You may consider getting a bed bug bomb or fogger to deal with the pest problem at your home. Yet, you should be smart about it and consider all possible alternatives.
The main problem with bed bug bombs or foggers is that most of them are pyrethroid-based. These kinds of products were used for many years. Bed bugs (as well as some other pests) have developed resistance to pyrethroid.
When using foggers you’ll be spreading insecticide throughout the area instead of directing to the spot where they are hiding. This is another downside of using foggers and bombs to treat bed bug infestation.
You may be better off with a couple of alternatives to the foggers and bombs for bed bug treatment. I’ll go through all of them in the next sections.
Bedlam Plus Bed Bug Aerosol
Bedlam Plus is not a bed bug fogger or a bomb. It is an aerosol insecticide based on the Imidacloprid. This chemical initially developed as a termiticide and used for killing termites.
Bed bug tolerance to the pyrethroid is a major issue. Pyrethroid-based products used for many years for pest control. Bedlam Plus developed specifically to solve this problem and treat pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs.
It exterminates live bed bugs as well as their eggs. It has proved to be a quick kill and effective at residual control even after two weeks of application.
Bedlam Plus is an aerosol in a can and very easy to use. To start using it you’ll need to press the valve and spray the treatment surface from a distance of 8 to 10 inches. Keep spraying the area until damp. Allow drying before using the treated items and surfaces.
Apply it on cracks and crevices with a straw applicator included. Also do not miss spots where bed bugs are harboring, traveling, or breeding. Such places are around baseboards, furniture, bed frame, headboards, carpet, etc.
Crossfire Concentrate Insecticide
Crossfire concentrate produced by MGK is another great alternative to bed bug foggers. Many professionals recommend it for bed bug treatment.
Bed bugs will gain resistance to certain pesticides after some time. It is important to use the newest formulas for effective pest control. Crossfire is a new formula that is very effective against bed bugs.
It contains several chemical elements which penetrate the bed bug exoskeleton. Then they cause the nervous system to overreact and shut down. To kill the bed bug it will take about 5 minutes after the contact. Pest control professionals confirm that Crossfire also works on the eggs of bed bugs.
Crossfire does not contain any signal word on its label. It is considered to be minimal toxicity to humans.
Make sure you follow safety guidelines provided by EPA and the manufacturer to safely use the product.
To use you need to mix Crossfire concentrate with the water in a sprayer (13 ounces in a gallon of water). Then apply to any place where bed bugs might be hiding. Such as mattresses (seams and folds), baseboards, headboards, bed frames, and so on.
In the following video you can see in more detail how to use Crossfire:
What is a bed bug fogger?
Fogger or also known as the bomb is a special type of container used to release insecticides into the surrounding area. Once activated it dispenses chemicals into the air in fine mist or fog.
It then drifts across the area and slowly comes down to the surfaces below (e.g. floor, carpets, furniture, etc.).
Bed bugs are tougher bugs in comparison to other pests such as roaches or fleas. The insecticide used in bed bug foggers may be stronger and potent than in foggers used for other pests.
You should treat the area and use foggers with caution. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions included with the product.
What to consider before buying bed bug foggers?
There are several aspects you need to consider before buying and using foggers for bed bugs.
How big is the infestation
You need to assess how bad the infestation of bed bugs is in each specific case.
Bed bugs can live anywhere in bed, furniture, clothes, carpets, baseboards, outlets, and so on. They are usually hiding in cracks, crevices, and fabric creases. Anywhere that is hard to reach.
When you have a large bed bug infestation hiding somewhere deep you may not be able to reach those places with the fogger. Also, you may not be able to cover the required amount of insecticide needed to kill bed bug infestation in that area.
Does it prevent bed bugs from reappearing
Insecticides in the fogger intend to kill bugs when they come in direct contact with the bed bug.
It is not a problem when pests are appearing in open areas.
The problem is that bed bugs like to hide in places hard to reach with foggers.
Bed bug eggs are tough to penetrate with insecticide. Even if insecticide will reach the surface of the bed bug egg it will be very hard to penetrate and kill it. The concentration of material might be too low to do that.
The major problem with bed bug foggers is that they need to kill the entire infestation including eggs to deal with the problem once and for all. Otherwise, even if one egg is left behind the infestation will reappear.
How well does it work
Most of the pest control foggers including those used for bed bugs contain a material called Nylar. It is an insect growth cycle regulatory chemical preventing bed bugs from developing into the biting adult stage.
Nylar based foggers have a higher chance of dealing with a bed bug infestation. Once in contact with the bug or larvae, it will hold the growth cycle and the bed bug will die without laying any eggs.
The main problem is that it needs to be in contact with bed bugs. And bed bugs like to hide. That is why you need to make sure that you are reaching the bed bugs before using the fogger. And it is quite hard to do that with the fogger.
I recommend watching this video for a great overview on using chemicals to get rid of bed bugs.
