Bed bugs are one of the most common pests around the world—especially in the United States.
Despite living in practically every crevice and corner on the planet, price estimates for removing these little guys vary.
Well, because they're tenacious...and unfortunately resistant to a lot of pesticides.
Here's the good news: we've got the facts on what you can expect to shell out to kick these creatures to the curb.
Keep reading for a few examples of ballpark pricing schemes, treatment costs, and everything you need to know about eliminating bed bugs from your home.
Professional Exterminator Fees
Professional exterminators charge anywhere between $250 and $900 per room which requires treatment.
The reason for this wide gap in pricing is due to the severity of the infestation as well as the size of the rooms being treated. Lighter infestations will, of course, be less expensive than homes or offices overrun with bed bugs.
Make sure to find a reputable pest control company. (We prefer to stick with local specialists who know the area and its pests.) Take a quick look at what Jeff White, research entomologist for Bed Bug Central says about locating a top-notch pest control company.
What's Included in the Cost?
A trained pest control specialist comes to the area of infestation to conduct an initial inspection.
This person will scour the site from top to bottom, taking every nook and cranny into account. They will locate every possible nesting/dwelling place that a colony of bed bugs has created in your home or office, creating a plan for the actual extermination.
The pest control specialist handling your case will meet with you to discuss the findings and make a recommendation regarding the appropriate treatment based on the level of infestation.
Trained Dog Inspections
Some pest control companies have dogs on staff who are trained to sniff out bed bug eggs and locate them in the smallest of crevices.
This is advantageous to the consumer because the dog's sense of smell is heightened, and therefore much stronger than a human's.
Dogs are better able to detect bed bugs with their noses than humans are with their eyes. Bringing a trained canine for an inspection rather than a human has actually proven, in some cases, to get the job done faster and more effectively!
How Does an Exterminator Treat Bed Bugs?
Pest control specialists and organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that bed bug populations developed resistances to common pesticides like pyrethrins and pyrethroids.
To combat this fact, professionals created new treatments to use against bed bugs, including heat treatments and more effective chemicals.
Read below to take an in-depth look at how these two treatments work.
Heat treatment, is the name implies, works when a pest control specialist brings industrial-grade heaters to a space in order to blast away the bed bugs using heat.
The internal temperature of the space is gradually raised to 130 or 140 degrees Fahrenheit and left that way for 2-3 hours. Afterwards, professionals allow the temperature to drop and remove their equipment and dead pests.
Essentially, the bed bugs are pretty much "cooked" to death.
Adult bed bugs and their eggs die within 90 minutes at 118 degrees Fahrenheit, and immediately at 122 degrees or higher. This temperature is considered the thermal death point at which bed bugs will be unable to survive.
Heat treatments are popular because they don't use toxic chemicals. In addition, these treatments have almost no health risks since residents and pets are evacuated before exterminators start the heaters.
Long story short: a chemical treatment refers to the use of pesticides.
A pesticide is any chemical designed to eliminate something considered a pest, such as a bug, animal, or plant. Exterminators use pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and desiccants against bed bugs.
Pyrethrins are any insecticides made from chrysanthemums, the popular holiday flower. They are contact poisons which disrupt the nervous system of the bed bug, leading to a swift death. Pyrethroids are similar to pyrethrins and were made as a replacement to older pesticides during the 1990s. They also attack the nervous system. Desiccants eliminate the waxy exoskeleton that protects bed bugs and kill them through dehydration.
Chemicals are still a popular option for people suffering from bed bug infestations because they are cheaper than heat treatments. However, bed bugs have grown resistant to many pesticides, so repeat treatments are usually necessary. Naturally, this squases the "value" right out of the equation.
Bed bugs are also intelligent (making them slightly more terrifying) and will avoid an area where pesticide has been sprayed until it dissipates.
Because of their tenacity and intellect, bed bug populations can often survive one chemical treatment.
Many companies will need to treat an area a second time, or will combine two methods to increase efficacy. It's not uncommon for pesticides or fumigation to be completed twice before a population is truly eliminated. In these cases, many professional pest controllers will provide discounts.
Heat treatment is almost always effective the first time, making it one of the best choices for you!
How Long Will It Take to Treat Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs can take up to three weeks to eliminate because what kills adults does usually not harm eggs, and vice versa. This is common with the use of pesticides.
Heat treatment, however, means bed bugs can be eliminated in one day if all of the pests are trapped inside.
Do Professional Bed Bug Treatments Work?
At this point, you're probably wondering if you can just handle your own bed bug extermination.
Dr. Jim Fredricks from the National Pest Management Association says it best when he calls bed bugs "hitchhikers." Check out what else he says about these resilient little guys, and why getting a handle on them can be so difficult.
Unfortunately, the methods that regular people have available—store bought pesticides, freezing, and vacuuming—are not as effective as professional treatments. Most people discover that a professional treatment, when done by someone trustworthy, is far more effective than a DIY job.
And when you really stop to think about it, calling a professional to take on the job is the smartest move. After all, these are blood-sucking parasites which nip at you in your sleep. This is something you really want to pay a professional to take care of for you.
How Much Does It Cost to Treat an Apartment?
Apartments tend to be smaller than houses, so it stands to reason that they'd be cheaper to treat for bed bugs, right?
However, because professionals charge by room (rather than overall area), the price will be roughly equal to the cost of treating a small house. If you have three rooms which require treatment, this could run your anywhere between $1,200 and $1,800.
Bed bugs are unwelcome guests in your home, but evicting them isn't as simple as just spraying a pesticide or setting a trap.
By reading up a little about which treatments are available and retaining estimates from multiple sources, you can become an informed consumer with all the facts.
Bed bug treatment doesn't always come cheap, but it's money well spent for well-rested nights and skin without all the telltale bites.
Other Bed Bug Guides
Curious about other bed bug related guides? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.