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Does Permethrin Kill Bed Bugs?

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This article will answer the question: Does Permethrin kill bed bugs? We will look at its effectiveness and how to use Permethrin as a treatment to kill bed bugs.

Let’s get started!

What are Bed bugs?

Bed bugs are a very common household insects that feed on the blood of a human, mainly at night while you are asleep.

A bed bug is oval, about the size of an apple seed. Their bodies are flat, which helps them crawl into tiny spaces. They are reddish-brown looking, redder if they have just fed on blood.

Bed bugs do not have wings but can crawl very quickly. They can cover around thirteen meters a minute, which explains why an infestation can soon spread all over the house. The bed bugs generally tend to stay near their host, hiding in the bed frame, mattress seams, box springs, and anywhere else out of sight.

Bed bugs tend to spread by hitching lifts on clothing and in your luggage. You unknowingly bring them to your house.

Do not buy used furniture unless you have given it a good search for bed bugs. They may be on it, and you could bring the bed bugs to your house!

You could treat the furniture to be on the safe side. Make sure you treat any gaps and cracks on the furniture.

What is permethrin?



Permethrin is known as a broad-spectrum insecticide killing many types of insects. It is an insecticide from the pyrethroid family, synthetic chemicals acting like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. These chemical compounds simulate Pyrethrins and are toxic to bed bugs.

It was invented back in 1972 by Michael Elliot. It was used in agriculture because it was effective and did not break down in sunlight. It has been used to kill bugs ever since.

However, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) found that it will kill fish and other aquatic animals that are susceptible to Permethrin, so its use has been limited to cotton farming.

Permethrin is mildly toxic, causing mild irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, and throat and breathing problems. With this in mind, avoid breathing in the spray and direct handling.

Insect growth regulator

Take a close look at Permethrin, and other pesticide labels, an insect growth regulator called Hydroprene helps kill bed bugs. Hydroprene stops bed bugs’ eggs and nymphs from maturing into adult bed bugs.

Are bed bugs resistant to Permethrin?

You may be wondering whether Permethrin kills bed bugs. Permethrin is not a perfect treatment for controlling bed bugs; it can kill bed bugs if applied directly to the bed bugs.

What else is permethrin used for?

Companies use Permethrin in head lice treatments. Exposure to it kills the lice but not the eggs. Permethrin works by affecting the nervous system of the lice. Once a treatment has been completed, it may be necessary to re-treat to kill newly hatched bed bug eggs that were missed before.

Permethrin can also be found in insect repellent that you can apply to the skin. Permethrin cream can be used to soothe a bed bug bite.

It is used for the treatment of scabies, which are caused by mites that irritate your skin.

It comes in cream form, is massaged into the skin, and left to work for around 8-14 hours. Then it is washed off.

What are the symptoms of scabies?

Scabies causes itching of the skin, which gets worse at night. You will notice fine white wavy lines and burrows on fingers, toes, wrists, armpits, and various other places.

After the permethrin cream has killed the mites, you may still itch for up to four weeks afterward.

Are there any side effects to the cream?

It can cause skin irritation, swelling, and redness. Also, you may feel a stinging or burning feeling sensation.

Rare side effects from using the cream



You should seek medical advice urgently if you get a rash, a feeling of dizziness, and trouble breathing.

What insects does Permethrin kill?

Permethrin is used to kill many pests, including fleas, Ticks, Cockroaches, Flies, and Mosquitoes. When you spray Permethrin onto a bed bug infestation, the Permethrin residue will continue to eliminate bed bugs over time.

Some bed bug groups have become resistant to Permethrin. However, if it is used with pyrethroids, the combination can have better results on a resistant bed bug population.

Manufacturers constantly look for pesticides like Permethrin for the general public to use that the bed bugs are not resistant to.

Over time, the bed bugs’ shells have grown thicker, making it harder to produce insecticides and pesticide-resistance products that can get through the shell.

How does Permethrin kill insects?

Spraying Permethrin works by biological means because it paralyzes the nervous system of insects, leading to starvation and death of bed bugs.

Permethrin is more toxic to insects than to humans and dogs. The insects cannot break Permethrin down in the body.

How quickly does Permethrin work on bed bugs?

If a bed bug comes into contact with Permethrin, it affects the nervous system, and the bed bugs will become paralyzed and die immediately.

Over time, it may take several applications of spraying to kill an entire bed bug infestation, particularly as bed bugs hide in tiny gaps and cracks, and Permethrin spray will not penetrate furniture.

Permethrin health risks

The EPA has found through studies that it is a weak carcinogen if ingested. Animal studies found mice had developed liver and lung tumors after ingestion. It remains unclear how much needs to be eaten.

Laboratory studies found Permethrin was highly toxic to fish, and other aquatic animals were susceptible to Permethrin. Permethrin was then classed as a restricted-use pesticide.

Is using Permethrin safe indoors?

