Best Bed Bug Spray – The Complete Guide
Best Bed Bug Sprays For Home Use
Good night, sleep tight don’t let the bed bugs bite. Once a popular children’s rhyme, now a growing concern across the Western world. Bed bugs were a very common infestation before the early 1940’s and were all but eradicated by the 1950’s due to changes in hygiene and the application of DDT. Today, bed bugs are back, and we are battling them with bed bug sprays.
There are several different types of sprays used to treat, kill and prevent bed bug infestations. This guide will cover the best of the best and give you all the information you need for each one to help you make the best choice for your situation.
What are the Best Bed Bug Sprays?
If you have sensitive skin, kids, pets or other conditions that give you concerns of using chemicals in or around your home, this extensive guide will help you find the right spray for you to use.
While you can use things such as HEPA vacuums to rid your home of the ones you can see, the ones you can’t will continue to reproduce and infest your home. Another option is to use diatomaceous earth. The sharp edges of this desiccant will cut off limbs while drying them out.
However, the use of desiccants can harm children and pets and stain carpets and some flooring. It also doesn’t kill on contact, which is most likely an attribute you will want. The use of professional grade bed bugs sprays will be your fastest and most thorough option.
Which one, though, is best for you? Let’s take a look at the most popular and well-reviewed bed bug sprays available.
Bed Bug Killer by EcoRaider
EcoRaider’s spray is rated at 100 percent efficacy by the Journal of Economic Entomology, using all natural ingredients. The USDA IR4 PHP Program has also certified it as an all natural bed bug killer.
It has been field tested by professionals and research entomologists who deemed EcoRaider safe for residential and sensitive environments.
Bed Bug Killer will take care of the infestation in any cycle of the bug’s life: eggs, nymphs, and adults. It is also highly effective at killing resistant bed bugs, or those that have become immune to other insecticides.
The non-toxic Bed Bug Killer is eco-friendly which makes it ideal for households with kid or pets. You can spray directly on mattresses and box springs without worry. EcoRaider’s spray is also dermatological tested and approved making it safe for direct contact.
Unlike most other pesticides and insecticides, Bed Bug Killer doesn’t have harsh chemicals and will take care of the infestation faster than traditional methods containing chemicals. It will kill on contact by using a micro-scale ingredient that penetrates the exoskeleton of invertebrates.
EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer also has a dry residual effect. Tests have shown that the spray will continue to be effective at killing and treatment for up to two weeks after application.
- Non-toxic spray is safe for children and pets.
- Residual dry effective for up to two weeks.
- 100 percent efficacy and all natural certified.
- Kills even resistant strands of bed bugs.
- Eliminates all stages of bed bug life cycles.
- USDA IR4 PHP certified.
- Strong odor similar to tee tree oil can be offensive.
- Reapplications are a must.
- Not cleared for clothing or linens, may stain some materials.
Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer
Eco Defense has created a bed bug spray that is all natural and organic. Treatments with Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer will eliminate all stages of bed bug life cycles including eggs, nymphs, and adults.
Eco Defense is all natural, so it is safe for use in homes with children and pets. It is organic as well and will not stain clothing or linens so you can spray it directly on beds, comforters, sofas, and carpet without fear of stains.
Eco Defense kills on contact and comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with the results of the product, Eco Defense will refund your money. You should note that any product will not take care of a mild or worse infestation in a single treatment.
You will need multiple treatments and to follow all instructions for effective elimination of these little pests. Research has shown that some species have developed immunity to chemicals and sprays that are widely used, such as commercial application pesticides. Switching up your routine with Eco Defense will help eliminate resistant bed bugs.
Some reports have stated that Eco Defense is not as effective on eggs. Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer has no residual effectiveness. This may be the cause of the reports. Once the spray dries, it’s efficacy drops to near zero. Reapplications are required.
- All natural and organic ingredients.
- Safe for children and pets.
- Won’t stain fabrics or materials.
- Kills all stages of bed bug life cycles.
