How Often Should I Spray for Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are creepy, crawly little critters known for their persistence and survival skills. These little guys feast on the blood of humans and animals, usually while their hosts are sleeping, though they can go up to a full year without eating. Getting rid of bed bugs can be a trial-and-error procedure and may take multiple attempts; many different sprays are on the market aimed at vanquishing these vermin.

Bed Bug Basics

Bed bugs love living in mattresses, bedding and carpets. The bugs are usually dormant and unseen during the day; they wriggle out of their hiding spots at night and get to work. Bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a real health threat; their bites cause itching and rashes but do not lead to other health complications or transmit any types of diseases.

Recommended Sprays

Past bed bug remedies like propoxur have been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency due to worries over their effects on children. Today many products are marketed as bed bug killers, but not all of them work. Michael Colongione, a New York exterminator, says Pronto Plus is an effective bed bug spray. Dr. Dini M. Miller of Virginia Tech's Entomology Department says that products like insecticides and mosquito repellents that work on most other bugs are not effective against bed bugs.

Frequency

According to the makers of Pronto Plus, you should spray for bed bugs as you see them. When you use a spray like Pronto Plus, you must spray thoroughly, covering all the nooks and crannies where bed bugs could be hiding; you may need to use more than one application of this product. Other products marketed toward bed bug extermination include Rest Easy Bed Bug Spray, All Stop, JT Eaton and BuzzEnder.

Other Options

Most experts recommend disposing of any infested mattresses; bed bugs are so good at hiding that even a thorough spray-down may not eliminate them. If all else fails, call a professional exterminator to do the spraying for you, which is safer and will likely be more effective than any at-home remedies. Exterminators usually make two or three trips to a home to spray down the place. Another weapon exterminators have in their arsenal is a machine that can heat a room up to a certain temperature that bed bugs cannot endure.