Does Permethrin Kill Bed Bugs? It’s Time to Sleep Easy

Can permethrin kill bed bugs? The answer is yes, it certainly can. While there are some safety precautions people need to take when using this insecticide, it can be part of a good strategy for eliminating bed bugs once and for all.

By Pest Advisor Editors (Updated on Jul 18, 2023)

Fact Checked by Jason Chapman

Does Permethrin Kill Bed Bugs? It’s Time to Sleep Easy photo

Permethrin is an insecticide based on something unexpected: chrysanthemum flowers! It’s a common ingredient in insect control products. If you’ve been up scratching at night, you might have one question: Can permethrin kill bed bugs? The answer is yes, it certainly can. Here are some facts you should know:

  • Permethrin is an effective insecticide, and it’s effective against bed bugs.
  • It works by disrupting the insects’ nervous systems.
  • You do need to take important safety precautions when using permethrin in the home.
  • There are additional strategies you should be trying even while using permethrin.

Keep reading to learn about permethrin and how it can help you control your bed bug infestation.

Unmasking the Bed Bug Menace: A Lethal Showdown

Bed bugs are experts at hiding, which makes them great at silently infesting a home, hotel, or other place where people congregate and sleep. Often, people don’t even know they have a bed bug problem until there are many of the insects living in their mattresses and other furniture.

There are lots of home remedies that simply don’t work well against an army of these critters. Vinegar, bleach, and rubbing alcohol are all but useless when there’s a large number of bed bugs. Raid and Lysol can kill on contact, but they won’t eliminate a full infestation. Professional extermination is effective, but many find it expensive.

When it comes to taking care of a bed bug problem, though, a multifaceted strategy is going to be the best. That strategy might include permethrin.

The Science Behind Bed Bug Annihilation

Permethrin is synthetic, but it’s derived from a natural insecticide that comes from chrysanthemums. You can buy it in various commercial formulations. It does kill bed bugs on contact, but how does it work?

The official science behind the product is that it lands on the bed bugs or they walk through it, and it attack’s the bug’s nervous system and results in paralysis and death. It can get through their waxy coating, which many substances cannot do.

What permethrin can do that other insecticides sometimes cannot is stick around. Even after the spray has dried and you can no longer smell it, it’s still working in the areas where it was used. While many substances will dry and no longer have much of an effect, this isn’t true for permethrin.

How to Safely Use Permethrin to Kill Bed Bugs

Because permethrin comes in various formulas, there are some made for indoor use and others for outdoor use. In addition, some formulas will be safe for use on your mattress, while others won’t be. So, first and foremost, carefully read the packaging of the products you’re considering to ensure they’re safe to use in and around your bed.

It’s recommended that you use gloves and mask when applying permethrin, even if it’s safe for your bedroom. You don’t want to be inhaling the powder or getting the spray on your skin and hair.

Apply the insecticide as directed. Depending on what type you’re using, you may need to dilute the product. Always read the directions and follow them precisely for safety.

You’ll need to repeat the treatment, as bed bugs aren’t all going to be exterminated in one fell swoop. Consult the packaging to see how often you’ll need to apply it and how many times.

Other Strategies to Defeat Bed Bugs Once and for All

While permethrin is effective against bed bugs, it’s not likely to work if that’s the only method you’re using. Here are some other things you should be doing before, during, and after treatment:

  • Clean your home, particularly your bedrooms, very well. Dust and vacuum, paying special attention to the edges of carpet, around furniture legs, in drawers, along molding, and in other hidden areas.
  • Pick up clutter as you clean, since bed bugs are all too happy to hide in piles and stacks that you rarely go through.
  • Focus on your bed: Vacuum your mattress, and use the nozzle attachment to get all of the seams along the edges, where bugs and their eggs might be hanging out. Do the same for your box spring. If you can, put your mattress and box spring in bed bug-proof cases to keep any stray eggs and insects trapped away from your body.
  • Wash bedding in hot water. It’s best to run it through the hottest drying cycle, too. You can use bleach in the wash if you’d like to, but it’s not necessary.
  • Make it a point to clean well each day. Vacuuming and dusting should be a daily activity when you have a bed bug infestation.

Remember, if you can’t manage the bed bugs on your own, even with the permethrin, call in the professionals sooner rather than later. It will be money well spent if you’re struggling to rid yourself of the problem. A bed bug infestation can take hold and grow quickly, so the sooner you take charge, the better.

Citations and Credits

Featured image by Alexandra Gorn / Unsplash

Article image by Iouento.pix / Flickr

Article image by CDC / Unsplash

Related articles

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Can Bed Bugs Make You Sick?
Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Can Bed Bugs Make You Sick?

Can bed bugs make you sick? They can, in some cases. If you’re dealing with bed bugs, you could also be at risk for allergies, itching, insomnia, infections, and more.

A Minty Menace: Does Peppermint Oil Kill Bed Bugs?
A Minty Menace: Does Peppermint Oil Kill Bed Bugs?

With so many uses, peppermint oil is a powerhouse when it comes to reducing various physical maladies and cleaning. But does peppermint oil kill bed bugs?

Sour Solutions: Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?
Sour Solutions: Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

Vinegar has a lot of uses in the home, and it’s often touted as a way to repel or even kill insects. But does vinegar kill bed bugs? Let’s find out.

Does Raid Kill Bed Bugs: Your Ultimate Guide to Bed Bug Warfare
Does Raid Kill Bed Bugs: Your Ultimate Guide to Bed Bug Warfare

Does Raid kill bed bugs? After all, it makes quick work of ants, cockroaches, and other household pests. It’s a common question and one that has a multifaceted response.

Disinfectant Duel: Does Lysol Kill Bed Bugs?
Disinfectant Duel: Does Lysol Kill Bed Bugs?

If you see one bed bug, chances are good that your house is on the verge of an infestation. The question has been asked: Does Lysol kill bed bugs? Let’s take a look at some of the facts