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02.1 - how do exterminators get rid of bed bugs

Exterminators: How Do They Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

You’ve come to the right site if you’re looking for information on how exterminators are able to eliminate one of the toughest household pests we have to deal with.

We’ll walk you through the three primary steps an exterminator will take to get rid of bed bugs from your home in this article. Additionally, you’ll discover how bed bug treatment has evolved over the past 50 years. You could find that a lot of what you thought you knew about getting rid of bed bugs is outdated!

We’ll wrap it all up by explaining the three essential steps a professional exterminator will take before beginning the bed bug control procedure. Right, knowledge truly is power. So let’s get you energized so you can efficiently combat these obnoxious, humiliating, and amazingly resilient little pests.

And keep in mind that we can assist if you need bed bug removal in Cincinnati.

3 Ways to Eliminate Bugs

There are numerous bed bug remedies available. On YouTube and in forums devoted to pest control, you can find discussions about mattress covers, furniture interceptors, vacuuming, and steaming.

Customers frequently inquire about them from us, seeking to know if they are viable options. The quick response?

Every one of them has a place. We almost probably use a combination of these techniques when working with a client to eradicate their bed bugs. But none is powerful enough to make a dent when acting alone.

Chemical treatment, cold treatment, or heat treatment are the methods that actually eradicate bed bugs. In this piece, we’ll go into more depth about these three bed bug remedies.

Chemical Treatment

The need for rapid fixes is a fairly typical and understandable trait. Ask the majority of people who are unwell which type of treatment they would prefer: a single tablet or a series of physical therapies. For obvious reasons, nine out of ten people will take the medication.

The same holds true for pest control.

Here’s a brief history lesson—we promise. Years ago, if you wanted to get rid of bed bugs, you would apply a pesticide, frequently administered through fumigation. We have relied on a pharmacopeia of poisonous compounds during the past 100 years, ranging from sulfur to mercury chloride.

Then came dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t worry, we also have trouble pronouncing it). Everything was altered by DDT. All of a sudden, we had a substance at our disposal that would continue to kill fresh generations of bugs in addition to your current infestation. In addition, this magical substance was capable of eradicating bed bugs at every step of their life cycles, from eggs to fully grown adults.

Therefore, the logical question is: Why aren’t we implementing this as our go-to solution right now?

Insecticide resistance, in two words. 

We believed that bed bugs had been virtually eliminated in the US in the 1960s. But right now, there is a widespread epidemic.

The cause is somewhat ominous.

Bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to DDT. In an effort to stay one step ahead of the bugs, science developed several waves of DDT substitutes, such as lindane, chlordane, and diazinon, but all of these eventually lost their efficacy.

Bed bugs have a wide range of behavioral, morphological, and biochemical resistance against chemical treatments because they are highly adaptive animals.

Simply put, they kept regaining strength.

They became more chemical resistant the more chemicals we poured at them.

Even while we still use chemicals to fight bed bugs, hopefully this little history will help you understand why they are no longer always the most effective way to get rid of an infestation. They are useful. But in order to get rid of bed bugs, we needed to find better tools.

When chemicals are employed, there is almost always a need for multiple applications, which causes more damage to your home and a greater overall cost.

Cold Treatment

Exterminators had to come up with a new strategy of attack once the full level of chemical resistance was recognized.

We came up with the idea of using cold therapy.

Really, it’s very self-explanatory. The exterminator’s objective is to instantaneously snap-freeze and kill all bed bugs and bed bug eggs on a treated surface using a device that disperses frozen carbon dioxide.

Cold therapy avoids the entire chemical resistance issue and gives bed bugs little chance to develop biological resistance because it concentrates on extreme environmental change.

This is a non-toxic solution, which strengthens the argument in favor of using cold over chemicals. We’re talking about a significantly better outcome for the environment overall with no residues and no dangerous contaminants.

Do you anticipate a “but”?

The main issue with applying cold remedies is as follows: Bed bugs are inherently very resistant to the cold, despite the fact that they may not be able to develop resistance the way they have with chemicals over the years.

Did we mention how very resilient these things are?

Simply said, using cold to eradicate bed bugs is not the greatest option. A bed bug may thrive in conditions as low as minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, it will take several days of maintaining temperatures in that range before you can say with certainty that the population has been eliminated.

You are absolutely correct if you believe that would be challenging to accomplish.

Are you aware that bed bugs live in cracks and crevices like those found in mattresses, bed frames, pillows, and clothing? All of that is insulation, by the way. It is more difficult to expose a bed insect to a fatal cold the more buried it is. The bed bugs that should bother you the most are largely unaffected.

Not cool (or not cool enough), really.

The main line is that while cold partially expands our options, it still falls short of being a magic solution.

Heat Treatment

Heat comes next. Once more, you won’t need a complicated illustration to comprehend why this elimination method is effective.

