Useful Tools for fighting bed bugs
Below are some links to items that Bedbuggers and/or pest management professionals have recommended to others on the site as useful tools for helping to get rid of bed bugs.
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See miscellaneous other products carried by US Bed Bugs for David Cain’s book Bed Bug Beware), or Amazon.com for Paul Bello’s book The Bed Bug Combat Manual.
Detecting and monitoring for bed bugs
Bed Bug Blue Fecal Spot Detection kits and presumptive blood test kits
Bed Bug Monitors (Passive and Interceptor/Pitfall/Barrier): ClimbUp Interceptors, Packtite Passive Monitors/BBAlert Passive Monitors, Bed Bug Barriers and Bed Bug Defenders
Bed Bug Monitors (Active): The Bed Bug Beacon, Nightwatch
Dealing with bed bugs in your stuff
Bed bug heaters, including Packtite 2, Packtite Closet, ZappBug and Thermalstrike
Ziploc Bug Bags (XL, XXL)
Nuvan prostrips and Hot Shot No Pest Strips (dichlorvos, DDVP)
Cirkil/Proof (for “Rag in a Bag” method)
Encasements, bedding, and bed bug tents
Protect-a-Bed AllerZip and other Encasements for mattresses, box springs, pillows, etc.
See miscellaneous other products carried by US Bed Bugs for SofaSafe sofa encasements, BugZip travel products, and books
Bed Bug Tents (for those who really want to try and avoid being bitten in bed)
Treatment for bed bugs
Dry Vapor Steam Cleaners
Diatomaceous earth (DE), CimeXa, and other dusts
Do It Yourself treatment with pesticide sprays — also see books by Paul Bello and David Cain under miscellaneous other products carried by US Bed Bugs
See miscellaneous other products carried by US Bed Bugs (for GreenClean laundry bags, BugZip Drawer liners and luggage encasements).
You may also be wondering about:
Where to shop in Canada?
Recommended suppliers: US Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Supply.
Other shops you may find useful? DoMyOwnPestControl.com
Our Bedbugger store at Amazon.com
Detecting Bed Bugs
Note that blood stains themselves don’t confirm bed bugs, so you should avoid testing stains unless they look like bed bug fecal stains. Note also that some other pests (eg fleas) have digested blood in their feces, so again, it’s important to know something about what fecal stains from bed bugs look like. The FAQs should help with this.
Bed Bug Blue
Read the FAQ on Bed Bug Blue, which was designed to detect fecal stains– from the maker of the Packtite.
You can purchase Bed Bug Blue in a consumer (9-test) kit for $28.95 or a professional (100-test) kit for $99.95 from US Bed Bugs; prices are comparable at Bed Bug Supply:
Presumptive Blood Testing Kits
These kits test for the presence of blood. You can buy them from our Amazon Store’s section on detecting bed bugs.
Detecting bed bugs and monitoring for bed bugs: passive and pitfall or Interceptor style bed bug monitors
ClimbUp Insect Interceptors may be used to determine whether you have bed bugs (or continue to have bed bugs). You can read about ClimbUp Insect Interceptor passive bed bug monitors here.
Bed Bug Barrier
If you want an interceptor but ClimbUp Interceptors and BlackOut Detectors do not suit your bed frame, consider the Bed Bug Barrier. You can purchase the Bed Bug Barrier Passive Monitor Glue Trap from US Bed Bugs, and either style is currently $6.99 per barrier (or under $28 if your bed has four feet). We have not had a lot of feedback about this product.
Packtite Passive Monitors/BBAlert Passive Monitors
You can also purchase the passive bed bug monitor designed by David Cain at US Bed Bugs: Packtite Passive Bed Bug Monitor. Read more about the Packtite Passive Monitor (prior to 2013, was marketed in North America as the BBAlert Passive Monitor, under which name it’s still sold in Europe) in this FAQ on bed bug monitors.
