The Pros and Cons of Bed Bug Treatment Options

We know that there are hundreds of treatment options that promise to get rid of bed bugs quickly and effectively.  But when you’ve got a bed bug infestation, you don’t have time to wait for treatments to work.  You need the fastest, most effective treatment that will get your life back on track.

To help you decide which treatment is right for you, we’ve compiled a pros and cons list for each treatment type and information on when those treatments are most effective.  Then, when you’re ready to schedule a treatment, you can call one of the IBBRA certified professionals, rent equipment from our approved heater rental providers, or purchase a DIY product in the IBBRA store.

 

Heat Treatments (Electric Heating Units)

Pros

  • Work quickly, usually between 8-24 hours
  • Kills all stages of the bed bug life cycle
  • Great for small, medium or spread out infestations
  • No need to pre-treat any items or rooms
  • Safe and eco-friendly
  • No chemicals
  • Usually only requires one treatment to solve the bed bug problems
  • Can be set up by a professional in minutes

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than other treatment options
  • Requires large heaters and fans that can’t be purchased anywhere
  • Usually requires a professional
  • Heat sensitive items may be damaged if proper preparation isn’t completed before the treatment

Most effective when applied by a professional and when a k-9 inspection is done before and after to ensure the treatment was successful.

 

Chemical Treatments (Professionally Sprayed Pesticides)

Pros

  • Cost effective (over 68% of people choose chemical treatments due to the affordable costs)
  • Initial treatments are completed quickly
  • Great as a follow up to heat and in conjunction with other treatment methods

Cons

  • Chemicals don’t kill the eggs, resulting in “reoccurring” infestations…over-and over again
  • Often requires multiple professional treatments before the infestation is gone
  • Bed bugs are resistant to many chemicals (and their resistance is always growing)
  • Chemicals, especially off-the-shelf varieties can be dangerous, causing an allergic reaction, illness, and other serious health effects.
  • If not applied properly, chemical treatments can spread an infestation rather than kill it

Most effective when applied by a professional and used as a follow up to a heat treatment.

IBBRA does not recommend anyone use off-the-shelf pesticides in an effort to kill bed bugs.  Chemical treatments should only be applied by trained professionals.

 

Portable Heat Chambers (Collapsible Heat Tents)

Pros

  • Treatment is portable and can be set up anywhere
  • Single items can be treated, rather than the entire room
  • No need to pre-treat any items
  • Easy to use, can be DIY
  • Safe and eco-friendly
  • No chemicals
  • Kills bed bugs in the treatment area in only one application
  • Fast and easy setup
  • Kills all stages of the life cycle

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than other treatment options
  • Doesn’t kill bed bugs living in the carpet, behind walls or in any non-treated furniture
  • Heat sensitive items may be damaged if subjected to the heating area
  • Usually takes a professional to complete the treatment
  • Spreading the infestation could be possible if items are not moved properly

Most effective for single item treatment and in conjunction with a professional chemical treatment follow-up. IBBRA does not recommend anyone use off-the-shelf pesticides in an effort to kill bed bugs.  Chemical treatments should only be applied by trained professionals.

 

 

Dust, Foggers and Off the Shelf DIY Treatments

Pros

  • Easy to find at a hardware store
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Can spread the infestation to other areas of the home
  • Some substances are not tested on bed bugs, therefore leaving them completely ineffective
  • Some products, if used, can cause professional treatments and inspections to become impossible due to health risks
  • Could take months to kill bed bugs, if at all
  • Chemicals can cause dangerous allergic reactions, illness, and other serious health effects. Pesticide dust, such at diatomaceous earth, can cause damage to the lungs if breathed in.
  • “Bug Bombs” can cause fire and reduced air quality in the home

Not effective – IBBRA does not recommend anyone use off-the-shelf pesticides, foggers, pesticide dust or other unapproved DIY methods in an effort to kill bed bugs.

 

Mattress/Furniture Encasements

Pros

  • Affordable & easy to buy online or instore
  • Nothing can get in or on your furniture or you
  • Provides instant relief against future bed bug bites
  • Locks in any existing allergens, bed bugs, and bed bug eggs preventing new infestations (in encased items)
  • Will keep furniture clean and protects against infestations in storage
  • Takes away bed bug hiding and breeding areas by covering seams, cushions, piping, pillows, and any crack or crevice
  • Saves you from throwing out your furniture

 

Cons

  • Can take months to kill bed bugs
  • Doesn’t kill bed bugs living in the carpet, behind walls or in any non-treated furniture
  • Reduces the look and feel of your furniture

Most effective when used in conjunction with heat or chemical treatments.  Very effective for keeping items safe during storage and moving.

