MM Novato Treatments

Bed bug sprays are as popular for bed bug treatments as they are misunderstood. News articles and online discussions have tried to assert that chemical sprays don’t work on bed bugs, that they are harmful to humans, or that there are more effective alternatives for do-it-yourself treatments. The current bed bug epidemic has driven an almost […]

How to Use Bed Bug Sprays

Bed bug sprays are as popular for bed bug treatments as they are misunderstood. News articles and online discussions have tried to assert that chemical sprays don’t work on bed bugs, that they are harmful to humans, or that there are more effective alternatives for do-it-yourself treatments.

The current bed bug epidemic has driven an almost hysteric narrative around dealing with infestations, and these false notions likely stemmed from that collective mindset. You absolutely can get rid of bed bugs using the right bed bug sprays as part of your treatment solution. Let’s talk about how you can go about doing that.

Bed bug sprays

There are three form factors that bed bug sprays can come in. You have liquid sprays, aerosol sprays, and liquid concentrates, which are meant to be diluted with water in a pump sprayer. Regardless of the type of bottle or can it comes in, any insecticide that is registered with the EPA will come with a product label and MSDS. It’s very important that you read over these documents before you use any type of insecticide.

It’s against federal law to use a spray in a way that goes against what’s instructed on the product label, since misuse of insecticides is an easy way to get sick or injured. I know you’re in a hurry to move forward with your bed bug treatment, but do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to study the label before you start spraying.

Liquid Bed Bug Sprays

STERI-FAB liquid bed bug spray

Liquid sprays, such as STERI-FAB or JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs, are usually for killing bed bugs quickly on contact and evaporating shortly after. This style of spray is operated much like a spray bottle you might use to water your plants or to stop your cat from scratching your couch. You’ll get a little squirt of chemical spray with each pull of the trigger.

The most efficient way to apply a liquid spray along cracks and crevices, like baseboards and floorboards, would be to move the spray nozzle as you pull the trigger in even intervals. That way, each squirt is spaced out across the spray area instead of being concentrated in one spot.

Contact sprays tend to have a fairly broad label, allowing for application on cracks, crevices, joints and corners throughout your home. Since they don’t leave behind any residual activity, contact sprays can more often be used on the surfaces of mattresses, sofas, and other upholstered furniture. Generally, the label will advise that you spray each surface until it is lightly and evenly damp, then allow the surface to dry before coming in contact with it.

Bed Bug Aerosol Sprays

Bedlam Plus aerosol bed bug spray

Aerosol cans are often used for residual sprays, like Bedlam Plus or JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs Plus. Residual formulas may not kill bed bugs as quickly as contact sprays, but they will continue to kill for weeks (or even months) after they’ve been applied. To use an aerosol spray, shake up the can to mix the chemical and build pressure with the propellant, and hold down the spray nozzle to release an even propulsion of chemical.

Unlike liquid spray bottles, you won’t need to worry about the pace between trigger pulls. Instead, just keep the can upright to avoid clogging and move the nozzle along the treatment surface at an even pace. One advantage of aerosol insecticides is that they tend to foam up when they’re applied, so you’ll have a good visual indicator of how evenly you’re spraying.

Aerosol sprays can be used nearly everywhere that contact sprays can, though residual sprays tend to have slightly more restrictive labeling. Depending on the ingredients used, you can use aerosols on soft, upholstered surfaces like the tufts and folds of your mattress, box spring, sofa, or other furniture. You can use other compounds on wooden surfaces like baseboards, floorboards, and the joints and corners of your bed frame or nightstand.

Concentrated Insecticides

Temprid SC concentrated bed bug spray

Last but not least are the concentrated bed bug sprays, such as Onslaught or Temprid SC. These can be contact killers, residual compounds, or even a dual-action formula that fills both roles. Insecticide concentrates take a little bit more preparation than bottled sprays or aerosol cans, since they need to be diluted with water before use.

Concentrates will come with mixing guides on the label that recommend a certain amount of liquid per gallon, depending on what you’re treating for and where. For example, to use a half gallon mixture of Temprid SC to treat a bedroom for bed bugs, you would measure out four milliliters, since the label recommends eight milliliters per gallon. To put the mixture together, fill a spray tank with half of the water you want to mix, add the measured concentrate, shake the tank thoroughly to mix and agitate the chemicals, then add the other half of the water.

