Bed bugs have been around forever, at least so it seems. As a kid, I never put much thought into bed bugs, even though my parents would tell me every night “Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” What kind of parents would put this kind of responsibility on a kid? What kind of advice is that…don’t let the bed bugs bite??? I’m a kid, how can I not allow the bed bugs to bite me??? 

I guess I never really thought much about bed bugs, believing that my parents would never allow bed bugs in my bed. But how weird is that to tell your kid to not let bed bugs bite them while they sleep? 

Passing on this tradition, I too say it to my kids. Except I have modified it a bit saying “Don’t let the bed bugs bite…because they will…” 

Any sort of joking aside, bed bugs are real and sadly, there are children that do actually have to go to bed and worry about bed bugs biting. And the truth is, while bed bugs thrive in impoverished conditions, they also can occur in the nicest, cleanest homes.

One of the most disturbing aspects of bed bugs is the cost of treatment. And because of this, many families in American cannot afford treatment, thus their children must continue to endure bed bugs when they sleep.  

Many of these same people that cannot afford a professional exterminator still end up spending hundreds of dollars taking internet advice for “home remedies” that are “guaranteed to work”. And the worst part is, after spending all their time, energy and money on home internet remedies, they still need to hire a pest control exterminator costing hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

The good news is, there is a product that is inexpensive AND works…every time it is tried! No, there is no catch. No, it is not deadly to people and yes, anyone can do it. 

If you talk to people in pest control, you will find that most exterminators are afraid themselves of tackling bed bugs. And if you find an exterminator that does treat bed bugs, it is very likely they will make the process sound so difficult and complicated that most people would be afraid to do it themselves. 

The big pest control companies have invested thousands of dollars in heating equipment and are determined to not just recover their investment but to make a hefty profit too…and who can blame them?

I own a pest control company in Palm Harbor, Florida and deal with bed bugs. Though we did not always treat bed bugs. We didn’t treat them because we thought they were “too difficult” and there was no spray that really worked on killing the little blood suckers. 

Adult bed bug
Adult bed bug

Then one day I was having a conversation with our supplier…there is only one main supplier for all of the pest control companies in Florida; you can look at it like climbing the Himalayas to seek wisdom from the reclusive shaman for pest control advice.

The subject of bed bugs came up and he asked why we don’t work with them. I told him that bed bugs are a pain in the rear and I didn’t want to invest thousands of dollars in heating equipment, it’s just easier to refer the work to someone else.

“Have you ever tried Crossfire?” he said.

“No, does it actually work?” I asked.

Crossfire Is The Best At Killing Bed Bugs

He went to tell me that Crossfire is the most effective product on the market and that it is one of the few products that can actually be called “Safe”. 

“Safe” is a funny word in pest control and is not often used. One of the things we are taught in pest control is how to stay out of trouble and telling people that products are safe (even though they may be) is a gateway opening to a lawsuit when something goes wrong.

But not only is Crossfire safe, it also has a residual that can last up to a year and it is easy to apply. 

Needless to say, I was skeptical but I decided to give it a try. And now we use Crossfire exclusively for treating bed bugs. We are also adding Steri-Fab as a kicker into the treatment but Crossfire is the money maker and bed bug killer. 

Adult bed bug happy family
Adult bed bugs

What we have found is that Crossfire requires no capital investment such as buying heating equipment for $15,000+, Crossfire can be applied by one technician rather than the two that are typically required for heating equipment, it is safe to apply for both humans and animals. 

Why Are Bed Bugs So Hard To Kill?

No doubt about it, bed bugs can be tough cookies.  We read in the media about “Super Bugs” and it conjures up an image of Dr. Evil type bugs shrouded in a cape able to not just repel insecticides but to grow stronger with each bit that splashes on them.

Is this really what it is like? Well…sort of, sans the cape…and the whole Dr. Evil look.

It is not so much that bed bugs are just tough creatures but it is more about “natural selection” and pesticide resistance. While parts of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has been debunked, natural selection is a bit of a more obvious process.

This is now natural selection works in creating super bed bugs: Lets imagine Jim and Pam’s house had bed bugs. Jim comes home with “Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer”, and insecticide that is “guaranteed to kill bed bugs”.

Just as promised, Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer killed about 70% of the bed bugs. To make the numbers easy, let’s say they originally had 1000 bed bugs…now they are down to 300 bed bugs. For whatever reason, Uncle Creed’s just couldn’t kill all of the bugs. It’s a bit like how when the flu goes around, not everyone gets it. There are always a few people that just don’t get sick…they could be called “flu resistant” just as in our case, we have some bed bugs that are resistant to Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer” or more specifically, they are resistant to whatever the active ingredient is in Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer. 

Jim subscribes to “more is better theory” so he applies more of Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer…and that kills another 100. But no matter how much more Jim applies, the left over bed bugs are still not dying.

But there are still more bed bugs and OH NO! They are starting to multiply! So Jim starts to reapply even more of Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer but the babies are not dying like the rest of the bed bugs were.

Jim is perplexed as to why the baby bed bugs are so tough. Jim calls his friend that knows some things about science. Mr. Nye tells Jim that he is creating bed bugs that are resistant to Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer. He explains that Jim initially killed off the weaker bed bugs leaving bugs that has some trait that made them resistant to Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer. Then when those bed bugs began to reproduce, they spawned an entire new generation of bed bugs that are completely resistant to Uncle Creed’s Bed Bug Killer. 

Mr. Nye also explained that according the label, he should only apply a certain amount to the area and rather than forging on with the “more is better” strategy, it may be in his best interest to come at them with an entirely different product altogether. 

