Use of sprays is one of the common ways to kill and get rid of bed bugs. Here is insight into types of bed bug sprays, how they work, how to choose the best, DIY (homemade) and reviews of popular brands.
Bed Bug Sprays-What they are and how they work
Types-Contact & Residual
You might think that there is only one type of bed bug spray. Questions stream in from users mostly regarding the different types of bed bug sprays available in the market meaning that bed bug sprays exist in various types. The common question is which bed bug spray type works best.
There are two types of bed bug sprays:
Residual spray: such sprays are those that when sprayed in a given environment, will have an effect that is not short-lived but prolonged. There are bed bug sprays that have a duration of action of more than 15 weeks.
One of the reasons you might prefer going for such sprays is that bed bugs do not go away in a jiffy. They will always make a retreat and make come-backs at any time when the threat is gone.
When the effect of the bed bug spray is short-lived, then during your routine investigation and monitoring, you will notice the presence of bed bugs.
This is what residual bed bug sprays deal with. They are however residual in terms of the smell that is left lingering around in your house for longer than desired.
Contact spray: this kind of spray is able to deal with bed bug infestations by eliciting a physical action on bed bugs. It therefore does not have an indirect method of killing bed bugs. It is said to hit the bed bugs directly.
Such contact killers of bed bugs are mostly chemical ingredients that are insecticides such as pyrethrum and its derivatives such as permethrin and deltamethrin. The two latter chemicals are derivatives of pyrethroids.
There are a myriad of contact bed bug sprays in the market and one common brand in this type includes the STERI-FAB which claims to be able to kill bed bugs within a span of 15 minutes when in contact with the bed bug. Different chemicals act on the bed bugs in different ways.
The insecticides are chemicals that are toxic to the bed bugs perhaps when they come into contact with bed bugs. Bed bugs are rarely killed by tricking them into feeding on a trap blood meal as they prefer a warm and fresh blood meal from the host.
There are chemicals that are in some contact bed bug sprays that are able to dehydrate the bed bug’s body through a breach of its exoskeleton until it dies.
So which one of the two types of bed bug sprays is better than the other?
How you develop your criteria on how to go about choosing the best bed bug spray of the two types depends on a number of factors that you will need to consider:
- How long does the effect of the bed bug spray last? The contact bed bug spray does not last long since it does not have a residual effect as compared to the residual bed bug spray.
- Does it leave a chemical trace behind? Residual bed bug sprays are advisably supposed to be sprayed in areas where there will be limited skin contact. It is therefore proposed that you spray them in cracks, crevices, walls and in the corners of furniture. Though this is best practice, there are residual water based sprays which have deltamethrin. Contact killers can be applied onto couches and mattresses.
- How frequent do you apply? For contact killers, you will require at most three treatments within a span of two weeks in conjunction with a bed bug powder. This does not apply to residual bed bug sprays as they can last as long as 2 weeks without a follow-up treatment. The good thing about contact bed bug sprays is that you can always have it on call so that when you spot bed bugs, you simply spray.
- Which one is contra-indicated for those with chemical allergies? If you have a chemical allergy, then it is better to use a contact bed bug spray and not the residual spray. This is much easier to tolerate as the spray lasts about an hour or two and you can simply advise such a person to stay out of the room for such periods of time.
Natural, organic and non-toxic
Instead of opting for chemical bed bug sprays which might be harmful to your health or to the health of the environment, you can go for natural and organic bed bug sprays. There are available in the market and they are considered non-toxic.
Take for instance, the N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) has been used for a long time against bed bugs in conventional sprays.
Despite the fact that it has been approved for use by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it can lead to hypersensitivity reactions such as irritation of the eye and skin resulting in rashes and at times blistering.
There have been documented cases of adverse neurological effects in children and mortalities in adults. As this has been studied by the Duke University Medical Center, it has proven to be true. Not to mention that DEET also has an impact that is negative to wild life.
It has been found to pollute about 75 % of water sources in the US.
Much of what you can use is non-toxic and will be organic. This has been discussed in the following sections.