 

Bed Bug Heater Rentals

Pros

  • Affordable daily rates
  • Work quickly, usually between 8-24 hours
  • Kills all stages of the bed bug life cycle
  • Great for small, medium or spread out infestations
  • No need to pre-treat any items or rooms
  • Safe and eco-friendly
  • No chemicals
  • Usually only requires one treatment to solve the bed bug problems
  • Easy setup and prep
  • Professional quality equipment

Cons

  • Packages include large equipment that requires set up
  • You’ll need to know the power capabilities of your treatment area
  • You may need to pick up the equipment from the provider
  • Heat sensitive items may be damaged if proper preparation isn’t completed before the treatment

Most effective when used as directed and after a k-9 inspection to ensure that all infested areas are treated.

 

Need a pro?  Search your provider map for a certified professional near you!

Bed Bug Bites

For some people, the first sign of a bed bug problem may be waking up with unidentified bites. These bites resemble those caused by many other kinds of blood feeding insects and can rarely be identified by the appearance of the bites alone. To positively identify the bites as bed bugs the culprit must be found.

Bed bugs are drawn by warm temperature and carbon dioxide and feed on the exposed skin while you are sleeping.   A bed bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow feeding tubes called proboscis. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host, yet the person seldom knows they are being bitten.

Bed bugs are known for “dining and dashing,” once bed bugs have a full blood meal they scurry off quickly to return to their hiding place dropping their last meal as fecal matter on the way as they digest their fresh blood meal. They will bite any exposed area of the body, such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. The act of biting is usually not felt.  Some people do not react to bed bug bites, and others can retain severe rashes or even blisters. Two people sharing the same bed can be affected differently.

Many people develop an allergic reaction to the saliva injected by the bed bugs as they feed. This reaction usually results in small, flat or raised bumps, red swollen and itchy skin. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. The significance of medical intervention if any comes from secondary infections, swelling, and itching from the bed bug bite.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

The number of bites does not always mean there are large amounts of bed bugs involved. Bed bugs are sensitive to any movement or slightest disturbance and may withdraw its mouthparts during the feeding, move a short distance and continue to feed again. This may cause multiple bites that may be in a row. This is sometimes called a “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” pattern.

Effects of Bed Bug Bites

A common concern is whether or not they transmit diseases. The bed bug has not been known to carry diseases, but they are known for reducing the quality of life of the bite victim. According to medical experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals. Some of the effects of bed bug bites include:

  • Severe inflammation and serious rashes
  • Bulbous or blistering eruptions, staph infections or impetigo
  • Allergic reactions
  • Potential serious immune problems in sensitive people
  • Anemia and iron deficiencies (especially with babies and young children)
  • Anxiety and severe loss of sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Systemic Reactions

Repeated exposures to bed bug bites can increase your risk of developing one of these conditions.  Continued bites for weeks or months can cause some people to become more sensitized to the saliva and continued bites may result in increasingly intense allergic reactions.

Treating Bed Bug Bites

Most bites do not require any medical treatment and will go away with time.   However, bed bug bites can be pretty itchy. Doctors have determined that scratching damages and broke the skin. Constant scratching creates a cycle which causes the “itchy area” to spread, and healing takes longer than if you avoid scratching.

  • To relieve the itchiness, there are many over-the-counter (OTC) creams and lotions you can purchase. (E.g. Calamine Lotion, Hydrocortisone Cream, Lanacane, Dermarest Plus, Gold Bond Anti-itch, Benzocaine)
  • Aloe Vera is very soothing, and Tea Tree Oil kills germs and aids healing, as well as numbing an itch.
  • Use tepid water when bathing or showering. Hot water tends to increase the “itchiness.”

Young children have a hard time not scratching the bites. To help avoid opening the skin, keep their fingernails short and place socks on their hands.

NOTE: Call the doctor if you see any signs of an allergic reaction, or infectionNever disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it when it comes to any bed bug health related problem or remedy.

If you think you have bedbugs contact one of our professional bed bug elimination experts.  Or shop our DIY store and kill bed bugs yourself.  Don’t wait!  Kill bed bugs today!