How to Get Rid of Bedbugs

This is the $1,000,000 question. Being in the business and taking pride in my work, I should just say call me or the company I work for but seriously what works? Where I work, we have formulated a treatment strategy to incorporate everything available to us or close to everything. Our treatment strategy has been developed over the past 10 years or so, through trial and error. The problem is this: only a few years ago there were only 1 or 2 professional products labeled (The EPA states that the product label must clearly state what the product can be used for, how to apply and

…and the question is…

how much to apply amongst other directions, precautions and such) for the control of Bedbugs. Since Bedbugs weren’t really an issue in this country for decades, manufacturing companies didn’t spend the research dollars to develop products that weren’t needed. Some of the products used for Bedbug control today have been around for years but we (the pest management industry) have only been able to use them for Bedbugs during the last few years.

Today we see the list of products available growing and many of these products have been on the market for years but didn’t have Bedbugs listed on the label until recently while some of these products were developed strictly for use against Bedbugs.  The manufacturers of existing products had to conduct research to show their product kills Bedbugs along with other technical information in hopes that the EPA would approve the use. From what I hear, this isn’t such a hard thing to do as long as the manufacturer is willing to spend the research dollars. The products available several years ago were, for the most part, pyrethroids (a synthetic form of the natural pyrethrin/pyrethrum) which most pest management

Natural Pyrethrin comes from the Chrysanthemum

Professional reference books told us were ineffective. However, the Bedbug entries in most of these books were written in the 1940′s and 1950′s because they didn’t need to be updated since Bedbugs weren’t an issue. Today many manufacturers are developing new classes of chemicals to combat this ever-growing problem and the Bedbug sections of reference books have finally been revised.

I remember when I first encountered Bedbugs as a professional approximately 10 years ago. One of my service technicians brought me a specimen collected from a hotel near a large international airport. I had no idea what it was so I sent it to an Entomologist for positive identification. She called me and informed me that it was a Bedbug and asked where we found it because it was the only time in her career that she saw a live Bedbug found in the field (she studied some laboratory specimens while in school). After her phone call, I immediately began to research Bedbugs and how to get rid of them. As I stated earlier, the reference material was written decades ago and the products mentioned for control such as DDT and Chlordane were and still are banned products. I made phone calls to peers that were veterans  in the pest control business and researched product labels. I found 1 product, if I remember correctly, Suspend SC. I of course had the service technicians use the product and eventually eliminated the infestation. Since this was the only product that I could get my hands on we used it all of the time with some success and some failures.

Today there are many professional products on the market and they include:

Liquids

  • Cyhalocap CS – a versatile product that has been on the market for years
  • Cy-Kick CS – a versatile product that has been on the market for years – also comes in aerosol form
  • Demand CS – a versatile product that has been on the marker for years
  • Exponent – an additive that aides active ingredients (no pesticide properties on its own)
  • Suspend SC – a versatile product that has been on the market for years
  • Onslaught – a newer product developed primarily for Bedbug control but has many other insects listed on the label
  • Phantom – originally developed as a termiticide but over the years had other insects/pests added to the label – also comes in aerosol form
  • Tempo Ultra products (SC and WP)

Aerosols

  • Alpine – a relatively new product
  • CB -38 Extra, CB-40 Extra, CB-80 Extra and CB-123 Extra – all pyrethin products with no residual
  • Bedlam – newer product designed with Bedbugs in mind -claims to kill Bedbug eggs
  • D-Force HPX – versatile multi-use product
  • Intruder HPX – versatile multi-use product

Dusts

  • DeltaDust – same active ingredient as Suspend SC also water-resistant and/or water-proof
  • Diatomaceous Earth – crushed fossilized diatoms (prehistoric organisms) – packaged by many manufacturers
  • Drione – versatile multi-use product
  • PyGanic Dust – very versatile

Insect Growth Regulators

I am not going to list them as there is a debate amongst professionals as to their effectiveness. There are clinical reports that state that the growth regulators available do not have an impact on Bedbugs. Studies have shown that although it may stop a percentage of the Bedbug population from reproducing and/or developing, it also shows that the remaining percentage almost doubles their reproduction rate. I do not utilize these products in my treatment strategy.

Fumigants

  • Vikane – a gas used to treatment many different insects/pests
  • NuVan ProStrips – a mild fumigant

Many choices and each professional has their preference(s)

Any professional company worth its weight in salt should be utilizing an integrated approach. Non-chemical means such as vacuuming (HEPA only), steaming, heat treatment and/or freezing should be considered along with traditional treatment practices (pesticides). Most professionals utilize various combinations of the products listed above and others. Usually 2 or more services are required and every recommendation given by the professionals should be followed. It is not an easy task for us but it is much more difficult for the person being treated. A lot of preparation tasks must be completed before the treatment can take place and the end result is heavily dependent on cooperation with the preparation tasks.

I am constantly networking and speaking with other PMPs (Pest Management Professionals) from across the country. We share ideas, views and treatment results. This is far from an exact science and every day I learn something new. I hope to pass on more of this information so stayed tuned.

Check back for my review of some of these products and more!