Bed bugs, an undesirable species
Have you spotted bedbugs in your home ? They're sometimes also called bed fleas. Are they starting to invade your home and you don't know where to start ? An invasion of bed bugs can become very complicated if you don't act quickly. In this dossier, you'll find a range of answers and natural products to help you combat this invasive insect.
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Latin name : Cimex lectularius
Order : Heteroptera
Family : Cimicidae
Adult size : 5 to 8 mm
Location : any habitat
Period : all year round
Its flattened shape (1 to 2 mm) allows it to infiltrate almost anywhere (narrow cracks, mattress seams, back of skirting boards, etc.).
The bed flea is one of the insects commonly known as biting-sucking insects. Their mouthparts allow them to pierce your skin and suck out your blood! They feed at night, mainly on human blood.
They cannot climb easily onto metal or polished surfaces, let alone fly or jump. The bed bug is a crawling, wingless insect. If you see an insect flying around that looks like a bedbug, it is not a bedbug but its cousin, the wood bug, which is much larger and completely harmless.
What you need to know about bed bugs
- There are three stages in the development cycle of the bed bug: egg, nymph and adult. The nymph stage comprises several stages.
- Like most insects, reproduction normally takes place in spring, but heating can alter this natural cycle.
- A male may mate with one or more females several times a day.
- A female is capable of laying 2 to 5 eggs a day for 6 months if conditions (temperature and food) are favourable.
- The eggs are white in colour and around 1 mm long.
- The eggs hatch 1 to 3 weeks after being laid. This period depends on the ambient temperature: the warmer the weather, the faster the cycle, the colder the weather, the slower it becomes.
- The nymph is morphologically identical to the adult but smaller.
- The nymph needs blood to develop. It becomes an adult after 2 to 4 weeks.
- The adult can survive up to 6 months without food and even up to a year if the temperature is low.
- Depending on the temperature, a bedbug may bite you 1 to 3 times a week to feed.
- A bedbug's meal lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.
Bed bugs and temperature
Bed bugs are sensitive to temperature :
- They can only develop above 13°C.
- Their survival time is around 20 minutes at 65°C.
- Their survival time is around 5 days at -7°C and 2 days at -18°C.
- Below 9°C, bedbugs stop feeding, stop growing and go into hibernation.
- Adult bed bugs can survive for a year without food if the temperature is > 9°C and < 13°C.
A miniature vampire !
Normally, bedbugs are nocturnal insects that attack humans (or other warm-blooded animals) when they are inactive (i.e. often during sleep), but a hungry female can bite during the day.
Even if you can't see them, you can detect bed bugs by spotting traces of blood and excrement on your sheets.
How do bed bugs find their host to feed on ?
Bed bugs locate their hosts using a highly specialised recognition system, called chemoreceptors, located on the antennae. These chemoreceptors are sensitive to various parameters :
- Perception of heat
- Infrared radiation
- Day/night vision
- Chemo-olfactance (perception of specific molecules and odours)
More specifically, a bedbug finds its host by detecting the emission of water vapour; sometimes a draught alerts the insect to its presence.
Specific data (osmolarity, salinity, chemical composition) confirm to "suckers" like bedbugs that they are indeed sucking blood and can therefore feed. The precision of sensory perception is linked to the number of chemoreceptors. A bed bug that lives close to its host has few antennular receptors (fewer than 50, compared with a mosquito or fly, which can have up to 5,000). These are also used for sexual purposes.
Preferred locations for bed bugs
In general, bed bugs prefer to live in the bedroom, but if there is no food, they may visit other rooms in the house. Don't expect to see them in the middle of the day (unless there are a lot of them), as they are nocturnal insects.
You'll have to think about where a particularly small, flat insect might be hiding.
Adults can wander around your house. The female generally lays her eggs close to humans, so that the nymph can feed quickly without having to travel miles.
It is likely that if you turn on the light in the middle of the night, you will see some. But you have to be very quick, because as soon as you disturb the bedbug, it will return to its hiding place.
They can be found all over the world, in all living areas and in all climates: hotels, guest rooms, hospitals, retirement homes, crèches, schools and dormitories are all possible places of contamination. Infestations in homes and hotels have been on the increase in recent years. It is also common to be able to take some home with you simply by taking public transport, such as the underground, tram or bus. They travel in people's bags (rucksacks, handbags, sports bags) without them even noticing.
What does a bedbug bite look like ?
Bed bugs are not considered to be disease vectors, but their bites can cause a hard, whitish oedema, with the possibility of local inflammation.
Bedbug bites are often painless when they occur. They inject both an anticoagulant and an anaesthetic. This is why it is very rare for a person to wake up when the bedbugs are feeding. But 1 or 2 hours later, itching and red marks appear on the skin, just like a mosquito bite.
And as with the mosquito, the reaction is due to the saliva, which contains an anaesthetic to reduce the pain of the bite. As with mosquitoes, not everyone is bitten, and it is even possible to be bitten without being aware of it (around 10% of people).
There are usually 3 to 5 bites, often in onion rows or grouped in the same place on the skin, which is characteristic of bedbugs. The bites are generally located on the uncovered parts of the arms, legs and back. In most cases, bed bug bites do not cause any serious problems.
Following the bites, small lesions usually appear, sometimes small reddish blisters that will heal in a few weeks. Although rare, simple bites can cause giant urticaria, sometimes haemorrhagic bullous eruptions and papular urticaria in some people.
The skin's reaction depends on the individual's sensitivity :
- Some people don't even know they've been stung and won't see any sting.
- For some people, the stings disappear after a few hours or even a few days without treatment.