Detecting bed bugs and monitoring for bed bugs: active bed bug monitors
Bed Bug Beacons are a relatively new product on the market, from the inventor of the Packtite. We have already had reports from users who caught bed bugs in this monitor after two weeks of use. Please note: active monitors like the Bed Bug Beacon are intended to help you confirm whether you have bed bugs. They are not a substitute for treatment. You can read more about the Bed Bug Beacon here. You can purchase the Bedbug Beacon CO2 Monitor at US Bed Bugs or Bed Bug Supply.
The Nightwatch is an active monitor which uses refillable CO2 tanks and replaceable lures. It’s pricy to purchase (currently $299 at Bed Bug Supply as of 3/2015) and sometimes rented out by PCOs.
Useful tools for dealing with bed bugs in your belongings
Bed Bug Heaters:
Packtite, Packtite 2, and Packtite Closet are useful tools which allow you to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs in items you may have around your home, including items which can’t go in the dryer, such as delicate clothing, stuffed animals, shoes, books, paper, and so on.
The green Packtite Closet, available in the US and Canada, is larger, contains a bar for hanging clothes, and is more powerful, meaning it can kill bed bugs in your stuff in less time. It costs about $669 US or $949 CA as of 2/2015.
Zappbug and Thermalstrike
Other “bed bug oven” products are marketed by Thermalstrike and Zappbug.
ZappBug has three models (ZappBug Oven, ZappBug Oven 2, and the ZappBug Room (which, at $1495, is being marketed to treat belongings inside a room, much like the DIY protocols provided by the University of Florida). You can download a PDF of independent test data on the ZappBug Oven model here.
You can buy all of these bed bug heaters/ovens at Bed Bug Supply:
ThermalStrike and ZappBug heaters are also available at Amazon.com, but see comments below about purchasing bed bug items from Amazon:
Lots of people use large zipper bags to store clean clothing (because they can be opened and resealed again and again – good for daily use. Ziploc Big Bags (Large, XL, XXL) from US Bed Bugs or Hefty Big Bags (with zipper) from Bed Bug Supply.
Dissolvable “Bug Bags” are somewhat pricy but they can seal your laundry and dissolve in the wash, which may make dealing with bed bug-infested laundry easier.
Nuvan prostrips and Hot Shot No Pest Strips (dichlorvos, DDVP)
This falls under the handle with care category, along with pesticides and dusts. DDVP strips are sold in North America under the names Nuvan Prostrips (except NY and CT in the US) and Hot Shot No Pest Strips (including NY and CT in the US). Experts tell us it is possible to treat items including electronics (which can’t be heated in a Packtite, for example) by carefully sealing DDVP strips in an airtight manner along with the items to be treated inside bags (or possibly sealed bags inside stackable containers, to protect the bags).
DDVP is not intended to be used where people are present (hence the need for an airtight seal which is not disturbed), Follow all label instructions and exercise caution. Take special care when using this product around pets, children, and others who may disturb the sealed item.
P Bello is a pro in our forums who has offered answer questions about using these products in the past. You can also read threads on our forums which are tagged “DDVP”.
Those in NY or CT can obtain Hot Shot 5580 No Pest Strips from Amazon. Note: despite the incorrect description on Amazon’s page, DDVP is not a repellent, but a product for killing bed bugs in an unoccupied space.
DDVP pest strips may also be found in hardware stores.
The idea here is you use a “Rag in a Bag” — the rag is treated with the product and kills bed bugs and eggs in the sealed bag. This method is not recommended currently by any pros on our site, as far as I know (primarily, it seems, because the product, made from Neem, does have a lingering odor). However, you can read Cirkil’s description of their “Rag in a Bag” protocol and watch Dini Miller’s webinar describing her experiments with it below.
Normally, Cirkil is sold only to pest pros and therefore in large quantities, but you can currently find smaller quantities of Cirkil on Amazon.
According to Cirkil’s website, Rag in a Bag can be done with Proof or Cirkil, both have the active ingredient 5.5% cold pressed neem. You can buy Proof at Amazon, and some big box stores like Walmart.
