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Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?

When it comes to the issue of whether or not rubbing alcohol is a good way to kill bedbugs, there is a short answer, and a correct answer.

The short answer is YES, Rubbing Alcohol MAY kill a bedbug after a few moments of contact (some studies cite that it wasn’t even effective at killing bugs it came in to contact with). “You’ll kill the ones you find, what about the ones you don’t?” Bob Wilford, President of Presidio Pest Management, often says this to customers when they ask about rubbing alcohol as a bedbug solution.

Rubbing alcohol is not a good idea at any stage of bedbug infestation. In fact, it is probably at the top of the list for the “worst way to end a bedbug infestation”, and at the top of the list for “ways to make an infestation worse”.

The correct answer is that rubbing alcohol may kill a few bedbugs – the ones that it comes into contact with – but unless you have only 1 or 2 bugs (which is rarely the case), you aren’t killing all of the bugs and the eggs that are in your home, and you could make the problem worse.

If you were told by a pest management professional that alcohol will solve your bedbug problem, call a different professional. Click here to find out why.

Rubbing alcohol can be applied through a fogger, which is one of the worst things to do when an infestation is present. When you kill a few bedbugs and the ones that remain sense the odor of alcohol, they quickly switch to “survival mode”, meaning they will travel farther and hide deeper in your furniture and fabrics in order to keep living. When bedbugs enter survival mode, it makes a bedbug infestation more time consuming and expensive to completely resolve.

Our answer is based on our own experience with customer homes and how their bedbug infestation problem became worse through the use of rubbing alcohol. If you still think you’d like to try this method, we strongly urge you to consider other sources of information on rubbing alcohol & bedbugs before starting.

Science News: Mothballs & Rubbing Alcohol are poor for bedbug control

 University of Minnesota’s advice on “What Not To Do” when you have bedbugs

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