Why don’t I just use an all-natural bed bug spray? How about a bed bug repellent?

February 11, 2016 by Doug Moore


The verdict?

As most of us know, consumer products in general are not likely to be enough to help most people get rid of bed bugs in their homes.

Because bed bugs are so adept at hiding, and because any bugs you can target with a spray are going to just be the tip of the infestation, it really takes a pest control professional to get rid of the bugs.

Note: make sure you hire an experienced and knowledgeable professional.

Pesticide-free products, such as those claiming to be “all-natural” are not required by the EPA to back up their claims of effectiveness.

Even products which do kill on contact will probably not solve bed bug problems, since the consumer is highly unlikely to be able to spray all of his/her bed bugs directly.

Be especially leery of ‘all-natural’ products. ‘If you think that using these sprays is going to get rid of your bed bugs, you are sorely mistaken. Pesticide-free products aren’t required by the Environmental Protection Agency to prove that they are actually effective against bugs — all that matters is that they are considered safe.

And while d-phenothrin, the pesticide in Steri-Fab, definitely has some killing power, many populations of bed bugs are developing a resistance to that chemical.

Even pest control professionals armed with industrial-strength chemicals generally need several hours to clean out an infestation. ‘If somebody goes in and out in 15 minutes, you just wasted your money.

Killing bed bugs is 80% knowledge and 20% pesticides.

It’s not about blanketing your home with a toxic cocktail.

Some of these products also make claims about repellency. This may or may not be desirable where bed bugs are concerned.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: a bed bug repellent is the dream of everyone who has to live with bed bugs.

But repelling mosquitoes in the backyard is one thing; we understand that “repelling” bed bugs may send them deeper into your home and make them harder to get rid of. It doesn’t make them pack their bags and search for the door.

If it works, couldn’t it keep them away from the pesticides you’ve put down to try and kill them?

I would like to know more about what happens when people use a repellent product while their home undergoes bed bug treatment, which requires bed bugs to be attracted to people, in order to make them come out and cross poison and die. It seems like an effective repellent product might prevent this.

We now have products available to protect us while staying in hotels, but with more and more infestations in schools, offices, libraries, opera houses, and doctors’ offices, we can’t expect to keep bed bugs out of our homes simply by keeping our suitcases (and clothes and shoes, etc.) in bug-proof plastics bags overnight or by cooking them all in a PackTite Portable Heating Unit upon returning from a trip.

There should, of course, be more scientific studies to determine the effectiveness of repellent products (do they repel all bed bugs?  or a certain percentage? and for how long?) and to develop better ones.

I’ll keep my ear to the railroad tracks and find out what develops regarding effective bed bug repellents. Stay tuned to this Blog for more information about repellents.

For more information about bed bugs, heat treatment, and canine bed bug scent detection, click here.

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