Encasements: Many pest management professionals recommend a good encasement to keep bed bugs locked into (or out of) the box springs. Their use on mattresses is commonly recommended in North America, though controversial for reasons explained in our FAQ on bed bug encasements.
You can purchase Protect-a-Bed AllerZip encasements from US Bed Bugs:
You can buy SafeRest encasements (and view their testing data) at Bed Bug Supply:
If you are very sensitive to bites, you might consider using a bed bug tent to try and avoid them while sleeping.
We cannot vouch for these designs but as long as the design is secure, then the main risk factors for being bitten are (a) you track bed bugs into the unit, or (b) you lean against the outside and bed bugs bite through the mesh. You can see discussions of this type of product here.
You can buy SansBug or EcoKeeper tents at Amazon:
MattressSafe (a company which makes mattress encasements) also has a bed bug tent product called NiteSafe. You can view it on their website.
Many people use dry vapor steam cleaners to kill bed bugs, either as part of a self-treatment plan, or to supplement the work of a pest management professional. (If you’re supplementing a PMP’s work, be sure and ask them when and where it is safe for you to steam; you do not want to clean away the pesticides they have laid down.) Dry vapor steamer rentals are rare.
An Italian steamer newly available in North America, the Armato 9000 Commercial Bed Bug Steamer, offers a tip temperature of 284F, 90-PSI steam pressure capability, a tank capacity of 1.1 gallons, and continuous fill — which means you can keep working and topping up the water. This steamer retails for just under $1000 from Bed Bug Supply.
Bedbugger experts Franco Casini in Italy and David Cain in the UK have long used and praised the Cimex Eradicator, a Polti steamer designed to kill bed bugs. It’s extremely hot and efficient at doing so. It became available in the US in 2015, and is state of the art, if pricy ($1495 as of this update).
“With a maximum tip temperature of 356 degrees Fahrenheit, this is easily the hottest steamer we have ever tested. There is also significantly less water vapor emitted by the Eradicator than by any other steamer we’ve seen, which means more heat penetration ability and less cleanup after the job is done.”
Although it doesn’t have continuous fill, the 2L capacity means you can steam for up to two hours without stopping.
Many Bedbuggers have used the Vapamore MR-100, which is an economical model at $299 with free shipping from Bed Bug Supply (with free 2-day express shipping) or US Bed Bugs (free ground shipping).
Pest Management Pro John Furman (aka KillerQueen in our forums) tells us he uses a continuous-fill VaporClean TR6, but he also recommends the TR5 for consumers (a less expensive model available for under $500). You can click here to view Vapor Clean TR Pro5 and Pro6 Steamers at USBedBugs.com.
You can read more about steaming techniques and models in our Steamer FAQ.
Bedbugger.com does not recommend self-treatment. However, if you must self-treat (and we know many are unfortunately in this position), please do your research and learn as much as you can before attempting to buy or apply products. The FAQ on DE is a good starting point, and the Comprehensive Guides in our Resources page are another good resource.
The information below is more or less a repeat of the “where to buy DE” section of the FAQ on DE.
Food grade DE (with or without added residual pesticides) can be purchased form many pest control firms, some hardware stores, and online from DoMyOwnPestControl.com, BedBugSupply.com and Amazon.com.
Some experts in our forums are now recommending CimeXa dust instead of diatomaceous earth:
Do My Own Pest Control sells both natural and chemical dusts, including Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in 4 lb. bags, Mother Earth D (now only available in 10 lb. pails) (see Potter study above, which recommends Mother Earth D).
This company also sells other brands of dusts including CimeXa Silica Dust, Delta Dust (see Potter study above), and you can also search here for Tempo Dust, and the bellows dust applicator some experts and forum users have recommended (see FAQ on DE). Note that Delta Dust and Tempo 1% Dust contain DE plus residual insecticides, so please do additional research and, as always, use products according to label instructions, with caution.
