When your home has an outbreak of bed bugs present, it’s best to use any and all effective avenues available to you to get rid of them. The more bed bugs linger, the more their population grows, and in turn, the more you and your family suffer.
If you were to conduct a simple internet search, you would find that there are a variety of different treatment methods and an assortment of different bed bug control products you can use as part of a successful bed bug control program. Among them are liquid insecticide concentrates, aerosol sprays, bed bug traps and bed bug powders.
When tackling a bed bugs inside your home, we highly recommend using more than one of these products and methods to eliminate bed bugs. In this article, we will cover how to properly apply bed bug powders in your home to kill bed bugs effectively.
Benefits of Bed Bug Powders
Bed bug powders are among the most commonly used tools used to treat for bed bug home invasions. Professionals often use bed bug powders (also commonly called bed bug dusts) when carrying out treatments of infested homes because of the variety of advantages bed bug powders have over just spraying liquid insecticides.
- Bed bug powders deliver a greater reach over bed bug liquid sprays. While liquid insecticide sprays have great killing power for bed bug control, bed bug powders are just as lethal. Additionally, they can be applied in areas where liquids may not be able to reach such as those really tight and tucked away cracks and crevices where bed bugs love to hide. By using a bed bug powder, the small powder particles can get into those tight spots and reach those secluded bed bugs and do a lot of damage.
- Bed bug powders are often a natural means of bed bug control. Most liquids insecticides that claim to kill bed bugs often contain potentially toxic chemicals which are harmful to come into contact with or inhale. Bed bug powders usually have natural ingredients that are either harmless to humans or of low toxicity while being deadly for bed bugs, such as pyrethrin dusts or dusts made from diatomaceous earth.
- The effect of bed bug powders often last a lot longer than sprays. This is probably the greatest advantage of using bed bug powders. When applied, powders will keep on killing for a much longer period of time than liquids. While liquids have a good residual which can last up to 90 days dusts can give an added layer of protection. As long as bed bug powders remain dry, they will stay effective for much longer and continue to kill long after you initially applied the powder. Some bed bug powders have killing power that lasts as long as 6 months.
With benefits like these, it’s no wonder why bed bug powders are such a highly recommended staple if you want to conduct a DIY home bed bug treatment.
Types of Bed Bug Powders
There are two primary categories of bed bug powders. The first are natural dusts and the second are chemical dusts. Both are effective in killing bed bugs and what you choose depends on personal preference.
Diatomaceous earth is a popular active ingredient of bed bug dusts due to it being naturally-occurring and for being relatively safe to humans. In short, diatomaceous earth is a fine white natural powder which derives from the fossilized remains of sea organisms known as diatoms which have existed for over 180 million years.
Diatomaceous earth in its powder form are like little shards of glass for bed bugs and once they come into contact with it, the DE tears into their insect shell, absorbs their oils and nutrients and kills them via dehydration.
Pyrethrin powder is another naturally occurring powder which is derived from the petals from the chrysanthemum flower which is highly lethal to insects. Pyrethrin works by attacking the nervous system of the insect, leading to over excitement of the body, uncontrollable seizure and eventually paralysis and death when the insect can no longer feed itself or breathe.
There are also chemical dusts but while they may not be naturally occurring, a good number of them are still safe to use such as the ones made from pyrethroids, which is a synthetic version of pyrethrin. They provide a longer kill time than most pyrethrin dusts.
However, there is a lot of misinformation online about how bed bug powders work, and how you should use them. In this brief overview, we’re going to set the record straight and offer some simple instruction on how to use bed bug powders in your home.
The Wrong Way To Apply Bed Bug Powders
Before we can cover how to use bed bug powders properly, it’s important to first tell you how NOT to apply bed bug powders. Scour the internet and you’ll find various bed bug videos and guides which incorrectly tell you to use diatomaceous earth by scattering it all over your bedroom.
Some misguided DIYers will suggest to make big piles of bed bug dust around the legs of their bed with the hope being that it’ll be a barrier to keep bed bugs from traveling to your bed. We and other true experts would agree that this is not an effective way to utilize bed bug powders and just creates a mess.
