Bed bugs are the hardest type of pests to kill. That’s because they hardly ever come out of their dark hiding places, except to feed, which would be drinking blood, in the night. There are a number of bed bug powders available in the market since they are the most powerful and effective bed bug control treatments.
We have researched and narrowed down the options to bring you a list of the finest bed bug killer powders. In this guide, we will explore:
- Reviews: 10 top-rated bed bug killer powders
- Criteria for buying the best bed bug powders
- Bed bug powder user guide
- Frequently asked questions
Table of Contents
Reviews: 10 Top-Rated Bed Bug Killer Powders
1. CimeXa Insecticide Dust — Best Overall
CimeXa Insecticide Dust contains the active ingredient, silicon dioxide, a synthetic silica gel which is a potent bed bug desiccant. CimeXa can kill bed bugs within 24 to 36 hours when it is applied to the proper areas. It works much better than diatomaceous earth and also has a broad range, so it kills fleas, ticks, mites, roaches and lice, and even drywood termites. It also absorbs oil and water out of the bed bug’s exoskeleton, leading them to dry out quicker, which gives it added strength.
- Broad-range and can even kill drywood termites
- Works faster than other bed bug killer powders
- Lasts longer between application
- Contain chemicals
- The applicator nozzle isn’t the best
- Is very drying to humans as well
- Not safe for children or people with compromised immunity
2. Harris Bed Bug Powder — Best Non-Toxic
Harris Bed Bug Powder contains diatomaceous earth, another potent desiccant that kills bed bugs in 48 hours. It comes with a free applicator and is non-toxic, but is highly dangerous to insects like bed bugs. The desiccant is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and Organic Mineral Research Institute. It also kills mites, ticks, and beetles on carpets and furniture. Harris Bed Bug Powder remains effective weeks after the first application on the condition it remains dry.
- Comes with a free puffer applicator
- Bugs die within 48 hours
- Prevents re-infestation for 4 weeks
- No additives
- Easy to use
- Registered with the EPA and OMRI
- Dusty application
- Drying effect if inhaled
- Must be kept dry to be effective
- Some customers complain of an unusual odor
3. JT Eaton KILLS Bed Bugs Powder — Best Desiccant
Another great powder with diatomaceous earth as the active ingredient is JT Eaton Crawling Insect Powder. The powder comes with a very easy-to-use bottle with a convenient design. The diatomaceous earth dries up and cracks the exoskeleton of bed bugs, killing them. The great thing about it is that bed bugs cannot become immune to it as it works on a physical mode. It is pet and children safe, though they should not inhale or chew on it.
- Easy-use applicator bottle
- Non-toxic, all-natural
- Bed bugs cannot become resistant to it
- Can be safely used in many different areas of the house
- Small bottle
- Must be kept dry
- If inhaled, can be very dehydrating to humans and pets
- No powder applicator
4. HotShot Bed Bug Killer Powder — Best For Indoors
Although HotShot Bed Bug Killer mostly contains silicon dioxide, it comes with 15% of other active ingredients as well. Although the ingredients make it very potent, they also make HotShot not safe for pets and children. When spread near cracks, the powder forms a parameter barrier that does not allow bed bugs to cross. Customers say it kills bed bugs in as little as 24 hours.
- Very effective against bed bugs
- Creates parameter barrier
- Value bottle comes with lots of powder
- Comes with bottle applicator
- For indoor use only
- Not food grade
- Not safe for children and pets
5. Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer Powder — Best Odorless
Ortho bed bug powder comes with a convenient puffer so that you can place the powder in every nook and cranny. A single bottle contains enough powder to cover 1,500 square feet and kills bugs on contact. Its effects last for 2 weeks, which is less time than other similar product. The formula is non-staining, so you can apply it on your bed frames, bed springs, bedposts, carpet edges, and sofas.
- Comes in a puffer bottle
- Cover 1,500 square foot space
- The effect lasts 2 week
- Toxic and not safe for children and pets
- Can’t completely eliminate large infestations
6. Delta Dust Insecticide — Best Multipurpose
Like its name clearly states, Delta Dust, contains deltamethrin, synthetic pyrethrin. The powder kills bed bugs within a week of dissemination and has a multipurpose function. It comes in a value-containers that can cover 2,000 square foot, so it is good for numerous applications where you suspect bed bugs live. It is also waterproof and can be used both indoors and outdoors. It is very broad-range and kills wasps, hornets, termites, spiders, fleas, ticks, roaches, ants, centipede, beetles and much more.
