How to get rid of bed bugs is one of the greatest questions of all time. Bug bugs have been around for thousands of years if not millions yet they are still one of the most difficult pests to get rid of.

The bed bug is a master if survival and I cannot help but to think of the Roadrunner and Coyote. Every single time, just when we think we have the solution, the bed bug escapes. Not so much as physically “escape” but bed bugs have the uncanny knack of becoming chemically resistant to whatever comes their way. But don’t get discouraged; there is a solution and you do not have to pay thousands of dollars for it…unless you hire a professional pest control company.

Bed bug infographic
Bed bug infographic

When writing blog posts like this, writers always seem to follow a similar formula, perhaps to satisfy the needs of the search engine. If you are like me, you have a question and you want an answer. So you Google “This is my question”, find what seems to be a good article and then you have to read and read and read about all sorts of fluff and stuff you don’t care about just to get your question answered. And even worse, you read through the fluff of an entire article only to realize it was written by just a normal, ordinary schlub that researched the subject on Google and just wrote about what everyone else is writing about.

I don’t want to be like that. The answer to your question is Crossfire. Yes, Crossfire. It is safe, it is effective. I earn a living, in fact, I run a pest control business. Part of effectively running that business means killing bugs, killing them quickly, killing them safely and doing it as a reasonable price. That is why we use Crossfire.

So there you go, you have your answer. Now, back to my subject of regurgitated fluff (because it is relevant and will save you money and time)…I suppose most businesses have things often said by people who think they are in the know but really have no idea.

In my business of pest control, when it comes to bed bugs, it seems that nearly anyone with almost no experience with bed bugs will give their opinion online about bed bugs as though they are a seasoned professional. In reading comments, it seems that some people spend their time on in the internet just looking for people asking questions so that they can Google the answer and promptly reply to the question as though they are the authority.

Most of the answers you will find online regarding bed bugs returns answers such as “Use boric acid, it works every time!” or “All you need to do is put out D.E. (diatomaceous earth), trust me, its the best!”

The comments on my Youtube channel are, um…interesting. People are emphatic, rude and just plain wrong. It’s common for people to call me names or say I have no idea what I am talking about as they espouse their “remedy”. Again, I earn a living by killing bed bugs fast and forever and for a reasonable price.

So let’s dig into it…yes, there are other things that work. Do they work well? No. Do they work every time? No. Is it practical to use them? No. This applies to every single “home remedy”. So if they are not effective, why do so many people claim they are? I don’t know but I have a couple ideas.

First, I think people attach their ego to answering questions. It makes them feel good to answer random people’s questions. This is INSANELY common with snake ID. I can’t tell you how many times people online have asked me to ID a picture of a snake only to be inundated by people who have no idea what they are talking about. Many times, these people will tell someone a harmless snake is venomous but more concerning is how often someone tells someone their snake is harmless when it is actually venomous.

Back to bed bugs…there are other insecticides that are effective for bed bugs. But I am not talking about D. E. or boric acid. D.E. and boric acid are great and have their place, but not with bed bugs. There are some fantastic products that other pest control professionals use, and if they work for them, then good on them. But currently, Crossfire is the hands down winner for chemical treatment of bed bugs.

Professional exterminators are funny people. We have 30 some different products to do the same job. Some products are more effective than others and some exterminators are better at applying the product…so you cannot always blame the efficacy on the product.

Transfer Effect

Some people and even companies try to save money and they will water down a quality product, thus it does not work. OR they will do the opposite and mix it “hot” (more than the recommended solution) and this backfires. Why would “too much” not work? Great question…see, many if not most insecticides today work with a “transfer effect”. The transfer effect allows the insect/bug/mite/whatever you would like to call it to walk through the product and not die immediately. People want immediate gratification…they want to see bugs die immediately.

But the transfer effect is designed so they walk through it, go back to the nest, harborage or hangout. There, they rub up against the others, they groom one another and in some cases such as roaches, they may eat the others. There needs to be a period “time of survival” to allow the bug to spread the product to all of the others…that will give you the most thorough kill.

A great example of this is when treating a yellow jacket nest. People will tell us they went through an entire case of Raid wasp killer and the yellow jacket nest is still active as ever. The truth is Raid will most likely (depending on the size and location of the nest) never kill the nest. Raid kills on contact and will never penetrate the nest. Raid is great for immediate knockdown of whatever it hits. However, if you do not penetrate the nest, the nest will never die.

On the other hand, if you come in and spray with my favorite all around product, Alpine WSG, you will not see many yellow jackets falling out of the air dying…so you do not get your immediate satisfaction of seeing them die immediately. However, the hornets that were sprayed or touched the nest that was sprayed will enter the hive and spread the Alpine to all of the other wasps inside…and the nest will die; it just needs a little time.