Chapin SureSpray concentrated sprayer

The steps to using a tank sprayer will vary a bit depending on the model of sprayer you’re using, so read the instruction manual for safety and usage instructions. We recommend Chapin SureSpray 1-gallon sprayers with a hand pump for killing bed bugs at home. To build pressure, you would need to give the Chapin’s handle a few pumps until you feel resistance. That resistance means that the tank has built up an ideal pressure, so you’re ready to spray.

If your tank sprayer has an adjustable spray nozzle, you’ll usually want to stick to a narrow spray pattern so you can focus your application on the cracks and crevices you are trying to treat. Once everything is set up, simply hold down the trigger and start applying a steady, even coat of chemical mixture across the target surface, taking care not to skip any spots or spray too heavily on one area.

 

This overview covers the basics on how to use bed bug sprays in a DIY treatment. Remember that this does not represent a complete treatment solution, as bed bug sprays will not eliminate an infestation on their own. You need to treat the spray as part of a combined treatment process that involves a number of other tools. Also, keep in mind that this overview does not replace the need to study the product label and MSDS that comes with your sprays.

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MM Novato Treatments

Bed bug powders are among the most commonly used tools in bed bug treatments. Diatomaceous earth in particular is well-known for its natural composition and for being relatively safe to humans. However, there is a lot of misinformation online about how bed bug powders work, and how you should use them. In this brief overview, we’re […]

How to Use Bed Bug Powders

Bed bug powders are among the most commonly used tools in bed bug treatments. Diatomaceous earth in particular is well-known for its natural composition and for being relatively safe to humans. However, there is a lot of misinformation online about how bed bug powders work, and how you should use them. In this brief overview, we’re going to set the record straight and offer some simple instruction on how to use bed bug powders in your home.

Diatomaceous earth is a fine white natural powder made from fossilized diatoms, a major group of algae that have existed for over 180 million years. Residual powders work by clinging to the bed bugs’ waxy exoskeleton, absorbing the nutrient-rich lipids on their shells and causing them to dehydrate. The beautiful thing about using diatomaceous earth is that it works indefinitely as long as it stays dry; if exposed to water, it loses the abrasive quality that makes it an effective bed bug killer.

How NOT to Use Bed Bug Powders

Diatomaceous earth bed bug powder

First off, let’s cover where you should and should not be applying the powder. A lot of tutorials and discussions online suggest that you should scatter diatomaceous earth all over your bedroom. Some people pack piles of powder around their bed legs, hoping to stop the bugs from reaching them in their bed. Don’t do this. You’re just making a mess that’s going to be an enormous pain to clean up later.

The idea to scatter powder all over the place comes from the false notion that diatomaceous earth will kill bed bugs really quickly, or wills top them from reaching you and feeding on you. Unfortunately, diatomaceous earth actually takes about a day or two to kill bed bugs once they come in contact with it. The powder is also shown to be less effective in open areas than it is when applied into tight cracks and crevices that bed bugs are slipping in and out of. With powder in those cracks, we ensure that more of the powder will get the chance to stick to the bed bugs’ waxy shells.

Instructions on how to apply a powder are always included on its label. A really important step before you use any type of insecticide, including powders, is to read over the product label and MSDS. These documents are included with any insecticide that’s registered with the EPA, and they outline some very important safety guidelines and instructions on using the powder. People talk about powders like diatomaceous earth as something that’s harmless to humans, but that simply isn’t true. There is still a risk of harmful skin and lung exposure if you don’t apply it properly, so do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to study the label before you use the powder.

Crack and Crevice Treatment

As discussed before, your powder application should be focused on cracks and crevices in the room that bed bugs are likely to be hiding in or traveling through. Places like baseboards, floorboards, and where the carpet meets the floors are great examples: they are easy hiding and transit spots for bed bugs, and powder is well suited there since it can settle deep down into those spaces in a way that sprays can’t.