Choosing the Best Bed Bug Spray
It is important that when making a selection of a bed bug spray to purchase from the market, that you have a look at considerations that affect its legibility.
This is how you will be able to make the right choice when buying such products as not all of them are effective. You might find one in the market that is well individualized to your requirements.
In other words, don’t make a purchase for the sake of doing it. You should have your own expectations too. In this section, some of the considerations have been discussed in detail and how to go about pondering on them.
Where to use-on body, beddings, on furniture (couches beds etc.): You need to think about this. Are you going to spread it on the furniture, cracks or on your bedding? This is a question most people do not consider.
The issue with either contact or residual bed bug killers is that this question really matters in either selection. If you are going to spray them on the bedding, then you better go for the contact killers.
In short, if you are to spray on areas where there will be skin contact, go for the contact killer and not the residual spray. Go for the residual spray when you are targeting hard-to-reach areas and where skin contact will be less.
Scent-Odorless vs Smelly: Get a bed bug spray that either has a good smell or one that does not leave residual odor after a long undesirable time.
Portability: you wouldn’t want a bed bug spray that will be immobile and an inconvenience to move around with. This comes especially if are doing this on a commercial scale.
Price/cost: when you select a bed bug spray, make sure that you are not tricked into buying the cheaper option. Get something that will work then look at the cost later. In the long-run it will be cheaper.
Chemical contents (safety, non-toxic, organic, allergic reaction): this will depend on your preference. Synthetic bed bug sprays are known for their fast action though to some may cause allergic reactions. Some people go for organic sprays since they can do a DIY for themselves.
How it works(Effectiveness)-contact/residual: you will need to get professional advise concerning this so that you do a proper selection. It is generally considered that residual sprays have long lasting effect. However, note that this may not be commensurate with its effectiveness and you might want to be careful with such information.
Manufacturer-(reputable, quality of product etc): you should always do a thorough research on the manufacturer of the spray. Get to know if they are legit and check the labelling to ensure that it is at least EPA-certified or certified by any relevant body in your state.
Usability: there are those that need an expert while there those you can use on your own without a professional. Therefore, be fair with yourself and get one that you can use without much complication. Otherwise, get some training on professional spraying or make the purchase and hire.
Qualities of a good spray
With much to look for in a spray, you can do your own quality control by checking for:
- Integrity of the spray bottle
- Manufacturers legitimacy
- Contents of the bottle vis-à-vis claims on the manufacturer’s website
- Allergic reactions to the contents of the bottle
- Type of the spray; residual or contact
- Proper actuation of the contents during spraying
DIY Homemade Bed Bug Spray Recipe-Alcohol & Other Ingredients
Speaking of organic sprays which are natural products and non-toxic, there are a good number of recipes that you can use. Good thing is that you can make them for yourself. Purchased organic sprays tend to be more expensive in the market however. Here are some few recipes:
Ingredients: essential oils; 2mL each of geranium, citronella, lavender, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus; 10 mL of alcohol (propylene glycol) or some vodka; 120 mL aromatic waters of witch hazel; 120 mL of water or vinegar.
- Add all the essential oils that you have and mix in a spray bottle
- Add the alcohol to the mixture then the aromatic waters
- Add the vinegar to the mixture then shake
- Before spraying, shake the contents to make the oils and water mingle better.
Ingredients: apple cider vinegar, essential oils of your choice (10 mL each);
- Into a spray bottle, add the apple cider vinegar
- Add into it a mixture of the oils that you have and you have your spray.
Bed bug spray for clothes other Fabrics
When selecting bed bug sprays for clothes or fabrics go for chemicals that are friendly to the fabric in question. Good thing the chemicals in bed bug sprays are quite compatible with clothes. However, since you wouldn’t want a residual effect on your clothes, opt for the contact killers.
Also choose a bed bug spray that is odorless and if it has an odor, non-staining and should be short-lived. FabriClear Bed Bug Spray is one such brand.
Get one that is non-irritant with you or your family. The best method of killing bed bugs on your clothes still remains soaking in hot water, drying them in the sun and ironing them then inspecting.
