How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs [Exterminator’s Secret]

Figuring out how to get rid of bed bugs has plagued mankind since the beginning of history. In my 25 years of experience in pest control, I have seen some crazy things. Of the worst, roaches, rats…and bed bugs.

Forget everything  you hear about how to get rid of bed bugs. All you need is one product, Crossfire. Crossfire is safe when used according to the label. Crossfire is easy to apply. And most pest control professionals do not want you to know, Crossfire is available to you! 

Knowing how to get rid of bed bugs seems like a difficult question. And if you resort to your local exterminator, you will get a very, very expensive answer. And if you resort to Google, you will get many answers, though the most emphatic answer from the masses seems to be “Just use boric acid!”

While there are some cases where boric acid will work, there is without a doubt Crossfire is a much better answer. 

Why Share Our Bed Bug Secret?

People often ask me why I am telling everyone one of the biggest secrets in pest control. I have been dealing with bugs and other creepy creatures for a long time. There are so many phone calls from people with serious issues but lack the money to hire a professional exterminator. These people tend to scour the internet looking for an inexpensive solution. And they buy product after product. They cover their home with boric acid; and still, the bed bugs persist. 

The truth is, I feel bad for these people. I imagine my children having to sleep in a bed every night covered in bed bugs. I imagine the filthy, blood-stained mattress from all of the bed bug droppings. And I imagine them trying so hard and not being able to escape the bed bugs.

It became impossible to take phone calls from people that were crushed to find out it treating their bed bugs could cost $1,000 or more when in my head, I knew they could buy the EXACT same product we use for TOTAL ELIMINATION of bed bugs for under $45. 

Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs [Simple]

I do not want to mislead you. When getting rid of bed bugs, it is a combination of two things:

  1. Using the right product (Crossfire)
  2. Being more persistent than the bed bugs. One treatment will work most of the time. On occasion, two treatments will be necessary.

I know, the whole “persistent” thing may take a bit of wind out of your sails but you need to know the truth. BUT part of that truth is that in most cases, ONE application of Crossfire will completely kill all of your bed bugs and is completely safe for your family and pets. 

At my company, Creepy Creatures Termite & Pest Control in Palm Harbor, Florida, the most we have ever had to treat a home for bed bugs is three times. Most cases are resolved with one application. Occasionally, two applications are needed. 

The more complicated exterminators can make bed bug treatment sound, the more business they will get. But I want to level the playing field. As I mentioned, some cases are more difficult than others, however, all you need is Crossfire, a pump sprayer and water…that is it. 

How To Apply Crossfire

I said before that getting rid of bed bugs is simple, right? So HOW do you actually do a treatment to get rid of bed bugs?

MGK, the makers of Crossfire make it easy for  you. Pick up a 13 oz. bottle of Crossfire, you can buy it on Amazon. If you are a landlord or work with an ALF, I would recommend getting the big bottle, we get the 130 oz bottle. But for most residential cases one to two bottles of the 13 oz size will do. 

Fill your gallon pump sprayer with just less than a gallon of water. Then add the entire 13 oz bottle of Crossfire…then spray everywhere! Ok, well maybe not EVERYWHERE, but just about. 

I would stay away from food and food prep areas. I would avoid children’s toys and pet’s toys. However, given the label expressly states that it should be applied directly to mattresses, I think the likelihood of an accidental poisoning from Crossfire hitting toys is very unlikely.

So have at it! But focus on the obvious areas…like the bed. Bed bugs love to hang out in the mattress seams and any little tight area just as joints in the bed frame. Treat the entire bed so that it is wet to the touch. There is no need to soak the bed, but be sure to spray in thoroughly.

Bed bugs will crawl up the legs of the bed so be sure to spray the legs, the area where the legs meet the bed as well as the entire area around the legs.

Separate the mattress from the box spring. Spray the top, bottom and sides of both the mattress and box spring. 

Don’t Forget To Spray The Walls

This one surprises a lot of people…if you have bed bugs, why would you spray the walls? The funny thing about bed bugs is they love to climb walls and congregate where the ceiling meets the walls. Inspect the walls and ceilings carefully. If you see clusters of bed bugs up high on the walls, be sure to spray them as well as the area.

If you do not see any bed bugs gathered up high, spray it anyway just in case they decide to make a break for it! Prevention is always good so be sure to do as much as possible. 

Baseboards can also be a good hangout for bed bugs. Spray the baseboards and at least 3 feet up the wall even if you do not see any activity. 

**Be sure to test the spray on the floor before applying it to make sure there is no staining. This should not be an issue but it’s better to play it safe.

Bed Bugs Love Other Furniture

Even though bed bugs prefer beds, they readily take up home in other kinds of furniture, especially when there are lots of little cracks and crevices. It is always recommended to treat couches, chairs and any other piece of furniture where people sit or lay down.