Some powder products, like our 7-ounce bottle of JT Eaton diatomaceous earth powder, have an applicator built in. All you have to do is cut off the plastic cover from the tip of the applicator so that this little opening is exposed. Then just turn the bottle over, get the tip of that nozzle close to where you want to apply the powder, and give the bottle a very gentle squeeze. We don’t want to overdo this, as a lot of powder comes out with each puff. We can repeat this in short spaced out intervals so that we end up with a fairly even application.

Professional powder applicator

While you could do your powder treatment with that built-in nozzle, our preferred method is with a professional powder applicator. This simple and affordable device gives us a couple of advantages over puffing powder straight out of the bottle: it has a long straw that allows us to get deep into cracks, crevices, and wall voids, and it emits smaller, more even amounts of powder with each puff. To use the applicator, we simply pop off the rubber cap on top, fill the bell about halfway with powder, and put the cap back on to seal the bell. Flip the applicator over so the bell is underneath the straw, take off the cover on the tip of the straw, and give the bell a gentle pump to start applying powder.

Wall Voids and Other Places

Once you’ve treated the cracks and crevices along the edges of your floors, you can move on to other key spots in the room. You can apply most bed bug powders along door frames, underneath appliances, under the edges of rugs, and the joints and interior areas of wooden furniture. Again, be sure to double-check the product label to see where you should be applying the product.

To better reach the insides of the walls, you can apply many powders behind the faceplates of electrical outlets and light switches. Simply unscrew the face plates and puff some powder into the wall through the openings between the exposed hardware. Be sure not to put any powder into the electrical outlet itself. This is a handy way to reach bed bugs that have managed to get into the wall to hide or to travel between rooms.

Bed bug powders

This overview covers the basics on how to use an insecticide powder in a bed bug treatment. Remember that this does not represent a complete treatment solution, as bed bug powders will not eliminate an infestation on their own. You need to treat the powder as part of a combined treatment process that involves a number of other tools. Also, keep in mind that this overview does not replace the need to study the product label and MSDS that comes with your powder.

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MM Novato FAQ

Bed bug treatments can get pretty expensive. It’s common for professional treatments to cost over $500 per room. Even do-it-yourself methods, such as our 4-step solution, start at a couple hundred dollars and go up from their depending on a number of factors.  When a sudden expense like this pops up, it’s natural to want to cut corners […]

Why You Need a Bed Bug Encasement

Bed bug treatments can get pretty expensive. It’s common for professional treatments to cost over $500 per room. Even do-it-yourself methods, such as our 4-step solution, start at a couple hundred dollars and go up from their depending on a number of factors.  When a sudden expense like this pops up, it’s natural to want to cut corners to save money. Some people have tried skipping the bed bug encasement portion of the treatment process, and they don’t realize what that shortcut might cost them.

If you don’t know what a bed bug encasement is, here is a quick overview: the encasements we offer are zippered covers that enclose your mattress or box spring in a sealed, bed bug proof enclosure. These SafeRest encasements in particular have patented micro zippers with 360° Secure velcro seals. They’ve been scientifically proven through independent testing to keep bed bugs out of your mattress, and to stop bed bugs already on the mattress from escaping or feeding. If you keep the encasements on for at least a year, any bed bugs inside will die of starvation.

SafeRest bed bug proof enclosure

There’s a common misconception that a bed bug encasement is somehow supposed to prevent bed bugs from reaching you in your bed, or that it somehow kills bed bugs that get onto the bed. This is a clear misunderstanding of how an encasement works and what it’s supposed to do.

First off, there is nothing insecticidal about an encasement. It’s a hypoallergenic fabric product with a waterproof back coating. There’s nothing here that kills bed bugs, and it isn’t intended to stop bed bugs from getting onto the surface of the bed. Think of it like a raincoat: a raincoat’s job is to stop rain on the surface, and not to let it get underneath and soak the wearer. Naturally, a raincoat can still get wet and it’s still doing its job if that happens.

