Nobody with a bed bug problem likes to talk about it but few people know that these creatures feast on blood and not dirt; you’re just as likely to find them in a clean home as a dirty one. They can enter the home via luggage, clothing and even shoes; frequent travellers are also at risk of transferring them from hotels and bunkhouses.
However these creatures ended up in your home, the sooner you act, the sooner can rid yourself of them – female bed bugs can produce hundreds of eggs in their short lifetime and an established colony can require several treatment sessions.
But how much does bed bug treatment cost and which methods are the most effective?
The Best Methods
There are essentially two ways to get rid of bed bugs; chemical treatments and heat treatments. For severe infestations, a combination of the two and/or repeat visits will be required.
If you choose a chemical-only treatment option, it will be cheaper but you’ll likely need to pay for more repeat visits.
In general, a steam heat treatment method is the most effective but for peace of mind, we recommend a treatment that combines both steam heat and chemicals, but how much does bed bug treatment cost in the UK?
Bed Bug Treatment Cost Guide
In 2022, we looked at 15 UK-based firms and took an average of their prices which you can see in the table below:
|Per room price||£95 per room per treatment|
|Repeat visit discount (average)||32%|
What you need to know about these bed bug prices:
- They are averages so you may receive prices that are higher or lower.
- Those living in London, the south-east or remote areas will pay the highest rates while those in the north of the UK may pay less than the shown prices.
- Many of the firms we contacted offered a discount for subsequent treatments within 3 months.
- All prices include VAT when it was charged.
How Many Treatments Does it Take to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
This depends on the thoroughness of the operator, how bad the infestation is and the chosen method.
The table below provides a guide to the best treatments and how many are required.
|Steam and chemical||1-2 treatments|
|DIY chemical-only||3-5 treatments|
|DIY steam and chemical||2-4 treatments|
In our opinion, the best way to effectively rid your property of bed bugs is to follow this 5 step approach:
- Pre-treatment steps
- Steam heat treatment.
- Chemical treatment.
- Dispose of old mattresses and heavily infected items.
- Inspect the property yourself weekly for the next two months and arrange for another treatment at the earliest opportunity.
1) Pre Treatment Steps
These are steps the homeowner or occupant should take themselves prior to the visit from the bed bug specialist:
- Wash all bedding at least 60° and higher if possible. Store the dried bedding in sealed bags away from the infected area.
- Remove any items from under the bed and thoroughly check for bed bugs. Clothes stored here should be washed at 60°.
- Hoover the property thoroughly, paying close attention to the bedroom or other infected room and any crevices, cracks, skirting boards, the mattress and the bed frame.
- Seal the hoover bag tightly and dispose of it off-site. If you have a hoover bag, empty the contents into a bag and seal with tape.
2) Steam Heat Treatment
While steam treatment can be done DIY, we recommend using the services of a professional who will know from training and experience, where to look and how long to treat each area. Steam can cause damage to electrics and delicate items so we think a professional should be hired but we understand that to save costs, some may consider using a steamer to treat the most obvious areas. If you want to try the DIY route, you’ll need to find a steamer that produces vapour with low water content or you’ll soak the house and cause damage or damp.
Steam heat treatments will kill not only bed bugs but also their eggs which are often resistant to chemical treatments, heat is by far the most effective method but it can struggle to reach into the middle of deep mattresses or inside sofas etc.
Steam treatments are the most expensive part of any bed bug treatment plan as every part of the property should be treated, including any mattress seams, around furniture, bed frames, crevices, gaps etc.
3) Chemical Treatment
While chemical treatments can be applied without first heat steaming the home, they are unlikely to be fully effective after just one application. In fact, most of the companies we contacted stated that they recommend either up to three chemical treatments or a combination of chemical and heat treatments to achieve the desired result.
Chemical treatment involves the application of pesticides that kill off bed bugs but is unlikely to get rid of all the eggs as they have hardened shells.
Female bed bugs will only produce eggs after a certain number of feeding cycles so by repeating the chemical application two or three times, you should be able to eliminate them before they can breed again.
4) Dispose of Old Mattresses and Replace
This is a tough question; should you dispose of old mattresses or keep them?
On the one hand, bed bug treatments are often effective on mattresses and as they are expensive, it would a shame to waste money on a replacement. Also, a new mattress could become re-infected if the first bed bug treatment was unsuccessful.
On the other hand, the mattress is where most bed bugs reside and if they are going to resist the treatment, this is where they will be.
We recommend that customers dispose of mattresses if the infestation is severe, otherwise have them treated with both steam and chemicals, also inspect them weekly for the next few months.
If you replace your mattress with a new one, keep the plastic wrapper on it until you are confident the bugs have been eliminated from your home.
5) Inspect the Property Weekly
Whether you’ve had your property treated with heat, chemicals or both, there is a chance that some of the bed bugs will remain so you should thoroughly inspect the bed, frame, bedding and the surrounding areas weekly for the next few months.
If you are unable to do this, you can request a bed bug inspection and you may wish to do this once or twice after treatment for peace of mind.
I’ve looked at every single bed bug treatment product I could find on sale in the UK and I also analysed hundreds of product reviews and ratings on Amazon. I also looked at the chemicals and the quantities in all the top-rated products.
I have come to the conclusion that while they might be effective against a mild infestation that is caught early, you’ll need between 3 and 5 repeat treatments and you’ll need to heat steam key areas of your property as well.
Also, many DIY products not only contain weak chemicals, they are also often sold in small bottles, sometimes as small as 1-litre. Such small quantities won’t be effective against an infestation and you could end up paying hundreds of pounds on weak, inferior chemicals.
During my research, I also noted that many of these products were marketed toward the extermination of other crawling insects such as silverfish, fleas and ticks etc. Unfortunately, many of the positive reviews and 5-star ratings were from customers who had successfully treated these pests and not the notorious bed bugs. This is something to be aware of if you glance at the ratings and reviews of bed bug products online.
Do I Think That DIY Bed Bug Treatment Products Could be Effective?
Yes, but I recommend:
- Getting rid of the mattress and keeping the plastic wrapper on the new one.
- Steam treating the bed frame, skirting boards and all key areas away from electronics.
- Applying DIY chemical treatments to all areas of the home.
- Washing all bed linen and clothes at 60° if possible.
- Reapplying the chemicals 3-5 times or as needed.
This is the best product I could find :
- This product contains a strong chemical at good dosages.
- It can be used on mattresses.
- Use on carpets and furniture, subject to a patch test first.
- It comes in 5-litre bottles so you get plenty of product.
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