PRO TIP #1: When treating furniture for bed bugs, be sure to make a small hole in the underside of the box spring and spray Crossfire inside the box spring. 

Pull the cushions off any couches. Spray the cushions as well as every little crack and crevice of the couch. With some couches you can also spray inside on the back of the couch, normally accessible from the underside.

Don’t forget about recliners! Recliners are full of little cracks and crevices. Be sure to hit all of the tight areas as well as joints where the chair reclines. Open the chair so the leg rest is extended. This will allow you to thoroughly spray the inside of the chair.

How Safe Is Crossfire?

How safe is Crossfire is one of the most common questions I get. Crossfire is one of the very, very few products that we can call safe. Pest control professionals are taught to not use the word “safe”. It’s a liability thing. It is always possible that someone could misuse a product or have an unusual reaction to it and all they know is that you said it was “safe” and it’s time to call a lawyer!

Pesticides and many household cleaners are categorized by signal words. These words are either “Caution”, “Warning” or “Danger”. “Caution” is the mildest warning, then “Warning” and “Danger” is the most toxic.

The great thing is that Crossfire has NONE of these warnings! Unless you drown in it, it really is considered to be safe. We are so conditioned to believe that all insecticides will kill us or give us cancer; this is just not true.

Many insecticides even target things within bugs that have zero effect on humans. Others are so watered down that their danger to humans is almost nil. But it more about science. Our scientists have done such a great job creating targeted insecticides that we can safely use in our house, on our furniture and even on our pets. Yes, fipronil is applied directly to the skin of dogs and cats for flea control. Fipronil is also the active ingredient in the number one termiticide, Termidor. I am getting a bit off track, but my point is that pesticides have come a long way in the last 30 years.

Adult Bed Bug
Adult Bed Bug

How Do You Get Bed Bugs?


Unfortunately, many people never learn where their bed bugs came from. Other cases, people have no doubt where they came from. 

Hotels are one of the most notorious places to pick up bed bugs. Everytime I check into a hotel, as soon as I get to my room I pull up the sheets and look for the tell-tale signs of bed bugs. I am yet to find any but I am sure one day I will! 

Many times hotels will get torn apart on social media when a guest discovers they got bed bugs from the hotel. There are hotels that deserve the lashing but there are many cases when the hotel had no idea and no warnings that they had bed bugs. 

A good hotel will have a solid bed bug preventative/treatment program which includes a highly trained cleaning staff trained to spot and quickly report bed bug evidence. But even the best trained and cleanest hotel can still have bed bugs sneak by and catch a ride home on an unsuspecting guest. 

I alway thought it was interesting that Crossfire is so effective and available to anyone, why wouldn’t a hotel keep in on hand so they can act promptly when bed bugs are found? If I were a hotel owner, I would consider keeping Crossfire on hand and treat each bed every few months as a preventative. 

Movie Theatres

Imagine going to watch the latest scary movie. And just as those teenagers down at the lake were about to be attacked by the guy in the mask, you were unknowingly being attacked by bed bugs!

Movie theaters are notorious for spreading bed bugs. Movie theaters are a perfect place for them to thrive. These areas are dark, so no one can see them, new people are always coming in and out so they spread easily and there are many little cracks and crevices for bed which bed bugs can hide. 

Theatre owners may consider keeping Crossfire on hand for regular preventative treatments.

Adult bed bug

Calling An Exterminator vs. Do It Yourself

Bed bugs can be tough and should never be taken lightly. And there are times when professionals should be called. But for the vast majority of situations, just about anyone surely handle most bed bug situations.

The biggest case for calling a pest control professional would be when time is of the essence. If you are in a situation where you need to know that the vast majority of your bed bugs will die quickly, then you should call an exterminator that will do a heat treatment. 

Heat treatments are very effective at controlling bed bugs. However, they are not perfect and there are things of which you should be aware.

Bed bug heat treatments are expensive. Many times, a bed bug heat treatment requires two pest control technicians which doubles the cost of labor. Heat treatment equipment is very expensive; it is not uncommon for the equipment to cost more than $15,000 and you can be sure, if you made a $15,000 investment in equipment, you are going to want a return on investment.

Another drawback to heat treatments is that sometimes bed bugs will escape the heat. Bed bugs will try to escape the heat by finding refuge under the baseboards, perhaps even finding cooler areas in the walls. 

Some pest control professionals will use freezing treatments for bed bugs. While bed bugs can be frozen to death, it has to be very cold and it has to be sustained long enough to cause death. Some pest control companies have very expensive equipment designed to freeze bed bugs to death. 

