How Long Does It Take to Kill Bed Bugs?

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Bed bugs are no laughing matter! These creepy-crawly insects make themselves at home in your bed and leave you with nasty bites that can cause irritation, inflammation, and, sometimes, pain and itching.

If you’ve noticed any of the common signs of a bed bug infestation, the question at the front of your mind is probably: “How long does it take to kill bed bugs?” Don’t worry, we’ve got all the information you need right here. Let’s take a look!

How Long Does It Take to Kill Bed Bugs?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “it depends.” There are many factors that will influence this, including:

  • How long you’ve had an infestation
  • How cluttered your home is
  • The type and placement of your sleeping furniture
  • What extermination methods you’ve tried
  • The bed bug’s pesticide resistance level
  • The physical environment

In the best circumstances, you could get rid of them in as little as a day. This is assuming that the infestation is very small and all of the bugs are located on the sleeping surface. Some of the worst cases can take as long as six months or longer!

Here’s a closer look at how certain factors influence the timeline and things you can do to speed it up.

Resident Behavior

The more cooperative a resident is, the faster extermination methods will work. Early on, you’ll need to be extremely diligent about vacuuming and steaming your bed, carpets, drapes, and all of your furniture. You’ll also need to put all bedding, towels, clothing, etc. in a hot dryer cycle.

If you catch the bed bugs early and are very thorough, you may be able to get rid of the problem without too much fanfare. This requires knowing what a bed bug looks like and understanding exactly how to tell if you have bed bugs.

You’ll also want to limit your contact with anyone who may have a bed bug issue of their own. This includes avoiding going to their homes or having them come to your home. You may also want to avoid going to secondhand stores to ensure that you don’t pick up any bed bugs or spread them.

Pesticide Use

A problem often arises when residents attempt to treat bed bug infestations themselves. Using non-residual pyrethroid chemicals (like RAID or KONK) will cause the bugs to scatter away from the sleeping area, but they’ll take up residence in areas further away from your bed.

This makes it more difficult to find and kill them all. Killing bed bugs with thermal remediation is often much more successful. This is one of the reasons why it’s always better to opt for a professional who knows exactly how to kill bed bugs rather than trying to DIY.

Home Clutter

Excessive clutter is one of the biggest factors that can make bed bug extermination next to impossible. In a home that’s stacked with stuff, there are too many areas that the chemicals can’t reach. When the exterminator treats a certain area, the bugs will simply move to someplace safer.

It’s important to treat all of the potential areas where bed bugs hide if you actually want to eliminate them.

When you’re dealing with a bed bug problem, you’ll want to get rid of piles of books, magazines, and other things you don’t need. Otherwise, your problem could linger on indefinitely.

Furniture Type and Placement

If your mattress is on the floor instead of in a frame or you have a bed that’s in an encasement, you’ll have a harder time getting rid of bed bugs. This is because when the surface is treated, they spread out from the bed and move into the baseboards and surrounding furniture.

Heat treatment for bed bugs is most effective if they can’t easily get away. In a situation where a piece of furniture, like a plush couch, is infested, it’s advisable to simply get rid of it. Since there are so many areas that you simply can’t treat, holding onto it could lead to a lingering infestation that never completely goes away.

Physical Environment

When bed bug infestations occur in multi-family residences, bed bug control is much more difficult. This is especially true if all residents don’t fully cooperate. Many times, in this situation, landlords will hire an exterminator to simply treat the issue every month, with no real hope of ever fully eliminating the problem.

If you own a single-family home, you’ll have much more control over the environment and will, therefore, have a higher chance of taking care of the problem right away and having it entirely resolved.

Pesticide Resistance

Some bugs are naturally more resistant to pesticides, which makes them much more difficult to kill. In some cases, there’s nothing you can do about this. A professional exterminator will often focus on killing bedbugs with heat and will keep using a combination of different methods until they’ve all been eliminated.

Avoiding using insecticides on your own can decrease the chances that you’ll end up with a pesticide-resistant infestation. If you notice any type of bug problem, it’s always best to call in a professional who can take care of the problem the right way.

Get Rid of Those Bed Bugs Today!

Now that you know the answer to the question: “How long does it take to kill bed bugs?” you can see that it’s more complicated than you might have thought.

Don’t deal with this nasty problem on your own; we can help! Contact us today to learn more and get a free quote.

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