pinhead.

    We have found out that the human attention is the best detector. The scientists advise conducting a regular, careful inspection of all the “potentially hazardous” zones in your bedroom, especially the mattress. It is such check that will allow you to begin treatment in time rather than the use of any other devices for identifying the insects.

    Furthermore, no matter how good they are at hiding, the following signs always give them away:

    • Feces in the habitat.
    • If you see some black dots (which are actually digested blood) somewhere where it’s supposed to be clean, make your conclusions.
    • Larvae skins.
    • Larvae throw them when turning into adults.
    • Blood stains on the bed sheets.
    • Bite spots on the human body.

    In order to be full, the adult bed bugs won’t get enough of a single small bite. Usually, they leave tracks of 3-5 itchy bites located next to each other. Most often they attack hands, feet, and the neck. These insects almost always bite at night, just before dawn, but in the case of severe hunger they can pay you a visit whenever.If you’re interested in the devices for bed bug detection,refer to our reviewof the best bed bug detectors for more details.

    Let us warn you: it is a hard and long job to do. But if you are consistent and practice the integrated approach of combining the timely cleaning with the use protective covers for the beds and insecticides, you are guaranteed to succeed.

    Experts still debate the effectiveness of various products and active ingredients, but they are unanimous about what kills bed bugs is vacuuming, washing bedding at a high temperature (120° F), using steam or heat treatment. This gives a 100% success result. Therefore, do not neglect these simple and banal at a first glance ways.

    STEP#2 Monitoring

    If you either still hesitate or you’ve been bitten by a bed bug or some other insect or haven’t been able to find their nest at home, try using traps. There are two types of such devices: plastic and sticky ones.

    The former are the double plastic cup-holders to be placed under the bed legs which keep the bloodsuckers crawling off the bed inside one circle, and the ones crawling into the bed are kept in another one. Thus, being a 2-in-1 piece, the device allows you to track the movement of bugs and catch them.

    Monitoring devices such as ClimbUp® are useful for confirming the presence of bed bugs when a visual inspection cannot. When installed under bed legs, they also provide a barrier between floor and bed which can potentially reduce bites, especially when beds are pulled slightly away walls and encased,as Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky confirms.

    Climbup®Bed Bug Interceptoris the most popular product of this type today. Find the best price

    The following 3 items are considered to be the best sellers among top 100 products.

    • Sticky cardboardsthat can be placed anywhere and be used to monitor a variety of insect pests, including bed bugs. The idea of their operation is the same: when an insect touches the adhesive tape, it sticks to it and dies. Trapper Insect Trap (90-Pack) Check the current price
    • Harris Bed Bug Killing Product (4-Pack) with lureCheck the current price
    • Climbup®Insect Interceptor is the most popular product of this type today. Check the current price

    STEP#3 Treat infested mattress

    According to the entomologists,70% of the bed bugs in the house settle in the mattress, box spring and bed frame during a typical infestation.That is one of the priority tasks is to treat the infected mattress and to protect the new one by using protective encasements.

    Modern encasements are made of firm materials (polyurethane, polyester, etc.) the pores of which are smaller than the bed bugs so that you could lock up all existing blood-suckers and their larvae inside and prevent new ones from getting into the mattress from the outside.

    Remember!The encasement should cover the mattress for a year as it is this period of time that is required for the captivated bed bugs to starve. If you happen to take the encasement off and then put it back on, you might as well start everything all over again.

    Here is the#1 Bestsellerin the Mattress Encasements category:LINENSPA Zippered Encasement Waterproof, Bed Bug Proof Breathable Mattress Protector.This encasement will protect your mattress from bed bugs and mites, and it is also waterproof.

    It is really as good as it sounds, according to the customer feedback:“This is an excellent product. I purchased this to contain bed bugs that were on my mattress. I bought some diatomaceous earth and treated my bed first then placed the cover over the mattress. I’ve been sleeping like a baby ever since. No more bites.”The customers also add that it is nice to sleep on and it doesn’t rustle or cause sweating. You can get all of that forCheck current price. Buy

    3 Do It Yourself (DIY) Bed Bugs Bombs

    People commonly use bed bug bombs – commonly known as insecticide foggers- to fend off bed bugs and other pests in their home and other areas. But do they work? Like most DIY treatments, it depends. Factors like environmental conditions, intensity of infestation and method of treatment application can all play a role in determining control success. Read about the three DIY bed bug foggers below for a better understanding of their efficacy.

    Essential Oils

    Volatile essential oils are frequently used as a treatment option due to their less harmful effects on bed bugs and on humans. However,consumers tend to over-apply natural and other insecticide treatmentsdue to a general lack of training on proper application techniques. Hence excess insecticides may wind up in areas like beds and couches where humans and pets may inhale them, potentially causing non-target effects.

    In 2013, researchers conducted a studyto determine the efficacy of a variety of essential oils to treat bed bugs. While findings indicated that essential oils could kill the bed bugs, researchers identified many other factors that may influence efficacy of control. By containing the bed bugs in a lab, the essential oil could be applied directly onto the bed bugs, allowing the bed bugs to completely absorb the oils. In a home or other natural environment, however, bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices, making direct contact impractical.

    Additionally, essential oil products includeother substances that may contribute to killing the bed bugs. Since “natural” products are exempt from the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, they do not have to disclose all ingredients on their packaging. Consumers using essential oils should consider that they may not know exactly which ingredients they are actually using.

    Use of Bed Bug Nymphs

    Researchers believe that the smell of bed bug nymphs (immature stage) may deter other bed bugs. Bed bugs emit one scent when they’re babies and a different scent when they’re adults. Researchers from Lund University discovered thatthe smell of nymphs was discouraging to other bed bugs, including both adults and nymphs. This method requires extensive knowledge of bed bug smells and is therefore not a recommended bed bug solution.

    Store-Bought Foggers

    Another home-treatment option often suggested involves store-bought bed bug foggers. Ohio State University researchers found that foggers wereunable to infiltrate bed bug hiding spots. The ingredients in the foggers caused the bed bugs to divide and migrate to other areas. This can make treatment more difficult. Additionally, foggers often contain DDT, a chemical compound that bed bugs have built resistance to. It’s also dangerous to use multiple foggers in the same location, as the products may explode if too many are used in one area. Since there is no proof of the effectiveness of bed bug foggers, they shouldn’t be sought after as a reliable treatment.

    Enlisting Help

    So, do bed bug bombs work? DIY solutions may not be effective for areas with high infestation levels. The more bugs that are present, the longer it will take to see success with these solutions. To help get rid of bed bugs quicker, appropriate methods must be used to target the infestation and environment. This requires prior knowledge and experience of handling bed bugs and treatments.

    Since DIY solutions cannot guarantee success, call Terminix® tohelp get rid of bed bugs.Our customized treatment plans can aid in tackling infestations around your home so you don’t have to worry about experimenting with your own solutions.

    TypeAction / Effectiveness (1-10)

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