Useful Tools for fighting bed bugs

by nobugsonme on August 17, 2007

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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Product Index

David Cain’s book Bed Bug Beware) on Amazon, or the comprehensive Advances in the Biology and Management of Modern Bed Bugs on Amazon, edited by Stephen Doggett and Dini Miller.

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 SC, 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?

Detecting Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Blue Fecal Spot Detection kits and presumptive blood test kits can help determine if you have bed bugs.  They can be used on suspected fecal stains to determine if blood is present.

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 Fecal Matter Test Kit, which was designed to detect fecal stains– from the maker of the Packtite.

You can purchase Bed Bug Blue Fecal Matter Test Kit in a consumer (9-test) kit for $28.95 or a pro (100-test) kit for 98.95 from Bed Bug Supply.

Presumptive Blood Testing Kits

These kits test for the presence of blood. You can buy them from Amazon:

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ClimbUp Interceptors

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.

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Packtite Passive Monitors/BBAlert Passive Monitors
You can read about the passive bed bug monitor designed by David Cain, the Packtite Passive Bed Bug Monitor (prior to 2013, was marketed in North America as the BBAlert Passive Monitor, under which name it’s still sold in Europe and by Bed Bug Supply in the US) in this FAQ on bed bug monitors.

You can also find a PDF with instructions and an installation guide on the product page on the Bed Bug Supply website.

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Bed Bug Beacons

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 Bed Bug Beacon at Bed Bug Supply.

The Nightwatch is an active monitor which uses refillable CO2 tanks and replaceable lures. It’s pricy to purchase (currently $329 at Bed Bug Supply as of 1/2019) and sometimes rented out by PCOs.

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Useful tools for dealing with bed bugs in your belongings

Bed Bug Heaters:
The Packtite Closet
is a useful tool which allows 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. You can set items in the base shelf, or hang them on the handy rod– the fastest method for heating clothing outside of a hot dryer.

The 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 $564 US as of 1/2019.

You can order Packtite Closet shipped from Bed Bug Supply to the US or Canada (shipping is free to the contiguous US):

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.

The ZappBug, ZappBug 2, and ZappBug Room are all available from Bed Bug Supply.

ZappBug heaters are also available at, but note that products shipped by Amazon may be returned. If you are concerned about possibly receiving a bed bug heating device which has been returned by someone with bed bugs, we recommend purchasing these items from Bed Bug Supply, which do not take returns on such items.

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Some people find dissolvable laundry bags or ziplocs helpful.

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. Hefty Big Bags (with zipper) from Bed Bug Supply or Ziploc Big Bags XL or XXL from Amazon:

Dissolvable laundry bags are somewhat pricey but they can seal your laundry and dissolve in the wash, which may make dealing with bed bug-infested laundry easier.

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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”.

If you are outside of New York or Connecticut, you can obtain Nuvan Prostrips from Bed Bug Supply or Do My Own Pest Control.

You can purchase Nuvan Prostrips from Amazon if you are not in California, New York, or Connecticut:

Those in California, New York, and Connecticut can obtain another DDVP product, Hot Shot No Pest Strips from Amazon:

DDVP pest strips from Nuvan and Hot Shot may also be found in hardware stores.

Cirkil/Proof (for “Rag in a Bag” Protocol)

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 the manufacturer’s video about 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:

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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 Amazon:

You can buy SafeRest encasements (and view their testing data) at Bed Bug Supply:

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Bed Bug Tents

If you are very sensitive to bites, you might consider using a bed bug tent to try and avoid them while sleeping.

Some forum users have used and recommended the SansBug Tent or Eco-keeper Bed Bug Tent, both in sizes to fit single people or more than one person.

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 EcoKeeper tents at Amazon:

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DIY Treatment: Steamers

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.

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 pricey ($1296 at Bud Bug Supply as of 1/2019).

Bed Bug Supply writes,

“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.

Polti Cimex Eradicator

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.

Armato 9000 Commercial Bed Bug Steamer

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 VaporClean TR Pro6 Steamers at Bed Bug Supply.

You can read more about steaming techniques and models in our Steamer FAQ.

Vapamore MR-100 Dry Vapor Steamer FREE 2-DAY EXPRESS SHIPPING (58 PSI)

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Diatomaceous Earth (DE), CimeXa, and other dusts 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 and Cimexa is a good starting point, and the Comprehensive Guides in our Resources page are another good resource.


Many experts in our forums are now recommending CimeXa dust instead of diatomaceous earth.  The study of various dusts by Michael Potter described in this PCT Online article suggests that Cimexa is more effective and fast-acting.  (That doesn’t mean DE and other dusts aren’t useful, but if you can get Cimexa, it may be a better choice.)

