What Do Pest Control Companies Use For Bed Bugs?

Last Updated on August 1, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Pest control companies use various methods to treat bed bugs, including chemical insecticides, heat treatments, and steam. Popular insecticides like pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, and insect growth regulators are applied strategically to eliminate infestations effectively and safely.

The 6 Bed Bug Pesticide Names You Must Know About

S.NoPesticide NameFormulationKey BenefitsPrecaution
1.Diatomaceous EarthPowder FormThe fine powder can kill a variety of insects, including bed bugs, by piercing their exoskeleton and dehydrating them.Avoid inhalation and direct contact with the skin. Always use a mask and gloves.
2.Pyrethrins and PyrethroidsSpray FormThey are the most commonly used pesticides for pest control and are highly effective against bed bugs.These are potentially harmful to pets, especially cats. So, caution is advised while using in households with pets.
3.NeonicotinoidsLiquid and Tablet formA new class of insecticides acting on the bed bugs’ nervous system. They are effective especially when the bugs have developed resistance.Must be handled with caution due to possible implications on the environment and non-target species.
4.Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)Liquid FormThey slow down the growth of bed bugs, affecting their maturity and ability to reproduce.The results are slow compared to other pesticides, so patience is needed.
5.Fogging PesticidesFogging CanistersEffective in treating large areas infested with bed bugs. Can reach hard-to-reach areas.The residue can be harmful to humans and pets. Space should be properly ventilated post application.
6.Silicate Powder (with Pyrethroids)Powder FormThey provide a longer-lasting effect and are effective in killing bugs.They can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested or inhaled. Proper precautions should be taken during application.

How Do Pesticides Used By Pest Control Companies Work?

Different pesticides work differently for bed bugs since they all have different chemical components. Their mode of killing and destruction differs. The following is how each pesticide works on destroying the bedbugs:

Pyrethrins And Pyrethroids

These are the most common pesticides used in bed bug control. Pyrethrins are derived from chrysanthemum flowers used in the manufacture of insecticides. Pyrethroids, on the other hand, are synthetic chemical insecticides that work similarly to pyrethrins. Both compounds are fatal for bed bugs as they easily flush them out of their hiding places and kill them. However, some bed bugs are resistant to pesticides, and they only tend to move to new locations upon application of these pyrethrins and pyrethroids

Some bed bug species have developed resistance to pyrethrins and pyrethroids. For this reason, pest controllers have resulted in using multiple products with multiple chemical components. It is also optional to switch to another more effective method if they develop total resistance to these products.


Desiccants destroy bed bugs by damaging their waxy protective coating. Bed bug functionality and activeness are reduced since they tend to slowly dehydrate without this coating, which eventually leads to death. Using desiccants as a method of bed bug control is very effective since they cannot develop resistance to it. The reason is, desiccants work using a physical model, which makes them different from other pesticides. They also have a long-lasting effect on the bed bugs without disturbing their normal activities. 

However, when using desiccants, you should go for those registered by the EPA with a label signaling that they can be used for bed bugs. Some desiccants that are not meant for bed bug control can pose a health risk to humans when inhaled, such as food-grade desiccants or those intended for use in swimming pools. Examples of desiccants used to control bed bugs are diatomaceous earth and boric acid.


Only one biochemical is registered for use against bed bugs, which is cold-pressed neem oil. It is manufactured by pressing oil directly from the neem tree, a tree from the tropical evergreen forest in Southeast Asia and Africa. Neem oil has various compounds with insecticidal effects and medicinal properties. It controls bed bugs, adults, nymphs, and eggs. 


Chlorfenapyr is the only pyrrole pesticide that is used on bed bugs which is a pro-insecticide. You need to activate it to form a chemical to make it effective on bed bugs. When activated, it forms a chemical that disrupts some bed bugs’ cells’ functions, causing their death.


These are synthetic forms of nicotine. They work on the bed bug nervous system’s nicotinic receptors by continuously causing the nerves to fire until they stop functioning. Since the neonicotinoids work using a different destruction mode, bed bugs that have developed resistance to other pesticides are not spared. They are susceptible to neonicotinoids. 

Insect Growth Regulators

These are chemicals that mimic young growth hormones in insects. They act by altering chitin production, i.e., the part used by compound insects to harden their shells and exoskeleton. They also affect the normal development of insects’ transition to adulthood. Most growth regulators hinder the development of bed bugs. 

What Are The Most Commonly Used Methods Of Eliminating Bed Bugs By Pest Control Companies?

Bed bugs are among the most difficult pests to deal with and eradicate. Most people do not like to do it themselves; hence require assistance from pest control companies. Pest control companies use various ways to eradicate bed bugs. The methods range from chemical use to natural methods. The following are the two common ways they use depending on the range of the bed bugs problem in your home; 


Professionals use a special heat box to kill bed bugs. It involves treating the whole room with heat and ensuring it gets into all rocks and crannies where bed bugs could hide. Heat creates an uncomfortable feeling for the bed bugs, and if it is too much for them, they could die. The method is mostly used in households where there is a need to avoid chemicals found in pesticides. 


using pesticides involves spraying the areas affected or infested with bed bugs. Well-trained professionals should carry out spraying chemicals as some of the pesticides used for bed bugs could be fatal if inhaled by humans. They also pose a health threat to pets in the household and also the environment at large when poorly handled.

How Can You Prevent Bed Bug Infestation?

Bed bugs can move from one infested site to another through furniture, luggage, boxes, and clothing. Even though they require blood every 5 to 10 days for feeding, they can be quite resilient and survive for months or even a year without feeding. The best way to deal with bed bugs is to prevent an infestation instead of using preventive methods, as dealing with an infestation can be quite tiresome and expensive. Some precautions to consider when preventing bed bugs infestation in your home include;

  • Ensure that all second-hand furniture such as beds and couches are properly checked for any sign of bed bugs. They are known to spread very fast, and a few of them could result in a colony in just a few weeks. You should be very cautious when bringing second-hand furniture and clothing into your home.
  • It would help if you considered using protective covers that properly encase mattresses and box springs to get rid of possible bed bugs hideouts. Using a light color on the mattress cases makes the bed bugs more visible. Some pre-treated covers prevent bed bugs from breeding in the mattresses. 
  • You should ensure that there is no clutter in your home as it helps reduce possible hiding spots for bed bugs. 
  • Also, it would help if you were vigilant when using common and shared laundry facilities. It would help if you used a plastic bag to transport items in and out of the laundry. In case of an active infestation, you should use a new bag back home since the dry cleaning machine’s heat kills the bed bugs.
  • If you live in multi-family units, you should consider isolating your unit by installing door sweeps on door bottoms, discouraging bed bugs movements into the hallways. Sealing all cracks and crevices to discourage their movements through the wall voids is also important.

What Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation Do Pest Control Companies Look Out For?

It is not easy to find bed bugs as they are tiny and hide in tiny dark places such as wall crevices. Some people use bites as an indicator of bed bugs, but this is a poor method as they can be mistaken for other insect bites such as mosquitoes. Some people do not react to bites from bed bugs, making it an ineffective method to detect their presence. Instead, could use more accurate and physical methods such as: 

  • Looking out for reddish and rusty stains on bed sheets or mattresses from bed bugs being crushed.
  • Another thing to check out for is dark spots: bed bugs excretions left on the bedsheets like a marker.
  • You should also check whether there are eggs and hatched eggshells that are pale yellow, which is usually shed by nymphs as they develop into adults.

What Are The Adaptive Behaviors Of Bed Bugs Known By Pest Control Companies?

Finding out about a possible infestation requires knowing the way of life of the bed bugs, from their feeding, mating, and living conditions. When it comes to feeding behavior, bed bugs seem to prefer humans, but they also feed on other animals’ blood. Despite being nocturnal, they are likely to come out even in broad daylight seeking a host. 

When it comes to life stages and mating behavior, bed bugs require at least one blood meal before transitioning to the next life stage. Sometimes they require more than one feeding for them to molt their skin. A single female could lay up to three eggs a day, making their multiplication, especially in a favorable environment.

Bed bugs have a wide temperature range for their survival, from as low as 7 degrees up to 44 degrees Celsius. Therefore, to eliminate bed bugs using heat, it should be higher than 45 degrees Celsius upon which they die. Common bedbugs could be found anywhere a host is available. However, tropical bed bugs require a higher temperature range and are only found in tropical and subtropical areas.


Pest control companies and exterminators have a wide range of products they use to eliminate bed bugs. In most cases, they apply more than one product since some species have developed resistance to some pesticides. Using more than one pesticide helps in that if one weakens the bed bugs, the other one will surely kill them since they use different mechanisms to destroy the bedbugs.