Bed bugs reemerged in the United States in the early 2000s. By 2011, one in five Americans reported that they had either experienced a bed bug infestation or knew someone who had.
If you have bed bugs in your house, you know how stressful and horrifying it can be. Your first reaction might be, “I need to run out and get bed bug spray!”
Before you do, however, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Bed bug pesticide may help with your infestation problems, but if used improperly, it can cause a whole new set of problems.
There are a lot of things to consider before buying bed bug spray. Read on to make a more informed decision!
Plan Before You Spray
If your plan, as of right now, is simply, “Get the spray and kill the bed bugs with it,” pause.
There’s a lot more to ridding your home of a bed bug infestation than simply treating your home with bed bug spray. Pesticides aren’t going to take care of the problem overnight, and you need to have a plan of action that begins now and ends when you are fully certain that every bed bug (and egg) is gone.
Figure Out Where to Sleep
If your current mattress is the source of the infestation, you’re probably tempted to sleep somewhere else. Waking up with new welts and itchy bumps is not your idea of a good time.
The problem is that you are what the bed bugs are after, and if you relocate, they will find you. In other words, if you start sleeping on your couch instead of your mattress, you will likely spread the infestation to your couch.
You’re going to need to stay put, but don’t worry. There is a way to get a better night’s sleep, even when the bed bugs are still lurking in your mattress.
Protect Your Mattress with Non-Spray Methods
While this is a crucial step for any mattress that is already infested, consider applying this step to every mattress in your home as a preventative measure.
Strip mattresses of all bedding, bag them up in washer-safe bags then wash and dry them on high heat.
Vacuum your mattress and empty the bag outdoors. Encase all mattresses and box springs in cases that are specifically designed to keep bed bugs from escaping or from biting you through the case.
Move beds away from all walls and furniture and place bed bug interceptors at each foot of your headboard. This should help prevent new bed bugs from climbing up to your mattress from other hiding areas such as nearby furniture and wall voids.
Alert Any Relevant Parties
This is particularly crucial if you live in an apartment or condominium. If you share walls with someone else’s home, you need to alert your property manager or landlord.
Your neighbors need to know that you are introducing pesticides into the air nearby. They also need to know that there is a chance that the infestation has spread to their own home so it can also be treated properly.
Buy the Right Bed Bug Spray and Use it Correctly
Because the EPA regulates products like bed bug spray, you might think that they’re completely safe to use or that all sprays on the market have passed regulation.
However, it’s not out of the question to find a bed bug spray that doesn’t meet the EPA’s standards. Even if it does, there are risk factors to using pesticides, especially if not done correctly.
Know What Not to Use
The EPA monitors for both safety and effectiveness. There are some bed bug sprays on the market that are considered low-risk and are not regulated by the EPA. While they might be safe, they may not be effective.
There are also websites floating around that will instruct you on how to make a bed bug spray on your own. This might be tempting if you have pesticide concerns and don’t want to release chemicals into your home. Again, however, they may not be effective.
Never, ever use outdoor pesticides indoors.
Most bed bug sprays are repellants, never use repellants they will only push the bugs deeper into hiding.
Understand What Products Can Do
If you’ve already started shopping around for bed bug spray, you have probably noticed that no spray will kill bed bugs at every stage in their life cycle. If you’re not killing unhatched bed bugs, you are not going to effectively rid yourself of the infestation.
It is also noteworthy that some bed bug populations are resistant to some EPA-approved pesticides. For example, some bed bugs are resistant to pyrethrins and pyrethroids, but not to desiccants. If you don’t want the potential for a trial-and-error process, it may be ideal to use a chemical that bed bugs cannot become resistant to.
To Fog or Not to Fog?
There are some bed bug sprays that come in the form of a fogger. Essentially, a trigger is pulled to activate the fogger, the house is evacuated, and a large cloud of pesticide is released.
Foggers can be powerful and effective tools with other pest infestations, but they are not ideal for bed bugs.
Remember that bed bugs seek at hard-to-reach hiding spaces. A fogger precipitates down and will not be enough to get into all those nooks and crannies in your furniture and beneath your rugs. A direct-contact spray is going to be more effective.
Plus, some sprays will not require you to evacuate your home for more than a few hours. Foggers typically require 24-hour evacuation, which can be difficult for households with children and pets.
Whether or not you choose to fog, you will need to perform further treatments using direct-contact sprays.
Follow the Directions Exactly
Once you’ve chosen your bed bug spray, familiarize yourself with all instructions and warnings.
You should never use any pesticide in the presence of a child or pet, but you also don’t want to expose them to it too soon. Make sure you know how long they need to be out of the house and away from the pesticide after it has been applied. Alwaysdo this before you spray so that you have already arranged for the proper accommodations.
Don’t get fooled into thinking that using more spray will kill more bed bugs or kill them faster. That is simply not how pesticides work and going beyond the instructed usage will expose you and your family to serious hazards.
Know the Symptoms of Pesticide Health Issues
You can swallow, inhale, or absorb pesticides through the eyes and skin. Oftentimes, you won’t notice right away if this has happened but recognizing the symptoms in the event that it does happen can help.
Some of the most common symptoms of pesticide overexposure are dizziness, breathing trouble, headache, nausea, and eye irritation. Other serious effects are seizures, skin irritation or rash outbreak, contact dermatitis, and loss of consciousness.
Because children and pets are smaller than adults, they may begin to exhibit some of these symptoms before you.
Immediate medical attention is required if you or someone in your household begins to display signs of pesticide overexposure or poison. It is recommended that even those who are not displaying symptoms at that point should evacuate the house. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of chemicals can lead to long term and even permanent health problems.
If you find that you are still concerned or don’t want to use bed bug spray on your own, reach out to us!
We can answer any questions you may have about the DIY process. If you’re debating hiring a professional for your bed bug prevention and treatment, we can provide you with a free estimate. Contact us now and let us know how we can help!