Do bed bug bombs work? You are certainly not the first to ask this question. And it’s no surprise why. If you have bed bugs in your home, the idea of declaring war on them sounds pretty tempting.
And what says war better than bombs?
Ever since bed bugs made a dramatic return to human homes a couple of decades ago, all kinds of new products have been developed and released to deal with them. Some have been great. Some, not so much.
When you’re shopping for weapons to use against the bed bug hordes, it’s essential to know what works and what doesn’t. So let’s dig in to this particular product – here’s everything you need to know about bed bug bombs.
How Do Bed Bug Bombs Work?
The principle behind bed bug bombs makes sense. These devices release pesticide in the form of an airborne vapor to fill up any room they’re placed in.
Like any other animal, bed bugs need to breathe. By poisoning the air, you might think, you can be sure you’re going to reach all the bed bugs.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Bed bug bombs, also known as bed bug foggers, may sound like they’re releasing an airborne poison, but that’s not actually the case.
What they do instead is release a contact insecticide in the form of a fine mist. The truth is, anything that would poison the air for bed bugs would poison the air for humans too.
Most actual fumigants are far too dangerous to be released commercially to the public. So what bed bug bombs amount to is a regular aerosol spray with a fancy delivery system.
Do Bed Bug Bombs Work?
It’s not that bed bug bombs won’t kill bed bugs. The chemicals they release kill any exposed bed bugs that they contact. But bed bugs like to stay hidden.
So no matter how fine the fog, it’s not going to reach every bed bug that is hidden in a crack or crevice in your home. And what makes getting rid of the bed bug infestation so tricky is that you have to kill all of the bugs.
Every single one. Or at least, all of the female bed bugs.
In fact, bed bug bombs can sometimes make a bad situation worse. Bed bugs know when they are being poisoned, and billowing clouds of pesticide will temporarily drive them away.
They will hunker down in what cracks and crevices they can find, and potentially even spread to new areas that they weren’t in before. This is especially harmful in apartment buildings, where an improper treatment can cause an infestation to spread.
For that reason, it’s better to stay away from bed bug bombs altogether. Especially since there are so many more effective ways of killing bed bugs.
What About Fumigation for Bed Bugs?
Okay, if bed bug bombs don’t do the trick, what about professional fumigation for bed bugs?
Well, true fumigation is a different matter. There are poisons, called fumigants, that can kill insects when they breathe it in. But these pesticides are only available to trained and licensed professionals.
They are extremely difficult and dangerous to use, and in the wrong hands can end up doing more harm than good. Tragic cases like this one show why fumigants are better left in professional hands.
A full-scale fumigation involves tenting the entire building to keep the poison from being released. All people and pets will need to be evacuated before the building is treated.
Monitoring equipment is used to make sure that the pesticide properly permeates all areas of the house. When the treatment is complete, the gas is released and the tent removed.
Further checks are made to ensure that the pesticide is no longer active before anyone enters the building again.
As you can imagine, this is a very expensive process. While fumigation has long been a popular treatment for structure-infesting pests such as termites, it has also been used with some success against bed bugs.
So if your home has a case of bed bugs that no other method seems able to shift, fumigation could be an option for you. But it is not something that you should try to do yourself.
Are There Any Bed Bug Bombs That Work?
No matter what method you use to get rid of bed bugs, it’s going to be a lot of work. Often, people make the mistake of thinking that pesticides can do a lot of the work for them.
But any pesticide is only as good as the way that you use it. Bed bugs aren’t werewolves; there’s no silver bullet. And if you’re looking for tips on getting rid of a werewolf infestation – well, we’re still working on that article.
Bed bug heaters. Steamers for bed bugs. Freezing in a deep freezer. Diatomaceous earth. Vacuuming. There are many different ways to kill bed bugs that don’t involve the use of pesticides at all. But if you have your heart set on gassing some bugs, there are other options available to you.
Alternatives to Bed Bug Bombs
Bed bug bombs are ineffective at best and can even be harmful to you and your family. So what are the alternatives? As you already know, there are tons of ways to kill bed bugs.
But you want something fast and relatively easy. Here are your top choices.
Bed Bug Sprays
Since you’re okay with leaving your house for a couple of hours anyway, a potent bed bug spray might be a good way to go.
Bedlam Plus is a powerhouse when it comes to dealing with bed bugs. It kills bed bugs and their eggs. Plus, it provides residual killing for up to two weeks so that any bed bugs that may have not come into contact with it at first will continue to be killed by the spray.
PT Alpine is also fantastic – it combines a pesticide to kill adult bed bugs quick as well as an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) to effectively sterilize juvenile bed bugs. A single can of the stuff is enough to treat 2,625 square feet.
We like that both these sprays are in aerosol form rather than an un-targeted fogger because it allows you to concentrate your bed bug killing efforts in the places they are most likely to be.
Nuvan Pest Strips
Nuvan pest strips release a gas that is one of the only fumigants available to the unlicensed public. If misused, this pesticide can harm people and non-target animals, so always read and follow the directions on the label.
You can’t just hang these strips throughout your house and let the poison do its work; not without poisoning yourself.
The best way to use Nuvan strips is by putting one inside a thick garbage bag along with any items you want to treat. Then seal up the bag and leave it for 3 to 7 days so the pesticide can do its work.
It’s an excellent way to treat electronics or other items that could be damaged by steam or heat. For clothes and bedding, it would be cheaper, easier and quicker just to run them through the hot cycle on a dryer.
But Nuvan strips definitely have a place in treating bed bugs.
The Final Word on Bed Bug Foggers
With the exception of the Nuvan strips above, it’s better to stay away from products that claim to fumigate bed bugs. At best, they’re a waste of money. At their worst, they can actually make the problem worse, or even cause harm to you and your family.
Having bed bugs is terrible. But although it may not seem like it in the moment, there are worse things that can happen to you, like inhaling toxic fumes and still having bed bugs. So skip the bed bug bombs and go with the better alternatives. Good luck.