Battling the Bed Bug: How to Control Bed Bugs with Pesticide Strips

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 34 minutes.
Updated: .

Once you come across the evidence of bed bugs in your home, you’ll want to eliminate them fast. Unfortunately, these bloodsuckers are devilishly difficult to eradicate. They’re small and flat, so they can hide virtually anywhere. They can also reproduce very quickly.

Bed bugs have evolved over the years and become resistant to certain earlier types of pesticides. So what type of products should you use?

Insecticidal strips are innovative products that can help you with your pest problem. However, not all of them are effective on bed bugs. Here’s everything you need to know about bed bug strips.

How Do Bed Bug Strips Work

Pesticide strips are used to kill a range of household pests such as cockroaches, beetles, spiders, ants, clothes moths, earwigs, flies, and silverfish. However, they may not necessarily work on bed bugs.

Bed bug strips are specifically labeled for use against bed bugs.

Based on their mode of action, they can be categorized into two kinds:

  • Slow release strips.
  • Glue strips.

Slow release strips are more commonly used than glue strips due to their effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look at each of these products.

Slow release strips

Most of these strips contain dichlorvos or permethrin as their active ingredient. The ingredient is released from the strips as an invisible and odorless vapor over a period of days and kills the bugs.

Dichlorvos, also referred to as DDVP, has been proven to be highly effective against bed bugs. It’s highly volatile, so it diffuses through enclosed spaces excellently. As a result, it’s very beneficial as a fumigant. A block of pesticide containing DDVP can emit vapors that kill and repel bugs within 1,200 cubic feet. The fumes can last up to 4 months.

Pest strips containing DDVP provide 100 percent bed bug control.

DDVP strips are lethal to all the bed bug life stages, including eggs. They also kill bugs that are resistant to pyrethroids, which are found in many modern insecticides.

You can also ward off these nasty, parasitic insects by using a bed bug repellent. Go here to learn about this product.

Glue Strips – Bed Bug Traps

Glue traps at Home DepotThese strips contain a strong glue adhesive that captures bed bugs, preventing them from crawling away and hiding. The glue may contain elements that attract bed bugs onto the strip such as pheromones, heat, and carbon dioxide. Some strips may not have any lures or attractants, meaning their efficacy is determined by where you place them.

Some pest control devices such as bed bug monitors and detection traps have glue strips concealed in them.

You can use best bed bug traps for several purposes, such as:

  • preventing bed bugs from moving to your bed via its legs;
  • trapping bed bugs trying to find or come out of a hiding spot;
  • detecting and monitoring potential infestations;
  • gauging the efficiency of your control technique.

How to Use

Insecticidal strips will only be effective if you use them correctly. Improper use can not only make them ineffective but also affect your health. Breathing excessive amounts of the vapors emerging from the strips can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, restlessness, muscle tremors, and sweating.

Studies have shown that the health effects of overexposure to these strips tend to resolve themselves. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that you should use them with care.

Did you know that you could also control bed bugs by setting off a bug bomb? Read this to get a better understanding of the best bed bugs bomb.

Precautions to take when applying the strips

  • Don’t overuse the strips. A single 16-gram strip is enough to treat 100-200 cubic feet. For example, a typical walk-in closet measuring 6′ by 12′ by 8′ is about 575 cubic feet. Such a space would need 3-5 strips. Using 6 or more strips would be over-applying the product.
  • Don’t use the strips in places with unwrapped food like the kitchen and storage areas.
  • Don’t use the strips in parts of your home that pets or people occupy for over 4 hours a day.
  • Don’t cut strips into smaller pieces or remove them from their holder.
  • Don’t allow pets and children to play or sleep in areas where you’ve placed the strips.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling the strips.

Where to apply the strips

When applying strips, it’s best to use gloves because they prevent any skin contact. You should also carefully follow all the instructions on the product package.

Here’s a look at some of the places and items you can treat using bed bug strips.

Near hot spots

Bed bug glue stripPlacement is key to achieving success with glue strips. Make sure you place them near potential or known infestation points.

For example, you can place the glue strips underneath sofas and beds, around bed legs, and along walls.

Upholstered furniture

Upholstered furniture is one of the most difficult items to treat. Bed bugs easily hide in upholstery. Treatments such as steam cleaning may not penetrate the upholstery deeply and thoroughly enough.

Pest strips are the best option for treating upholstered furniture.

