I’m often asked which type of treatment is the fastest or best way to get rid of bed bugs. There are so many variables when it comes to bed bugs that it isn’t up to me to make that decision for anyone. So my job is to teach people the pros and cons of both treatments so people can make an educated choice as to whether heat or chemical is best for them and their situation.

The first thing to take into consideration is how the people living with the bed bug situation are affected by their bites. Some people have little to no reaction at all and it wouldn’t matter to them if the treatment took weeks compared to a one day treatment. Emotional issues play a significant role because some people cannot stand being in an environment with any type of bug.

Environment: Medically challenged people, adults, children or pets that cannot withstand any chemicals.

Next, is affordability: Some treatments are more expensive than others are and not everyone can afford them.

Here is the information I share with my callers:

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO GET RID OF BED BUGS?

Reduction of bed bugs is generally not difficult if discovered in their early stages and breeding grounds have not been allowed to build and spread. However, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible to eliminate every bed bug in long-term, serious infestation situations. If even one adult female survives, the environment can become re-infested quickly.

WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS?

CHEMICAL: Chemicals are applied to the affected area to eliminate bed bugs. Failure rates for chemicals are greater because of chemical resistance issues becoming more common and you can’t always get the chemical in the space where bed bugs are hiding. This method cannot be used in chemically sensitive environments (daycare –senior – medical) and will delay the use of post treatment inspections by canines.

Chemicals don’t kill the egg stage so depending upon the severity of the infestation, it may take up to three or more back to back treatments over a span of a couple months to completely get rid of the hatching eggs.

With chemical treatments, there is a tremendous amount of preparation work that has to be done by the owner/tenant. Cluttered environments cause failure.

HEAT TREATMENTS: Bed bugs cannot withstand high heat. Heat is a proven safe, non-chemical, non-toxic, environmentally friendly method of treating bed bugs. 24 hour turnaround. It is safe to use in sensitive environments. Heat treatment uses nothing more than heat and air and helps sanitize and kill bacteria in the environment at the same time.

FUMIGATION: This is used in severe bed bug infestations where whole dwellings are infested. The building is tented and injected with chemicals and left in place for several days. Residents must reside elsewhere during treatment.

Each of these options varies in price, time and demographics of where you live.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you which treatment option that works for you. If you need immediate relief, heat does the job, if its affordability issues, chemical may be what will work for you. Here’s a chart giving you the pros and cons of both heat and chemical bed bug treatments.

The choice is up to you!

CHEMICAL TREATMENT

POSITIVES

  • Less Expensive Treatment
  • May offer Some Residual
  • Works in Conjunction with Other IPM Methods (Steam – Vacuum – Dusts)

NEGATIVES

  • Low Success Rates
  • Dependent on Client Involvement
  • Resistance Issues
  • Does not penetrate egg
  • Clutter Influences Effectiveness
  • Limits use of Canines (30 days)
  • Repeated Treatments Required
  • May Spread Bed Bugs
  • Some Items May Have to be Discarded
  • Requires Extensive Prep Work
  • Health Issues
  • Possible Added Costs
  • May Not Solve Problem

 HEAT TREATMENT

POSITIVES

  • Environmentally Friendly
  • High Success Rates
  • Immediate Single Treatment Elimination
  • Can be Used to Target Single Room Outbreaks
  • Non-toxic – Chemical Free
  • No Odors
  • No Resistance
  • Kills all Stages of Bed Bugs Including Eggs
  • Penetrates wall cavities, mattresses and other hard to reach areas
  • Limited Discarding of Items
  • Minimum Time Away
  • Minimum Preparation
  • Safe for People and Pets Immediately After Treatment
  • Sanitizes and Disinfects
  • DIY Rental Options in Some States

NEGATIVES

  • Costly
  • No Residual
  • Some Items can Melt

“Bed Bug Education will never be as expensive as Bed Bug Ignorance” D Donovan

You can see that the benefits of heat outweigh the use of chemicals. Especially used in high turnover environments such as hotels/motels/bed and breakfasts, when down time in each room is very costly for the proprietor.

Regardless of what treatment you choose, or what works for your situation, it is important to know that even after the problem is solved it is possible for you to become re-infested again. Especially for those who are not affected by their bites – This is why it is important to check for bed bugs regularly or have regular canine inspections.

Reach out, we are always here to help with any questions you may have regarding bed bugs, treatments or inspections. www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332