- For others, they manifest themselves as a more or less localised allergic reaction, with itchy, bright red, fairly painful blisters that can develop into a generalised reaction. It is always preferable not to scratch to avoid over-infecting the lesions.
Bed bug bites disappear naturally within ten days and do not require any special care. Clean your skin and try not to scratch to avoid over-infection.
If you suffer from persistent itching, consult your doctor, who will be able to prescribe a cream to relieve you.
10 unusual facts about bedbugs
1 - Bedbug fossils have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back 3,500 years.
2 - Males can have up to 200 sexual encounters a day.
3 - Females can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.
4 - It takes a bedbug 3 months to become an adult at an ambient temperature of 18°, and only 3 weeks at 30°.
5 - Below 13°C, bed bugs hibernate, extending their lifespan.
6 - Bed bugs can survive up to 18 months without feeding.
7 - Bed bugs need 10 minutes to suck blood, they make 10 bites a night and digest for 10 days.
8 - Bean leaves are a natural enemy of bed bugs, which become trapped in the leaf's spikes.
9 - Bed bug droppings give off a sweet smell.
10 - This smell led to the idea of training dogs to detect them.
source : S.A.S Brunel - Kapo©
Biological data on bed bugs
Time taken for a blood meal
Time between 2 blood meals (highly variable, up to 2 years)
Life expectancy of an adult
Total number of eggs laid by an adult female
Spawning rate of an adult female
Life cycle time (egg to egg)
Laying time after fertilisation
Egg hatching time
Time between 2 larval stages (obligatory blood meal)
Number of generations per year depending on conditions (temperature, humidity and number of meals)
|2 à 12 generations|
Average lifespan under favourable conditions (at 18-25°C with regular feeding)
|9 à 18 months|
Source : Usinger (1966) ; Johnson (1941 et Delaunay et al. (2011)
Bed bugs are great travellers
Bedbugs can spread very quickly from one room to another or from one flat to another.
Nobody is safe from this insect, and it's very easy to bring one into your home without your knowledge. All you have to do is come into contact with an infested person (in a public place or on public transport) and within a few weeks you'll be at the head of a bedbug farm.
The resurgence of bedbugs
In the 1950s, many flats and blocks of flats were colonised by bedbugs. It was very common to see colonies of bedbugs along walls or on blankets in the middle of the night.
Aware of the problem, the health services treated all the infested premises with the dreaded DDT, thereby eradicating the insect.
DDT was subsequently banned (thanks to our health and our environment), as were Lindane and many other insecticides more recently. But the bedbug had not completely disappeared from the face of the earth.
So it's easy to understand why, with the increase in air traffic and international travel, this fearsome insect has returned to most of the countries where it had been eradicated.
In the 1950s, bedbugs were more likely to be found in substandard housing, but this is no longer the case today. Everyone is affected, especially those who travel a lot.
A recent Ipsos study (February 2020) revealed that the 4 most commonly suspected sources of infestation are : travel (44%), exchanges with affected relatives (30%), moving into an infested area (20%) and second-hand purchases (10%).
The bed bug is highly resistant
The ability to withstand the cold, survive without food and move very quickly by plane or train has enabled this insect to mutate and adapt to many common insecticides. So don't expect to destroy your bed bugs easily by using an insecticide spray or fumigant. This is the first reflex of people who spot them: they rush to the nearest supermarket or drugstore. Even companies specialising in treatment cannot guarantee the effectiveness of their intervention. What's more, by using insecticides that are not sufficiently effective, you run the risk of creating a resistance phenomenon in the survivors, making it even more difficult to destroy them.
Laboratory tests carried out in the United States, Europe and Africa show that today's bed bugs can survive insecticide levels 1,000 times higher than the fatal dose required just 10 years ago.
Entomologists from Ohio State University have published studies showing that bed bugs have raised the level of enzymes they produce to rid their bodies of the poison. When exposed to pesticides, they show an unusually high level of activity of genes capable of breaking down the toxic chemical into soluble derivatives that can be safely eliminated by the body.
In addition, the gene that controls the resistance of the nerve cells targeted by the insecticide has undergone mutations that now allow the insect to survive. Finally, the insect has developed a thicker cuticle that can block insecticides. As a result, repeated applications of the same pesticide naturally select out the bedbug. Surviving insects pass on their resistance to their offspring, and to subsequent generations.
Bed bugs release histamine into the home
But what is histamine ?
Histamine is a molecule released by mast cells (immune system cells). It plays a role in allergy symptoms. That's why antihistamines are prescribed for hay fever and itchy hives.
According to a study by American researchers, house dusts analysed with and without bedbugs had very different histamine levels. Histamine levels in infested homes were at least 20 times higher: 54.6 µg per 100 mg of dust, compared with less than 2.5 µg per 100 mg of dust in non-infested homes.
The risk ?
1 - Inspect the entire bedroom : the mattress, seams, bed frame joints, sockets and skirting boards.
2 - Check for eggs : look for eggs and eggshells. They should be about 1 mm in diameter and pale yellow in colour.
3 - Examine adjacent chambers : Inspect neighbouring rooms for signs of bed bugs (cube method).
4 - Look for stains : Look for dark or reddish stains on sheets and mattresses.
5 - ollow your nose : An unpleasant musty or mildew smell may indicate an infestation.
6 - Communicate : For accommodation establishments (hotels, self-catering cottages, youth hostels, etc.), make staff aware of the right thing to do and how to deal with a complaint from a customer. For private individuals, don't hesitate to get in touch with your neighbours to discuss the presence of bed bugs. It's becoming imperative to join forces against this scourge.
