What Chemicals Do Pest Control Companies Use For Bed Bugs
There are over 300 products registered with the EPA that can be used to fight off bed bugs. Consumers can use the majority of these products but only a few have been registered to use for bed bugs exclusively by trained professionals and experts. EPA evaluates information on the effectiveness and safety of these products before their approval.
These products are categorized into seven chemical categories of pesticides registered right now and extensively used to eliminate bed bugs. These include:
- Insect growth regulators
There is an added class of chemicals registered for extremely narrow usage patterns. The organophosphate dichlorvos or also called DDVP is registered as a pest strip to treat small enclosures.
Common Chemicals Used for Treating Bed Bugs
Every class of chemical kills bed bugs through a unique mode of action. Using pesticides with different modes of action is more effective as it reduces the chances of the bugs developing resistance. Take a look at the most common chemical classes that a pest management professional can use for bed bug control:
1. Pyrethroids and Pyrethrins
Pyrethroids and pyrethrins are the compounds most commonly used to control and kill bugs and eggs as well as other types of pests found indoors. Pyrethrins are forms of botanical insecticides extracted from chrysanthemum flowers. Meanwhile, pyrethroids are types of synthetic chemical insecticides with a similar mode of action as that of pyrethrins.
These two compounds can kill bugs and flush them out of their hiding spots to exterminate them. But, for strains of bed bugs that are resistant, these two treatments may force them to relocate to another hiding spot or momentarily flush them out of an existing location.
Some populations of bed bugs are resistant to pyrethroids and pyrethrins. At times, the use of a combination product can improve pest control. It also helps to switch to a completely different class of chemicals to control resistant bug populations.
There are pyrethroid pesticides available in total release fogger form.
Neem oil in cold-pressed form is the only registered biochemical pesticide used for killing bed bugs. This pesticide is pressed straight from seeds of the Neem tree, a type of tropical evergreen tree native Africa and Southeast Asia.
The oil has several compounds with medicinal and insecticidal properties. This is also used in other products like toothpaste, shampoos, cosmetics, and soaps. Performance trials are done at approved label rates reveal that these products can control bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adults.
These work through destroying the bed bug’s protective and waxy outer coating. After this part is destroyed, the bug slowly dehydrates and dies. Desiccants are a critical tool in controlling bed bugs. Since these work through a physical mode of action, bugs don’t develop resistance to desiccants like how they do to pesticides with different modes of action.
Desiccants also have long-lasting effects without disturbing normal bug activities. Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are two examples of these desiccants.
If you will use desiccants for controlling bed bugs, use only those labelled for controlling bed bugs and are EPA-registered. Desiccants meant for other purposes like for swimming pools or as food-grade may cause the risk of increased inhalation to humans. Desiccants must only be used in cracks and crevices to reduce the risk of inhalation.
These synthetic nicotine forms act on the nervous system’s nicotinic receptors by making the nerves fire continuously until they fail. Due to this different mode of action of neonicotinoids, bed bugs resistant to other types of pesticides remain vulnerable to neonicotinoids.
5. Insect Growth Regulator
An insect growth regulator is a chemical that mimics insects’ juvenile growth hormones. These work through changing production of chitin, a compound used by insects to form their exoskeleton or hard external shell, or changing the development of an insect into adulthood. There are growth regulators that also force insects to develop too fast while some halt development.
Right now, the only pyrrole pesticide registered to be used for killing bed bugs is chlorfenapyr. This is a pro-insecticide compound, whose biological activity is dependent on the activation for forming a different chemical. This new chemical disturbs some functions in the cells of bed bugs that lead to their demise.
You have to remember that you cannot eliminate bed bugs with the use of pesticides alone. You need to take extra steps. These pesticides are just one of the many weapons you should have in your bed bug arsenal. Experts suggest the use of integrated pest management or the combination of various tools working together to eliminate bed bugs
How to Use Pesticides for Bed Bugs
Pesticides could be included in your strategy but these are harmful chemicals that can result in serious health issues even when used properly. This is why you have to be careful when you use them.
If you want to use pesticides, it is recommended to hire professionals to do the job. Ensure that they use the right pesticides, complete with license and have recommendations from others. Sadly, the pest control profession is known for incorrect use of pesticides, with reports of dishonest operators using pesticides meant only for outdoor use with drastic results.
With the constant changes in pesticides’ effectiveness on bed bugs, no single type of pesticide is recommended as the best choice. One thing for sure is that using pyrethroids is not enough but more than this, you might want to research what pest control experts are using to check how effective it was for others.You also have to not when reading online reviews that despite the effectiveness of a pesticide, it can be improperly applied. Reviewers may also misunderstand that several applications are usually required so never trust reviews at face value alone.