- Money back guarantee.
- Very strong odor
- Not as effective on bed bug eggs
- No residual effectiveness
Bye-Bye Bed Bugs
Pest Peeve has created an all natural bed bug killer that is effective on live bed bugs and nymphs. The natural ingredients are safe for homes with children or pets and won’t stain fabrics.
You can liberally spay bedding, linens, carpets, window dressings and furniture. Made in the USA, the Bye-Bye Bed Bugs spray is also eco-friendly. Bye-Bye Bed Bugs kills on contact, however, has very little residual effect.
Some reports state that during treatment spraying the mattress and linens before bed will result in visual confirmation of dead bed bugs by the morning, however, no studies have proven effectiveness on killing after the spray has dried.
Since the main active ingredients are Germanium oil and cedar wood oil, there is a smell of cedar similar to other products. The odor is lighter than most and will dissipate within twenty minutes.
Repeated applications are required for full control of the infestation. Once initial treatment is complete, regular touch-ups and spot treatments are recommended. Pest Peeve does offer a satisfaction guarantee where they offer to make it right if you are not completely satisfied.
While treating clothing is done with high heat dryers, you can spray this on clothing. You can also take the bottle with you and spray while you travel to prevent contamination of your luggage or clothes.
- Eco-friendly formula.
- Safe for use around children and pets.
- Highly effective against nymphs and adults.
- Kills on contact.
- Pest free guarantee.
- Cedar odor may be offensive.
- No proven residual effectiveness.
- No reports were given about effectiveness against bed bug eggs.
Bed Bug Spray By Killer Green
Chemical free and eco-friendly, Killer Green offers a bed bug solution that will kill bed bugs in less than five seconds.
Their lab-tested formula has proven to kill bed bugs with one spray in 4.7 seconds. It also has a residual effect that lasts up to 20 days killing bed bugs that came in contact with the sprayed area within 15 hours.
The non-toxic Bed Bug Spray is safe to use in homes with children and pets and can be used directly on all surfaces and fabrics without staining. You can spray directly on your mattress, box spring, comforters, linens and window dressings.
The odor is very light and dissipates within minutes. You can effectively spray your bed and get right in it to go to sleep. This spray is also used by some professional exterminators instead of harsh chemical applications. It is effective against resistant strands of the pests.
The formula is non-toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable and eco-friendly. You don’t have to wait for the spray to dry before using the sprayed area which makes it perfect for pet beds and areas where you may have live plants.
- Green product safe for pets and children.
- Kills on contact in less than five seconds.
- Has residual effect killing bed bugs up to 20 days after application.
- Won’t stain fabrics.
- Less effective against eggs.
- Repeated applications needed.
Proof Bed Bug Killer Spray
Bed Bug Killer Spray by Proof is another all natural, effective bed bug killer. The spray will kill on contact as well as having a residual vapor that kills for up to three weeks after application.
Proof offers a 100 percent money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with the treatment. It is eco-friendly and will work against chemical resistant bed bugs as well. It is not a neurotoxin and will penetrate the exoskeleton of the bed bugs to effectively kill on contact.
The all natural ingredients are also safe to use in homes with pets and children. Proof spray will not stain fabrics so you can spray directly on mattresses and box springs as well as linens, window dressings, carpets, and furniture.
The odor lingers for a very long time, which some may find offensive. However, Proof claims this is how you know it is still there and working. Reports and reviews have stated the odor will last for several days and is not unpleasant. Others claim the odor is bothersome. This will be a personal preference for you.
Unlike some of the other natural sprays, you won’t have to do as many repeated treatments because it does have a residual effect. Even up to three weeks after initial application, it still efficiently kills bed bugs.
Proof Bed Bug Killer will handle all stages of the bed bug life cycle including eggs, nymphs, and adults. It will also kill dust mites and is effective on fleas. Using this spray around pet beds and on flooring is safe.
- All natural ingredients are safe for pets and children.