Dog detection remains an excellent way of identifying the presence of bed bugs in a home. While adults are easy to spot on light-coloured sheets, their eggs (white in colour) and nymphs (practically colourless) are virtually invisible. With each blood meal, the eggs hatch and the nymphs grow. These pests develop very quickly, in just a few weeks. If the problem is not dealt with immediately, invasion is guaranteed. Hiding in cracks, screw holes, under skirting boards or behind light switch covers, bed bugs are experts at concealment. The bed bug dog is a real detector, using its nose to find them. Thanks to its highly developed sense of smell (over 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose), a well-trained dog can detect the presence of an infestation. It picks up the smell given off by living adults as well as eggs, which could be missed during a visual inspection.
Animals with a keen sense of smell and well-trained in this exercise can quickly locate pest hotspots, ensuring targeted and effective treatment. A canine inspection can also be used after a treatment to ensure that all pests have been killed.
How can you avoid a bed bug infestation ?
1 - When you travel, don't forget to inspect the bed in your B&B or hotel room for bed bugs. You'll be bringing them home without realising it.
2 - Be careful before bringing in used furniture and mattresses. Make sure you thoroughly inspect and clean these items before installing them in your home.
If you think you've been bitten by bedbugs : at home, wash your clothes immediately after removing the suitcase. Wash your suitcase, depending on its shape, in the washing machine, shower or bath.
To help you combat bed bugs
To combat bed bugs, it's important to know what they are. Don't hesitate to read our chapters (see above) on how they live and reproduce. This information will help you combat this insect. You can also consult the following links:
Photos of some possible hiding places : hiding places for bed bugs
Download pdf file : How to treat bed bugs
Our dossier "How to choose an anti-bed bug protective cover".
How to eliminate bed bugs ?
It's true that it's not easy to get rid of these unwanted pests, but rest assured, nothing is impossible.
To get rid of them completely, you need to be very methodical and have the right products at hand. Here's a closer look at the most important ones.
These protective covers are designed to combat bed bugs. Completely insect-proof, they eliminate all entry and exit points. An excellent way of trapping them if you have any, but also of preventing them from invading your bedding. Several sizes available
This insecticide made from plant pyrethrum, a vegetable oil and a complex of essential oils has been specifically developed to destroy bed bugs right in the heart of your bedding. It will maintain its destructive action for 15 days. Apply to the 5 priority areas in your bedroom: bed base, mattress, headboard, bedside tables and carpets. With 750 ml of product, you can treat an entire bed and its surroundings. For slatted bases, don't forget to remove all the slats and treat the space where they fit into the bed frame. This is a classic hiding place for bedbugs that is often overlooked. For box springs, spray the product directly onto the fabric of the base.
We offer it either in ready-to-use form (4J diluted to 10%), or in its concentrated form. The latter allows you to treat larger areas. You can use a spray bottle or, even better, a pressurised garden sprayer. Unlike Alt'O Bedbugs, 4J insecticide is perfect for treating all other surfaces in the room where bedbugs are present (floors, grooves, skirting boards, etc.). Its residual effect is shorter, but it offers a highly effective contact action that will destroy the insect in all its stages of development from the moment you touch it.
Caution : As the bed bug is a particularly resistant insect, you should use a spray bottle or a sprayer set to micro-droplet or even a jet for treating cracks and crevices. The insect must not "breathe" the product, but be wetted by it.
Note : To make 5 litres of 5% insecticide you need 250 ml of 4J and to make 10% 500ml of 4J concentrate.
Because not all nooks and crannies can be reached (and bedbugs have no problem doing so), this pressurised product allows you to inject the insecticide deeper into all cracks and crevices...
Either one or the other. To be used mainly as an air treatment or in areas where our 4J insecticide cannot be used because of the presence of water. Warning: as water is replaced by alcohol, these products are flammable.
Ecodoo All Insects can also be used in all enclosed spaces such as cupboards, wardrobes, bedside tables, etc. Spray on, close tightly and leave for at least 1 hour. But this insecticide is most useful for treating clothes that don't go through the 60°C washing machine. The idea is to put your textiles in bin bags, spray the product inside for about 10 seconds and seal tightly to make it as airtight as possible. Wait at least 48 hours before opening the bags again.
For treating areas where there is no traffic or where liquids cannot be used. The powder is interesting because it can be used for both preventive and curative purposes. Diatomaceous earth in aerosol form is highly effective when injected into the most inaccessible cracks.
With our insecticides, you'll be able to treat all the places where bedbugs are likely to be present during the day. This is where your imagination comes into play, as bed bugs are very flat and can get into every crack and crevice just a few millimetres wide. So you're going to have to look everywhere it can hide and systematically treat all potential hiding places. Don't forget to examine your mattress, box spring, bed and pillows in detail. Don't hesitate to turn them over.
As you are likely to leave some behind, you can repeat one or two treatments a week apart (hatching between 1 and 3 weeks).
Start with your bedding
1. Remove your sheets, blankets, duvets, pillows, etc. and put everything in the washing machine at 60°C minimum for 1 hour.
Check the mattress from every angle (eggs can be found). If you find the slightest hole > 1 millimetre (ventilation, handles, tears, etc.), you have three options :
a - put it in the freezer (not the easiest option !)
b - throw it away (not very economical !)
c - treat it with insecticide and wrap it in a totally waterproof cover.
If there is no hole in your mattress, spraying it with insecticide will be enough. This will also kill any dust mites.
After the mattress, look after the base. If it's covered in fabric, remove it. If it has slats, treat each support. For box springs, you need to treat the entire interior.
Finally, check and treat the bed (legs, base support, etc.). Don't hesitate to turn it over or even take it apart.
We offer protective covers to completely insulate your slatted base, mattress or pillow. Don't neglect these covers, they can be extremely useful in the fight against bed bugs.
