Let’s face the hard truth. Bed bugs are tough to eliminate.
Many DIY methods of getting rid of bed bugs fail because these methods don’t have a deeper reach.
In the end, hiring an exterminator is the only solution.
But the question is, will an exterminator get rid of bed bugs?
What methods he’ll use to get rid of bed bugs in your home? And most importantly, how long will he take to purge your home from bed bugs?
In this post, you’ll find answers to all these questions.
By the time you finish reading the post, you’ll have realistic expectations from an exterminator.
And you’ll also find out your role to ensure that the bed bug treatment is successful.
Will An Exterminator Eliminate Bed Bugs In Your Home Forever?
Yes, an exterminator will get rid of bed bugs in your home.
In all honesty, there are no guarantees that a one-time treatment by an exterminator will get rid of bed bugs in your home forever.
But wait. That doesn’t mean that exterminators are useless or frauds.
In fact, exterminators are your only option, especially when the bed bug infestation is severe.
Your home may have to go through multiple bed bug treatments before you stop seeing bed bugs in the longer run.
The problem lies in the fact that bed bugs can come back after treatment.
And to ensure that they don’t reappear after treatment, you need to do your part too.
You need to be vigilant about their signs of infestation and refrain from doing things that bring bed bugs home.
That’s the reason why savvy homeowners always have a quarterly pest control plan as a backup plan after the treatment.
A quarterly pest control plan keeps track of the appearance or reappearance of pests and nips them when they’re at the early stages of infestation.
The role of exterminators in making your home free from bed bugs is indispensable.
Exterminators are the only people who can pinpoint exactly where the bed bugs are hiding.
The skill levels and experience that a reliable exterminator brings to the table to get rid of bed bugs are irreplaceable.
How Will An Exterminator Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?
Now that you know that exterminators are your best option to get rid of bed bugs, let’s check out how they do that.
Knowing the process will help you understand what you’re getting into and supervise the process better.
That’ll ensure you’re always on top of things when the exterminator treats your home for bed bugs.
Exterminators use three methods to eliminate bed bugs in homes, hotel rooms, office complexes, and human dwellings, including hospitals and schools.
Which method will they choose depends on the level of infestation and the structure of the dwelling.
These two most common methods are heat treatment and insecticide treatment.
The third method, which is a blend of the two, you’ll get to know in a minute.
Before you know these methods, you must understand the exterminator’s role in the entire bed bug elimination process.
There’s a three-step process the exterminator follows.
The Exterminator Assesses The Level Of Infestation
The first thing that a reliable exterminator will do, even before he recommends what extermination method he will use, is he inspects your home for bed bugs.
First, the exterminator will look for signs of bed bug infestation in places like your bed, mattress, drawers, and even in your furniture.
The exterminator will check for bed bugs in every conceivable place where bed bugs can hide.
On spotting the bed bugs, they’ll use their knowledge to estimate the level of infestation roughly.
If the infestation is moderate or severe, the exterminator will decide it based on the assessment exercise.
The Exterminator Recommends A Bed Bug Treatment
After assessing the situation, the exterminator will recommend an extermination process.
It’ll be one of the three – heat treatment, insecticide treatment, or a blend of the two.
A reliable and experienced bed bug exterminator will develop an extermination plan for adult bed bugs and bed bug larvae.
When you give the green signal, the exterminator will continue with the process.
The Exterminator Will Surveil The Situation After The Treatment
Reputed exterminators don’t just pack up their stuff and leave after the treatment.
They do make follow-up visits to surveil your home to check how effective the treatment has been.
They’ll check if the bed bugs are showing up again or is there any other place in your home they’ve missed that they need to treat.
The exterminators will also install bed bug interceptors in your home to stop any bed bugs from climbing on your bed.
That’s a three-step process that a reputed and reliable exterminator will use.
Now, let’s look at the types of bed bug treatments that an exterminator will recommend.
Types Of Bed Bug Treatments That An Exterminator Will Use
Depending on the infestation levels, an exterminator will recommend one out of the three types of bed bug treatment.
Heat Treatment To Kill Bed Bugs
Heat treatment, the most effective with close to 100% kill rate, is a preferred way to kill bed bugs in homes, especially when the infestation level has gone over the roof.
It’s a process that doesn’t involve the usage of any chemicals or pesticides.
Heat treatment is an environmentally friendly process with no toxicity.
The best part is that you wouldn’t need to prepare your home much before the treatment.
It means that you don’t have to relocate your stuff inside your home. But you might have to remove potted plants and heat-sensitive clothing made of silk or wool to protect them from damage.
The exterminator will tell you what things you need to take out of your home during the heat treatment.
So, how does the heat treatment to kill bed bugs work?
It’s pretty simple, but it needs an expert exterminator to do it.
The exterminator will bring in portable heat generators inside your home. These heat generators will increase the temperature inside your home between 118°F and 122°F.
In this heat, the adult bed bugs and the baby bed bugs, and the bed bugs’ eggs will get destroyed.