Amazon sells a variety of food grade DE which frequently changes, and Pest Pistol – Used to Kill Bed Bugs – Insert Diatomaceous Earth bellows dusters. See widget below for some current options including MotherEarth® D Pest Control Dust 10 lb..
Note that KillerQueen (John Furman of Boot-a-Pest) recommends using a respirator mask for applying DE (specifically, he recommends Comfo Classic brand) with P100 cartridges (see FAQ on DE).
You can purchase these at Do My Own Pest Control: a Comfo Classic respirator mask (with two cartridges), or purchase the half-face respirator mask or a pair of P100 cartridges separately.
Amazon sellers also offer the expert-recommended Comfo Classic masks and P100 cartridges (in sets of six):
As a general rule, as noted above, Bedbugger.com does not recommend self-treatment. However, if you must self-treat (and we know many are unfortunately in this position), please do your research and learn as much as you can before attempting to buy or apply products.
Bed bugs are a lot harder to treat than fruit flies, ants, cockroaches, and so on. It’s hard to kill them all, but it’s quite possible you will spread them deeper into your home, making problems worse. People often misuse pesticides in ways which can harm their families and pets. This FAQ outlines some of the reasons Do-it-yourself (DIY) bed bug treatment is not the best solution for most people.
However, in some cases, it may be necessary for you to pursue DIY spray and dust treatments. You may find supplies for DIY treatment at online suppliers such as Bed Bug Supply or Do My Own Pest Control. Please do your research first, and then pay attention to labeling information regarding safe and effective use of products.
Be very wary of products or suppliers which claim an easy or quick solution. DIY bed bug treatment is possible but isn’t easy. We recommend you do your own extensive research about bed bug treatment using reliable sources, before you purchase or use a product (the Comprehensive Guides and Pesticides Resources in our Resources page and the manuals by David Cain and Paul Bello may be very helpful). Always follow all label instructions and safety precautions when applying pesticides. If you do not understand the directions, do not use the product.
Some products labeled for bed bugs may still be problematic. Experts tell us not to use foggers or bug bombs to treat bed bugs, even though the product is labeled for bed bugs. These products don’t effectively eliminate bed bugs and may spread them deeper in the home.
And never attempt DIY heat treatment. Killing bed bugs using heat is a science and not for amateurs. People have reported doing this and making bed bug problems worse, or even burning down their homes.
Be careful with rubbing alcohol. While it is a contact killer, it is also highly flammable. People have burned their homes down using it to kill bed bugs.
Recommended Suppliers: Bed Bug Supply and US Bed Bugs
Both companies have shipping and return policies which are favorable, though again not identical. Unlike most retailers, these two companies have restrictions on some or all returns, in order to ensure you receive an undamaged, non-defective product while at the same time ensuring you remain free of bed bugs which might be “returned” with an unwanted product and passed on to another customer.
Bed Bug Supply
- Bed Bug Supply takes returns only on new, unopened, and unused products. They take no returns at all on Packtite, Thermalstrike and Nightwatch products. You are protected if items are damaged on arrival. Items which arrive damaged are replaced or serviced either by Bed Bug Supply or the manufacturer.
- Bed Bug Supply offers “free” 2-5 day shipping on all orders (shipping charges apply outside the Continental US). They ship the same day if you order by 4pm EST M-F.
- Bed Bug Supply advertises “discreet” shipping.
- Click here to shop at Bed Bug Supply.
US Bed Bugs
- US Bed Bugs does not take returns. If any items are received in a damaged or defective condition or are missing, you will need to contact US Bed Bugs (within 5 days of delivery) for resolution. For problems with PackTite Heaters, customers must contact PackTite directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- US Bed Bugs ships to Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, US Military and other territories with a US ZIP code (but free shipping offers don’t apply outside the Continental US).
- US Bed Bugs offers fast shipping. Orders made by 4 pm CST M-F ship the same day. The free shipping in US is FedEx Ground (2 days to NYC), though other options are available including USPS Priority and Express and FedEx Express.