- Won’t stain fabrics.
- Has residual effect lasting up to three weeks after treatment.
- Kills on contact.
- Lingering odor may be offensive and long-lasting.
- Reapplications may be needed before they are scheduled.
Harris Natural Bed Bug Killer
Harris offers a natural solution to the bed bug infestation. The spray is effective on live bed bugs and will kill on contact. It also has a residual property to kill for two weeks after initial treatment effectively.
According to the label, you will be required to do two treatments two weeks apart. However, I have found that this may not be enough and you should plan on a weekly treatment for at least a month.
The odor is strong at first but dissipates within a few minutes. The lingering odor is not unpleasant unless you are opposed to the smell of cedar. The non-toxic formula is safe to use in a home with kids and pets and is recommended to spray directly on surfaces and fabrics.
You can safely use this on your mattress and box spring as well as carpets and window dressings. I would safe test small areas on fabrics before applying liberal sprays. The ingredients in the Harris Natural Bed Bug Killer are natural but not organic, and some fabrics can stain.
The residual effectiveness has not been tested; however, you will find dead bugs days after treatment. This product will treat one mid to large sized room with a queen bed with some spray left over. The leftover will most likely not be enough for the second treatment. You should purchase enough the first time to at least maintain two treatments for the affected areas.
- Natural spray kills on contact.
- Safe in homes with children and pets.
- Direct spray on beds and carpets.
- The residual effect can kill up to two weeks later.
- Money back guarantee.
- Strong odor that lingers after initial dissipation.
- May stain some fabrics.
- Not as effective on eggs.
What Are Bed Bug Sprays?
Bed bug sprays are either a chemical based or natural plant derivative based liquid that is used to combat bed bug infestations. Sprays will come in a bottle with an attached squeeze trigger to pinpoint the application.
The use of sprays became more common after the resurgence of bed bugs in recent years. After their near eradication in the early 1950’s, bed bugs have made a strong come back. The use of powders, DDT, and other chemicals has proven to be less effective than it was almost 70 years ago.
New strands of bed bugs have shown resistance to chemicals and powders. Sprays were created to kill on contact by getting past the exoskeleton of the insect and killing them from inside their shell.
Most sprays will now kill bed bugs fast by using ingredients proven against invertebrates. Natural remedies include cedarwood oil, sodium lauryl sulfate and germanium oil. Some ingredients have also proven to kill even after the spray has dried.
In my experience, direct contact killing is highly effective but only on the ones you can see. Bed bugs are notorious for being able to hide in make cracks, crevasses, and furniture folds. They don’t tend to stray too far from their main food source and can be found in bedrooms and living rooms where people and pets stay for long periods of time.
Bed bug sprays prove effective on bedding, carpets, window dressings and furniture where you can saturate the surface to get under lips, edges and soak through to some of the harder to reach hiding spots.
How Do Bed Bug Sprays Work?
Bed bug sprays work by coming in contact with the insect and soaking through the exoskeleton. Their outer shell proves an effective defense that you must bypass in order to kill them effectively.
Nymphs are the most easily killed because they do not yet have a fully formed exoskeleton. Eggs, on the other hand, are the hardest to kill and the main reason re-treatment with sprays is necessary. Alcohol-based sprays, for example, are ineffective against eggs, they are also flammable which could cause extra risks.
Sprays come in contact with the bed bugs and work their way through the exoskeleton into the body of the insect. Once inside, the spray ingredients will begin dissolving the soft body of the bed bug eventually killing it.
Some sprays will work faster than others, from minutes to hours, depending on the ingredients and percentage of active ingredients in the spray.
What Are the Main Types of Bed Bug Sprays?
There are three main types of bed bug sprays available for use today: natural, artificial chemical and insect growth regulators. Each spray has its strengths and weaknesses against a bed bug infestation.
Natural sprays rely on non-chemical oils and plant derivatives to combat and control the pests. This is done by using natural ingredients that bed bugs are vulnerable against. The most common ingredients are germanium oil, cedarwood oil, sodium lauryl sulfate and eucalyptus oil.