The motive behind scattering bed bug dusts like diatomaceous earth and pyrethrin powders comes from the false notion that these powders kill bed bugs quickly and can repel them from your home and from feeding on you. The truth is that bed bug powders like diatomaceous earth actually takes about 1 to 2 days to kill bed bugs. Also, bed bug dusts are more effective when they are applied strategically in cracks and crevices where bed bugs frequently hide in as opposed to open spaces.
Look at the product label for directions on how to properly apply bed bug powders. These important instructions come with any insecticide registered by the EPA. Most importantly it contains important safety directions to reduce the risk of inhaling or getting the product on you by using the product not how it meant to be used. Always follow the label.
Dusting Cracks and Crevices With Bed Bug Powder
As mentioned earlier, application of bed bug powders should be strategically focused on the various cracks and crevices in your room since there are the most likely areas where bed bugs are found hiding in or traveling between.
The most common areas to apply bed bug powders are areas such as along baseboards, floorboards, and the space where the carpet ends, typically around the edges of the room. These areas are hotspots for bed bugs and are where they easily hide and move around undetected. Applying a bed bug powder works perfectly in these areas because they can settle in areas in a method that liquid sprays just cannot do.
Nearly all of our bed bug powder products come with a top that serves as a simple applicator of the dust in its contents. To use the applicator top, all you need to do is cut off the plastic seal from the tip of the applicator with a pair of scissors and it will expose the opening.
Some other powders have a twisting applicator which can open and close the opening so you can store it away safely. You have to make sure that when not applying the bed bug powder, it is properly sealed. Unsealed insecticidal dusts will lose their effectiveness over time.
To apply the bed bug dust with the built-in applicator nozzle, simply turn the bottle over and get the tip of the nozzle in close contact to the area where you want it to be applied. With a gentle squeeze a little bit of bed bug dust comes out.
You have to make sure not to over squeeze or the powder will become stuck in the applicator tip and you would have to shake the dust loose. This can be quite frustrating, so gentle squeezes are all you need to do to get a little bit of dust out at a time.
Make sure not to create big piles or molds of powder as only little puffs where you barely can visibly see the dust come out is enough of an application. Apply the dust in small puffs in intervals spaced out every few inches or so in the targeted crack and crevice so you get a nice even coating of the powder.
Applying Bed Bug Powders with a Handheld Duster
While you could conduct the entire dusting treatment using the built-in nozzle that comes with the bed bug powder, the more convenient option would be to use a handheld duster
Handheld dusters are an easy to use and affordable tool that provides several benefits over puffing powder out straight from the container. The duster comes with a long straw which makes it easier to puff powder deep into the tightest of cracks, crevices and wall voids and provides a small, controlled amount of bed bug powder with every squeeze.
To use the handheld duster, just pop or twist off the rubber top, fill the duster about halfway with your preferred choice of bed bug powder, secure the cap back on and seal it. Flip the duster over so the bulb is pointing down and the straw is above it. Next, take off the protective cover on the tip of the straw, and give the bulb a gentle squeeze to start dusting.
Other Recommended Places for Applying Bed Bug Powders
After the cracks and crevices along the edges of your floors and carpeting have been treated with bed bug dust, you can move on to other crucial areas in the room where bed bugs are suspected of hiding. You can apply most of our bed bug dusts along door frames, underneath appliances, under the edges of rugs, and the joints and inside regions of wooden furniture.
Some other good places to apply powders is behind electrical outlets between the box and the wall void. Bed bugs are notorious for traveling from room to room through the electrical wiring as these are basically a hidden tunnel where they can travel undetected. To get better reach in these areas, we suggest applying the bed bug dust behind the faceplates of your wall sockets.
Simply grab yourself a screwdriver and unscrew the faceplate lids of the wall sockets and light switches and shoot a few puffs of dust inside. Be careful not to get any dust into the electrical outlet itself. This is a crafty method to attack those bed bugs who have traveled away from those main infested hot spots and are trying to infest new rooms.
Bed bug powders are an excellent component to use for bed bug control. However it must be stressed that using bed bug powder is not a stand-alone method of getting rid of a bed bug infestation in your home.
Using bed bug powders is a necessary part of a full bed bug treatment program which should include the use of bed bug insecticide concentrates and aerosol sprays as well as non-chemical methods such as sanitation, vacuuming and heat treatment.