If you or anyone you know has ever experienced a bed bug problem, then you know how hard they are to get rid of. They show up unexpectedly and invade your mattresses, couches, and even your clothes — ick! So, the Good Housekeeping Institute consulted bug experts to find out the answer to your most burning questions: What’s the most effective bed bug treatment? And, how long does it take to get rid of them?

Turns out, the answer’s probably not what you think. All of those bed bug sprays you see at Home Depot and other home improvement stores aren’t going to get rid of bed bugs entirely on their own. They will kill any bed bugs that come in direct contact with the spray, but the likelihood of a spray reaching all bed bugs (and their eggs) is very low. Plus, a one-time treatment won’t cut it, says Jing Zhai, the research director of ecotoxicology and specialty products at global testing laboratory Eurofins, who has extensive experience with bed bugsIf you use one of those direct sprays, then “a few weeks later you have to go back to check to see if any eggs are hatched, then you have to do a second treatment,” she says.

But there’s a catch: You probably won’t be able to see or recognize bed bug eggs yourself. “That’s why most times you probably should call a professional,” says Zhai, because they have the tools and training to spot them easily.

Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Chemical Pesticides

Many of those over-the-counter pesticides contain chemicals that are potentially dangerous if misused — and it’s a lot easier to misuse them than you think.

“The strong chemical actives used in bed bug treatments are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meaning the manufacturer has scientifically proven the safety and efficacy of the chemicals when used properly,” says Birnur Aral, Ph.D., Director of the Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

Read more: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/a27009318/most-effective-bed-bug-treatment/