Skip to Content

Top Chemicals That Kill Bed Bugs

Are you dealing with a bed bug infestation? If so, you know how challenging and frustrating it can be.

Identify chemicals that kill bed bugs to protect your home and family from a full-blown problem. This is a powerful step.

Read on to find out the top chemical treatments to get rid of bed bugs, once and for all…

bed bugs on the top of a bed sheet

Why Do Bed Bugs Spread So Easily?

Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to spread rapidly from one place to another. Understanding their behavior and habitats is key. It helps us recognize why an infestation can quickly get out of hand.

  • Traveling: You may unknowingly come into contact with bed bugs while traveling. They are often found in hotels, hostels, and modes of transportation. Bed bugs can easily cling onto luggage, clothing, and personal items, allowing them to spread to new environments.

  • Furniture: Second-hand furniture such as mattresses, bed frames, and sofas are common culprits for introducing bed bugs into a home. Always inspect used furniture meticulously before bringing it indoors.

  • Hitchhikers: Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. Items like backpacks, purses, or coats can help their movement into new territories. Particularly in shared spaces like lounges or public transport.

  • Clutter: A cluttered space provides numerous hiding spots for bed bugs, making it harder to identify and eradicate an infestation early on. Regular decluttering minimizes these hiding places.

To identify a potential infestation, look for signs of bed bugs such as:

  • Small, red, itchy bite marks on your skin

  • Dark spots on your mattress or bedding, which could be bed bug excrement

  • Live or dead bed bugs around seams of the mattress, furniture joints, or tight crevices

Popular Methods For Killing Bed Bugs And Their Eggs

When you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, you have several treatment options.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that we choose methods that are effective and safe. It’s imperative to follow their advice.

Bed Bug Chemical Treatments: Various chemicals are effective in eliminating bed bugs and their eggs. Some of the most commonly used insecticides include:

  • Pyrethroids: These mimic natural insecticidal compounds and are widely used in bed bug sprays. However, resistance to bed bugs can be an issue.

  • Pyrroles: These are another category of insecticides, with chlorfenapyr as a commonly used agent.

  • Neonicotinoids: These affect the bed bug’s nervous system and are a good option if resistance to other chemicals is suspected.

  • Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs): These disrupt the growth and reproduction of bed bugs.

Harris Bed Bug Killer and Bedlam Plus are effective in treating bed bugs.

Heat Treatments: A professional exterminator might use heat treatment to treat your infested areas. Bed bugs and their eggs die when exposed to temperatures above 118°F for an extended period.

  • Dryer: You can use a household dryer on the highest heat setting for clothes and bedding.

  • Professional Heat Treatment: Entire rooms or homes are heated to a specific temperature.

Cold Treatments: Though less common, cold treatment can be part of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. Home freezers may not be effective since the cold must be maintained at 0°F for at least four days.

Vacuuming: Regular and thorough vacuuming can physically remove bed bugs from your living spaces.

Remember that the EPA suggests integrated pest management (IPM) approaches. They combine various techniques for the best results.

Always ensure that the products you use are registered with the EPA. Follow the label directions strictly for safety.

tiny bed bugs crawling on the surface of a bed

Top Chemicals That Kill Bed Bugs

When dealing with a bed bug infestation, it can be essential to know the most effective chemicals to combat bed bugs. Here is a breakdown of the top contenders:

Pyrethroids and Pyrethrins

These are closely related classes of insecticides. Pyrethrins are derived from chrysanthemum flowers and are a natural insecticide.

Pyrethroids are synthetic and designed to mimic the effectiveness of pyrethrins. They both affect the nervous system of bed bugs, ultimately proving lethal.

Desiccants, like diatomaceous earth, destroy the waxy, protective outer coating on the exoskeleton of bed bugs.

This leads to dehydration and death. Diatomaceous earth is a non-chemical option. It is favored for its natural origin and safety profile.

Pyrroles, like chlorfenapyr, disrupt bed bugs’ cellular functions. This leads to their death.

Chlorfenapyr is a pro-insecticide. It converts into an active form after entering the bed bug.

