nuke bedbugs

What kills bed bugs instantly?

If you recently found a bed bug nest or hiding place and saw all of those creepy crawlers moving in the dark, you probably want something that kills them instantly to get rid of bed bugs in your house. So, what can we recommend to kill bed bugs immediately? In this article, you will find a helpful list of pesticides appropriate for the task and other options you can also try.

How can I kill bed bugs instantly?

The best way to kill bed bugs instantly is by using pesticides. These are very strong chemicals toxic for bed bugs and other insects, and some of them are toxic to humans, too. So, we recommend you make fair use of these chemicals, do not spray them on areas you constantly transit, and think twice if the bed bug nest is on your mattress because you could get exposed to the toxic chemicals when you’re sleeping. With that in mind, let’s review some of the most effective anti-bed bug measures:

  • Pyrethrin and Pyrethroids: These are probably the most common pesticides against bed bugs, and they kill these bugs almost instantly. The difference between one another is that pyrethrin comes from the chrysanthemum flower, and pyrethroids are synthetic substances that mimic the chemical structure and the action of pyrethrin. They have in common their mechanism of action, and they are both lethal for bed bugs at any phase of growth as well as their eggs. When using these substances, you need to keep in mind that some bed bugs become resistant to them, and in these cases, you need a combination of different substances to make it lethal.
  • Pyrroles: These substances are the only ones in the group of chlorfenapyr-based pesticides that work against bed bugs. It activates inside the bed bug body and takes a bit longer, but kills them after a very short while. What it does is blocking chemical pathways in the body and cells of bed bugs, which ultimately kills them.
  • Neonicotinoids: As the name implies, this type of chemical is similar to nicotine. What they do is causing changes in the nicotinic receptors of the nervous system of a bed bug. The nicotinic nerves repeatedly fire and become chemically exhausted. Thus, the nervous system becomes unable to produce new impulses, and the bed bug dies. These substances are commonly used in bed bugs that become resistant to other pesticides. They are not usually recommended as the first choice because they can be very toxic to humans, too.

If you want to kill bed bugs immediately without chemicals, it is also possible by using high temperatures. It is known that bed bugs do not survive temperatures over 125 ºF, which kills them immediately. So, you can use boiling water as long as you’re very careful. Another alternative is using steam to get rid of bed bugs in your clothes, carpets, and other surfaces. Just make sure that you’re staying on the same spot for a long time before moving the steam forward because one of the most common mistakes is not taking enough time to steam the fabric’s surface.

Another option is acquiring a portable heating device, which does not only works for your bedding and carpets. You can also use these devices to get rid of bed bugs in a sleeping bag, your pillow, purse, shoes, and many other day-to-day items where you can’t use insecticides. These devices are powered by an electric source, and their temperatures are appropriate to kill bed bugs because they are higher than 120 ºF. However, you need to make sure they reach this temperature before taking out your items.

You can also take your clothes to the washing machine, and it works to kill bed bugs because they are not adapted to water environments and drown.

How to get rid of bed bugs on the long term

All of the above are options to kill bed bugs instantly, most probably after you found one of their hiding places. But if you want a long-term solution to your problem, you need to take a few additional steps.

  • Keep looking for bed bug hiding places. You must do so because, when the infestation becomes more severe, bed bugs migrate to new locations, and they may be found in different parts of your room or different areas in your house. You can search for them in cracks and crevasses on the walls or any old furniture you have around your bed. They are usually found inside your room, but this is no rule of thumb, and you can find them in the adjacent room.
  • Keep everything clean and clutter-free as a simple and effective measure to prevent bed bugs from hiding in new places in your room. Sometimes they are very difficult to handle because people do not clean their house very often or have stacked newspapers, magazines, and other items they don’t use. Any small and dark space is a potential hiding spot for bed bugs.
  • If you have a severe infestation and wake up with several bites every day or have had recurrent bed bug problems, consider the option of hiring extermination services instead of trying to get rid of bed bugs on your own. They can handle your bed bug problem with a combination of methods and have the tools and ability to check on your house to detect bed bugs more rapidly and effectively


Benoit, J. B., Lopez‐Martinez, G., Teets, N. M., Phillips, S. A., & Denlinger, D. L. (2009). Responses of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, to temperature extremes and dehydration: levels of tolerance, rapid cold hardening, and expression of heat shock proteins. Medical and veterinary entomology23(4), 418-425.

Doggett, S. L., Dwyer, D. E., Peñas, P. F., & Russell, R. C. (2012). Bed bugs: clinical relevance and control options. Clinical Microbiology Reviews25(1), 164-192.

Singh, N., Wang, C., & Cooper, R. (2014). Potential of essential oil-based pesticides and detergents for bed bug control. Journal of economic entomology107(6), 2163-2170

Chrysler, D., Foster, E., Reik, R., Schwartz, A., Signs, K., & Stobierski, M. G. (2010). Michigan manual for the prevention and control of bed bugs. USA: Michigan Department of Community Health.

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