The truth about bedbug treatments (or why drive-by shootings don’t work!)

Earlier this week, myself and my partner had the opportunity to treat a large home that was very clean yet infested with bedbugs. One of the things that became very apparent was that if you have bedbugs, somebody walking by with a spray (or as I like to call it a drive-by shooting) simply will not work, or will require many many recalls before the problem is addressed properly.

This home if you walked into it, you would never ever think they had a bedbug infestation. It was clean, neat and owned by a very nice professional couple. However, they and their parents who live there do an extensive amount of traveling. Recently the parents had returned from Africa. Their bedroom was essentially ground zero for the infestation. However had we used some of the other methods that pest-control companies offer the problem would not have been dealt with. Simply spraying the baseboards, (the method some companies that are contracted to property management companies tend to do) would not have eradicated anything. Once my partner and I took apart the bed, we realized that bedbugs were in every nook and cranny, hole and dowel. What were extremely tight baseboards, if only sprayed probably would’ve killed only some of the bedbugs there, however we also steamed the baseboards that forced a lot of bedbugs out of an area where we would’ve thought, given the tightness of these baseboards we would not have seen what we did. I also do not believe that just heating the room would have been able to totally eradicate the bedbugs in either the baseboards or the bed, as the heat probably would not have reached these areas. The mattress, box springs, carpets and floors were thoroughly vacuumed to pick up any bedbugs that were moving and active. We directly injected steam into the baseboards and tore apart the bed. We also did spray the baseboards afterwards with pesticide to ensure total kill. With the bed and any other piece of furniture in each bedroom, after total disassembly every section of the furniture was steamed and dusted to kill not just active bedbugs but larvae as well. This process was repeated throughout the household with the other five bedrooms and the living room.

My point is this, if you are a homeowner and you suspect bedbugs are in your home, you need to be very careful in evaluating the company you contract to kill them. Make sure they’re going to do a comprehensive analysis of the bedbug infestation, discuss with you what method they use to kill bed bugs and give you a quote. If you feel the quote is high, ask them how long they expect to be there. If they are talking significant hours, then you should actually feel more comfortable with that company as they are going to do a more thorough job. Most companies including mine also quote expecting to have to come back, as bedbugs can be extremely difficult to get rid of in one shot.

Do not be fooled by the cheap guy who’s going to promise you the world but take 15 minutes to do a whole house for bedbugs. Good luck getting them back!


Bedbug Feces, and live Bedbugs that have both fed on blood (red) and looking for a meal (whitish)


Headboard with frame removed note the feces (black). There were also live bedbugs in the holes.