A common question in regards to treating bed bugs is what types of sprays work the best. By definition a contact spray must hit a bed bug directly to kill the bed bug and its ability to treat bed bugs is limited. Many of the natural pesticides such as pyrethrum are contact killers. STERI-FAB is also a contact spray that can kill bed bugs for about 15 minutes on contact until it dries and is no longer effective.
Other sprays that have a longer ability to treat bed bugs are called residuals. Residuals are often synthetic man made pesticides that can be effective up to 16 weeks. In regards to safety, pesticides such as deltamethrin are relatively safe and are widely used by professionals to treat bed bugs during residential infestations.
Which One Is Better? Residual V.S Contact
We like residual water based sprays that contain deltamethrin as many of these pesticides are labeled for bed bug and can be applied onto couches, chairs and mattresses without staining. Residual sprays also last much longer that contact sprays so you don’t have to hit the bed bugs on the head to know your treating the issue. We suggest treating residual bed bugs sprays into cracks and crevices on baseboards, beds, furniture, drawer tracks and areas in general where skin contact is not made. Three treatments in conjunction with bed bug powder every two weeks is suggested. As with any pesticide, be sure to read the safety label on how to and where to apply.
Contact killers are still useful. Products such as STERI-FAB are alcohol based and dry quickly leaving little chemical trace behind. This is convenient when treating a mattress before applying encasements as it only takes a few minutes for the STERI-FAB to dry. STERI-FAB can also be applied to cracks and crevices like a residual bed bug spray and works well for people that have sensitivity to chemicals (we suggest keeping the person with sensitivity out of the room for about an hour once applied). Contact killers spray bottles can be kept in proximity of an infested room in case a bed bug is spotted and a contact killer is needed.