On some of the bigger yellow jacket hives we will use both products. We come in with Raid (or generic Raid works just as well). We spray the “scouts” that guard the entrance. Once they are soaked, we drench it with Alpine. Hitting the scouts first helps slow down the pouring out of yellow jackets that now want to kill you (and they will if you are not careful).

I know, I veered off topic but it is important to understand how these products work.

Again, back to bed bugs…Yes, you may be tempted to mix Crossfire “hot” but you want the product to work as intended…if you have bed bugs, the number one thing you want to do is to kill them all. And the number two thing is that you do not want to have to do it again. This is why you follow the label and apply Crossfire properly.

How To use Crossfire

If you are anything like me, the anxiety of doing something is worse than actually doing it. That’s why I am telling you that using Crossfire is so easy that a caveman’s pet dogasaurus could do it.

Fill a one gallon sprayer, fill it ALMOST to one gallon, empty the 13 oz. bottle into the water, mix and spray nearly everything…such as furniture, beds, walls, baseboards (bed bugs will climb walls and congregate in corners).

If you don’t have a one gallon sprayer, you can buy one here…or if you have a 2 gallon or more sprayer, of course just fill it with one gallon 🙂 I recommend a 2 gallon sprayer and just filling it halfway.

Smith 2 Gallon Contractor’s Sprayer

Where To Spray

First, the number one rule in doing any pest control is to follow the label, in fact, the label is the law.

TO KILL BED BUGS (Adults, Nymphs and Eggs):

For best results, vacuuming surfaces is recommended prior to treatment. Spray bed bugs and eggs directly wherever possible. Apply as a pinstream, coarse spray or low pressure spray for crack and crevice, carpet perimeter, and direct spray applications in and around non-food areas where bed bugs and their eggs may hide or harbor. For example, on and around baseboards, floorboards, millwork, bed frames, headboards, wall hangings, furniture, door and window frames, walls, closets, window treatments, beneath floor coverings, as well as other non-washable items that may come in contact with bed bugs such as luggage, shoes and backpacks. If treating a pet’s living environment, spray on and around pet beds, bedding, floors, sleeping areas and furnishings. This product can also be applied with a paintbrush to walls, baseboards, floorboards, behind wall hangings and other similar areas.

MATTRESS APPLICATION:

Crossfire can be directly applied to mattress and box springs surfaces. For porous surfaces such as mattresses and carpet perimeter areas, apply until thoroughly damp but not wet. Infested bed linens should not be treated. These should be removed, tightly sealed in a plastic bag, laundered and dried at high temperatures prior to re-use. Vacuuming surfaces prior to treatment is highly recommended. Using pinstream, coarse or low pressure equipment, spray directly to mattress surface paying special attention to seams, folds, tufts and edges as well as bed frames and box springs where bed bugs harbor. Re-make bed with clean linens prior to reuse.

Mixing With Other Insecticides

Crossfire, by itself will almost always do the job but if you are looking for an additional kick, you could also mix in an “Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). An IGR will not necessarily kill bed bugs but it will prevent existing bed bugs from maturing and re-producing.

Tekko Pro IGR

Many people want to know how long Crossfire will last…well, the label suggests about 4 months. However, on some of the marketing products for Crossfire we have seen a 12 month lifespan after treatment. I cannot tell you “technically” how long it will last but I can tell you that my company, Creepy Creatures, Inc. offers an unconditional ONE YEAR WARRANTY.

Now, this does not mean that Crossfire will technically last that long but we have found that once the initial treatment is done (once in a while we will need to retreat), we have a reasonable expectation that the bugs will be gone for good and we are comfortable offering a one year warranty. This is not a guarantee for anyone that buys Crossfire and does the treatment themselves but is meant to express how well Crossfire works for us, pest control professionals.

Other Questions

Q. Is Crossfire safe?

A. Crossfire is unusual in that it has no “Signal word”. A signal word can be found on nearly all pesticides and many household cleaners. They are Danger, Caution and Warning. Each product gets labeled with a signal word according to it’s toxicity. CROSSFIRE HAS NO SIGNAL WORD. In pest control, we are taught to not use the word “safe” as it is subjective and can lead to legal trouble. This aside, when used according to the label, Crossfire can be considered safe.

Q. Where do I spray Crossfire?

A. DO NOT SPRAY ON FOOD SURFACES, AROUND PET FISH, ON PETS OR ON PEOPLE. Outside of that, almost anything is fair game. This includes on mattresses, on furniture, on carpet, on pet bedding, around baseboards and more.

Q. Should I add an insect growth regulator (IGR)?

A. At Creepy Creatures, Inc., we get great results using Crossfire by itself but if you have it in the budget and what some extra reassurance, go for it. CSI Tekko Pro IGR is what we recommend.

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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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