Tackle the rest of the room
2. Now check and treat the environment close to the bed: bedside table, bedside lamp, socket, wall light. Extend your inspection to the whole room: wardrobe, cupboard, skirting boards, torn wallpaper, frames, grooves in parquet or panelling, cracks. The list is not exhaustive, as it depends on the configuration of the room, its contents and the materials used. Don't hesitate to treat with the appropriate product all the places or nooks and crannies that could harbour bed bugs or eggs.
Note : while waiting to treat the whole room, if your bed is perfectly "disinfected", you can isolate it by moving it away from the wall and placing each foot in a container filled with insecticide powder (diatomaceous earth).
N.B.: Ideally, 2 treatments should be carried out about 8-10 days apart. The first treatment will kill most of the bedbugs and larvae. The second treatment will eradicate the remaining bugs that have hatched in the meantime and were not affected by the insecticide during the first treatment. Some environments are more complicated to treat than others, as they contain numerous hiding places for this insect. Our advice is to repeat the treatments at regular intervals to continue to weaken them. With each treatment, you reduce the number of bedbugs until they are no longer numerous enough to reproduce.
3. Depending on the extent of the invasion, you may need to wash your curtains and the contents of your wardrobes, chests of drawers, cupboards and wardrobes. Wash everything that can be washed at 60°C minimum. For anything that can't be washed at 60°C, there are 2 solutions: dry clean or put the items in a leak-proof bin bag and spray with Ecodoo insecticide spray (leave for at least 48 hours). The action will be twofold: firstly, saturation of the insecticide inside the bag and asphyxiation of the insect due to lack of air.
4. Finally, after closing all the openings, you can spray either Ecodoo insecticide or Aries flying insecticide into the air. Close the door tightly and leave the product to work for at least 15 minutes (several hours if possible) before airing your room thoroughly.
5. And to make sure you've got every chance on your side, you can supplement your treatment with fumigation. The Habitat fogger is ideal for this. This is an automatic insecticide dispenser made up of active ingredients of plant origin (pyrethrum + geraniol), designed for basic treatment of the home. Highly volatile, the solution settles in the smallest nooks and crannies where parasites and insects live. Immediate and prolonged action, for up to 4 months. 3 different sizes are available: 75 ml for treatment of less than 15 m², 150 ml for treatment of less than 30 m². Lastly, 250 ml, for a treatment of more than 30 m².
6. Once you've carried out your treatment, and you can rest assured that you're completely rid of bedbugs, don't forget to use our bedbug traps. These traps can be used as a preventive measure, as they will neutralise bedbugs carrying eggs, but also as a curative measure for all bedbugs entering the trap. They will be attracted by a highly attractive seal placed in the centre of the trap, and will then stick to the glue-based surface inside. Once they stick to the sticky surface, it's impossible for them to get out. This is how they die. These anti-bedbug traps are the ideal solution for detecting and controlling bedbugs in your home.
Bed bugs and essential oils
Essential oils can also help you in your fight against bed bugs. Some essential oils contain very powerful active ingredients that will help repel them. But don't expect to eliminate them completely. Bed bugs remain resistant and treatment with essential oils alone will rarely be enough. That's why our 4J insecticide contains essential oils, but the main substance used for elimination is plant pyrethrum.
Even so, essential oils can be used in a variety of ways against bed bugs. Applied to the body to soothe and repel bites. Atmospheric diffusion to weaken and disrupt their neurological system. And, of course, by spraying directly onto clothing, sheets or bedding.
A closer look at the essential oils that are effective against bed bugs
Tea tree has excellent anti-parasitic properties. Its main molecules (terpinen-4-ol and alpha terpineol) will alter the cell membranes and intracellular constituents of bed bugs. Lavandin contains large quantities of linalool. This makes it a powerful parasticide. As for clove, it's the Eugenol it contains that gives this synergy good results against bedbugs. Finally, eucalyptus citriodora contains citronnelol which, like eugenol, reinforces the insect repellent properties of the blend.
Here's the recipe we suggest you make yourself :
As a spray :
Essential oil tea tree (60 drops)
Essential oil Lavandin super (20 drops)
Essential oil clove (20 drops)
Essential oil eucalyptus citriodora (40 drops)
Mix these essential oils with 200 ml of tap water in a small spray bottle. Apply this mixture by spraying on mattresses (paying particular attention to the seams), box springs, surfaces around your bedding, floor grooves, the backs of skirting boards, etc. Find this anti-bed bug synergy in our essential oil care primer.
Bed bugs on the road to Santiago de Compostela
For a number of years now, we've been receiving calls from guest houses on the Camino de Compostela. They are faced with invasions of bed bugs, probably carried by pilgrims. A single person can very quickly "contaminate" dozens of shelters and hundreds of people. In 2009, following a real infestation, a number of partners decided to set up an information campaign entitled "I don't walk with bedbugs".
For this to work, all accommodation providers, as well as all guests, need to take the necessary steps to avoid spreading bedbugs. The stakes are high, because while this may mean the temporary closure of the establishment for the host, for the guest it could mean a whole host of not always very pleasant bites!
As far as natural insecticides are concerned, there is now only one authorised active ingredient : pyrethrum, extracted from the chrysanthemum flower.
To be truly effective against bed bugs, an insecticide must contain a sufficiently high concentration of pyrethrum, like our 10% 4J insecticide or the All Insects Pistal insecticide. Combined with this insecticide, you need an "auxiliary", which may be potassium (in the case of 4J insecticide) or paraffin (in the case of Pistal). Avoid sprays such as PBO, which is unnatural and highly controversial.