These natural oils will destroy the soft body of the bed bugs and their internal organs killing them seemingly on contact. Natural sprays are also preferred in homes with children and pets as they tend to have little to no lingering odor and are safe for human contact.
Natural sprays are used on most all fabrics and textures without staining, although some can stain certain fabrics. You should always note if the label says it is safe for your materials.
Alternative Chemical Sprays
In homes without small children or pets, you may opt for a stronger, longer lasting chemical spray. Pyrethroids, Pyrethrins, and Pyrroles are the most common chemical sprays used by pest control professionals.
Chemical sprays such as pyrethroid are highly effective over a long period of time. However, bed bugs have shown an increased resistance to pyrethroid sprays, and you will need also to use alternative means of eradication.
When using these or similar chemicals, you need to be wary of your live plants, pets, and small children. These chemicals are toxic and can cause serious issues to the respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous systems.
Care should always be taken when using chemicals inside the home. Read all labels, warnings and follow directions as they are outlined. Some chemicals will also leave a residue or stain certain fabrics and carpets. Always test before widespread use.
Insect Growth Regulators
Insect growth regulators are chemicals that don’t outright kill insects but instead alter their ability to grow naturally. Some insect growth regulators will not allow a nymph to grow into an adult or force the nymph to reach adulthood before it is able to reproduce.
The main objective of an insect growth regulator is to control the population over long periods of time, causing the infestation to die out from the inability to reproduce.
These chemicals are ideal for large infestations as the time it takes to rid the home is extended and tedious. However, most low to mild infestations can be removed from the home in more effective manners, and the use of insect growth regulators will only prolong the time the infestation is in the home.
While Insect growth regulators are low-toxic and generally do not harm humans, they are mixed with other insecticide chemicals for the purpose of killing adults bed bugs on a more immediate basis.
These added chemicals can be toxic to pets or humans, and you should read all the labels and warnings to ensure you know what is contained in the spray.
How Long Do Sprays Take To Kill Bed Bugs?
Bed bug sprays have different levels of effectiveness, efficacy, and duration of kill time. You can find long term sprays that will kill entire infestations over several weeks, or you can find sprays that will kill adults and nymphs on contact.
The obvious choice is to find a spray that will kill as soon as possible; however, this may not be the best treatment method for your particular infestation case. Currently, there is no single solution that will eliminate all bed bugs in a single treatment. There are several steps you will need to take first to get the infestation under control and then systematically eliminate the bugs.
Most chemical sprays will kill on contact unless the bed bugs are a resistant strand. However, chemical sprays are designed to be a long-lasting treatment effort that will kill off adults, nymphs and eventually eggs over a long exposure time.
Natural sprays are designed to do what chemicals can’t: kill on contact, especially resistant strands of the bed bug family. Most natural sprays won’t kill the eggs, and you must retreat after the eggs hatch to eliminate all of the bed bugs in your home.
The immediate treatment will allow you to sleep better at night, but you must stay vigilant in the treatment cycle to completely remove the pests from your home.
What You Need To Know Before Using Bed Bug Spray
Unlike other insect problems in the home, bed bugs aren’t going to simply die or go away when you go to the store, buy a spray and spritz your home. A bed bug infestation is not a welcomed event. However, it doesn’t have to be as horrible as you imagine.
Bed bugs are unsightly and can be scary or gross. However, you should know that they are not the worst thing in the world. Before their near eradication 70 years ago, bed bugs were as common in homes as pets are today.
This is not to say they were welcomed. They are a nuisance for sure. However, bed bugs do not transmit diseases like other blood-sucking insects. Mosquitoes, for example, can carry disease from one person to another. Bed bugs do not.
Bed bugs are also not carriers or spreaders of germs like cockroaches. They only survive on blood and will not contaminate your food supplies. Bed bugs do bite and in some people will cause an allergic reaction. These are usually seen as raised red welts or even small rashes in the areas of the bites.
