There was a time when bed bugs were considered to be all but extinct.
In the past, the use of certain toxic pesticides nearly destroyed the bed bug population in much of western society.
Between the 1950s-1990s, bed bugs basically passed from reality to legend. They were nothing more than a fun rhyme that parents would tell their children at bedtime.
Since then, the potent insecticides that brought about the collapse of the bed bug population have been legally banned and shifted out of use.
Unfortunately, with these insecticides no longer in use, bed bugs have returned and spread with impressive speed.
If bed bugs have been discovered in your home or rental property, then it’s time for serious action. A bed bug infestation is not to be taken lightly. Unless properly treated, bed bugs tend to reproduce quickly, causing infestations to become progressively worse over time.
(Note: If you think you might have bed bugs in your home or rental property, then the first thing to do is request an inspection so you can be sure you know what you’re dealing with. Click here to contact us and request a free professional inspection.)
How Much Does Bed Bug Extermination Cost?
If you’re facing the possible need to hire a bed bug exterminator, then you’re probably wondering how much everything is going to cost.
This is obviously an excellent question. Hopefully we can give you an idea of what you can likely expect moving forward.
If you search Google for “DIY treatments for bed bugs”, you’ll likely find a small army of bloggers ready to give their opinions about natural, simple, inexpensive, do-it-yourself solutions for bed bugs.
You might read about things like boric acid, hydrogen peroxide or even essential oils.
Do these treatments work? Some do. Some don’t.
But there’s much more to the story.
The truth is, just because a substance is effective at killing bed bugs, does not mean that you will be able to easily take care of your bed bug problem on your own by spraying that substance all over your bed.
Sorry to disappoint, but countering a bed bug infestation is usually much more complicated than that. Allow me to share a few of the reasons why:
1. Bed bugs are extraordinary survivors. In some cases, something a treatment succeeds in killing a certain amount of bed bugs, can put their brothers and sisters on high alert, making them much harder to kill.
2. Bed bugs tend to live in small, cramped spaces. Unsurprisingly, some of these spaces are found on/in your mattress and bedding. But there are other areas that bed bugs might inhabit, including cracks and crevices in your headboard or boxspring, inside carpets, in open electrical outlets, etc. In other words, even if you manage to kill a certain amount of bed bugs with a DIY solution, it’s unlikely that you will manage to spray and kill every single one. If something happens that causes bed bugs to go on high alert, they can burrow very deep into these hiding spaces where they can survive for extended periods of time without coming out to feed.
3. Bed bugs have a powerful sense of smell. If they smell chemicals or other substances that they know to be dangerous, they will burrow deep into their hiding places. Once they do this, eradicating the infestation becomes much more complicated and potentially much more expensive.
4. There are indeed certain substances that are effective at killing bed bugs on contact. Unfortunately, these substances are not all effective at destroying the least vulnerable part of an infestation: bed bug eggs. These eggs are very difficult to destroy. But taking care of them is absolutely vital if you don’t want the infestation to come right back… possibly worse than ever.
5. Many of the substances used for killing bed bugs are only effective with direct contact. That means you have to spray each and every bed bug if you are do you have any hope of succeeding. If you miss a single adult female bed bug that has already been mated, she could have everything she needs in order to resurrect the infestation rather quickly.
So, is it possible for you to take care of a bed bug problem with a DIY treatment? To be honest, yes it is possible. If you manage to catch everything early enough and you do everything right, then you just might succeed in avoiding having to hire an exterminator.
But let me be clear, the likelihood of that happening is quite minimal. You will have to run into a whole lot of luck if you are to succeed. You will also have to be very careful and you’ll probably have to invest quite a bit of time and effort.
So, to repeat, yes it is possible. But unfortunately, a much more likely scenario is that you will work hard, stress yourself out, cause the surviving bed bugs to burrow deep into their hiding places, cause the infestation to grow much worse and finally cause you to have to hire an exterminator who will have to work much harder and who will probably charge you significantly more than he would have if he had been able to handle the problem in the beginning.
In the end, a DIY “solution” might cost a great deal more in time, stress, worry, effort and money. It’s a gamble that can possibly pay off, but that has a much higher likelihood of blowing up in your face.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the risk is just too high for me to not be honest with you.
The bed bug extermination option with the lowest cost (not counting DIY treatments) will probably be the professional application of pesticides.
Pesticides can work in some cases. But they have multiple disadvantages.
For one, they are toxic and unhealthy, particularly to children, the elderly and pets.
If it can be avoided, toxic chemical pesticides are not something that you want to be sleeping right on top of.
Another drawback is that depending on the type of pesticide, you may run into the same types of problems as with DIY treatments.
Some pesticides are not effective at destroying bed bug eggs. And the pesticide smell may warn bed bugs to burrow deep into their hiding places, making the infestation worse over time.
That said, a competent exterminator might deem it appropriate to try to tackle a less severe infestation with a series of pesticide treatments.
A rough estimate of the cost of this bed bug extermination option would be somewhere in the range of $100-500 per room.
When it comes to treating bed bugs, heat treatments are by far our favorite option.
Sustained temperatures of 120°F+ (49°C) can kill bed bugs very effectively.
Heat treatments are not quite as simple as one might wish for. They require you to leave your home for a number of hours. They also require the use of relatively expensive machinery.
But, all in all, heat treatments cause only a moderate amount of inconvenience.
In return, however, they are very effective at killing both bed bugs AND bed bug eggs.
Importantly, a heat treatment is also able to do so without introducing toxic substances into your home.
In most cases, a single treatment should suffice. But a good exterminator will still come back and check his work.
Depending on the size of your house and on the severity of the infestation, a rough estimate of a heat treatment extermination cost is in the low (or possibly mid) four figure range, in other words a few thousand dollars.
Obviously, that’s probably more than most people would enjoy paying, but unfortunately, depending on how severe the infestation is, it’s likely that this type of price tag is as good as it’s going to get.
It is however possible that a heat treatment for a less severe bed bug infestation might cost significantly less.
As a nice extra benefit, heat treatments may also eradicate toxic mold or bacteria that might be growing in your house. So, it might actually work out to be kind of like two treatments for the price of one.
In some cases, an infestation might become so severe that fumigation for the entire building is necessary.
Fumigation is toxic, inconvenient and expensive.
But it can also be very effective.
When done properly, a single fumigation should completely take care of the problem.
Unfortunately, it requires you and your family to vacate your home overnight.
A rough estimate for the cost of a bed bug fumigation extermination is around $4-7.50 per square foot
That means a 2000 square-foot house can cost as much is $15,000 to fumigate.
If it can be avoided, it’s not your first choice.
But depending on the situation, it may be called for.
Note: This is another reason why we recommend against DIY treatments. As previously mentioned, a DIY treatment can make an infestation significantly worse. In the end, a DIY solution might actually lead to a $10,000+ bill. In our professional opinion, it’s just not worth the risk.
Not to frighten you, but to be frank a bed bug infestation can be absolutely maddening.
If you think you may have bed bugs in your home, you need to act now.
We highly recommend you reach out to an exterminator for an inspection before moving forward.
If you’re interested in a free inspection, please reach out as soon as possible. We’d be happy to help you! 🙂
Presidio Pest Management