Bed bugs are generally a “zero-tolerance” pest, and some populations have built-up resistance to certain insecticides, which creates extra challenges. Fortunately, we have an array of tools to treat them. With travel and on-campus classes resumed since the COVID-19 pandemic, we should see an uptick in bed bug work.
As with any treatment, thoroughness is key. Vacuuming visible bugs and eggs, laundering infested linens and clothing, and removing clutter are great first steps to reduce populations.
To increase the effectiveness of heat treatments, we recommend applying silica dust before heat treatment around the perimeter areas of treated rooms and in hiding places where bugs can go to escape the heat. Silica is one insecticide that is made better by heat. That’s because it works as a strong desiccant — and because it’s a mineral, it isn’t broken down by heat.
Other insecticide treatments are all best applied after a heat treatment. That includes sprays; botanicals, which provide varied modes of action to combat resistance; fungal-based products, which also provide a unique mode of action; and treated mattress covers.