The most common areas are the back and the ankles and any parts of the body that reach the edge of the bed. The can cover a lot of ground over the course of a night, and you should inspect your bedding regularly.
Female bed bugs tend to run away from the colony to lay eggs. You will generally find them in high areas or hard to reach spots. You should always inspect your window dressings and pay close attention to the top portion near the curtain rods. If you see bed bugs here, they will be females waiting to lay eggs.
Before you spray, you will need to prepare the area or room. One sure way to kill bed bugs is with high heat. Bedding, linens, and clothing should be removed from the room and washed, with emphasis on the drying cycle.
Dry all garments, linens, towels, and bedding on high heat for at least 30 minutes. If your clothing is dry clean only, you can get dryer bags to put them in before throwing them in the dryer for the duration of the heat cycle.
Transport all items from the affected room to the washer and dryer in plastic bags to prevent contaminating another room. Removing curtains and accessories is crucial. Bed bugs will find anywhere to hide and have a particular like for wood.
Once everything is out of the room and treated or bagged you need to inspect everything that is remaining. Bed bugs will be found in bed frames, especially if the frame has folds or places where pieces come together. Check your box spring for holes in the bottom lining and the welting of both the mattress and box spring.
Because bed bugs are primarily nocturnal, spraying in the daytime will be more effective if you can find them and spray them directly. Once you have found the most populous areas and are ready to spray, read all warnings, labels, and prep the room.
Ensure that pets and small children stay out of the room, even when using natural and non-toxic sprays. Once treatment begins, the bed bugs will find any area possible that has not been sprayed. This includes attaching to pets and clothing to be transported to another room.
While bed bugs will take blood from any warm-blooded creature, humans are their favorite. You should still inspect your pets and their bedding and toys, but the likelihood of a low to mild infestation moving to your pets is rare. Once they have found their main food source, they will stay with it.
When everything is prepped and ready, you should begin your spray treatment. Starting high and working low is recommended so that you don’t get caught in a corner. Spray all cracks and crevasses as well as being mirrors, hanging art and furniture.
When spraying your mattresses and box springs, ensure you get both sides as well as all away around the welting. Once the furniture has been thoroughly sprayed, concentrate on the baseboards and carpet edges.
If your infestation is high or severe, you should turn off all power to the room at the circuit breaker and remove the outlet covers. You should never spray power wires directly. Spraying inside the outlet covers though may make a huge difference. If you need to do this, ensure power is completely off prior to application and that all spray is completely dry before restoring power.
If you are in doubt, skip this step.
Finish the treatment by spraying the flooring. If it is carpet make sure you cover every square inch. Keep all items out of the room until the treatment is complete and dry.
The Risks Of Using Sprays In The Home
Using sprays in the home does come with certain risks. Before spraying any chemical, natural or artificial, you should always read the warning labels and follow all precautions.
Alcohol-based sprays pose a fire hazard, and you should avoid spraying near sources of heat or open flames such as fireplaces, heaters, and vents.
Chemical based sprays have many dangers. Most are toxic to humans and animals, especially children, the elderly and those with an illness. Spraying chemicals inside, especially on carpet can be dangerous.
Pets and small children that spend a lot of time on the floors are susceptible to complications with breathing and skin irritations. When using chemical sprays, you should always ensure the spray is completely dry before allowing anyone in the area.
Natural sprays have fewer concerns, but they are still something to watch for. Allergies and breathing complications should be anticipated. If the ingredients have a known allergen, you should avoid using the product. Most of the natural sprays rely on plant oils and can stick around for a long time before being evaporated.
Other Useful Bed Bug Products
Sprays, chemical or otherwise, are the most popular choice for combating bed bugs. However, because of how difficult the bed bugs are to kill, you should be aware of other methods that can be used in tandem with your spray regimen.
