Bed Bugs

Effectiveness of Bed Bug Pesticides

Factors Affecting Bed Bug Control

Before EPA allows a bed bug claim on a label, the product must be supported by data to show the product will kill bed bugs when applied according to the label. Although these data may show that the pesticide can kill bed bugs, how well the pesticide works will depend on other factors including:

  • the extent of the infestation,
  • how well the area is prepared (hiding places removed, bed isolated, laundering of linens, etc.),
  • the quality and coverage of the pesticide application,
  • the targeting of all life stages, and
  • whether or not the bed bug population has developed resistance either to the specific pesticide or to the class of pesticides.

It is important to remember that not all treatments work in all situations and that eliminating bed bugs will take patience and diligence, especially if you are doing it yourself, without the help of a professional. Treatments may not work for a variety of reasons, so it is important to approach bed bug control methodically and comprehensively, using IPM techniques including continued monitoring to confirm that the population is eliminated and to remain vigilant against the reintroduction of new bed bugs.

Planned Regulatory Changes

Because determining effectiveness of bed bug control products is so much different than for other pests, in late 2011 EPA began an accelerated process to develop guidelines for conducting studies of effectiveness specifically for bed bug control products. Data generated using these new guidelines will allow EPA and the registrants to develop use instructions that will be more explicit about how a product can be used to achieve the greatest effectiveness.

While EPA is revising the bed bug effectiveness guidelines using an expedited process, the agency continues to follow a rigorous scientific process.

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