- Can cover 2,000 square foot
- Extremely broad-range
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors
- One bottle can be used multiple times if the infested area is small
- Some strains of bed bugs have become resistant to pyrethrin
- Doesn’t come with a powder duster
- Messy application
- Short shelf life
7. Drione Pest Insecticide Dust — Best Dual Effect
Drione dust contains 1% pyrethrins and 40% silica gel, and the combination makes it very potent. That’s because bed bugs that have become resistant to pyrethrins can easily be killed using the silica gel desiccant. The tube contains a duster as well. It kills roaches, fleas, ticks, and mites as well and its effect lasts for 6 months. Since this substance is toxic, it should not be placed inside AC, and its use should be limited to cracks and crevices.
- Dual effect of pyrethrin and silica gel
- Extremely effective in killing bed bugs and other insects
- The effects can last for 6 months
- Comes with a duster
- Limited to only cracks and crevices
- Should not be placed inside AC
- Can take a few weeks to kill large infestations
8. Alpine Dust — Best Reduced Risk
Alpine Dust contains 0.25% dinotefuran and 95% silicon dioxide and is the best reduced-risk, non-repellant dust for broad-spectrum controls of bed bugs and other crawling and flying insects. The dust is a form of contact and residual powder that should be used inside cracks, crevice, and void treatments. Dinotefuran inhibits the neurons in the bed bugs’ nervous system after it is ingested and it works very well in conjunction with desiccants. Bed bugs are also not known to resist either of these substances.
- Blend of desiccant and dinotefuran
- Extremely effective in killing bed bugs and other insects
- Reduced risk powder
- Safe for animals and pets
- Is very drying to humans
- Should not be ingested
9. Bayer Tempo 1% Dust
Tempo Dust contains 1% of the active ingredient Cyfluthrin, which is a pyrethroid. This is one of the fastest acting bed bug killers available in the market, and it can kill bed bugs in all life stages, including the larva and egg stage, in just 24 hours. It is extremely potent, and its effect lasts for 8 whole months if you don’t sweep out the powder.
- Kills bed bugs in all life stages
- Kills within 24 hours
- Effective for 8 months
- Some bed bugs may become desensitized to pyrethroids
- Very potent and toxic
- Keep away from children and pets
10. Eco PCO D-X Dust — Best All-Natural
Eco PCO D-X Dust contains 1% of 2-Phenethyl Propionate, a peanut oil derivate that breaks down bed bugs’ nervous system, and 0.40% of pyrethrins. This is the best all-natural bed bug killer in the market and unlike other powders, is odorless, non-staining, water-resistant and does not gel into clumps. Insects wither get killed on contact or die after ingesting the powder. It leaves a long-lasting residual effect and is broad-spectrum killing fleas, ticks, mites, carpet beetles silverfish, spiders, scorpions and other insects at the same time as bed bugs.
- Broad spectrum-use and very powerful
- Odorless, non-staining and water-resistant
- The effect lasts for 8 months if left undisturbed
- Can be applied as outdoor parameter treatment
- A few customers complain it is not as effective as advertised
Criteria for Buying the Best Bed Bug Powders
There are dozens of different types of bed bug killer powders in the market, and all of them are marketed as being the best, even though they vary in effectiveness, strength, and residual effect. To make sure you make an informed decision, here are a few factors you need to consider before buying bed bug insecticides.
Most of the bed bug killer powders use diatomaceous earth, which comprises of silica from the fossilized remains of aquatic microalgae. Diatomaceous earth is extremely dehydrating and can strip the insects’ exoskeleton of oil and moisture so that it splits open. After that, bed bugs dry out quickly and die. Others powders use neurotoxins like pyrethrins and propionate that destroy the central nervous system of bed bugs, resulting in paralysis and death.
Level of Toxicity
Most of the bed bug killer powders which use diatomaceous earth as a killing agent are non-toxic to both animals and humans. However, those which contain chemicals like pyrethrins, pyrethroids, dinotefuran, and propionate can be toxic to both people and pets. Regardless of what ingredient your bed bug killer has, it is should not be ingested or inhaled.