So, how long the heat treatment for bed bugs lasts?
The entire heat treatment process lasts for eight hours. But if your home is small, then it may end up in less than eight hours.
During the entire duration, the exterminator will place remote thermometers in different corners of your home.
The exterminator will use the thermometers to ensure that the right heat level reaches all the corners of your home.
During the entire heat treatment process, you’d have to remain outside your home.
Once the heat treatment is over, the exterminator will tell when you can get inside your home.
But there’s a catch in heat treatment.
Heat treatment doesn’t have any residual toxicity, which is excellent. But it also means that bed bugs can enter your home from the outside.
To eliminate this risk, the exterminator will use an insecticide spray around the perimeters of your home or room.
That’s a preventive measure that exterminators after heat treatment to avoid reinfestation.
Insecticide Treatment To Kill Bed Bugs
When bed bug infestation isn’t that severe, or if you want a cheaper alternative to heat treatment, the exterminator will use insecticides to kill bed bugs in your home.
The process involves the usage of toxic insecticide to kill bed bugs.
Insecticide treatment is a long process. The exterminator will have to visit your home for 2-3 days to carry out the treatment.
Each session may last between 30 minutes to 3 hours per room of your home.
During the insecticide treatment, the exterminator will focus on where he found the most bed bugs.
That could be your bed.
From there, the exterminator will cover the places depending on how far the bed bugs can travel.
Bed bugs travel not more than 6-8 feet away from the place where they find their host.
The exterminator will use a mix of insecticides in liquid and dust form at places like your bed, sofas, furniture, rugs, carpets, drawers, drapes, electrical outlets, and in cracks and gaps in floor and walls.
The exterminator will decide what type of insecticide to use.
For places like furniture that you touch often, the exterminator will use a quick-action insecticide that loses its toxicity fast.
For places that you don’t often touch, like the undersides of furniture, the exterminator will use an insecticide with more prolonged toxicity.
The exterminator can also use insecticide dust in cracks and crevices on the walls and the floor.
Insecticide treatment can be tedious for you. It’s because you’ll have to closely follow the guidelines given by the exterminator to prepare your home for the treatment.
The exterminator will tell which things to pack and remove from your home before the insecticide treatment begins.
For your safety and the success of the insecticide treatment, follow the exterminators’ guidelines closely.
Many insecticide treatments fail because homeowners don’t prepare their homes properly for the treatment.
Unlike the heat treatment, you can’t enter your home quickly after the insecticide treatment. You’ll have to wait for hours.
It’s because the residual toxicity of insecticides is high. You’ll have to wait for the green signal from the exterminator to enter your home.
At times, it’s not safe for the elderly, kids, and pets to enter the home even after the time prescribed by the exterminator to enter the house.
These are sensitive beings. They may show severe allergic reactions to the insecticides.
It’d be best if they wait a bit longer before you let them enter your home after insecticide treatment.
Words Of Caution – Do not ever buy insecticides from over the counter to do the insecticide treatment yourself.
Exterminators use insecticides that they’re licensed to buy. Bed bugs have developed strong immunity against many available insecticide sprays.
Aerosol sprays and bug bombs will only make matters worse for you. We don’t recommend using them.
IPM Bed Bug Treatment
The IPM or integrated pest management treatment blends different pest control processes that professionals use.
In the case of bed bugs, it’ll be a mix of both insecticide treatment and heat treatment.
Why do exterminators use it?
Well, at times, some areas in your home aren’t as heavily infested by bed bugs as the other rooms.
So, that one particular approach may not be practical. It may be counterproductive.
For example, if bed bugs infested one of your bedrooms heavily whereas the infestation in other bedrooms is low, it doesn’t make sense to heat treatment for the entire home.
But if the exterminator sticks with insecticide treatment in the heavily infested bedroom, some bed bugs might escape and invade other rooms in your home.
So, it’d be best if they use heat treatment in the heavily infested bedroom and use an insecticide in lightly infested rooms.
In many cases, IPM will also entail using mattress casings, applying steam on infested items, and even freezing bed bugs.
Can An Exterminator Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In One Session?
No, an exterminator can’t get rid of bed bugs in one session.
No matter what treatment the exterminator uses, follow-up sessions are essential to check if the treatment is effective.
Reliable and reputed bed bug exterminators will not charge extra for the follow-up sessions.
An exterminator can get rid of bed bugs. But bed bugs are hard to eliminate.
Bed bugs can be back even after treatment.
To ensure that it doesn’t happen, exterminators do follow-up treatments and monitor the bed bug situation in your home.
Also you’d need to ask the right questions to the exterminator before you decide to hire one.
In this guide, you’ve found out what types of treatment an exterminator can use and under what conditions.
Bed bug removal costs are pretty high. What if you’re under budget, or you can’t afford an exterminator?
In that case, read our post on how to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget.
It has all the tips and information that you’d find handy to get rid of bed bugs in your home without breaking your bank account.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.