Take these steps to treat the furniture:

  1. Encase the piece of furniture in a big plastic furniture bag.
  2. Place one strip inside the bag.
  3. Seal the bag tightly.
  4. Leave the bag unopened for one week.

Nuvan Prostrip Instructions for Upholstered Furniture


If you encounter bed bugs while traveling, you can easily bring the critters home with you.

If you know or suspect they are hiding in your luggage, take these steps to kill them off:

  1. When you return home, unpack your entire suitcase outside the house.
  2. Wash your clothes with the hottest water possible and then dry them in your dryer set on high.
  3. Put your suitcase and a pest strip in a large garbage bag.
  4. Seal the bag and leave it that way for at least 2 weeks. The vapor that the strip releases will kill all the hitchhiking parasites.
  5. If your suitcase has lots of seams, pockets, and other potential hiding places, you may have to give the strip about one month for it to penetrate every nook and cranny. Let the bag sit for 4-6 weeks.

Other personal items

Pesticide strip in storage binYou can also use no-pest strips to kill the bloodsucking bugs in your shoes, books, electronics, appliances, and other things that are non-washable or can’t be treated with heat or liquid pesticides.

Put the items to be treated in a sealed plastic bag together with a pest strip. Leave them there for a week.

For the washable items you treat with pest strips, be sure to clean them using soapy water before reusing them. You should air out all washable and non-washable items for at least 2 hours once you’re done with the treatment and before using them.

The Best Bed Bug Strips

Now that you have a good understanding of what bed bug strips are and how they work, the next thing you should know is some of the products that are worth considering. We’ve done the homework for you and found the products that are head and shoulders above the rest.

Based on our findings, the two top brands are Nuvan ProStrips and Hot Shot No-Pest Strips. Let’s take a look at what each has to offer.

1. Nuvan ProStrips

Nuvan ProStrips are manufactured by AMVAC Chemical Corporation. Their active ingredient is the effective DDVP that is toxic to bed bugs and their eggs. These strips also get rid of cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, earwigs, spiders, wasps, silverfish, and moths.

The strips can remove bed bugs from attics, storage units, crawl spaces and other enclosed areas of your home as well as from infested household items.

Nuvan Prostrips Products

How do they work? Nuvan ProStrips work through emitting DDVP vapors to kill bed bugs. These vapors diffuse through open voids as well as cracks and crevices where the critters may be hiding.

They take about 2-3 days to kill the adults and nymphs. They take about one week to kill the eggs.

Nuvan Prostrips Instructions

What are customers saying about the product? Majority of the users of this product have found it to be useful. It worked for them as described. The product was able to eradicate bed bugs within 7 days. Some users describe the product to be worth its price.

The product has received a few negative reviews. Some people find the product to be expensive. Others were unimpressed by the intense odor left on the treated items.

If you don’t want to include pesticides in your pest control program, one DIY solution you can turn to is baking soda. So how do you use baking soda for bed bugs? Get the answer in this article.

2. Hot Shot No-Pest Strips

Hot Shot has a well-known line of indoor pest control products. These strips use DDVP to kill bed bugs and prevent their eggs from hatching. They also control other non-flying and flying pests.

You can place the strips on a flat surface or hang them using the hook provided.

No-Pest Strip by Hot Shot

How do they work? The strips work by slowly releasing DDVP vapor continuously. The vapor kills both the visible and hidden bugs that it comes into contact with. It also prevents new infestations. They provide continuous protection from the creepy crawlers for 4 months.

One Hot Shot strip can treat a 10×13-foot room that has an 8-foot ceiling.

No-Pest Strip by Hot Shot Instruction
No-Pest Strip by Hot Shot Instruction 2

What are customers saying about the product? From most customer reviews, you can conclude that the product works. Most customers have managed to keep bugs at bay with it.

A few customers didn’t like the time the product took to kill the bugs.

Bed bug strips have raised controversy in some circles due to their potential negative health effects. It’s important to note that these products will be safe and effective provided you use them in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. You also need to give them a number of days or weeks to work on the bed bugs.