Neonicotinoids are inspired by nicotine. They bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in a bed bug’s nervous system.

This causes paralysis and death. They serve as an alternative to populations resistant to other insecticides.

Biochemicals Like Neem Oil

This vegetable oil is extracted from neem tree seeds. It blocks the real hormones in bed bugs. This disrupts their growth and reproduction.

Neem oil is a biopesticide with a relatively low toxicity level for humans and pets.

Boric Acid

Although less common in bed bug treatment, boric acid can be mildly effective. It acts as a stomach poison and abrasive, which can be lethal to bed bugs if ingested.

What Disinfectants Kill Bed Bugs?

When dealing with a bed bug infestation, you need to choose the right chemical treatments.

Your aim is to effectively eradicate bed bugs. Ensure safety for yourself and the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered several chemicals. These chemicals are proven to be effective against bed bugs.

Key Chemicals:

  • Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids: These are commonly used insecticides derived from chrysanthemum flowers and synthetic versions thereof.

  • Desiccants: These substances work by drying out the bed bugs, leading to their death.

  • Pyrroles: A specific example is chlorfenapyr, which disrupts the functioning of bed bug cells.

  • Neonicotinoids: These act on the bed bugs’ nervous system, causing paralysis and death.

For a targeted approach, you might consider a product like Harris Bed Bug Killer. It is popular for its effectiveness.

Another option is Bedlam Plus, an aerosol. It is known to deal with bed bugs that are resistant to chemicals.

bed bugs crawling on a bed sheet looking for a human host for feeding

What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly?

When dealing with bed bugs, you need immediate and effective solutions to your infestation problem.

Here, we’ll explore the methods that kill bed bugs instantly.

Heat Treatment: A robust defense against bed bugs is heat treatment. Exposing these pests to temperatures of about 120°F (49°C) for a few minutes can kill them instantly. This method includes using a steamer or a high heat setting in your dryer for clothes and bedding. Professional exterminators often use this method for larger-scale infestations.

Dryer: Your home dryer is a practical tool in the battle against bed bugs. Put your bedding, curtains, and clothes in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. This will exterminate the bugs swiftly.

Chemical Options: Various bed bug sprays and insecticides act instantly on contact. Some sprays contain chemicals like Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids. They are known to quickly knock down bed bugs. But, some bed bugs may be resistant.

Insecticides: A more potent instant solution is using professional-grade insecticides. Some are designed for rapid results. You should follow the labeled instructions carefully. You may want to consider hiring a professional to apply these treatments.

When choosing sprays or insecticides, make sure they’re registered with environmental protection authorities. Also, ensure they’re specifically intended for bed bugs.

Always prioritize your safety by using these products according to their instructions.

Which Chemicals Should You Not Use For Bed Bug Pest Control?

Avoid chemicals that are not only ineffective but can also pose risks to you, your pets, and the environment.

Some bed bugs have developed resistance to certain pesticides. This has made those treatments much less effective.

  • Foggers: Known as “bug bombs,” foggers have shown limited success against bed bugs. The chemicals in foggers may not penetrate the deep crevices where bed bugs hide, and there is a hazard of overexposure to these harsh chemicals.

  • Dichlorvos (DDVP): Registered for very narrow uses and not recommended for widespread bed bug control as it is an organophosphate which can present serious risks.

  • Harsh Chemicals Not Registered by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Use only the chemicals approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA ensures that products are safe when used according to label directions. Unregistered chemicals could be unsafe for you and your pets.

little bed bugs on a bedside table


Bed bug infestations can be frustrating and challenging. It’s important to choose the best chemical treatments for your bed bug control needs.

Pyrethrins and pyrethroids, desiccants, pyrroles such as chlorfenapyr, neonicotinoids, biochemicals like neem oil, and boric acid are all effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs.

You can also use a professional heat treatment or set a household dryer to its highest heat setting.

Vacuuming can help physically remove them from living spaces. Remember to always use chemicals registered with EPA. Follow label instructions for safety.