Among the information available from EPA is a publication, “Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control“. The money quote, “Treating bed bugs is complex.” The publication outlines the a 6 step plan to eliminate bed bugs:
1. Identify the problem
2. Develop a strategy
3. Keep the infestation from expanding
4. Prepare for treatment
5. Kill the bed bugs
6. Evaluate and prevent
Simply spraying insecticides is not enough. Eggs and harboring bed bugs may not be killed in an initial treatment. Eradication requires consistent monitoring and treating repeatedly when bed bugs are detected. Factors influencing likely success of a “Do-It-Yourself” strategy are:
Extent of the infestation.
Site-specific challenges: Clutter, Neighbors with infestations, Ability of all of the residents to participate.
A small local infestation is easier to eliminate than a large dispersed population. Site specific challenges can make a problem more difficult to eliminate. Multi-unit buildings are more challenging than stand alone units under control of a single person. Neighbors with infestation can be a source of re-infestation after bed bugs have been eliminated from one unit. Neighbors who are unwilling or unable to treat their bed bug population will leave a reservoir for re-infestation. Clutter can be an issue. Clutter can greatly increase the harborage for bed bugs. Severe clutter can create too many sites to be treated efficiently. Bed bug control may require coordination that is beyond the Do-It-Yourselfer. In these cases, professionals and coordination among multiple agents may be necessary.