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

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  1. Hi Inga,
    Thank you for your very clear and informative site. We live in NYC and started getting bed bug bites about 2 and a half weeks ago. We went through this experience 10 years ago after staying in an infested hotel room and unwittingly brought bed bugs home, despite our best efforts. At that time, we called in professionals to fumigate our small one-bedroom apartment, but continued getting bites. After a couple of weeks, we got advice from an out of town pest control professional to use the hot shot no pest strips in the bedroom, seal up the apartment as best we could, and leave for 4 days (we threw out the strips when we returned). We did that and there were no more bed bug problems upon our return. Now, we are about to undertake a similar plan of action and leave the apartment for 5 days, after putting out the no pest strips. Our question is: we now have a lot more clothing and boxes which are impossible at the moment to go through and/or remove. Will the pest strips be effective if the area around the bed is cluttered with many bed bug hiding places? Can the no-pest strips’ vapor reach “into the clutter” or draw the bugs out to be killed? For several reasons, we are unable to use a professional service right now and have to undertake this on our own. We are asking this just to get some idea of what is possible and to hear an informed opinion and do not consider any answer to this question as professional advice in any way. If you can respond, thank you so much in advance.

  2. Did this work for you? I would be happy to leave strips around the house and close all doors and windows and leave for a week. Alternatively, can we place any items we have in a closet with the strips and tape around the door to create a seal?
    Does placing items in a freezer also kill bed bugs?

  3. You need enough air in the treatment space to allow vapours to get into every nook and cranny; using a fan on low setting will help distribute the vapours. So unless your closet has only a few things in it, and these items have enough air space between them to allow for proper circulation, this likely won’t be effective.
    Leaving a sealed -shut home for a minimum of one week, with enough strips to cover the treatment area (see package for how much area a strip will cover; it’s something like 900-1200 cubic feet per 65 g strip), is a much better idea. Just remember to open drawers, move items away from walls, get rid of clutter, pack clothes in plastic, etc., remove the mattress from the bed, and do all the prep needed so the vapours can reach the small spaces where bedbugs are likely to hide. It takes hours and hours to properly prep for this.
    re Freezer: Unless your freezer stays at a constant -18C (I think – check this online first) with no temp. fluctuations, then no, popping items in the freezer is not effective. Standard kitchen freezers, especially, will not do the job. And even the specialized freezers need several days at minimum to kill any bedbugs hidden in items. I’m not sure how effective this method is for eggs, either.

  4. My husband and I think we have bed bugs but are not sure cause I have red bumps up and down my legs now just getting these red bumps on both arms and back and feet but my husband does not have any red bumps but 1 that he woke up with this morning I had mine for months and these red bumps go away at the end of each day towards evening that’s why we’re not sure I went to the Dr this morning and the Dr thinks that’s what we have but is stumped and did say he’s suspicious as to what these little red bumps are cause there not chickenpox he said plus I’ve already had them because my husband and I sleep in the same bed and he has only one red bump is why the Dr is suspicious and thinks that’s maybe not what these red bumps are PLEASE HELP ME.

  5. I am one of those who does not get a bump when bitten. I was occasionally sleeping on the infested couch and just though they were harmless beetles. They might wake me up from their crawling, but not bites and never once left any marks. I’m much smarter now. When squished, the bed bug leaves a red stain if fed and a brown stain if hungry (old blood). My couch is encased in bags outside and will give it the pest strip treatment ASAP. Thanks for the info.

    • Hi. Not everyone reacts to bedbugs, so if only 1 person has red bumps, itchiness, skin feels inflamed/hot, this still might be bedbugs.
      Buy bedbug detectors to put under the legs of your bed, to catch any bugs that are climbing up to bite you at night. And inspect the edges and seams of your mattress for black specks and spots, which are what bedbugs leave after they feed. Buy a bedbug-proof mattress casing, too, to trap any bugs already in there and keep others from getting in. Keep this casing on for at least 18 months, which is how long a bedbug can survive without feeding.
      You should call an exterminator to inspect; they know where to look for these bugs. And until then, vacuum daily (throw out the bag immediately after vacuuming and shake out your vacuum outside); if you have a steamer, use it to steam your floors and chairs and other furniture, since steam kills bugs and eggs; wash all your clothes after wearing and dry them on high heat for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Anything that can’t be washed can be sealed in a bag with one of these pest strips. Leave enough room in the bag that you have a big bubble of air in there, for the vapours to move around, and shake the bag lightly a few times a day to get air inside flowing. Keep the bags closed for 2 weeks (not 1 week); it takes 10 days to 2 weeks to kill eggs.
      Good luck!

    • Bed bugs will choose one preferred host over another for their feeding. Women generally have a slightly higher skin temperature than men, so often couples will find that the woman has bites on her skin but not her husband. Bed bugs prefer to attack the legs mostly. Your description definitely makes me suspect bed bugs. Purchase a bed bug detector like the Ortho Bed Bug B Gon Max Traps or similar and follow the instructions.

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