Special bed bug killer powders are one of the most cost-effective choices of bed bug control. Many of them can be purchased in less than $25. Many of these powders offer a large coverage area of up to 2,000 square foot with a single bottle. However, if you have a large infestation, you may need more containers to cover large areas.
Bed bug powders may or may not come with dusters or puffers that allow even application of the insecticide and allow it to seep into cracks. If you are on the lookout for bed bug killer powder, choose the brands that offer applicators so that you can prevent as much mess as possible.
Bed bug powders vary in effectiveness as well. Some powders kill bed bugs within 24 to 48 hours, while some take much longer than that. Then there are powders which can kill adult biting insects but do nothing against larvae and eggs. A multi-purpose bed bug killer that can eliminate insects in all life stages is the best options for you.
The most important thing in a bed bug powder is its residual effect. This ensures that you do not have to treat bed bugs every few days. Diatomaceous earth is very durable; however, it is rendered ineffective if it gets wet. There are some chemical bed bug powders that have a residual effect of only a few days. However, there are others which have a residual effect that lasts for up to 8 months. If you are looking for the long-term prevention of bed bugs, the bed bug powder must have a high residual effect.
Bed Bug Powder User Guide
Difference Between Silica Gel and Diatomaceous Earth
Although silica gel and diatomaceous earth are both made of silicon dioxide, they are a few subtle differences between the two. Diatomaceous earth is mined from the fossilized remains of microscopic water plants that are comprised of silicone shells. Silica gel, however, is a synthetic substance, made from sand, quartz, etc. The term gel is misleading because it is not remotely gel-like. In fact, it forms hard amorphous beads, unlike diatomaceous earth, which has a crystalline form.
Both of these substances work in the same way, by dehydrating bed bugs and other chitinous insects, which come in contact with them. Some research shows that silica gel is superior for this task.
However, they have an important difference: 100% diatomaceous earth is an abrasive and inert substance and is enough to kill bed bugs. Meanwhile, silica gel is a nonabrasive, inert substance that often comes in granule form. It can be crushed to powder consistency, but the substance cannot puncture the chitin exoskeleton, like diatomaceous earth. Silica gel is usually used in conjunction with other insecticides like pyrethrins and pyrethroids.
Correct Way To Use Bed Bug Powder
When people suspect they have a bed bug infestation in their home, they often jump the gun and start pouring bed bug killer powder all over and around their house. Not only is this completely unnecessary, but it will also be ineffective in killing the insects. Here’s what you need to do:
- The first step to effectively get rid of bed bugs is to find out their lair, e., the places where they lay their eggs and nest. If you do not know the exact location of the bed bug hiding places but have a suspicion, you can target those places too.
- Thoroughly vacuum and wipe down your floors, bedding, drapes, and rugs and put all the sheets and clothes in the laundry. Wash the fabric with hot water and then spin them out of a hot dryer.
- Before starting your extermination, cover yourself with a face mask and gloves so that you don’t run the risk of either touching or inhaling the insecticide.
Here is what you SHOULD DO:
- Treating inside cracks and crevices: Bed bugs love to hide inside cracks, crevices, nooks, and So, one of your first considerations when applying a bed bug killer powder is to cover these areas as well. Some good places to start are your bed frames, floorboards, cracks in the wall, and the edges of carpets. You should also sprinkle your switchboards, outlet plates, inside the vents and gaps in the baseboard. The powder can easily settle into these places in a way that sprays and foggers cannot. Doing this will help create a parameter and trap the bed bugs inside. Once the bed bugs get hungry, they will have to crawl through the powder to get to you, effectively killing themselves. However, it may take a few treatments before you are able to entirely eliminate the bed bug population.
- Other Places: Bed bugs have a knack of hiding in the places where you least expect them to. So, you do not just need to treat the areas where you suspect there is the most activity, but you also should spread the insecticide along with door and window frames, between furniture joints and even under appliances.
