WHAT REALLY WORKS TO GET RID OF BED BUGS?
By Chris Williams on July 31, 2017.
Bed bug researchers at Rutgers University, NJ, have been researching and publishing materials designed to help the general public wade through the myriad of bed bug controls that are available today. While experts agree that the only effective way to get rid of an established bed bug infestation is through the services of a pest control professional, some people are simply not in a position to take that route.
There are some cost-effective control measures that can work to prevent bed bugs or at least to maintain them at a low level. There are also a number of touted do-it-yourself measures that the Rutgers researchers consider to be simply a waste of money and time. They have separated the two into the following lists. For more details, check out the entire Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet 1251.
DIY BED BUG MEASURES THAT CAN WORK
- Store small items in plastic containers or plastic bags to prevent infestation and simplify any insecticide treatment.
- Encase mattresses and box springs in bed bug-proof coverings.
- Use bed bug traps to detect bed bugs and to keep them from getting onto beds or furniture.
- Frequently launder and dry (high heat) bedding and clothing.
- Treat non-washable items in a special heat chamber or freeze suitable infested items at 0 degrees F. for 4 days.
- Steam-treat infested beds and furniture (best done by a professional).
- Vacuum up visible bed bugs and discard the contents.
- Dispose of infested beds, furniture, or belongings only if they are heavily infested and not treatable.
- Insect repellents containing DEET can protect clothing, shoes, and fabrics from bed bugs if the product label allows that use.
DIY BED BUG MEASURES THAT ARE A WASTE OF MONEY
- Switching your sleeping location will only draw the bugs to a new site.
- Ultrasonic or electronic pest-repelling devices do not repel any insects, including bed bugs.
- Scented dryer sheets placed on furniture or mattresses do not repel bed bugs.
- Mothballs or moth flakes placed on or around the bed do not repel or kill bed bugs.
- Rubbing alcohol will kill some bed bugs but only if sprayed directly on them; it is flammable and a fire hazard.
- Household spray cleaners and disinfectants do not kill bed bugs.
- Most natural plant oil products or detergents marketed to kill bed bugs do not work. See the fact sheet for two products that do work.
- Aerosol foggers, also known as “bug bombs,” used for indoor cockroach and fly control do not kill bed bugs and are a fire hazard.
- Household insect sprays containing pyrethroids do not work since most bed bugs are resistant to this particular insecticide.
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