Pyrethrum may have a repellent action for 24 hours, but its insecticidal action lasts only a few moments and acts as a neurotoxicant. That's the downside of natural products: they biodegrade quickly ! Look on the bright side : because they don't last, you can move back into your home more quickly and, above all, you won't be polluting your home with toxic, long-lasting substances that are harmful to all the members of your family.
For pilgrims, we recommend :
- Two solutions :
- the simplest and most practical is to take our ready-to-use insecticide diluted at 10% 125ml or 250ml for travel.
- Alternatively, you can take 125ml of the same product in concentrated form and prepare a spray bottle (diluted at 10%). You can take the rest of the concentrated insecticide with you to prepare more during your trip.
- Every evening, spray a small dose, mainly in your luggage and bedding (pyrethrum's repellent action). Put your day clothes away for the night in a totally waterproof plastic bag.
- In the morning, there are 2 possible scenarios :
- you have not been bitten during the night: carry out the same operation every night.
- you have been bitten: turn your duvet inside out and treat all sides completely (pyrethrum's insecticidal action). You may also need to check and treat your luggage.
- At the end of your stay and before returning home :
- treat both sides of your duvet.
- Empty your luggage completely, check all your clothes and treat your entire bag (don't hesitate to turn it inside out). It's better to waste 1 hour and be sure you won't bring any bedbugs home, than to spend weeks having to get rid of them at home !
Bed bugs in holiday cottages, hotels, bed and breakfasts ...
Bed bugsGiven the resurgence of bed bugs in many establishments in France and abroad (and without falling into psychosis), it may be useful to take certain precautions so as not to bring these charming little creatures back home with you. It's a good idea to pack our special 125ml or 250ml travel spray and our night-time body protection (the same as for mosquitoes), either our Skin Spray or our Anti-Insect Skin Roller : the anti-insect body spray.
Open your bed and check your sheets. If in doubt, treat your entire bed. Treating your bed with our 10% 4J insecticide will not kill the bedbugs in your mattress or box spring, but the repellent action of pyrethrum will prevent them from coming to you at night. Some of our customers have tried it with excellent results. Be careful, though, as pyrethrum has a short shelf life and should be applied every night.
Don't leave clothes lying around, especially on or near the bed (nightdress, dressing gown). Hang them up in a cupboard.
If you have any major doubts, it's best to keep all your belongings in your suitcase at all times, which should always be securely closed.
If you weren't bitten during the night, your bedroom probably doesn't contain any bedbugs. If not, they may have contaminated your belongings, your open suitcase, etc. You'll need to carry out a thorough check of all your belongings.
Ecodoo aerosol is a solution for treating all your belongings and your suitcase. But don't forget if you're flying : it's an aerosol. It will not be allowed in the cabin.
If you think you are carrying bedbugs (yourself or your luggage), you must absolutely avoid bringing any home.
- Take off all the clothes you are wearing and put everything in a bin bag. After spraying the bag with Ecodoo insecticide, seal it as tightly as possible. Leave it for 48 hours before opening it again.
- Proceed in the same way for all your luggage. Remember to treat your empty baggage too.
- As a precaution, you can transfer all the clothes in the bin bags directly into the washing machine (minimum 60°C cycle).
- All fragile fabrics can be soaked for a few hours in a basin of water to which you have added 4J insecticide (minimum concentration 2%, i.e. approximately 125ml of 4J for 5 litres of water).
- For non-washable clothes, dry-cleaning is one solution.
Complementary products against bed bugs
Below are the complementary products that can be used as part of a bedbug treatment.
The steam cleaner and bedbugs
As we explained earlier, it's always a good idea to use a combination of methods against bed bugs. Each method alone is often not enough. The dry steam cleaning method can be an excellent way of complementing your bedbug insecticide treatment.
Dry steam cleaners or saturated steam cleaners clean, degrease and disinfect in a minimum amount of time. They are highly effective on all surfaces that can withstand heat and humidity: textiles, tiles, mechanical parts, stainless steel, plastic, painted surfaces, etc. And they also have the advantage of being totally environmentally friendly!
Some customers have told us that they have used a steam cleaner in their fight against bedbugs. The feedback has been mixed. Some have found it effective, others have had major problems with damp and condensation. It's likely that the performance of the appliance makes all the difference. Obviously, there's a big difference in price between an entry-level model and a top-of-the-range model, but also in performance. The top-of-the-range model guarantees a maximum steam temperature of 150°C at a maximum pressure of 5 bars. Before investing, take the time to find out more, but a steam device is still a treatment solution that shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to bedbugs.
In order, you'll need to :
1 - Do a good house-cleaning to clear the space and eliminate hiding places. A hoover will be very useful for removing as much dust and detritus as possible from your carpets, furniture, box springs, mattresses, etc., which could get in the way of the treatment.
2 - Switch on your steam cleaner and methodically attack each area. You can use some of the tips often supplied with the appliance. The ideal nozzle for eliminating bed bugs is the triangular tool wrapped in a microfibre cloth. The most important thing is to work gently, to ensure that the steam has time to heat the surface and penetrate deeply. Clean rooms from top to bottom, starting with curtains and the tops of furniture and finishing with the floor. Adjust the degree of pressure to low or medium to avoid pushing bed bugs deeper into the mattress instead of killing them.
Slowly steam all six sides of the mattress, repeating the operation as necessary to ensure that steam is applied everywhere.
3 - After steaming, allow all surfaces to dry. Wrap the mattress, box spring and any other freshly steam-cleaned furniture in tear-resistant plastic for a fortnight to ensure all living organisms are killed. Examine the furniture for any remaining faecal matter, skin or bedbugs. If you still see signs of bed bugs after a week, you can repeat the process.
