Do Natural Pesticides Get Rid of Bed Bugs in the REAL WORLD?

Recently, Rutgers University tested many of the over-the-counter natural bed bug pesticides on the market that are heavily marketed to consumers. The full report is here.

Do these natural pesticides work? Most do not. And the couple that are effective, were only proven to work when sprayed directly on the bed bugs, which has very limited usefulness in the real world.

EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol:
Winners in the Lab, Losers in the Real World

The only two natural bed bug pesticides that were clear winners in the lab were EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol.

EcoRaider was the most effective (100% bed bug kill rate within10 days from initial exposure.) Bed Bug Patrol came in second (91% bed bug kill rate within10 days from initial exposure.)

Other natural pesticides had far lower mortality rates.

But are the lab winners, EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol, effective in the real world?

The researchers raised a lot of concerns. In the lab, bed bugs were sprayed directly. But in the real world bed bugs mostly hide in cracks and crevices so it will be difficult to get a direct hit on them. In addition, natural pesticides are not effective after they dry out.

This makes us, at ZappBug, very concerned that the only way these sprays are going to be effective is if you get a direct hit on bed bugs, or the bed bugs walk through the spray while it is still wet. Both scenarios are not likely to get the majority of bed bugs.

The Rutgers researchers say that more research is necessary to test EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol in the real world.

But we at ZappBug feel all the evidence suggests EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol are not effective in the real world at significantly eliminating bed bugs.

All Other Natural Pesticides: Losers All Around

The other natural pesticides that Rutgers tested had far lower kill rates for bed bugs.

These poorly performing bed bug pesticides are:

  • Bed Bug 911
  • Stop Bugging Me
  • Bed Bug Fix
  • Rest Assured
  • Essentria
  • Green Rest Easy
  • Eradicator

For most of these pesticides, there was less than a 50% kill rate to bed bugs after 10 days from initial exposure. That is terrible performance.

Natural Pesticides vs. Synthetic Pesticides

As a control in the experiment, the researchers used a synthetic pesticide called Temprid SC, which killed bed bugs much more quickly than the best natural pesticides, EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol. Here’s the mortality timeline:

After exposure to Temprid SC, 100% of bed bugs died within 3 days.

After exposure to EcoRaider, 100% of bed bugs died within 10 days.

After exposure to Bed Bug Patrol, 91% of bed bugs died within 10 days.

The conclusion: Temprid SC kills bed bugs much faster than any natural pesticide.

Also, a huge benefit of Temprid SC (and other synthetic pesticides) is that they keep working after they dry. So they will continue to kill bed bugs for some time to come, unlike natural pesticides which stop working when they dry out.

For more discussion about synthetic pesticides, see Step 7 of our 8-Step Approach.

Bottom Line

We do NOT recommend natural pesticides.

Most of the natural pesticides have low kill rates for bed bugs.

And the two that do have high kill rates—Eco Raider and Bed Bug Patrol—are proven to work only when sprayed directly onto bed bugs. In addition, they do not work when they dry out.

This means you must hit the bed bugs directly with the spray. Or get lucky enough for the bed bugs to walk through the still wet spray before it dries. In real world conditions, this will NOT kill the majority of bed bugs.

This leaves using synthetic pesticides and we go into a full discussion about the pros and cons of synthetic pesticide use here. To this discussion we would now add that the synthetic pesticide Temprid SC—which had a quick and effective kill rate—should be considered as a tool in getting rid of bed bugs.

Posted by Andrew Havlis