How safe it is
Bed bugs tend to hide in hard to get to places. Such places are seams of mattresses, under baseboards, gaps and cracks in furniture, outlets, and under the carpet.
When using a bed bug fogger it will come into the contact with your body. As well as anyone from your family or your pet you have at home.
Using foggers for extended periods of time may build to toxic levels of materials and harm your health.
Before using the fogger you need to make sure it is appropriate for use in such an environment.
Does it leave chemical residues?
Agents in the bed bug fogger may leave harmful chemicals on the surfaces in the treatment area. Some of those materials may be toxic to the human body as well as pets in case you have any. These chemicals can also affect the material of your furniture, bed, or carpets.
It is highly recommended to go with a trusted and certified product by a well-known manufacturer. It will help to avoid any nasty surprises.
How to use a bed bug fogger?
You can start using a bed bug fogger to treat the entire area real quick.
Take out the container, read the instructions, and activate the nozzle.
Once that step is done the fogger will start releasing mist and will go on for some time. Usually, it lasts from one minute to a few minutes.
Here is a great video with instructions on how to use bed bug foggers.
Reasons why you should not use foggers
Getting a cloud of pesticides in your room might sound like a good idea in the first place. However, it may be toxic for you, your family, and your pets. Fogger created chemical mist and might also damage your furniture or other belongings in the room.
There are few reasons to consider before using foggers for bed bug treatment.
Weak pesticides and immunity to them
Bed bug foggers very often use synthetic pyrethroids such as permethrin. The concentration of this chemical is kept at a moderate level in the foggers to not be harmful to humans and pets.
This study conducted in 2012 finds that pyrethroids-based foggers may not be effective to treat bed bugs.
Many bed bugs collected in the study have found to be immune to the pyrethroids. Especially when they are exposed to low concentrations of pyrethrins and pyrethroids.
Bed bugs spend most of their time hidden
The same study found that there might be minimal (if any) insecticide penetration into the materials and places where bed bugs are hiding.
When not feeding the bed bugs are hiding in hard-to-reach places. They also mating, laying eggs, and shed skins without any risk of getting killed there. Those places are seams of mattresses, under baseboards, in furniture seams and cracks, outlets, and under the carpet.
For the fogger to be effective it needs to come in contact with a bed bug, larvae, or an egg. The fogger will release mist in the air which gradually comes down to the surface below.
It most likely will not reach those places where bed bugs are hiding. So unless bed bugs will come out of their hiding places they will not come in contact with the insecticide.
Stronger bed bugs sprays are safer
In most cases, it is even safer to spray pesticide directly at the bed bugs in their hiding places. Instead of applying it on the surfaces where they are not appearing. Such places as kitchen cabinets or the kitchen table.
Bed bug foggers will release a fine mist of chemicals that will cover any surface in their way. It is easy afterward to forget to wipe that surface clean. You can again get in contact with the fogger content without even knowing about it.
By using bed bug foggers you may also cause the opposite effect. Once the fogger releases chemicals into the air bed bugs may start sensing and get going to leave the affected area. They as well could go deeper into the hiding places where pesticide mist will be unable to reach.
Fogging in the apartment might cause bed bugs to flea to the neighboring apartments. In this case, not only you will have bed bugs but also your neighbors.
Bed bug fogger alternatives
Foggers (or bombs) might not be the best option to get rid of bed bugs. There are few alternatives that work better.
The steamer heats up the water and generates steam which is blown out of the nozzle. Usually, steamers are used for deep cleaning the home. Steamers can be a great alternative for treating your home for bed bugs without chemicals.
This research study has found that all stages of bed bugs were killed when exposed to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Steamers are generating heat outputs of 200-220°F (93-104°C) and it is more than enough to reach the required surface temperature to kill bed bugs.
You need to treat affected areas with the steamer directly to the place where they hide to be efficient. Bed bugs like to hide in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, or in cracks or crevices. Most of the steamers will include nozzles needed for that job.
You can check out our review for the best bed bug steamers.
Using sprays instead of bed bug foggers might be a better idea. With the spray, you can direct insecticides at the bed bugs wherever they are hiding. Instead of filling the entire room with chemicals.
Bed bug sprays will contain higher concentrations of insecticides than foggers. By spraying directly you can reduce the total amount of pesticides used and still treat the infestation more effectively.
Professional exterminator services
Depending on the size of bed bug infestation you may consider getting a licensed professional exterminator onboard.
They have years of experience how to deal with similar cases and have the equipment needed. They will know all the best options available in your specific situation.
The only downside might be the price you need to pay.
Considering the fact that there is a high chance that pest control professionals will be able to solve your problem once and for all it might be worth it.
If you are considering getting a fogger or bomb to treat bed bug problems at your home you need to be aware that this might not be the best alternative.
The key benefit of bed bug spray is that you are applying insecticide directly to the area where they are hiding. Instead of just spreading it across the room and having a high chance that you will not reach the bed bug infestation with that.