N.B : Alternating the use of a steam cleaner and our natural insecticide can be a very good practice. However, be careful not to use both at the same time. The pyrethrum in the insecticide would not withstand the heat of a steam cleaner and would be destroyed very quickly. Similarly, don't try putting insecticide in the steam cleaner with the water! It would have the same effect (ineffective insecticide !!).
An experience.... a galley !
With the kind permission of Mrs M., you will find attached the various letters she has sent us in the course of her battle against the worst pest you can meet in the home : the bedbug. We think this experience will help you in your fight against Cimex Lectularius.
- Mail No. 1 (early winter) :
We are making progress in our fight against the bedbug, I may have found the solution for cats and the car. It's currently being tested. If it proves conclusive, I'll let you know.
- Mail No. 2, two months later (winter) :
- In addition to the daily mechanical measures (vacuuming, washing bedding at 80°, washing clothes for 3 hours at 60°, etc.), the treatment protocol that we apply in our living quarters seems to be working (weekly fumigation with Dobol (cypermethrin) and almost daily application of an Eco-active insecticide). However, we have to wait for all the eggs to hatch before we can claim victory, and the question is: how many are there ?
- We decided to heat the eggs as much as possible to accelerate their maturation. The products were out of stock, so we had to wait for delivery.
- As far as the cars are concerned, the problem is a long way from being solved, despite mechanical measures, weekly fumigation and liquid insecticide treatment (containing 5 different molecules) of the entire car on a daily basis, and thorough cleaning by a professional at 70°C... I've decided to take her outside and leave her for 15 days in the mountains (in the Alps of Haute Provence, where the temperature is permanently below 0° and falling between -11 and -9° at the moment). Bed bugs can survive for 5 days at -7°, so I hope that 15 days will be enough. After that, if it doesn't work, there's nothing left but fire... that's what a company specialising in boat cleaning and insect control does to treat the cabins of affected boats and what 3/4 of companies do to treat hotels, in addition to 'seveso' classified treatments.
- I've also just bought a chest freezer, into which I'm going to put anything that can fit (cimex can survive for 3 days at -18°C).
- As far as cats are concerned, the dermatologist at the Alfort veterinary school finally sent me "Advantage chat de + de 4 kg", to be applied every 3 weeks. According to his research, it's the most effective on bed bugs (broader spectrum than stronghold small dog).
- I treated the cat on the day of a general treatment of the flat, 13 days ago. The results are better than anything I've tried so far. It's impossible for me to say whether he's still a carrier or not.
- In addition to all this, since yesterday I've been giving him homeopathy, ordered from a Swiss laboratory as it's no longer authorised in France: Cimex Lectularius 9ch granules, 2gr in the morning, 2gr in the evening for a week, then 2gr in the morning for a week, 2gr once a week until the problem is completely resolved.
- Benefit ? This would prevent bed bugs from biting the animal (same for humans, using 3gr instead of 2).
- It would also be a good means of prevention when travelling, taking dubious public transport or staying in hotels.
So I'm in the testing phase, and I'll keep you posted.
I was thinking that when I come back with a healthy car, I might give the cat another super lice shampoo with essential oils and take him to the cattery if I think the treatment has eliminated the risk of him being a carrier. It would still be less traumatic than shearing him completely under anaesthetic...
- Mail no. 3, six months later (early summer) :
Perhaps you remember my problem ? I'm based in the 06 and I brought back some bedbugs from a trip I took on the Camino de Compostela and on the train from Irun to Nice last August.
The species we have is resistant to permethrin.
- Cold treatment of the car (left in the mountains this winter at -11°) was effective, but I left it there for 5 months !
- Treating the cat with Advantage prevents it from being bitten.
- D or P fumigators (cypermetrhine) contained the problem over the winter, but did not eradicate it
- chemical treatments applied by us and by a professional company did not eradicate the problem either (organochlorines, organophosphates, pyretrinoids).
- Treating fabrics at 80° (washing machine) or by freezing (-20°) in a chest freezer is effective.
Here we are in the warm season, and with it a resurgence of insect bites.
We'd like to resume the biological treatment because it's the most effective, along with mechanical action (vacuuming, etc.).
You just need to specify (if you wish, of course) in your description that when you discover the problem, you need to treat the whole flat at once (or within two days), taking all the furniture apart and repeating the treatment every 8 days for 3 weeks in a row to eradicate the eggs and adults, then once a month for three months.
I found dead beetles in the hinges of the kitchen units (I didn't heat all winter, so they went to live around the water heater). I dismantled the doors to plug the holes at the top and bottom (when they paint them, they make a hole at the top and one at the bottom to dry them out). I did the same for a glass door, plugging up the wooden braces (they had settled between the wood and the glass). They also hid in the blinds of the bay windows (exposed to the sun). In short, you have to take EVERYTHING apart, otherwise they always find a place (how clever of them!).
- Mail no. 4, one week later :
Organochlorine or organophosphate insecticides do kill adults and nymphs when used in large quantities. But they have to be reapplied every week and in large quantities, which is not easy in a home, kitchen or bathroom (places where heat and humidity create fumes that are undesirable for your health). So there are some specimens that escape.
Professional companies have all told us that bed bugs take hours to die after using these residual products, whereas a thick-shelled insect takes "only" a few minutes to die.
As I have a cat in the area I'm treating and as these insecticides kill cats (they put their paws on them when they're wet (coming from outside after having been in a damp area or having just licked themselves) or wet (rain) and lick themselves...), I didn't put these products on the floor in large quantities, with a few exceptions.