Best bed bug body spray
The best bed bug body spray is one that is:
- A repellent. Bed bugs do not reside on your body and you would rather just do away with your clothes and take a bath. You would want a repellent instead.
- Non-irritant and preferably non-toxic hence organic options would suffice
Reviews- What Spray is Good?
Raid bed bug spray Review
The name of this particular spray is Raid Max® Bed Bug Killer. It kills other bugs such as fleas and their eggs. The features that make it stand out: it does not stain on water-safe fabrics and surfaces.
According to the manufacturer, it sprays two ways with targeted application for places that not easy to reach and wide coverage for huge surfaces.
It can be applied as a sport treatment as well as a surface spray.
According to user reviews and rating it is not the best in the market. A good number of users say it does not work. There are some who it has worked for.
Does hot shot bed bug spray work? Reviews
Hot Shot bed bug spray has in it the active ingredient, permethrin which is a derivative of pyrethroid chemicals.
This is a chemical that has been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and is a biodegradable chemical with not any dire bio-consequences.
Apart from this chemical, this product also contains cypermethrin and deltamethrin which are also related to pyrethrin. The beauty of having these chemicals is that there are bed bugs that are resistant to permethrin which does not guarantee a cross-resistance towards deltamethrin.
The demerit with this product is that it may be too tiring for one to spray and carry it around and some people have alluded to their having cramps in the process.
Fabriclear bed bug spray reviews
This is a natural bed bug spray that can be used on different types of fabric. It is therefore safe and has a peppermint smell. For a natural spray, it goes for an affordable price. However, this product is said to at times not work and is a less potent contact killer unlike the synthetic sprays. It does not kill eggs and neither is it the best choice for facing out bed bug infestations.
The oils are however good for bed bug repellent activity and is better off used as a repellent.
Bedlam bed bug spray
This is a residual bed bug spray that not only controls bed bugs but also ticks, fleas, mites and lice. Being a residual spray, it is therefore really convenient for use in cracks, around furniture, headboards and walls.
Fortunately, it is a water based residual spray and therefore not irritating to the skin and it can be used on bedding especially in spot-treatment and can be used on fabrics as it is non-staining on water-safe fabrics. It owes its efficacy to the active ingredient Sumithrin and N-octyl bicycloheptane dicarboximide.
However, in spite of all the good this spray holds, it cannot be used alone as it is not effective as a sole treatment to bed bug infestations. You are not allowed to apply more than once a day.
Harris bed bug spray Review
This is another odorless bed bug spray. It can be used on fabrics as it is non-staining. Even after application, the spray has a residual effect and is able to kill bed bugs for longer. Its extended actuator allows its easy spraying without having to cramp your hands.
It is also not at its best when it is used alone and co-using this spray with a bed bug fogger, traps and interceptors, you would deal with bed bugs better.
JT eaton bed bug spray
JT Eaton spray is an innovative product by JT Eaton, a company founded in 1932. The product contains 0.03% deltamethrin which is a derivative of pyrethrin.
It is water based and therefore does not stain fabrics. It is almost odorless. Fortunately, it comes as a ready to spray product and will therefore not require you to mix.
However, for optimal action against bed bugs, it is required that you make a cocktail of its powdered formulation and residual bed bug killer such as Bedlam Plus.
JT Eaton is a contact killer hence allowing for spot treatment. It is not only effective against bed bugs but also against ticks, spiders, fleas and mites. It is however unfortunate that with the increasing resistant of bed bugs to pyrethrin, this product might be faced out if not fortified.
Ortho bed bug spray
Seems this bed bug spray is working well for its customers. It is fast acting with results manifesting as early as on the first day and offers a long lasting bed bug control.
Unlike some of the bed bug sprays that have been reviewed, this product is also able to do away with bed bug eggs and is a pyrethroid-resistant bed bug killer. Since it does not stain fabric, you can spray it on bedding and luggage.
To some people, the spray would not work and others mention it not working on their bed bugs. Every bed bug product has this kind of review as it also depends on how you use the spray and the strategies you have in place.
