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Bed Bug Treatments: Pros and Cons

February 14, 2023 Bug Baron Bed Bug Control
Bed Bug Treatments: Pros and Cons

If you have bed bugs, you are probably wondering what the best treatment is to take care of them. The treatments available for them include chemical treatments, heat treatments, and fumigations. Since a one size does not fit all with the bed bugs, below includes the pros and the cons for each treatment.

What are bed bug chemical treatments?

A chemical treatment is treating all accessible areas for bed bugs and the types of chemicals that get used depend on the current environment. Bed bugs that get treated directly will die within minutes, but the bed bugs that come in contact with the treated areas after the product is dry will die two to three days after coming in contact with it. People need to be out of the structure for 4-6 hours after a treatment. See our article How to prepare for a Bed Bug chemical treatment on the prep work needed.

PRO: Cost effective

Of all the options, chemical treatments will save you the most money. Depending on the size of the structure, heat treatments and fumigations add up quickly.

PRO: Leaves a residual

Bed bugs are known for hiding in cracks and crevices, wall voids, and pretty much anything available and can go weeks and even months without a blood meal. A chemical residual will take them out when they eventually come out of hiding.

PRO: Helps prevent future infestations

It is common to get re-infested if someone you know has their own bed bug infestation. Chemical treatments can help reduce the chances of dealing with another infestation.

CON: May take multiple treatments

If you did any treatments yourself before calling an exterminator, this will interfere with their chemical treatments. The repellents sold at your local store will shove the bed bugs everywhere and only kill the ones that you treated directly. The bed bugs will know they are under attack and could hide in the walls for weeks or even months and return afterwards. Ever had them leave and come back later? Then a treatment of your own was likely performed. On top of that, chemical treatments do not kill the eggs, so you will have to wait until the eggs hatch as well. Make sure you have a longer warranty than only two or three months if this is the option you prefer. Even the EPA admits that very few infestations are controlled with only one treatment so be prepared for multiple treatments.

CON: Bed bugs have shown resistance to chemicals

Studies have shown how bed bugs have grown resistant to chemicals over the years. Regarding pyrethroids, one study has shown “that 54 out of 143 bed bugs were resistant to pyrethroids.” As a result, neonicotinoids have become the best alternative for the industry for chemical treatments. Unfortunately, like pyrethroids, bed bugs are now showing resistance to neonicotinoids. Dr. Alvaro Romero from New Mexico State University has stated, “Companies need to be vigilant for hints of declining performance of products that contain neonicotinoids.” In other words, even if you hire the best technician, science could prevent a 100% kill causing you to spend additional money on an alternative treatment.

CON: You need to be the bait after a treatment

Bed bugs need to come out of their hiding areas and come across the treated areas to die. In order for this to happen, you MUST continue to sleep in the bed to attract them. They are attracted to our carbon dioxide, so they will know if you are no longer sleeping in your bed. If you sleep on the couch instead of your bed where a residual exists around it, the bed bugs will not climb your bed and instead will eventually follow you to the couch.

What are bed bug heat treatments?

The heat treatment includes a heater along with fans to help get a room properly heated up to 120 degrees to 130 degrees. You will need to be out for 8 to 10 hours and the temperatures of your house could still be fairly high when you return. See our article How to Prepare for a Bed Bug Heat Treatment for prep instructions.

PRO: Heat treatments can produce the quickest results

Instead of waiting for the bed bugs to come in contact with treated areas or waiting three nights for the fumigation, heat at 130 degrees will kill them at all stages instantly. You could have a bed bug free home immediately after a treatment.

PRO: Chemical free treatment

Not a fan of having chemicals in your home? Prefer to go green? A heat treatment is your best option.

PRO: We don’t have to find the bed bugs

Bed bugs can hide anywhere including inaccessible areas.Instead of locating all of them, we can heat everything up to kill them at any stage of their life.

CON: The required prep work could save some of the bed bugs

While heat treatments can kill the bed bugs, heat can also damage a number of things that are not made to be heated up to high temperatures. There are a lot of things that must be removed from the treated areas. If one bed bug or egg gets removed with a single item, the entire heat treatment was for nothing. Unfortunately, we cannot go down to only one or two bed bugs. We must get all of them.

CON: Damage is almost inevitable

Most people who have done heat treatments have a story on something getting damaged. Furniture that is glued and screwed comes apart, the heel on high heels can come apart, electronics can get damaged, blinds get damaged constantly, and MUCH more. Needless to say, the heat treatment may not be your only cost with this option.

CON: The heat treatment may not kill all of them

A very common place bed bugs hide is wall voids. If you have insulation in your walls, the chances of the eggs or bed bugs dying gets greatly reduced in these areas. The entire point of insulation is to reduce heat. That being said, insulation will give bed bugs the time they need to move further into the walls and infest other rooms during the treatments.

What are bed bug fumigations?

Fumigations require an entire team to tent your house from the top down. This includes going on your roof along with placing sandbags around the structure to prevent gas from escaping. When it comes to prep work, everything that goes in your body must be double bagged in the bags provided by your exterminator and plants along with pets will also need to be out. Fumigating for bed bugs require you to be out for 4 days and 3 nights. See the short video “How to Prepare Your Home for Fumigation” at

PRO: The best treatment method

The gas will kill all life stages of the beg bugs including the eggs. Simply put, fumigations are the most effective treatment of all for bed bugs. One of our customers had a different company do three heat treatments for her and couldn’t get it under control. After doing one fumigation with us, she had her home back.

PRO: Very few things need to be removed from the structure

Besides anything living such as plants and pets, you don’t have to remove so many things like you do for a heat treatment. It is always best to leave everything in the fume including your bags so not a single bed bug gets taken with you. Instead of taking your luggage and purse to your hotel, use a plastic grocery bag and take your wallet so everything gets fumed.

PRO: You can fumigate your car too

The bed bugs did not take a hike by foot to your property, so your car was likely first infested, is still infested, or later got infested by your current infestation. The fumigation gives you the option to have your car be in the garage during the fume to make sure no bed bugs remain there afterwards.

CON: It is the most expensive treatment

Fumigations for bed bugs require 4 days and 3 nights compared to drywood termites that require 3 days and 2 nights. Ever fumigated your house for drywood termites? Bed bugs will cost you even more!

CON: Must be out of your house for three nights

On top of the cost to fumigate your house, you will also need to pay for a hotel for a few nights.

CON: Bagging up your food could be a bit much for some

Everything that goes in your body must be double bagged only with the bags provided by the exterminator company. The amount of time will depend on the size of your kitchen pantry. Watch the video on preparing for a fumigation mentioned above for further details to see if this is right for you.

In the end, each infestation is not the same. Everything from the severity of the infestation, whether or not a previous treatment was made, along with a number of other questions need to be answered in order for a decision to made.

At Bug Baron Extermiantor, we offer each of these treatments and even offer one year warranties on our work to guarantee that they will be gone!

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