I know someone else who is also affected. She had her house treated by a professional (she doesn't have a cat) and the results were no better! What's more, after each visit, the flat is soaked from floor to ceiling and she can't move back in until three days later!
Finally, I think my neighbours may have them too, and it could be that the cats are carrying them around from one flat to another, unless they've passed through the ducts in the sockets and other communication channels between the flats. I've talked to them about it, but no-one says they've been bitten, it's a 'sensitive' subject.
We've never seen our mattresses attacked in this way, the mattresses have been under plastic from the start. I've seen dead nymphs on the walls after gassing and the bedding after being heated to 80°C, a few moulting shells, empty eggshells and a dead adult too.
The fact that we vacuum everything all the time helps to ensure that there are very few traces of their existence and that we are not infested. Just a few unwanted tenants left, but we know that if there's a female and a male left, we'll be in trouble again !
Here's what a moving bedbug looks like
Frequently asked questions about bed bugs
A : Given their resistance, allow at least 5%. 10% is what we now recommend against bed bugs.
A : See our 4J insecticide concentrate, diluted 10% with water.
A : Fleas or perhaps bedbugs, which are becoming more and more common, even in large hotels. We have a special travel product against bedbugs, and the bed treatment should be repeated every night. Be careful not to take any home with you, as it's a real nightmare afterwards.
A : Our product is effective, but it depends mainly on the resistance of the bedbugs. Thanks to mutations, some species are particularly resistant to insecticides. But our latest laboratory tests show that treatment with our 4J insecticide is effective.
A : Light green ... It looks more like a chinch bug. This type of bedbug does not bite. If it's a bedbug and she's felt itching, she can apply our anti-biting product (anti-insect skin spray lotion) and above all treat the room where she was bitten.
A : The products we sell do not pose any health problems. They do, however, need to be used correctly and, above all, the precautions for use printed on the bottles need to be followed.
A : Have you read our special report on bedbugs? We invite you to read it. You'll find lots of answers. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
A : Electrical and electronic equipment doesn't really like water (95% water in the insecticide product). We do have "creeping insecticide" powder (or diatomaceous earth) which can be used in certain cases, but avoid using it in equipment with a fan. Otherwise, hot air (>60°C) will give good results.
A : It's highly likely to be bedbugs. They're practically the only insects that only bite your bed at night. Be careful with smoke products, they will destroy a few individuals (only the adults and depending on the molecules used in the product) but what's certain is that they won't destroy bedbug eggs. For that, you need to use a contact insecticide like our 4J insecticide.
A : When bed bugs get into your home, it's very difficult to get rid of them. Difficult doesn't mean impossible! Our natural products work very well and are risk-free for babies and pregnant women (as long as the precautions for use are respected).
A : I invite you to read our complete file on this insect. I think you'll find most of the answers there. Don't hesitate to come back to us if you have any further questions.
A : Our complete file on bed bugs will give you lots of answers. Don't hesitate to come back to us if you have any further questions.
A : For the car, you'll need to treat several times with our Ecodoo insecticide spray. For details of how to use it, please consult our special file on bed bugs or contact us.
A : Our insecticide is only sold in France. So you won't find it at home. We ship our products to many countries and regularly to Canada.
A : Caussade fumigants and pyrethrum bombs: fumigants must be accompanied by an effective liquid treatment, pyrethrum alone is not enough. Where can I find effective products with sound advice in Caen : Sorry, no idea! How do you get an estimate and how much does it cost to hire a company (number of jobs, etc.)? The cost is highly variable, depending on the company (it can range from 1 to 5), the surface area to be treated and the number of jobs required. Contact your local council for addresses of professionals.
A : I think it's bedbugs. I invite you to read our complete dossier on this insect. I think you'll find most of your answers there. Don't hesitate to come back to us if you have any other questions.
A : See our special file on bed bugs. I think you'll find everything you need to know.
A : No, and I don't think there is.
A : Our complete file on bed bugs will give you many answers and will direct you to the right products to fight against this insect. The first instinct of people is to go to their pharmacy, or their local shop to buy a smoke bomb. Unfortunately, these products purchased in supermarkets are ineffective, expensive and not sufficient for a total eradication of bed bugs. Do not hesitate to come back to us if you have any other questions.
A : In your case, our Ecodoo aerosol will be the most appropriate. It contains pyrethrum but has the advantage of being mixed with alcohol. Which makes it more volatile and more efficient for closed volumes such as boxes. Plus, unlike our 4J insecticide, it doesn't contain water. This will therefore do less damage to your boxes.
A : Bedbugs can hide anywhere as long as there is a hole and no light. So to answer your question, bedbugs can take refuge in leather chairs.
A : Our insecticide kills insects affected by the product very quickly. A thumbtack can go through a 1mm hole.
A : I have clients who have found bed bugs in closets among clothing. This means that your students may themselves carry bedbugs; This is also how they spread so quickly in France by public transport. Our insecticide also destroys the eggs if they are touched by the product. Check the beds especially carefully (hollow legs, slat supports, etc.), these are ideal and very common hiding places.
A : Without even knowing it, most of the time, it is you who bring them into the house (your purse, backpack, the clothes you are wearing, the suitcase back from vacation, etc.). Once installed, they can spread very quickly from one room to another or from one apartment to another, through all the cracks, pipe passages, under doors, garbage chutes; anywhere you have a small hole even a small one. It is imperative to treat quickly before they spread.
A : There is no particular season for the bed bug that lives in houses. They reproduce all year round at a rate of 200 eggs per female, hatching occurring 3 weeks later (which is not the case for other species which generally live outside and have wintering cycles).