Rest easy bed bug spray
This is an environmental friendly bed bug killer that is all natural, therefore safe to use around kids and pets. The natural organic design is due to the essential oils it has as its ingredients and you can feel the pleasant cinnamon aroma when you have sprayed it in your rooms.
Since it does not stain fabric and has a pleasant aroma, you can actually have it sprayed on your clothes.
In as much as it is eco-friendly, it has poor insecticidal activity and is rather off used as a bed bug repellent. You should therefore use it in conjunction with other bed bug residual or contact killers.
Ecoraider bed bug spray
Another plant-based organic bed bug spray. It is able to kill bed bugs while offering residual protection against them for as long as two weeks. You can therefore use it in sensitive areas such as those in which there will be skin contact or populated areas such as institutions and clinics.
However, due to the presence of cedar in it, it may leave a long lasting strong cedar effect if used frequently. It also only has a spray option and being organic, it may not offer the best killer effect.
Steri fab bed bug spray
This is a chemical bed bug spray with Isopropyl Alcohol and Cyclopropanecarboxylate as the active ingredients among others.
It is also effective against roaches and would act as a sanitizer and a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent. This is due to the presence of the alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds. It is effective in killing bed bugs.
However, it may leave a residual odor of alcohol when sprayed. It is also not recommended for sole use for bed bug elimination and fortification with other methods such as interceptors and mattress encasements have to be used.
Ecosmart bed bug spray
Another organic natural bed bug spray that will be good for you if you are the type that doesn’t fancy synthetic stuff. It is effective for killing bed bugs when sprayed on mattresses and carpets. It has not synthetic toxins and has not harmful residual effect.
It may not work for bed bug infestations that require a radical treatment.
As seen on TV bed bug spray
This is a naturally derived bed bug killer that can also be used on mites and fleas. It is good to use on fabrics and carpets without residual odors. It has been mentioned in most review platform as good to use on concentrated bed bug infestations.
As with most of the bed bug sprays, you may not want to completely rely on this product. A combination would be most efficient.
Bengal bed bug spray
This must be the Bengal Crawling Insect killer that has been ranked one of the best bed bug killers for its long lasting action. While others share that it did not work for their infestations, most of the reviews form online marketing platforms applaud its effectiveness. It also does not stain the floods and fabrics.
Bayer bed bug spray
This among other five bed bug killers has been ranked top five best. In addition to killing bed bugs, it is also able to reduce 99.9% of germs such as Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacter aerogenes on surfaces it is sprayed on.
Though this is not its primary use, it is an added action. Its ingredients provide action against pyrethroid-resistance bed bugs and has a residual effect for as long as 30 days. It also kills eggs of bed bugs.
Try combining this product with a contact killer for a synergistic effect.
Does fly spray kill bed bugs
Fly spray will not be able to kill bed bugs even if the chemical content in the spray is toxic to bed bugs unless you apply directly into a crack or a space with bed bugs.
See, the thing with fly sprays is that the formulation is prepared differently and is designed to aerosolize into the air and float in the air for long.
As bed bugs are not able to fly, by the time, the chemicals settle, they will have no effect on bed bugs. This is one reason why bed bug bombs do not work.
Will flea spray kill bed bugs
Since fleas do not fly, those products with permethrin for instance will be able to kill bed bugs. The formulation is different from that of fly sprays and the aerosolized droplets are designed to settle on surfaces so as to capture fleas. Bed bug sprays are on the other hand able to kill fleas as seen with Bedlam bed bug spray.
Can roach spray kill bed bugs
Yes it can. There are in fact spray insecticides that have action for both roaches and bed bugs. However, killing roaches would particularly require that you set the chemical in a food trap as this is why they feed on unlike bed bugs which feed on human blood.
Does lysol spray kill bed bugs
Lysol is an alcohol and alcohols are not best for long-term use and neither are they best for indirect action. This means that you cannot have it sprayed onto spaces in anticipation of bed bugs. You will therefore need to identify bed bugs and spray on them directly so that there is improved action.
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