Fans are used in conjunction with a strategically placed battery of extremely strong heaters to move hot air throughout a damaged property.

What degree of heat are we referring to?

The objective is to raise the air’s temperature over 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the research, a bed bug population will start to decline at temperatures around 110 degrees. When you exceed 120, you reach a biological tipping point, at which time bed bugs die almost rapidly.

And this is where we’re finally getting close to a workable answer.

It turns out that although bed bugs are hardy, heat is their biggest—and possibly only—easily exploitable vulnerability.

Heat also has the advantage of being more accessible than cold.

130 degrees Fahrenheit sounds awfully warm right about now. Do not misunderstand us; you would not want to remain outside in that heat. But raising a house’s ambient temperature to this level of heat is far simpler than lowering it to – 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, did you know that bed bugs like to hide under insulation? It can withstand cold better than heat, but not by much. Heat penetrates spaces where chemicals and cold are less likely to reach.

So, the question is raised by all of this. Is heating the bed bugs to kill them the ultimate bed bug treatment? Is it the solution that we have all been seeking?

Yes and no, I suppose.

Infestations of bed bugs are still challenging to control. In terms of insects, bed bugs are pretty much the epitome of cunning, tenacity, and spreading ability.

However, one of the most efficient therapies we have for attacking the small irritants where they are most vulnerable is heat.

The solution in the majority of cases includes some augmentation with further chemical treatments. However, based on our extensive experience, heat is by far the most effective method for eliminating bed bugs. Every bed bug extermination plan should include it, even if it isn’t the entire cure.

You should also think about some basic logistics. Heat therapy is:

  • Chemical therapy is less disruptive.
  • More easily accomplished than cold therapy.
  • The most affordable and secure choice that the market has to offer.

How to Pick a Reputable Exterminator

You now have a better understanding of bed bugs and the techniques we can use to eradicate them. The persons who are exterminating the bed bugs are a crucial additional component of the bed bug scenario.

How do you choose a decent person?

This is a really significant query.

Many people out there claim to provide professional services, but it might be difficult to locate the real thing – companies with state-of-the-art machinery, years of combined extermination experience, and supported by ardent entomological knowledge.

You should first be aware of what an excellent exterminator isn’t.

3 Clarifications About Pest Control

No, a good exterminator only does elimination. Killing is insufficient.

A professional exterminator will concentrate on stopping the entire bug life cycle, beginning with reproduction. The only method to prevent bed bugs from entering your home, not just tomorrow but also in six months, is to do that.

#1: Knowledge of Pests is an Exterminator’s Best Tool

A competent exterminator will only employ one technique to complete the task: 

Frequently, it sounds something like this: “This guy’s great because he has all the nasty, deadly chemicals.” Chemicals play a role, but for the reasons we listed above, they don’t make up the entire picture.

Rarely will one bed bug removal technique be effective on its own. But most of the time, a skilled exterminator will focus on integrated pest control, which is a procedure that meticulously combines a variety of elimination techniques to fight pests from many angles.

#2: Mixed Treatment-Control is Often the Best Solution

A good exterminator will always go with the “nuclear” option. Many of our clients think we’ll show up at their house wearing hazmat gear and carrying weapons-grade poisons on our backs.

Some find this concept to be unsettling. Some people find it comforting.

However, the reality is that the days of using shocking chemical bed bug treatments are over. It is unsuccessful. Environmental harm results from it. Oh, and did we mention that it simply fails? There are considerably more efficient ways to get rid of bed bugs (like our pal heat therapy).

#3: More Harmful Does NOT Mean More Effective

An effective exterminator will:

  • Ask Questions: they’ll almost always do so. Where have you spotted insect traces? Have you lately bought used furniture? What transpired in your house before you became aware of them? Are there any bites on you? Do you own animals? Allergies? Finding a treatment plan that will work for you will depend greatly on the answers to all of these questions.
  • Investigate: and when you think of investigating, imagine Sherlock Holmes! A skilled exterminator will do a forensic inspection of your house to determine the exact nature of the issue you’re experiencing.
  • Combine: heat treatment should be an element of every bed bug elimination method, as years of experience (and a sizable body of great research) have repeatedly shown. However, a skilled bed bug exterminator will be knowledgeable about how to carefully apply additional chemical treatments in addition to the heat treatment.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, then. The TLDR is as follows (too-long, didn’t read):

Over time, there have been several changes in bed bug extermination techniques. The gold standard today is heat treatment. As you now know, it also has the advantages of being more affordable and safer than chemical therapy alone. Make sure the exterminator you choose to finally get rid of these vile little gremlins from your house asks, investigates, and integrates.

You’ll be well on your way to a home free of pests (and bug bites!) if you keep these in mind.

Want to know more? See our comprehensive guide on whether to treat bed bugs with heat or chemicals. Additionally, if you reside in California and are dealing with a bed bug infestation, send us an email or give us a call.


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