Spraying a product containing 36.8 % Permethrin is safe indoors to control bed bugs. Use Permethrin spray to kill bed bugs; it is ideal for hard-to-treat insects like bed bugs and fleas.

Using Permethrin spray on bedding and mattresses should be avoided. Various sprays can be sprayed on a mattress. Here are a few: Crossfire, Temprid fx, D-fence nxt, good for treating cracks and crevices, and Cimexa dust.



Only spray Permethrin lightly onto carpets.

Some interesting points

There are over 1400 Permethrin permitted products available in the United States.

The good thing about the spray is that it shouldn’t stain clothing.

Hikers can buy Permethrin pre-treated clothing that acts as a repellent.

In the tropics, Permethrin is used to prevent Dengue fever and malaria.

When exposed to Permethrin, cats are severely affected by it, as it is toxic to them. This pesticide should not be used in a house that has cats. Let pest controllers know if you have cats.

Permethrin will remain effective for up to 2 months after it has been sprayed.

How to spot a bed bug infestation

  • Bed bug bites will usually be red itchy welts on the top half of the body’s skin, but other exposed areas may be bitten.

  • Smears of blood appear when a bed bug has fed, and some blood gets dropped on the bed sheets.

  • When a bed bug feeds, it grows, and as it outgrows the shell, it will fall off onto the bedding. If you find them, you know you have an active bed bug infestation.

  • Bed bugs can produce an odor from their scent glands. If you notice a musty smell, chances are there is a bed bug infestation.

  • Feces that resemble dried blood are a surefire sign of bed bugs in the house.

So, you have bed bugs; what to do next

Follow our bed bug control guide for killing bed bugs.

There is no need to throw out your mattress, as it can be treated with pesticides. If you move the mattress, you could cause the infestation of bed bugs to spread all around the house.

It would be best if you thought about pest control to get rid of bed bugs now. Please be aware that bed bug repellents can encourage bed bugs to move away and spread to other areas; this is an avoidance response. Over some time, natural selection means more insects in an infestation will avoid a pesticide.

Launder the bedding

Remove all the bedding and place it in a plastic bag, then wash at a high temperature, around 120 F, if you can. Dry the clothes in a tumble dryer for at least 20 minutes. The heat will get rid of bed bugs and eggs. Tie the plastic bag up afterward and throw it in the trash outside.




The next part of the treatment involves vacuuming the rooms to get rid of bed bugs. Search the box spring, bed frame, and headboard, then vacuum them well, especially in places where bed bugs tend to hide. Get into any seams and folds in the mattress with the crevice tool.

When you have finished vacuuming, empty the contents into a bag, tie it up, and place it in the trash outside. Wash the hoses and attachments of the vacuum cleaner.


Steam kills bed bugs and eggs, so it is worth investing in a steam cleaner. It works well on box springs, blankets, pillows, sheets, and curtains. The steam can reach a temperature of up to 230 F, so it has to be used carefully and will not be suitable for some items or surfaces in the home.

Use a mattress encasement

Now that you have gotten rid of some of the bed bugs, you can use chemicals to get rid of the bed bugs and bed bug eggs that survived. Place the mattresses and box springs in a mattress encasement. They can be challenging to treat, so it is worth keeping the mattresses and box springs covered to prevent future bed bug infestations.

Sprays give you good coverage. Spray inside cabinets and other furniture if the product allows.

In the long term, vacuum regularly to remove bed bugs and bed bug eggs.

Heat treatment

Among the most popular pest control methods for bed bugs is a heat treatment or the use of a chemical. It takes around 6-8 hours for the treatment to be effective.

The house is heated up to temperatures of 135 F. The pest management professional will monitor the temperature with special thermometers.

Because of these high temperatures, heat-sensitive items like a television, makeup, plants, fish, paintings, and photos must be removed from the house. All animals will have to be removed from the home. The pest control expert responsible for the treatment will go through what needs to be removed.

A repellent and pesticides may also be used alongside this treatment to ensure every insect is killed.

Remember for the future

  • If you have been on vacation or stayed elsewhere, wash all clothing on high heat and tumble dry them.

  • Vacuum your luggage bag to eliminate bed bugs. Use Permethrin spray to repel and kill live bed bugs. Permethrin residue will help to repel bed bugs for a few days after.

  • Check used furniture for bed bug activity before bringing it into the house.

  • If you have had visitors staying with you in your house, search their room carefully for signs of bed bugs.

  • Fill in cracks or crevices and repair peeling wallcoverings where bed bugs can hide.

And finally,

Can Permethrin kill bed bugs? Yes, it can; however, Permethrin must be used with caution for bed bug control. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. And remember, do not misuse it!

We hope you have found our article helpful and informative on Does Permethrin kill bed bugs. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us. We do our best to answer as soon as possible.


permethrin product

Recommended Permethrin Product

permethrin product
Recommended Permethrin Product

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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