But it doesn’t stop there…Mr. Nye was not clear with Jim. Jim sees on the internet that everyone is recommending boric acid. Well, random people on the internet must know things about pest control and Jim sees a couple people recommending “Uncle Dwights’s Bed Bug Killer-NOW WITH A SPOONFUL MORE BORIC ACID!”

Jim orders some “Uncle Dwight’s Bed Bug Killer-NOW WITH A SPOONFUL MORE BORIC ACID!” because how could a spoonful more boric acid NOT be a good thing?

Boric Acid, The Secret To Killing Bed Bugs?

If you go to the internet for any kind of bug issue, you are no doubt going to have countless people recommend all sorts of things for whatever issue you have. Without a doubt, the most common recommendations, regardless of the issue, the masses will recommend mothballs, ammonia soaked rags, peppermint, animal urine and yes, of course, boric acid… all regardless of whatever kind of issue you are having. 

Yes, there are times some of these items work but they do not typically work at a professional level. What the heck does “professional level” mean? What I mean by professional level is that the effects are consistent enough in a variety of situations that will make a consumer happy. 

For example, if you have German roaches only contained in one electrical outlet, putting boric acid in that outlet will very likely kill those roaches. However, in most cases, German roaches are spread throughout the kitchen, possibly the bathrooms and in you have a kid that eats in the bedroom, the roaches may be in their too…so no, boric acid will not work.

If you have a rat contained in one small void in the wall, putting peppermint oil in the void will very likely cause the rat to move out of that void. And after that happens, you celebrate victory because you did it yourself without having to hire one of those “high priced exterminators that wants to rip you off!”. 

But really what happened is, you heard a rat in the wall so you put out peppermint oil. The rat does not like it and moves to a different part of the attic or a part of the wall where you cannot hear them anymore; you did not solve the problem, you only moved it.

When it comes to bed bugs, boric acid will kill most bed bugs, except for the “super bugs” or “boric acid resistant bugs”. But the challenge is being able to apply enough boric acid to all of the right places so that you can get a 100% kill…and except for a very small infestation, you are not going to get a 100% kill with boric acid.

Ask yourself, if boric acid works so well, why do professional exterminators not use it? The short answers is, we do. However, what so many keyboard exterminators at home miss is that boric acid can only do so much. There seems to be this belief among some that we would rather use super, duper, highly toxic chemicals created by the super greedy multi-conglomerate international corporations rather than something so natural that it could not harm a fly…or rather harm only a fly…and maybe some other unwanted insects.

One of the most common termiticides, Bora-Care has boric acid as an active ingredient (though scientifically, it gets a bit more complicated). However, even though Bora-Care is boric acid, you should never attempt to use it for bed bugs. 

Boric acid has its place but it is best to let a pest control professional determine the right place.

One of the biggest challenges for pest control professionals is what is called “Callbacks”. A callback is when you serviced a home for pest control and a few days later they ask that you come back and retreat because they are still seeing bugs. Callbacks can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the insecticide has not had enough time to work, sometimes the treatment works so well that bugs that people never knew they had are now coming out of the walls and dying and people misinterpret that thinking you made the problem worse and other times, the wrong product is being used of the target pest. Good customer communication can reduce callbacks but the point is, boric acid is not “One shot kills all” insecticide, if it was, that would be all that we would use. 

Why Crossfire?

No insecticides are perfect, however Crossfire comes closer than anything else we know of at this point. Things can always change; bed bugs can always become resistant to it, meaning they can become “Superbugs” in relation to Crossfire. However, at the time of writing this article, Crossfire is awesome. 

Crossfire For Bed Bugs
Crossfire For Bed Bugs

The three things that make Crossfire so awesome is that, first of all it actually kills bed bugs! On top of that, Crossfire has a “transfer effect”. The transfer effect means that it does not kill bed bugs right away but when they walk through it or get sprayed, they then go back to the harborage (where all of the bed bugs hang out when they are not feeding) and they spread it to all of the other bed bugs, thus killing all of them! And as the cherry on top, Crossfire has a residual that can last up to a year! This is important because even after all of the bed bugs are killed, they can be accidentally re-introduced. If this were to happen, the new bed bugs die too.

Is Crossfire Really Safe?

With pest control products as well as other products, especially home cleaning products, they often come with “Signal Words”. Signal words give the user a general idea of just how toxic or dangerous the product is.

The three signal words are “Caution”, “Warning” and “Danger” with danger being the most toxic and caution being the least toxic.

Though Crossfire is the king of elimination for getting rid of bed bugs, it actually has NO signal word. What that means is in the highly litigious society, both scientists and lawyers are confident that Crossfire is safe enough to not have ANY signal word. 

Because of this, it allows Crossfire to be applied directly to furniture, mattresses, box springs, carpets and walls!  

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Dusty Showers has been in the urban nuisance wildlife and pest control field since 1993. Taught by Garon Fyffe, a pioneer in humane nuisance wildlife management, Dusty has a passion for finding humane solutions to human & wildlife conflicts. Dusty was the only individual invited by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission in the lat 1990's to help write legislation for legal protection of Florida bats. With an instinct for solving wildlife, Dusty found pest control to be an easy "add-on interest". Dusty started his first business "Animal Instincts Wildlife & Pest Management" in the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1995. Eventually selling Animal Instincts in 2002, Dusty went on to start Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control in 2009, which he still owns and operates today in Palm Harbor, Florida.

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