- Their shipping is discreet.
- Although normally shipping is not free on orders under $50, you can get free shipping on any order at US Bed Bugs if you use Coupon Code BBFREE at checkout. (We do not know of an end date for this coupon.)
Many of us will be glad of the no-return policies. However, if you do not agree with it, or you’re not sure about whether you will keep an item you are ordering, keep in mind you can also choose to buy some of the same products via the Bedbugger Amazon Store; please note that items sold on Amazon and listed as “fulfilled by Amazon” are shipped directly by Amazon and therefore subject to Amazon’s own — more lenient — return policies, even if the seller is, for example, US Bed Bugs/North Shore Care.
- Since you may need more than one item, the one-stop shopping and the free shipping at US Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Supply can’t be beat.
- In addition to items mentioned above, you may be interested in the following items at US Bed Bugs: BugZip luggage encasements and drawer liners (read about them here and here), SofaSafe Sofa Encasements (be sure and read about them on the forums) and David Cain’s book Bed Bug Beware.
- At Bed Bug Supply, you may be interested in dissolvable “Bug Bags” are somewhat pricy but they can seal your laundry and dissolve in the wash, which may make dealing with bed bug-infested laundry, or laundry carried on your travels, easier.
- Fabric Bed Bug Proof Laundry Bags, Hefty Big Bags (resealable with zipper).
Do My Own Pest Control is a good source for pesticides, as noted above, if you must do your own pest control. But they also carry other products like steamers, monitors, etc.
Important note: We appreciate many of the products available and we want to give you suggestions on where you can find them, but we don’t agree with everything being marketed by any of these sellers. Product lines carried by various stores may be quite different (e.g. encasements) so be sure and do your research about brands and products before comparison shopping. Don’t rely on a store to tell you if the products it’s selling are the most effective.
When do it yourself treatments are touted as “easy” or “quick,” don’t buy the hype. Those products may work but remember that DIY treatment is often if not usually the most difficult, slowest option and it may take longer to resolve the problem. If you need to self-treat, seek advice from a pest management professional (there are some on the forums who will answer questions about this). Do your own outside research and read all instructions carefully.
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Our Amazon Store
Other products you may find useful are available from our Amazon store. We recommend you read the FAQs and forums first to determine which items are currently being recommended and how people are using them.
If you’re purchasing items from Amazon which are also available from US Bed Bugs or Bed Bug Supply, we strongly suggest you purchase items directly from one of those merchants instead (see notes about why we love them above). Items from US Bed Bugs/North Shore Care (or any other merchant) which are “fulfilled by Amazon” are shipped by Amazon, not the merchant, and due to Amazon’s policies, may have been returned by another customer. If the item is sealed in plastic, this is probably not a problem. However, you may prefer to shop directly with a company that does not accept returns. If you shop directly with other merchants, you should research their policy on returns. Be aware that any merchants’ items listed as “fulfilled by Amazon” may have been returned.
- Killing bed bugs (contact killers such as Kleen Free; Steri-Fab; and mechanical killers like DE)
- Vacuums and steamers (especially PCO-recommended dry vapor steamers
- Storage and disposal (L, XL, XXL ziploc bags, contractor bags, mattress bags, cable ties, etc.)
- Detecting bed bugs (ClimbUp Insect Interceptors, flea traps to rule out fleas, flashlights, black lights, glue traps, handwarmers, etc.)
- Isolating the bed (but remember to shop for encasements here)
- Protecting the bed (ClimbUp Insect Interceptors; sheets; but remember to shop for encasements here)
- Relief from bites and itching (recommended by readers)
- Miscellaneous (including books by forum regulars David Cain and Paul Bello, shoe holder for dryer)
US Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Supply also ship to Canada, assuming the product is legal for sale in Canada. So you can buy the Packtite Closet, for example, but not the Packtite 2 which can’t be shipped to Canada.