HEPA filtration is required for vacuuming bed bugs as the filters will capture down to 0.3 microns, which is enough for nymphs and eggs. Powders should be checked to ensure they are safe for use in the home. Desiccants will dry out bed bugs and kill them effectively, although not quickly, as they will have to pass through the desiccant before being affected.
Housmile Anti-Bed Bug Vacuum with Advanced HEPA Filtration
The UV-C vacuum uses high heat, suction and ultraviolet light to help remove bed bugs and mites from your home. The high heat (130 degrees Fahrenheit) is ample enough to kill bed bugs. The temperature is high enough but may not last long enough. You should immediately clean out the filter into a sealed plastic bag and discard outside the home.
The advanced HEPA filter will capture the bugs while applying heat to kill them. It is a small and portable hand-held vacuum that is easily used on beds, sofas, and chairs. For larger infestations, this vacuum will help eliminate the larger portions of the colony before the spray treatment is done.
Bed Bug Sleep Defense System
When you have completed your treatment, and begin returning your furniture and items to the room for use, you should encase your mattress and box spring in a bed bug defense system.
These are waterproof, hypoallergenic zippered encasings for your mattress and box spring. Bed bugs and dust mites will not be able to get into the fabric and make a home. This will also prevent any bed bugs from escaping the mattress or box spring if you happened to miss any during treatment.
The bed bug sleep defense system is designed to give you peace of mind to sleep well without having to replace expensive bedding.
Bed Bug Traps
Bed bug traps are plastic pads you place under your bed frame. Any bed bugs trying to climb up will fall into the center and not be able to get out. Likewise, any coming down will fall in the center as well. Remember, bed bugs can't fly, so this can be an effective way from keeping them off of your mattress and frame.
Most of the bed traps also contain a small dusting of diatomaceous earth or other desiccants that will kill any bed bugs that get trapped inside. When using bed bug traps, you need to ensure that your linens and bedding do not reach the floor.
The bed bug traps should be the only point of contact so as not to allow the bed bugs an alternative means to get on to the mattress or box spring. Bed bug traps should not be reused, and if you find bed bugs in the discs, you should seal and discard them outside the home and replace with a new one.
Cleaning out the disc for reuse will remove the desiccant, and the bed bugs won’t die once trapped.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is one of the most effective treatments and prevention of bed bugs around. It is not a fast acting treatment like a spray, however.
When using DE, you should place it in areas that bed bugs are known to hide, except for the bedding. Along baseboards and just under the edge of the carpet against the walls should be treated with DE.
DE is a desiccant and will dry out bed bugs effectively killing them. Most professional pest control companies that specialize in bed bug treatments will use DE in their procedures. It is also effective in closets, along shelves, and in drawers.
You should make sure you get the right DE for treatment though. Look for food grade DE or insect approved DE for bed bug treatment. There is a DE used in swimming pool filters that is very dangerous to breathe and should never be used indoors.
Bed bugs are more than a nursery rhyme nuisance. They are a real threat to home cleanliness and peace of mind. While they do not transmit disease and spread germs, they aren’t a welcome guest in any home.
Treatment for bed bugs is never going to be a single application process. You will need to take precautions to avoid infestation as well as plans for long term treatment if an infestation ever happens.
Bed bug sprays are effective at killing and maintaining eradication in your home when used properly. You should find the right product for your situation and make sure that you can effectively follow all directions.
You will need to do multiple treatments with sprays and should ensure you have enough product to do so in the time frame allotted by the manufacturer. Do not be disappointed if you do a treatment and the problem is still there. It takes time and effort to clear your home of these pests.
Prevention steps should be taken to minimize spreading the bed bugs to other rooms of the home. Containment is crucial and will help eliminate the problem faster. Use plastic bags to store treated clothing and linens while not in use in the room. Transport bedding and window dressings to the laundry in bags as well.
Once you have removed the bed bug problem in your home, use preventative sprays and diatomaceous earth along baseboards, in cabinets and drawers and under the edge of carpets to help prevent a re-infestation.