Killing Bed Bugs in Electronics

Your home has bed bugs. Your home will need at least two treatments from professional pest managers in order to kill the bed bugs. Unfortunately, adult bed bugs can last up to one year between meals. What do they do all of this time when they are fasting? Hiding. The nearly flat bodies of bed bugs make them insect Houdinis, escaping from insecticides into the narrowest of cracks – including those in your electronics.

How Valuable is the Electronic?

Bed bugs tend to stay in rooms where ever a person sleeps, so unless you sleep in the kitchen, the kitchen electronics should be fine. A professional exterminator may concentrate his or her energies on checking for infestations in places where people sleep or nap.

Is this a clock radio or a laptop? When your home or business is infested with bed bugs, assume that everywhere that a bed bug can fit into is home to adults, larvae (called nymphs) and eggs. If the item can be easily replaced, place it in a resealable plastic bag and throw it out.

Outside Electronics

More valuable items like televisions or personal computers cannot be easily replaced unless you are really rich. Exterminators will check these items, but you can, too, if you have a magnifying glass, a knife and a vacuum. Always wrap up an electronic item in plastic before moving it out of a room, or you may wind up giving bed bugs a free taxi ride to infesting yet another part of your home.

The object is to sweep the bugs out of the cracks and vacuum them up immediately. This works best on light-colored floors, although nymphs are mostly transparent unless they have recently fed. With the magnifying glass, check screws, seams and ridges for adults or for fecal deposits, which look like rusty-brown or black spots. If you see them, pass the knife in the crack and force the bugs out. Zap them up with the vacuum. Immediately empty the bag into an outside garbage container.

Fumigating Electronics

Exterminators use cans of compressed air to blast bugs out of electronics, notes board certified entomologist and author of “The Bed Bug Book” (Skyhorse; 2011) Ralph H. Maestre. Compressed air cans are sold in computer stores, often labeled as a safe way to remove dust from sensitive screens.

If the bugs have gotten into the electronic, things get more complicated. The item needs to be fumigated by deep-freezing. The only safe method so far is pressurized carbon dioxide snow, best known under the brand name Cryonite. Not all exterminators will be able to use pressurized carbon snow, so ask beforehand.


Never spray over-the-counter insecticide aerosols into electric outlets or electronics! This can cause fires. Never use total release aerosols or “bug bombs.” Bug bombs do not penetrate into bed bug hiding places. Over-the-counter insecticides will NOT kill bed bugs, even if they are labeled as killing bed bugs, warns Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management department.

Pesticide sprays and dusts that do kill bed bugs are regulated, but still may not kill bed bug eggs. You will need a second or third treatment in order to kill newly hatched bugs.


“The Bed Bug Book.” Ralph H. Maestre. Skyhorse Publishing; 2011.

Cornell University New York State Integrated Pest Management. “FAQ List for Bed Bugs.”

University of Minnesota Extension. “Prevention and Control of Bed Bugs in Residences.” Dr. Stephen A. Kells & Jeff Hahn. 2011.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *