Bed Bugs can come back after DIY or professional treatment. There are many reasons for it.
But if bed bugs are coming back despite three or multiple treatments, then chances are the exterminator didn’t solve the bed bug problem at all.
Plus, there has been some negligence on your part too.
This guide will delve deep into the reasons why you still have bed bugs after three treatments.
It’ll also provide you a step-by-step plan to follow to after bed bug treatment so that bed bugs don’t come back.
Let’s get into the reasons first.
The Bed Bug Infestation Was Severe
A severe bed bug infestation needs multiple sessions.
Just a couple of days of bed bugs treatment will not kill these pests hiding in the hard-to-reach places in the house.
Bed bugs are tiny and flat insects that can easily hide in the thinnest of gaps and cracks in the home’s wall, floor, and furniture.
When the infestation is severe, bed bugs just don’t limit themselves to your bedrooms. They spread in the rest of the areas of the house.
Bed bugs coming back is a clear sign that the treatment didn’t address the bed bug problem in all areas of the house.
The Bed Bug Exterminator Was Incompetent
Let’s not mince words. If you hired a lousy, incompetent, and inexperienced bed bug exterminator then bed bugs will surely come back.
And it doesn’t matter if the exterminator does three or three hundred treatments.
There are many unreliable “pest control experts” that have popped up in the last decade. They’ve not only raised the prices of bed bug treatments but also spoiled the pest control industry.
Inexperienced and operating-on-a-budget pest controllers don’t use authentic professional grade insecticides and heat instruments.
Substandard bed bug removal tools and weak insecticides don’t get rid of the problem.
That’s why it’s important that you hire the right exterminator and check the credentials before giving away your hard-earned money.
The Follow Up Treatment Weren’t Thorough
Bed bug treatments aren’t just a one-day activity. Pest controllers do pay follow-up visits to keep track on how the treatment has worked.
The professional grade pesticides they use have residual toxicity that work even after the treatment is over.
So, sightings of dead bed bugs after treatment is common.
Also, they keep bed bug monitors in the home to check how many bed bugs they’re trapping. And a lot more.
Sometimes, the heat pumps they use during heat treatment don’t penetrate all corners of the homes either.
On finding any signs of leftover bed bug infestation, exterminators treat the home further till they’re sure that they purged the home of bed bugs.
These follow up visits are crucial in preventing bed bugs from coming back.
If they don’t do the follow-up treatments, then the leftover bed bugs will again lay eggs and cause an infestation.
That’s what mostly happens.
You Didn’t Clean The Home Well After The Bed Bug Treatment
What cleaning after bed bug treatment got to do with the return of bed bugs? A lot.
Many homeowners don’t clean their home well when the treatment is over. They just rearrange their homes and continue with their lives.
Bed bugs will do whatever they can to escape the heat or pesticide that exterminators use.
They will hide in the clutter, inside the cracks on baseboards, furniture etc. to escape the treatment.
That’s why it’s vital that you thoroughly clean your home after the bed bug treatment is over.
Most reputed pest control companies advise on how to clean the home after the treatment. Follow the instructions and reduce the risk of bed bugs’ return.
Bed Bugs Re-Infestation
Anyone can bring bed bugs home, including you.
Bed bugs are hitchhikers that latch onto things like clothes, luggage, furniture, cardboard boxes, and even on shoes to get to your home.
Bed bugs even get inside cars and infest car seats.
Re-infestation can occur if you’ve been to a bed bug-infested home or hotel, and they latched onto your belongings to reach your home.
Your friend, or any visitor, who has bed bugs in the house can bring bed bugs to your home too.
Sadly, when bed bugs re-infest your home, you can’t figure it out. You can only get to know about their presence when you get bed bug bites.
Bed Bugs Spillover From Neighboring Apartments
If you live in an apartment complex, or in a neighborhood, with a bed bug problem, then chances are your home is soon to be under the grips of bed bugs.
