Can bed bugs ever be eliminated once they infest an environment? The simple answer is yes, it is possible to eliminate a bed bug infestation in most situations particularly if the bed bugs are detected shortly after they have been introduced into the environment and client cooperation is not an issue. The longer bed bugs exist without being detected, the greater their opportunity to disperse within the environment, making it harder to find and eliminate 100% of the population. Another factor which plays a major role in how readily a bed bug infestation can be eliminated is the amount of available harborage for bed bugs to use as a safe haven from control efforts. Crowded and/or cluttered conditions, as well poorly sealed baseboards, chair and/or crown moldings, window frames, door frames, paneled walls, etc. offer an environment with virtually unlimited harborages. There are also situations, where bed bugs are originating from a connected structure (i.e. row homes, condominiums, etc) that is under ownership by another party and is not being treated. In situations such as these, elimination may not be possible until a cooperative effort is achieved.
In many cases two or three services may be all that is necessary to eliminate the problem. However, there are also many cases that require a greater number of visits before the problem is resolved. Finally, there are some infestations where it can be difficult if not impossible to achieve 100% elimination.
Regardless of how severe the infestation or how complex the environment, there is one way that bed bug infestations can be eliminated with absolute certainty. Structural fumigations, while an extreme and costly method, will effectively eliminate bed bugs from an infested environment. Structural fumigations are often confused with fogging applications but are in fact very different. Fogging applications or "bombing", as it is often referred to, typically involves the application of a natural pyrethrin and requires that the area being treated be vacated for one to several hours. The process of structural fumigation on the other hand, typically involves tarping the entire structure, and vacating it for several days while a fumigant gas is released into the tented structure. These types of applications are common in the Southern United states and on the West Coast for the control of drywood termites. Structural fumigations are an extremely expensive approach and may not be practical or even possible in many situations. In many parts of the country, it may be difficult to locate a pest management firm that is licensed in fumigation services. Thus while this technique will guarantee elimination of the existing infestation, in most cases it is not likely to be economically practical or feasible. Structural fumigations may not be available in all parts of the country and may be restricted by regulatory agencies in some states.
To better understand what is involved in a true structural fumigation, the following website details the process for structural fumigation for the control of dry wood termites. This will give you a very good understanding of this type of control measure.