Could bed bugs reappear in your home even after you believed they were fully eradicated? Getting rid of bed bugs can present a challenge, but is there a chance they might come back?

Yes, bed bugs can come back after treatment. They can come back if:

  • they are brought back into the home by an unsuspecting neighbor or loved one
  • they escaped to a nearby room or apartment during treatment
  • an ineffective bed bug control technique was used and some of them survived
  • their eggs survived the treatment

Here is what you need to know about why bed bugs can come back after treatment and what you can do about it.


Why do bed bugs keep coming back?

If you have a recurring bed bug problem, then chances are that:

They keep being brought back

The first and easiest way in which bed bugs invade a home is by attaching themselves to a person. Later on, when they visit, the bed bugs crawl into the home. This may also happen in cases where infested items are introduced to a bedbug-free or treated area.

Therefore, if the bed bugs keep being introduced back into your home through people or items, they can come back even after treatment.

You used an ineffective treatment

Bed bugs are hard to kill. They are really good at hiding. They are also adept at developing resistance to pesticides.

Therefore, if you use an ineffective pesticide or technique, you are likely to see them making a comeback. This is because if a few bed bugs survive, it won’t be long before you have a full-blown infestation.

Why? Because bed bugs multiply at an incredibly fast rate.

You didn't kill and remove their eggs

Bed bugs take a little bit more to kill. They require a little bit more exposure to heat. And they often require a little more potent treatment. In general, what can kill the bed bugs, is not always enough to kill their eggs.

Therefore, if you kill bed bugs but fail to destroy their eggs, you will have a problem. This is because you will experience a re-infestation as soon as the eggs hatch.

Can bed bugs survive after treatment?

Yes, bed bugs can survive after treatment. They can survive if:

They have developed a resistance

Over time, bed bugs develop a resistance, especially to chemical treatments. Treatments that would otherwise work can thus become less effective. This will then lead to some bed bugs surviving even after the treatment is applied.

They hide

Bed bugs are tiny. They are also very good at hiding in narrow and hard-to-reach sections.

As a result, even the most effective treatments can have a hard time killing them simply because these sections and areas shelter them from the effects of the treatments. This is sometimes enough to enable them to survive after treatment.

Their eggs survived

Bed bug eggs are a little bit harder to kill than grown bed bugs.

If you are using heat to eliminate bed bugs, it will require several degrees higher than what you would have ordinarily used to kill adult bed bugs. And if you are using chemical treatments, what may work on live bed bugs may not be strong enough to destroy the eggs.

Therefore, while the bed bug treatment will kill the adults, the eggs will survive. And when these eggs hatch, you will end up with a new bed bug infestation.

They moved to an untreated room or apartment

Bed bugs can move from one room to the next.

They can escape from a room that is being treated. And when the treatment fades away and the room becomes conducive for habitation, the bed bugs can come back into the room or space.

Therefore, they can survive treatment by running away.

Can bed bugs come back months later?

Yes, bed bugs can come back months later.

They can come back if a few eggs survived

Bed bug eggs are harder to kill and destroy. Therefore, even if you manage to kill all bed bugs, their eggs can still hatch. And when they do, you will end up with a full-blown bed bug infestation.

They can come back if you used an ineffective treatment

Not all treatments can kill bed bugs.

Some can only kill a small percentage of the bed bug population in a home. Using partially ineffective treatments will definitely result in bed bugs coming back. This is because those that survive the treatment will help to rebuild their population.

They can come back if they are re-introduced into your home

Bed bugs usually enter homes when infested items, luggage, or clothes are introduced into the home. If this happens, you will experience a bed bug re-infestation.

How do you keep bed bugs from coming back?

You can keep bed bugs from coming back by doing the following:

I. Using an effective treatment

You can keep bed bugs from coming back by killing them and all their eggs. Doing so denies them the opportunity to rebuild their populations. It is thus the easiest way of guaranteeing a home that is completely free of bed bugs.

However, it is important to note that bed bugs are notorious for developing resistance. Therefore, even effective bed bug control methods can prove to be ineffective in the long run.

A multi-pronged approach works best

It is thus advisable to always use a combined approach where you use a multi-pronged strategy. Essentially, you should attack bed bugs by using techniques that take both a physical and chemical approach to destroying bedbugs.

Desssicants and pyrethrins

A good example of an approach that will work is using effective desiccants and pyrethrins. The desiccants, like DE, will attach the bed bugs will harm the bed bugs physically by cutting into their exoskeletons, while the pyrethrins will interfere with the way their system works by poisoning them.

Chemical and nonchemical

You can also combine chemical and non-chemical bed bug control techniques.

This may mean having to start the treatment process with vacuuming, laundering, and steaming. And then later on applying insecticide sprays that have been proven to work.

When you use a combined approach like this one, you will increase the kill rate of the treatment.


II. Sealing vacuum bags in air-tight zip bags

Vacuuming is an easy and effective method of removing bed bugs and their eggs from your home.

Unfortunately, it can also be an easy way of moving bed begs from one room to the next. This is because the vacuumed bed bugs can still escape from the bed bugs. And given enough time, they can find their way back to your house.

To keep vacuumed bed bugs from re-invading your home, you need to seal the vacuum bags in an air-tight plastic bag. This will keep the bed bugs contained and keep them from going back into your home.


III. Inspecting bags, clothes, and other items before storage

The most common way in which bed bugs enter a home is by hitchhiking on bags, clothes, or other items. Therefore, they can be brought into the home by unsuspecting visitors or loved ones.

To reduce the risks of bed bugs being re-introduced into your home:

  • You should inspect any items or clothes that you allow into your home.
  • You can also ensure that any pieces of clothing or beddings that are brought into your home are laundered immediately. Or at least that they are stored in air-tight plastic bags.
  • Isolate your belongings when at school or the workplace. A plastic bag can really help you do so.
  • Avoid areas that are prone to having bed bugs. This includes avoiding lounges, office coat closets, break rooms, and other densely populated areas.
  • Vacuum your home more often

Doing all, or some, of these things, will allow you to intercept the bed bugs before they have time to get comfortable in your home.


IV. Sealing cracks, crevices, and openings

Cracks, crevices, and openings are excellent hiding spots for bed bugs. They also allow bed bugs to move from room to room. In essence, they provide bed bugs with a way to escape and shelter from treatment.

To ensure that you kill all the bed bugs in your home, you have to deny them an escape route. You also have to strip them of any areas that can shelter them from the treatment.

The best way to achieve this is by sealing any carrying out repairs in your home. This may also include painting, taping, and caulking.


V. Take an aggressive eradication approach

Instead of treating rooms or areas that only have visible signs of bed bugs, you should treat all areas that are next to the infected room or apartment. Doing so will completely eliminate the risks of re-infestation.


VI. Hire a professional

The fastest and easiest way of guaranteeing that bed bugs won’t come back after treatment is to hire a professional. And the best way to find qualified bed bug removal experts is to use Private Exterminator. It offers a free service that quickly matches you with the top-voted local experts in your area.

Using the website, you can get 3 estimates fast by real certified experts in your area in just 2 minutes. Here is how it works.

  1. You scroll to the top of the page and enter your zip code.
  2. Answer questions about your bed bug problem
  3. Your details will be forwarded to three local experts.
  4. You will then receive a price estimate for the job and some friendly advice.

IMPORTANT: There is no obligation to hire. This is a free tool and service to be used at your pleasure.

Scott Williams
Author: Scott Williams - Scott is a pest control expert and has worked in the industry for over 20 years, most recently in NYC, where he runs a pest control business. Scott loves to write articles, share his knowledge on exterminator services, and advise on safe DIY method.