Bed bugs can easily spill over from neighboring apartments.
Apartments share walls, ducts, plumbing, windows, and walking spaces that make it easy for bed bugs to travel from one apartment to another.
You Ignored Signs Of Re-Infestation
All pests, especially bed bugs that survive solely on human blood inside the house, leave behind the signs of their presence.
The signs of infestation takes time to manifest especially when the infestation is at the early stages.
However, these signs are noticeable if you know what to look for and where. Later in the post you’ll find out about these.
But for now, keep it in mind that there has been slight ignorance on your part. But that’s normal.
No one expects bed bugs to come back after three treatments.
Bed Bugs Have Developed Immunity To Many Chemical Treatments
As humans have evolved and improved their weapons against bed bugs, these pests, in turn, have adapted for survival, often developing resistance against the commonly used insecticides.
This resistance is a significant factor that can explain why you may still see bed bugs in your home even after three treatments.
Pesticide resistance in bed bugs isn’t a new phenomenon. It has been the reason bed bugs resurfaced in the US again.
Pyrethroids, a class of synthetic pesticides, have been a popular choice for bed bug treatments for many years.
However, recent studies have shown that bed bugs have developed metabolic resistance against pyrethroids and similar chemicals.
In simple terms, these bugs have enhanced their internal detoxification systems, allowing them to break down and eliminate pesticides before they cause lethal damage.
That’s why when you hire cheap and unreliable exterminators, their treatments don’t work. They use the same old cheap pesticides that no longer work on bed bugs.
Most professional and advanced pest control organizations do multiple treatments and follow-ups to ensure that bed bugs don’t come back after treatment.
You’re Confusing Bed Bugs With Other Biting Bugs
Anybody can make a mistake in identifying bed bugs. No big deal.
There are many bugs that can end up on your bed and they can trick you into thinking that they’re bed bugs.
Some common bed bug look-alikes that can be on your bed are carpet beetles, clover mites, spider beetles, and many more.
How To Keep Bed Bugs Away After Bed Bug Treatment?
Now that you know why you still have bed bugs after three treatments, it’s time to get on the offensive.
The following steps will ensure that you always remain vigilant about the healthy chances of bed bugs coming back.
Stay Vigilant For The Signs Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs will leave behind their signs of presence. Bed bug feces in the form tiny reddish-black dots on bedsheets, pillowcases, and bed frames are the most telltale signs of bed bugs.
Sightings of adult bed bugs on your bed’s mattress, box spring, mattress seams, carpet, furniture, floor, and even on the walls indicate that bed bugs are back.
Shed skins, eggshells, and baby bed bugs (or bed bug nymphs) are also signs that bed bugs are breeding and growing inside the house.
You’ll notice them in cracks and crevices on the bed, furniture, headboards, and floor where bed bugs nest.
On noticing these signs, hire a reliable professional exterminator ASAP.
Don’t get into DIY ways of getting rid of bed bugs because these pests are back again, and any unprofessional steps will make the infestation worse.
Keep Your House Clean
Bed bugs aren’t associated with unhygienic living conditions. Even the poshest of neighborhoods can have bed bug problems.
However, the more clutter the house the more are the hiding places for bed bugs.
Regularly clean and declutter your home, especially your bedroom. Vacuum frequently, focusing on areas around the bed and furniture.
Dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed bag outdoors.
Schedule follow-up treatments with your pest controller.
Follow-up treatments ensure that any surviving bed bugs, including the nymphs, are eliminated before they can cause more trouble.
Don’t try to use bed bug sprays or things like rubbing alcohol.
All these things can kill a few bed bugs. But they have low residual toxicity and bed bugs are metabolically resistant to them.
When bed bugs detect them, they disperse and hide in other rooms of your house only to come back after a lull in bed bug activity.
Use Mattress Encasements
Mattress encasements act as a barrier between the bed bugs in the mattress and your skin.
These covers or encasements trap and kill bed bugs in the mattress. The encasements also deny the bloodmeals that bed bugs desperately need to breed and lay eggs.
The best would be to use your steam cleaner to clean your bed mattress, carpets and rugs, and other upholsteries in the bedroom before putting up the encasement.
Steam cleaners produce heat to the range of 118 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat is lethal for bed bugs at all life stages.
Seal Cracks And Crevices
Any small crack and gap on the bed, furniture, wall, and floor can be a hiding place or a nesting site for bed bugs.
Bed bugs hiding in these crevices come out at night to bite and to feed on your blood.
Seal them with a quality sealant to prevent bed bugs from hiding in these areas.
Be Careful With Secondhand Items
Second-hand furniture, clothes, carpets, and rugs can have bed bugs in them.
Inspect the item for bed bugs and other insects before buying them. Give the carpets to the cleaner for dry cleaning before bringing them home.
Wash second-hand clothes in hot water and dry them in the dryer at the highest possible heat before you put them inside storages such as dresser drawers, closets, and wardrobes.
Heat is a bed bug killer. Washing the clothes in hot water and drying them in the dryer will kill any bed bugs on the clothes.
Be Careful Of Bed Bugs In Hotel Rooms
Travel smart and know that bed bugs can infest hotels too. Check the hotels on the web for any bed bug issues in the past.
Book only those hotels that don’t have any history of bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can travel with you from hotels or other infested places.
When traveling, inspect the hotel bed and keep your luggage off the floor. Once home, launder your clothes immediately and inspect your luggage thoroughly.
Keep Bed Bug Interceptors Or Bed Bug Traps
Bed bug interceptors are small cup-like things that are sticky from the inside. You keep them under each leg of the bed.
If any bed bug tries to get onto the bed by crawling on the legs, they’ll have to pass through the interceptors.
The sticky surface of the interceptor traps the bed bugs.
Your pest controller can also provide interceptors during the follow-up stage to check if there are still bed bugs after treatment.
However, you can proactively do it by yourself.
Regular Professional Pest Inspection
It’s always a wise idea to hire a quarterly or half-yearly pest inspection. These inspections are cheap and save a lot of money in pest treatment.
The pest controller will nip the bed bug problem or any other pest issue at its head before they become a menace.
Realistically, How Long Does It Takes To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?
Unfortunately, I can’t give you an absolute answer to this question because a lot of factors decide how long it’ll take. And don’t trust anyone who tells you a specific period.
Things like severity of bed bug infestation, how cluttered the home is, the environment, humidity, and even the layout and size of the house determines the time it’ll take to remove bed bugs completely.
However, there’s one thing which is for sure. You won’t get rid of bed bugs in one treatment.
Bed bug treatment consist of many types of treatments which are known as IPM (Integrated pest management, a blend of chemical treatment and heat treatment) and proper monitoring.
All these activities can take from a couple of weeks to months to completely purge a home of bed bugs.
Don’t Use Bed Bug Bombs!
Many people use bed bug bombs as the first thing when they notice bed bugs in the house before or after treatment.
That’s a bad move.
Bed bug bombs are useless and they’re risky to use too. These foggers or bombs release age old pyrethroid-based elements that are ineffective on bed bugs today.
These bombs might kill a few bed bugs. But they alert the rest of the bed bugs in the house, causing them to hide in the different areas of the house.
Not to mention, bed bug bombs are highly inflammable and volatile.
Bed bugs are resilient pests that refuse to die. Repeated follow-up treatments after the primary treatment are vital to eradicate bed bug infestation in the house.
Factors like bad choices in hiring an exterminator, not doing the basics right, and ignoring the signs of re-infestation make bed bugs come back after three or more treatments.
This guide revealed the reasons for resurgence of bed bugs and the steps that you need to take to prevent them from returning.
Being vigilant and knowing the possibility of bed bugs returning will help you to stop the infestation from happening again.