You can get CimeXa from Bed Bug Supply, Amazon, or Do My Own Pest Control:

Buy CimeXa Insecticide Dust

click here to learn more

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) and other dusts

Food grade DE (with or without added residual pesticides) can be purchased form many pest control firms, some hardware stores, and online.

Bed Bug Supply sells J.T.Eaton Kills Bed Bugs brand Diatomaceous Earth, and the bellows dust applicator some experts and forum users have recommended (see our FAQ on DE).

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 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.

do it yourself pest control products and supplies

Amazon sells a variety of food grade DE which frequently changes and bellows dusters. See widget below for some current options.

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:

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Treatment: other kinds of DIY (Do-it-yourself)Treatment with pesticides (besides DE)

As a general rule, as noted above, 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.

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Recommended Suppliers: Bed Bug Supply

Bed Bug Supply has shipping and return policies which are favorable to those of many other stores. Unlike most retailers, they 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’s policies:

  • 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.

Many of us will be glad of the no-return policy. 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 Amazon at the links provided; 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, one that does not take returns.

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Miscellaneous items at Bed Bug Supply

  • Since you may need more than one item, the one-stop shopping and the free shipping at Bed Bug Supply can’t be beat.
  • 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).

Bed Bug Supply- click here

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Other Suppliers: Do My Own Pest Control

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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What about Canada?

Bed Bug Supply also ships to Canada, assuming the product is legal for sale in Canada.

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Updated 1/11/2019

1 bugobsessed November 18, 2007 at 12:51 am

To fill holes around pipes and such, I purchased “Good Stuff” by Dow. It fills, seals and insulates large gaps around plumbing and HVAC. It’s great! 16oz. can for about $5.50 at Home Depot in the plumbing aisle.

2 crawledon December 18, 2007 at 12:04 pm

For gaps around heat pipes and radiators you can purchase heat resistant silicone caulking. For those in NYC, I purchased mine at Grand Metro Hardware on Broadway and 96th.

3 Blue_Ox January 22, 2008 at 2:05 am

That Dap / Alex Plus caulk I recommended seemed fine at first, but now, about 3-4 months after applying it, it is cracking and shrinking really badly. Maybe there is a higher quality caulk out there that would be better.

4 nobugsonme January 22, 2008 at 2:18 am

Thanks Blue_Ox, I crossed out the recommendation above for that product.

5 DeathToBBs January 27, 2008 at 7:49 pm

I think Hefty is a better brand than Ziploc. The large Ziploc’s you have to press your fingers together to close and when letting the air out, the ziploc becomes undone. Hefty bags are zippered and easier to close and open. If you are careful enough, then the bags can be used a lotta times. Even thought the Hefty’s have handles, I don’t use them because I find that the bags wear out and break. I carry the bags from the bottom to give them support.

Just a suggestion from experience.

6 nobugsonme February 6, 2008 at 2:46 am

Added flea traps for people who need to rule out fleas.

7 hazel March 11, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Thanks for the usefull information!!

8 L. mcCormack April 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm

My grandmother’s journals from the Depression era yielded this advice on ridding oneself of bedbugs.
” Horrid bedbugs! For these, burn sulfur in the presence of water. in every room. On no account should any living thing, man or animal be present for the entire day. Upon return what cannot be washed and all food stuffs not sealed in crockery or tins must be washed or burnt or buried according to kind. ”
There is no formula or recipe, so to speak, but perhaps someone out there can find it for us. I’m certain the result is a toxic, likely acidic cloud that kills the bugs and is none too good for anything else either.
I have no idea of the legality or environmental impact of her advice and IN NO WAY do I advocate or even suggest anyone try this. I merely put it forth as an interesting look at how such infestations were handled before the modern era and in the hope that a qualified pest control person may be able to apply the knowledge in a safe and modern method.

Editor’s note: READERS, DO NOT TRY THIS. It is dangerous and you could harm yourself or others, and could be legally liable. Bed bugs can be treated safely and effectively in a number of ways, and I suggest working with qualified professionals who can solve your problem more quickly, more safely, more effectively in most cases.

Note to L. mcCormack, thanks for sharing the story. We have heard of this before, and it is interesting as you state, but there is no reason for people (including professionals) to implement something dangerous like this with much more effective methods available.

I know that you warn people against it, but I also know that desperate people will try almost anything (having heard some horrific things already–including some with tragic consequences), and I implore readers not to experiment with this.

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