A :Of course, night treatment can be done, but you will only touch adults on outings! You will have neither the eggs nor the larvae. For the bug, as for the flea or the red louse, it is necessary to proceed by a systematic treatment of all the places which can be a hiding place. In general, bed bugs come from the bed, mattress, box spring, foot, .. Insulate your bed as indicated. If you're bitten, they're in the bed.
A : Our special bed bug file will tell you which products are targeted against this insect. There is not just one product. The combination of several of our products will allow you to get rid of these insects. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
A : 4J insecticide is indeed the right product against bed bugs. This insecticide can be applied to a mattress without any problem. The 10% concentration can on the other hand leave some traces due to the potassium soap (perfectly washable). The persistence of 4J is low, which allows you to reinvest the places treated in the afternoon if the treatment was done in the morning. Remember to ventilate during and after the treatment to ventilate the smell. Plan 2 to 3 treatments at 10 day intervals.
A : It's not easy to get rid of these little beasts (it would be known!). It is necessary to plan at least 2 to 3 treatments at 10-day intervals and on the condition of treating thoroughly as we explain in our special file on bed bugs. We precisely indicate the protocol to follow to get rid of bed bugs.
A : The longer you wait to treat, the harder it is to get rid of it. Without questioning the pharmacists, I am not that they have all the skills required against the treatment of insects. Professionals and specialists in the sector are already tearing their hair out! I invite you to read our complete file on bed bugs. You will find a large number of answers there. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to come back to us.
A : Our special bed bug file will give you many answers. I think you will find the essentials. Do not hesitate to come back to us if you have any other questions.
A : The room can be reinvested a few hours after the treatment. Wait for the smell of pyrethrum to disperse.
A : Don't look for bed bugs, unless you have a real infestation, it will be very difficult for you to see them since they are nocturnal insects. When you want to completely eradicate this insect, you don't deal only with the visible bugs (that would be too simple!), you systematically deal with all the cracks, holes, nooks without asking questions, which allows you to put all the chances on your side to also affect the larvae and the eggs (future generations to come). You will find the protocol we offer in our special bed bug file. Avoid smoke bombs, they are not efficient enough and will not destroy the eggs. In addition, they pollute habitats in a lasting way and will affect your health and that of those around you. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.
A : If you want to deal with it yourself, we invite you to read all the information contained in our special bedbug file. You will find a large number of answers and the appropriate products to fight against this insect. The operation is not easy when the places are occupied and cluttered with many objects. Maybe in your case, you will need to approach a specialized company. The problem is that they are used to working with their own products which are terribly toxic and which require all of the treated parts to be evacuated. See with them if they agree to work with our natural products.
A : We have created a version of our ready-to-use insecticide in small format, ideal for travel and for hikers: a 125ml and 250ml spray 4d 10%, No law prohibits reselling a product, the problem gets complicated if you want to resell it with your own label.
A : Diatomaceous earth gives good results but can only be effective if the insect comes into physical contact with it; therefore put in places where the powder is not likely to be removed. Use of the insecticide 4 days at 5% minimum, see 10% if resistant. Pistal Aries Insecticide (now called All Bugs) is very effective at killing eggs in nooks, crevices and hard-to-reach spaces. Treatment to be repeated once a week for 3 to 4 weeks.
A : YYou have on this page the 4J insecticide at 10% either in 125ml or 250ml "special travel" or in 500ml. These products are not under pressure. They are therefore authorized to travel in the hold.
A : We put diatomaceous earth in places where the powder will stay. On a sofa, it's not very practical, unless you don't use it anymore! The bed bug is a difficult insect to eradicate, it takes time and method. It is for this reason that we have created a special bed bug file. I think your answers are in those documents. If not, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A : See our special bed bug file. I think you will find the essential. Do not hesitate to contact us if this is not the case.
A : This reminds me of a letter from a client that we put on the "Une Experience... une Galère" website. I think your answers are in this passage. You should not lock yourself into one technique but use several; insecticide, vacuum cleaner, cold, or heat for clothes. The dry steam cleaner is also a tool used in the USA. If it's a "normal" strain of bed bugs, the 5% 4J insecticide should be fine, but if it's a resistant strain like this client, the concentration will have to be increased to 10%. Aries pistal (now called All Bugs) with 1.4% pyrethrum and paraffin also works great in cracks and crevices. If your parquet is really very disjointed, it will have to be treated with an "insecticide spray" as explained for the parquet chip (see our file). Avoid smoke bombs which are not very effective but which pollute significantly.
A : From what you are describing to me, there is little risk that bedbugs have followed you. But, they are very resistant and rather cunning insects when it comes to finding hiding places to be closer to their food (in this case us). You seem to have inspected the smallest nooks, cracks and interstices likely to lodge them. You have cleaned your laundry several times. You put airtight covers on pillows and mattresses. Your new room is a priori not affected by bed bugs. Bedbug eggs are most often located either in floor grooves or in the box spring or mattress. I'm not sure they had time to leave eggs in your shoes or coat, especially if they weren't in the contaminated room. Apart from hot washes at 60°C, cold (like the freezer) gives very good results. Store for at least 48 hours to be sure to destroy any eggs.
A : You can treat the mattresses with diatomaceous earth but it will not be so easy to implement. Be careful also, if you use this method to vacuum the whole thing a few hours after the treatment and in particular not to lie down directly on diatomaceous earth. This remains silica particles which, due to their properties, can cause allergic reactions and irritate the skin. The 4J remains the most appropriate product for the treatment of pillows, mattresses, box springs. In fact, it does not stain, but can leave, especially when used at a 10% dilution (as is your case to treat bed bugs) a film of potassium soap which gives an effect asphyxiating to the product. It is non-toxic and washes out easily. It's still soap!