- Powder applicator: As mentioned above, most bed bug powders come with applicators. However, if you have bought a product that does not have a convenient applicator, you need to buy one. Applicators not just help spread the powder evenly, they help in getting the product deep inside. The applicator also spread small amounts of the products so that the bed bug powder is not wasted and can be used
Here is what you SHOULD NOT do:
- Sprinkle bed bug killer powder everywhere: No matter what the marketers say, scattering powder aimlessly everywhere will not get rid of the bug problem. The powder needs to be in contact with the insect to work, and they are not effective when they are spilled in open areas where bed bugs do not come. If you do this, you will only end up ruining your floor, carpet, and furniture and will spread toxins all over your home. This is particularly dangerous if you have small children and pets in your house, who can inhale or ingest the pesticide.
- Not reading the product instruction label: Every manufacturer makes bed bug powders a different way. The active ingredients may be different, or their composition may be unique. You need to be very careful about the difference between bed bugs powder and should properly follow the instructions on the product’s packaging.
Precautions While Applying Bed Bug Killer Spray
Some factors that contributed towards insecticide-related illnesses included the excessive application of bed bug spray, not washing insecticide-treated bedding before sleeping on it and insufficient notification of pesticide application, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Hence it is very important to not over-apply the product and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Even though most bed bug insecticides are marketed as safe, non-toxic, all-natural, and food-grade, the reality is that they are still not 100% safe for humans and animals. Inhaling diatomaceous earth can lead to severe dehydration and the risks are doubled for small children and animals, who may accidentally chew on bedding or upholstery treated by the insecticide. If you have these members in your home, use products that are EPA-approved and keep children and animals away from them.
Inhaling bed bug powder can result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms after applying the insecticide, get medical treatment immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is bed bug powder safe for humans?
A: As mentioned before, many of the bed bug insecticides contain diatomaceous earth, which is an organic, all-natural, non-toxic substance. It kills insects by cracking their exoskeleton open and drying them from the inside. Although this powder is considered “safe” for humans and children, it is meant for killing bed bugs. That means even if it is food-grade, you shouldn’t try to eat it. If adults do ingest it since it is not toxic, they will live to tell the tale; however, they may get ill since it is very dehydrating. Plus, bed bug powder comes with other additives that may be toxic and harmful to your health.
Q: Why are pyrethrins and deltamethrin added to silica-based bed bug powder?
A: Some chemicals are mixed with desiccants in order to speed up and enhance their deadly actions. Dust that contains pyrethrin, pyrethroid and deltamethrin offer dual action: physical dehydration because of silica gel and the collapse of the nervous system because of the other pesticides. Moreover, deltamethrin is water-resistance and allow powders to remain effective even in very damp conditions.
Q: How long should a bed bug powder treatment last?
A: A research study from the University of Kentucky explains that a single treatment with bed bug dust is enough to eradicate the majority of the bed bug population. However, it is recommended that you apply the product a second and a third time, after a few weeks to ensure the population decreases by 90%.
Q: Does bed bug powder kills eggs as well?
A: bed bug eggs are particularly hard to destroy as they are protected by a shell. Since they are hidden deep inside crevices, desiccants and other insecticides cannot get to them. However, when the eggs hatch, the nymphs will be killed by the insecticide. There are also insect growth regulators, chemicals that mimic the juvenile hormones in bed bugs and prevent the eggs from hatching. These can be used in conjunction with desiccants to kill off bed bugs in all life stages.
Q: How long doe bed bug powders take to kill?
A: Most bed bug killer powders claim to kill the insects within 24 to 48 hours; however, you need to properly follow the instructions for the product and apply the insecticide liberally. Silica can kill the bug within seconds on contact and has a residual effect of at least 12 weeks, which means it will keep on killing the remaining insects.
Q: Can you get rid of bed bugs using only powders?
A: Bed bug dust is certainly very powerful and should definitely be used when fighting an infestation. However, getting rid of these little pests is quite complex, and you will need to take any other precautionary and treatment options. You need to keep your space vacuumed and cleaned, fix any broken woodwork, use bed beg interceptors and sprays for larger areas, and cover your mattress with tough encasements so that the bed bugs can’t get to you. You can supplement bed bug powders with these efforts.
For the best results, reapply the bed bug powders after 4 to 7 days. Even if your efforts do not kill 100% of the bed bugs, they will reduce their population significantly, and they can become easier to kill in the future. With continued preventive and treatment options, your house will soon be free of these pesky insects.