Self-treating for Bed Bugs

The world-wide resurgence in bed bugs has also brought about an increased demand for professional pest management services to deal with this pest. The bed bug is very unique in its behavior, habits, adaptability and resilience. Traditional pest control methods simply don't work, and self-treatment attempts have in some cases resulted in fatal (to the applicator) consequences.

The idea that "some is good, so more is better" in the use of consumer insect control methods probably has more of a lethal effect upon humans, especially those with respiratory challenges, than it does on the bug. While most of the pest management industry is represented by ethical and professional companies, the "hysteria" surrounding the reemergence of bed bugs on an unprecedented scale, has drawn some unscrupulous pest control companies into the market. The money is in the product used, and so "spray jockeys" have appeared, offering highly discounted services to just spray a toxic substance, collect their fees, and hope for the best.

The Internet has provided gateways and opportunities to purchase pest control products. It should be noted that many products offered are highly regulated in some states, and their use is prohibited. Most reputable on-line pest management product retailers have built restrictions into their order-processing systems that will prevent sales to certain states. Notwithstanding, for any online purchase of pesticides, the consumer is ultimately responsible for control and proper use.

Growing concerns over the presence of pesticides in our water supplies has brought about increased scrutiny by state and federal environmental agencies. The pest management industry/pesticide manufacturers have responded with the development of "green" or environmentally friendly non-toxic products, and the emphasis upon Integrated Pest Management as the model for pest management, and in particular bed bugs.

The THREE key elements in successful self-treatment for bed bugs are:

  1. POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION of the bug in question as "Cimex lectularius" (the common bed bug)

Proper and positive ID can be accomplished by a pest management professional. Once the identification is confirmed, only then can a systematic treatment program be developed; this system can be implemented either by a pest management professional or by YOU, following specific guidelines.

It has been estimated that over 70% of the "failures" of bed bug treatment plans result from inadequate or improper PREPARATION. Until those elements for hiding and harborage (nesting) for bed bugs are eliminated, it is fruitless to attempt to apply any sort of pesticide or other specialized treatment (heat and heat chambers). Remember; bed bugs are of the cimicidae family of blood feeders. That's all they feed on. So, elimination of the host (us) is not an option. Preparation is hard work, but the end results are worth the effort. Should you engage a pest management professional with a specialty in bed bugs, they will require detailed preparation, to be accomplished either by you to their standards, or by their own company at an additional cost. Should a pest management professional NOT require a detailed preparation plan, then "Customer Beware", as this is probably a "spray jockey" outfit.

There are many fine "natural and botanical" pest management products available through home stores, garden centers or online retailers. Many products are bundled together in "Bed Bug Kits" and tailored for geographic centers. These kits contain certain concentrates, aerosols and dry products, along with specific label instructions for their use. The proper use of product constitutes about 5% of the overall treatment process for the management of bed bugs.

Effective bed bug management (Integrated Pest Management) is comprised of: 25% awareness and training; 70% preparation; 5% application of pesticides.

Begin your self-treatment with: Proper and positive identification of the bug in question. Then, develop a systematic plan, room-by-room. It is helpful to photo-document before you begin, and then develop a little roadmap as to how you are going to:

1. Inspect

2. Segregate (for potential disposal)

3. Protection (encasement of infested goods) and your own personal protection

4. Preparation to include deep cleaning, moving items to create access paths

5. Effective application of products, based upon the label instructions

6. Follow up inspection and treatment.

Follow these simple guidelines, utilizing those resources available, and approaching the situation in an organized manner. In doing so, you will greatly increase your success level in dealing with this pest.

Assistance is available for you to: Positively ID and verify bed bugs; A "ROADMAP" and "How To" successful self-treatment, and links to quality online pest management products at: You may also contact me directly at: