Almost every single customer we speak with has used, or looked into using, bed bug sprays from the big box stores. These sprays are available and marketed just like a spray for ants or bees. Obviously we feel professional treatment is the best option, but we also understand why someone would try the DIY route! The stress and cost of dealing with a bed bug treatment process can be overwhelming.
Bed Bug Sprays Unfortunately Do NOT Work. Period.
Hear me out! The cans and other over the counter treatment methods for bed bugs are very misleading. Any aerosol, spray, dust or bomb that you can buy without a chemical pesticide license is not going to resolve a bed bug problem.
Bed bug sprays are often the first attempt at getting rid of a problem. At roughly $20 a can, it’s very tempting and easy to continue the effort. Some folks tell us they tried the DIY treatment with bed bug sprays over the course of several months or years! Those $20 cans can add up, but more importantly, they do not eliminate the bed bug problem.
f we could treat a customer’s home successfully in one visit, with one cheap store product – You bet we would. It would save us a TON of time and money. Unfortunately that is just not reality. It takes multiple commercial grade products, over the course of time, to successfully eliminate bed bugs.
Bed Bug Spray Products Do NOT have To Be 100% Effective
In order for the over-the-counter options to claim efficacy, they only have to actually kill a small portion or percentage of the bed bug population. A bed bug spray that you can buy at the big box stores or offline will kill anywhere from 5-20% of the bed bug problem. Unfortunately, that is NOT enough to successfully get rid of a bed bug issue. But it is enough to keep it on the store shelves.
This is where marketing and misleading tactics come into play. Again, taking the affordable price into consideration – They are telling consumers that if you buy this and follow the directions, you will kill your bed bugs. That is just simply not the case. If a single bug survives (Or in reality, 80-95% of the bed bug population survives) you continue to have a bed bug problem.
Further, the remaining bed bugs that survive the spray are then more resistant to treatment processes. A resistant bug population can be even more difficult to remediate, even with the pro products.
DIY Sprays are Repellent Based
Most if not all DIY bed bug sprays and treatments are repellent based. While they can kill a small portion of the bed bug population, they also REPELL which gives the appearance of resolution. Every single customer we speak with that has tried a DIY spray consistently says they thought they got rid of the issue for awhile, but then they came back.
Unfortunately the repellent can actually make your situation WORSE. Repelling the bugs from one room, into other / untreated areas, further infesting your house. Couple that with the fact that a regular person isn’t quite sure where to look, it can be easy for the bed bugs to hide for awhile then continue their crusade of infestation.
It’s important to also note, whether or not you used repellent based products, a bed bug exterminator should treat your entire home. Spot treatments of certain rooms or furniture does not work. You can read more about spot treatments here.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the DIY bed bug sprays are a waste of time and money, and can actually make the situation worse. We totally understand the temptation, but if you discover a bed bug problem call a professional and avoid the DIY options.
If you ARE going to try a DIY spray, take extra care and caution to follow the label instructions. Spraying any chemical in your home can be dangerous, especially if not done properly. MORE does not mean better. And while it may not stipulate, you should not re-enter the room until the product is completely dry.