What a bed bug encasement does is eliminate a ton of potential hiding places for bed bugs. All of those seams and tufts and folds on your mattress, and all of the wooden joints and corners on your box spring, are places that bed bugs would like to tuck away in between meals. When they’re hidden from sight, they’re safe to rest, digest, and reproduce. Encasements cover all of those hiding places and replace them with a single, smooth surface that bed bugs can’t penetrate. This will make it a lot harder for bed bugs to hide in your bed, and a lot easier for you to spot any signs of bed bugs thanks to that solid white surface.

What this means for your bed bug treatment is that you only need to treat your mattress and box spring once. After you’ve gone over those hiding places with a vacuum, steamer, and sprays, you can put the encasements on the mattress and box spring and forget about them. You’ll need to perform follow-up treatments a couple of weeks apart to hit any survivors or new hatchlings, but you won’t need to retreat the mattress and box spring. The encasements have ensured that there won’t be any bed bugs inside that can feed or breed.

If you do find bed bugs on the surface of your encasement, treating them will be very easy. Simply remove the encasement from the bed and throw it in your washing machine with the rest of your bedding. SafeRest encasements are machine washable with a non-bleach detergent and can be tumble dried on low heat (as recommended by the included care instructions). This laundry cycle will kill any bed bugs or eggs on the encasement. That’s much easier than inspecting and treating your mattress or box spring all over again.

SafeRest breathable mattress cover design

Not only are SafeRest encasements indispensable for bed bug protection, they offer other bed protection features for your day-to-day life. The cotton terry sleeping surface is breathable and naturally absorbent, and the waterproof membrane layer underneath blocks fluid spills, dust mites, bacteria, and seasonal allergens from reaching the mattress. These protective features make mattress encasements a must-have for anyone with kids, pets, allergies, asthma, or incontinence. It’s no wonder that they’ve been a top seller of ours year after year.

If you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, do yourself a favor and avoid cutting corners. We recommend the products and treatment methods that we do for good reason, based on the years of experience we have helping people get rid of bed bugs. A bed bug encasement, like any other product we carry, is not an all-in-one solution. However, it’s just as essential a tool as any other in the bed bug toolbox. At the end of the day, investing in the right products and treatment methods the first time will save you money in the long run.

SafeRest Bed Bug Mattress Covers

Protect your mattress against invading bed bugs, dust mites, fluid spills, and more. SafeRest mattress encasements were designed from the ground up to provide premium bed bug protection and allergy relief.
Starting at: $39.95
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MM Novato Treatments

It’s perfectly natural to want to eliminate a bed bug infestation without spending a ton of money on professional-grade products or a treatment by a pest control operator. When people discover that they have bed bugs, they often turn to do-it-yourself recommendations from discussions on the Internet. These suggestions might include household items, some of which […]

How to Kill Bed Bugs with Household Items

It’s perfectly natural to want to eliminate a bed bug infestation without spending a ton of money on professional-grade products or a treatment by a pest control operator. When people discover that they have bed bugs, they often turn to do-it-yourself recommendations from discussions on the Internet. These suggestions might include household items, some of which are recommended more often than others. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular items and how they might be used against bed bugs:

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs

First up is the most commonly recommended tool by far: rubbing alcohol diluted in water. This is suggested because alcohol can kill bed bugs on contact, and evaporates shortly after, so it’s considered safe for use pretty much anywhere in a home. A recurring theme in these recommendations are household items that are considered to be safer for people than mainstream chemicals.

While alcohol can kill bed bugs on contact, it’s not going to kill nearly enough of bed bugs to be considered effective. In lab studies, even 99 percent concentrations of alcohol only killed between 40% to 60% of the adults that were sprayed. On top of that, alcohol has no long-lasting residual effect, and doesn’t affect bed bug eggs. 60% sounds good, but a contact killer should be able to kill a lot closer to 100% of the bed bugs you see. Otherwise, a shoe or a blowtorch would be the more reliable tool for the job. (Editor’s note: please don’t use a blowtorch.)

In a bed bug treatment, alcohol is basically an attempt to fill the role of a contact spray, which is an insecticide spray that kills bed bugs on contact. These sprays are proven to kill at a higher rate than rubbing alcohol could manage, and are extremely versatile in where they can be applied. Pair contact sprays with a couple of residual sprays, and you have a combination of chemicals that will kill bed bugs quickly now, and keep killing over the next few weeks.