But for these treatments to be effective, EVERY bed bug must be directly treated and frozen long enough that they die. If you miss any bugs, your problem will quickly return. 

Another main drawback with heat and freezing treatment is that there is no residual and there is no transfer effect. The great thing about Crossfire is that if you miss anything, it is okay. 

Crossfire can last up to a year and that is very important in the event that you unknowingly visit the source of the initial infestation, thus your problem continues to return. On the other hand, lets say you picked up bed bugs from your office. Every time you come home from the office you bring home a few bed bugs. If you only had a heat treatment, you have no residual so your infestion would start right up again.

The “Transfer effect” is a very powerful aspect of Crossfire that you do not get with heat or freezing treatments. The transfer effect means that bed bugs are not killed immediately. Once a bed bug comes into contact with Crossfire, they then go hang out in clusters with other bed bugs, thus spreading the Crossfire to all of the other bed bugs…where they all die 🙂

The transfer effect is used in other products for other pests. Below is an awesome example of how an Thai termiticide works to kill termites by using the transfer effect.

How The Transfer Effect Works

What Else Kills Bed Bugs?

There are many things that kill bed bugs. The question really is, what else effectively kills bed bugs? And if they number one answer is, Crossfire is the best, why would you mess around with things that a random stranger that knows nothing about pest control tell you on the internet?

Boric acid is perhaps the most common “natural pesticide” for bed bugs. And while can kill bed bugs, it is going to take a lot of it and it has not transfer effect. As a stomach poison, boric acid has low toxicity but it also has no antidote.

Diatomaceous earth (D.E.) is another common, “natural insecticide”. DE is not even a poison. DE is a desiccant that works by rubbing off the waxy coating on the exoskeleton or the pest, which causes them to die from dehydration. While there is nothing wrong with using DE, it just does not have the power to effectively eliminate most bed bug situations. 

It is not uncommon to go to homes for treatment and find DE and boric acid spread EVERYWHERE around the house…and bed bugs still running all over.

Can You Combine Bed Bug Treatments?

Yes, you may combine bed bug treatments but you should do it within reason. It is understandable to be so frustrated with your bed bugs that you want to throw everything possible at them.

As long as you start off with Crossfire as your foundation, you will be okay with combining treatments. There are very few reasons that Crossfire alone will not work, it is the #1 product for killing bed bugs. Adding anything else will speed up the process and/or help prevent future infestations, even though Crossfire may last for up to a year.

What Would I Personally Do If It Were My Home?

If it were my home and I had plenty of money, I would hire a professional company for a heat treatment. I would then make sure to follow it up with a thorough treatment of Crossife.

I would then treat the mattresses and any other infested furniture with Steri-Fab.Steri-Fab will kill any bed bug eggs, dust mites, lice, mold, mildew and bacteria. Keep in mind, your bed is full of blood stains, which is from the droppings of bed bugs. I would be a good idea to do your best to sterilize the bed. 

Once everything has been treated, I would cover the bed with a high quality bed bug mattress cover. Bed bugs will climb up your bed while you sleep, installing bed bug feet cups under the feet of the bed is highly recommended. 

If spending money is a concern, I would skip the heat treatment. Crossfire is a solid product and using it alone should eliminate any bed bug situation. If it is in the budget, still follow up with a Steri-Fab treatment as well as mattress cover and bed feet cups. 

But There Are So Many Bed Bug Products!

Yes, there are so many products to choose from; that is why I am telling you what we use. Every month, we get companies trying to get us to use their products to kill bed bugs. As a pest control business owner, I talk with other owners and I talk with my product sales rep…and MKG’s Crossfire is #1.

IF I were to use a back up product, I would not hesitate to use Alpine’s Flea & Bed Bug Spray. Alpine is our “go to” when it comes to German roaches…which are also notoriously challenging unless you know what product to use.

Alpine Flea & Bed Bug Spray

Bed Bugs Reproduce Through “Traumatic Insemination’

Yes, “traumatic insemination” is really a thing…male bed bugs will forcibly break through the female’s abdomen then inject it with semen. Female bed bugs can then have up to 200 babies. 

Bed Bug Facts

  • Bed bugs DO NOT spread disease but they DO feed on human blood.
  • Bed bugs have an analgesic in their saliva that makes their bite painless.
  • Bed bug saliva has an anticoagulant so that your blood will not cloth while they feed.
  • Bed bugs can tolerate temperature from about zero all the way up to 122 degrees fahrenheit. 
  • Bed bugs can hide out for months in a crack in the furniture and will be alerted to your presence by you inhaling carbon dioxide.
  • Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed.

Why Should You Trust Me?

Unlike most people giving advice on the internet, I have a pest control business. I tell you EXACTLY what we do to make our customers happy…see below for what our pest control customers are saying about us.

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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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