Home-owners are not the only people who find bed bugs difficult to exterminate. In a survey of pest control professionals (2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey), seventy-six percent of the respondents stated that bed bugs were the most difficult pest to treat. There are several reasons bed bugs are difficult to treat, but the most pressing issue right now is the fact that bed bugs have become resistant to many pesticides. Pesticide resistance is not uncommon in pests, but bed bugs seem to be particularly adept at becoming resistant. It has been shown that bed bugs are resistant to even extremely potent pesticides like DDT (a pesticide that was banned in the US in 1972).
Currently, the main class of pesticides being used to eradicate bed bugs are Pyrethroids. Studies have found that bed bugs have genetically mutated in a way that makes their epidermal layer stronger. This layer has evolved in such a way that the toxins are less likely to be able to penetrate the epidermal layer and get to the target site of the nerve cells.
Because of these mutations and bed bugs ability to hide in difficult to find places, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for homeowners to rid their homes of bed bugs by using just the pesticides found in home improvement stores. One of the most effective ways to eradicate bed bugs is a professional heat treatment followed by use of a residual pesticide. Heat treatments are effective but costly and should only be performed by a pest professional. It will often cost $2,000 to $3,000 for a heat treatment for a single-family home. The high price of heat treatment is cost prohibitive for many homeowners and should never be attempted as a do-it-yourself home project.