Essential Oils

Lavender oil to kill bed bugs

The next recommendation is a mixture of essential oils. You might see one of many oils or combinations of oils in online discussion, whether it’s clove oil, cedar wood, lavender, or a combination of mint oils. The use of these against bed bugs dates back centuries, as their simple method of suffocating the bugs predates the use of sophisticated chemical killers.

The use of various oils against bed bugs is encouraged by various studies that have shown these oils successfully killing bed bugs. However, those tests tend to use bed bugs that do not have the opportunity to feed on anyone. In real-world scenarios, where the bugs can still reach a person and feed after being sprayed, they usually survive.

The main reason people seem to favor the essential oil option is that it’s considered a natural and chemical-free alternative to pesticide sprays. What they don’t realize is that today’s home pesticides are carefully regulated by the EPA to make sure that they’re safe for indoor use. The EPA also requires that health and safety guidelines are included in the product label and MSDS, to ensure that anyone who uses a spray has instructions on how to use it safely and effectively. When used correctly, even our strongest bed bug sprays won’t have any effect on you, but they will kill bed bugs more effectively than any mixture of household items like herbs or oils.

Oil-based products have been so frequently touted as natural bed bug killers that they’ve even attracted government intervention. The Federal Trade Commission has charged multiple companies with deceptive advertising for overhyping their cedar oil-based products’ ability to treat an infestation. By claiming that their products can stop and prevent bed bug infestations, these marketers opened the door to government lawsuits for misleading their customers.

Double-Sided Tape

Double-sided tape to trap bed bugs

Another common suggestion is to use either double-sided tape or Vaseline. The theory is that you can stop bed bugs from climbing the legs of your bed by applying these to the legs. Unfortunately, report after report from customers has indicated that these solutions simply don’t work. I hear all the time about bed bugs crawling right over Vaseline, carpet tape, and other adhesive traps like glue boards.

If a trap method does not effectively stop bed bugs, then I wouldn’t consider it. Instead, I would recommend a set of ClimbUp Insect Interceptors. These are pitfall traps that go under the legs of your bed and trap bed bugs in a talcum-lined pitfall that is too slick and smooth for them to climb out of. ClimbUp Interceptors have been proven over the years to be effective, and are an essential part of our recommended treatment process.

Clothes Iron

Clothes iron to kill bed bugs

Bed bugs are highly vulnerable to heat; exposing them to a certain amount of direct heat will kill them instantly, while lower temperatures can kill them in a matter of minutes. This is why many forms of heat treatments are recommended. Some methods, such as steamers and portable heaters, have been proven effective through professional use and are quickly becoming standard issue in holistic treatment arsenals.

Some less proven heat weapons have been suggested online, such as clothes irons. Clothes irons might reach the temperature needed to kill bed bugs, but the heat won’t penetrate deep into soft materials to where bed bugs might be hiding. You also can’t iron areas besides clothes and sheets, like cracks and crevices in walls, floors, and furniture. The metal surface and high surface heat would damage many of the materials it wasn’t designed to be used on.

Hair Dryer

Hair dryer to kill bed bugs

A hair dryer might seem like a safer way to kill bed bugs with heat. Unfortunately, their maximum temperature is rarely more than 150 degrees. That heat level can kill bed bugs, but only if you maintain the heat over them for several minutes. So unless you want to follow each bug you see around with a hair dryer until they eventually die, you’d probably be better off just hitting them with the thing.

Just to be clear, you can kill bed bugs with heat. It’s just a matter of using the right equipment. A high-pressure steamer is the weapon of choice for killing bed bugs on contact, since their steam can surpass 200 degrees, and can penetrate deep into soft materials like mattresses and upholstered furniture. You can also use a steamer on more than just clothes or other fabrics; a steamer can kill bed bugs hiding along baseboards, floorboards, window sills, door frames, and the edges of the carpet.

If you need to treat items that can’t be laundered or steamed, you can use a portable bed bug heater, like a ZappBug Oven or a ThermalStrike Ranger. These heaters can safely treat household items like books, papers, CDs, and dry clean only clothing. Not only are bed bug heaters an effective part of a bed bug treatment process, but they’re one of the most popular prevention tools on the market. When you come home from a trip, just put your suitcase in the heater, zip it shut, and turn it on. In just a few hours, any bed bugs or eggs hiding in your belongings will be dead.

 

A lot of DIY bed bug recommendations involving household items stem from the desire to solve your bed bug problem without spending money or resorting to chemicals. Unfortunately, these recommendations don’t always pan out. Bloggers and forum posters usually aren’t professionals (this blog author being one of the exceptions). They haven’t done the same research, and they tend not to have much experience getting rid of bed bugs themselves.

When professionals need to treat an infestation, they don’t reach for rubbing alcohol or cedar oil or a blow dryer. They use a proven treatment process that involves a combination of proven products to get the job done. It’s not about whether or not a certain item can kill bed bugs, it’s about whether that item is the ideal part of a treatment that will actually get rid of an infestation. After all, your shoe would have a 100% kill rate on any bed bugs you smack with it – that doesn’t mean you can expect to be bed bug free after a diligent afternoon of shoe-wielding.

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MM Novato Reviews

There are a lot of bed bug sprays on the market. Dozens of different labels line the aisle of your local hardware store or pest control supply shop, all claiming to kill bed bugs. Even discerning professionals have several to choose from in our curated catalog. With so many options available, how can you tell which […]

Bedlam Plus vs JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs Plus (Review)

There are a lot of bed bug sprays on the market. Dozens of different labels line the aisle of your local hardware store or pest control supply shop, all claiming to kill bed bugs. Even discerning professionals have several to choose from in our curated catalog. With so many options available, how can you tell which bed bug spray is right for you?

To help answer this question, we’re going to compare two of the most popular professional-strength bed bug sprays: Bedlam Plus and JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs Plus. These are both residual, aerosol-based insecticides that have been proven in the field by professionals using them every day. Let’s take a closer look and see what sets them apart.

Bedlam PlusBedlam Plus

The first spray we’ll be comparing is Bedlam Plus, an updated version of the extremely popular Bedlam by MGK. The combination of phenothrin, imidacloprid, and a synergist were designed specifically to kill resistant strains of bed bugs. These strains have become extremely common, and are able to shrug off the pyrethroids that are most often used in over-the-counter insecticides.

Bedlam Plus is labeled primarily for use on hard materials, such as baseboards, bed frames, luggage, and wooden furniture. To help get into cracks and joints, each can of Bedlam Plus is shipped with a straw applicator and nozzle. This straw application emits a thick foam that fills tight spaces, coating each side of the space with the insecticide. Once applied, Bedlam Plus will continue to kill bed bugs for up to two weeks.

 

JT Eaton PlusJT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs

JT Eaton is a world-famous brand in professional-strength pest control, and their Kills Bed Bugs line is well-known for its success in the field. JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs Plus is the company’s newest formula, and their first bed bug spray to come in an aerosol can. JT Eaton Plus uses a dual-action formula that combines organic pyrethrins with the synthetic insecticide permethrin. These are both effective against resistant strains of bed bugs, and the included PBO synergist makes them act faster when freshly applied.

In contrast to Bedlam Plus’s label preference for hard surfaces, JT Eaton Plus’s label leans towards soft upholstered materials. You can use JT Plus on mattresses, carpets, drapes, wool, sofas, and other upholstered furniture. Its soft foaming action is well suited for the seams, tufts, and folds on these fabrics, and its water-based formula won’t stain most items (though you should still test a small area before you start treating a surface).

 

Which should I use?

So with these similarities and differences in mind, which product is right for you?

Bedlam Plus vs JT Eaton Plus

We actually recommend you use both, and we include both in our professional bed bug kits. Since they’re labeled for different parts of the bedroom, you’ll have different tools for different parts of the job. An effective bed bug treatment is all about the right combinations of the right products.

Bed bug treatments are more involved than other pests, due to the nature of bed bugs themselves. None of our bed bug sprays will do the job on their own; if they could, that’s all we would talk about. All of the products we recommend need to be part of a holistic treatment system, such as the one outlined in our 4-step solution.

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