Bed Bug Extermination
extermination is best left in the hands of a professional. However, if
an infestation is small, or if you can't afford an exterminator, it can
be accomplished with some hard work and importantly, the right
combination of products. Multiple products are needed to kill bed bugs
on contact to knock down or reduce
the bed bug population, followed by the use of products that provide
longer lasting protection. There is no silver bullet for most
owner applied or professionally applied solutions.
Professionals dog have higher cost options such as
fumigation and heat treatment (thermal remediation) that can get rid
of bed bugs in one
step, however, these are the most expensive approaches to bedbug
extermination. Most methods require multiple bed bug treatments , with
the second and third treatment used to kill
any bed bugs and bed bug eggs that might have been missed.."
What can be found on this page:
Bed Bugs Removal Is Difficult:
Bed bug exterminators were recently polled and agree that
bedbug infestations are the most difficult to treat. There
are several reasons for this:***below-paragraph-1.shtml
Bed Bug Extermination
Professional bedbug exterminators often charge for both the
in-home inspection and for the treatment itself.
inspections can range in cost from $50 to several hundred dollars if a
bed bug sniffing dog is used. The bed bug treatment itself
from $1,000 for an insecticide based approach to $6,000 if portable
heaters are used.
How to Find and Hire
a Bed Bug Exterminator
Given the high cost, and the differences in experience and
treatment methods between companies, it pays to call a few.
We suggest starting with the Service
(1.877.233.1145) which is a network of pest control professionals that
are pre-screened, licensed and insured. They will provide up to 4 free
Next, search our listings
of local bed bug exterminators. This is an easy way
to identify firms with bed bug experience.
Questions to Ask
Before Hiring a Professional for BedBug
As mentioned, each bedbug exterminator uses different methods and has
varying levels of experience. Here are some questions to ask:
- Experience with bed bugs?
- Can they provide references?
- Cost for in-home inspection and treatment?
- Do they use bed bug sniffing dogs?
- Do they provide a guarantee, and for how long? (2 or more
bedbug treatments are common)
- What are the bed bug treatment methods used?
- Chemicals (insecticides)
- Mechanical (vacuuming, steam)
- Heat (thermal remediation - portable heaters)
- Freezing (carbon dioxide spray)
- What do you need to do to prepare for treatment?
- Pet and child safety of methods?
- Do you have to leave the home and for how long?
Prepare Bed Bug
Extermination - What You Need to Do
Be sure to check with your exterminator as steps needed for preparation
vary based on the method used. These are the general steps:
1. Collect all Linens
and Seal in Plastic Bags
; Take all blankets, towels,
sheets, pillow cases and place into a plastic bag or bin that seals
with a snap lid. Ziploc
are prefect for this purpose.
2. Wash and Dry Linens
Wash all items in hot water. Dry linens on highest heat setting in the
dryer. Throw out bags after emptying and use new bags with
the clean linens. Some exterminators will suggest washing any clothing
in night tables and treating items in drawers.
3. Reduce Clutter
Clutter provides hiding places for bedbugs It also can prevent
pesticides and other treatment methods from reaching the bedbugs. Bag
all clutter and dispose outside of the home. Dispose of loose items
such as newspapers and magazines. As your exterminator about throwing
away items such as pillows.
Vacuum all surfaces. Be sure to use the crevice tool around
the baseboards, and around cracks and crevices. Also use the
crevice tool around the mattress, box spring and other areas of the
room. Note that many bed bug exterminators as part of the bed
bug extermination effort will do the vacuuming for you. When
done, take out the vacuum bag in the room being treated, seal in a
plastic bag and dispose.
This should be all that is needed before the treatment
effort begins. Unless the mattress and box spring are in bad
condition, they usually do not have to be thrown out.
Steps to Take After Bed Bug Treatment
1.Seal the Mattress, Box
Spring and Pillow
: Buy mattress
and box spring covers
that were made to trap bed bugs that
were missed during treatment. It might be cheaper to buy a
new pillow. It is equally important to buy covers for both
the box spring and mattress as both are hiding places for bed bugs.
2. Unpack Anything you
Washed and Return to Room
: it's safe to return items to
the bed. If you would like to be sure that bed bugs are gone, you can
buy inexpensive bed bug traps called Climbup
As noted above, bed bugs removal usually takes 2 to 3 treatments,
since it is very easy to miss bed bug eggs.
Bed Bugs Treatment Methods Used by BedBug Exterminators
Bed bug exterminators have several tools at their disposal for killing
bed bugs. Ask your exterminator which methods they prefer to
use in your area. These include:
You can see bed bugs with the naked eye. A good vacuum can be
used to begin to reduce or knock down the bed bug population.
Heat kills bed bugs at temperatures above 113F. A professional steamer
will kill both bed bugs and bed bug eggs.
A technique called thermal remediation uses portable heaters to heat
rooms or an entire building to the required temperature. This
method is effective, but expensive ($2,000 to $6,000 per treatment).
Portable heat chambers or heat rooms are also used to treat items from
the home. A vinyl heat chamber called a PackTite
can be used to treat electronics, household items and is large enough to
treat luggage when returning from a trip.
- Freezing Spray:
A carbon dioxide spray (dry ice) is used by many bed bug exterminators.
If is effective at killing bed bugs and bed bug eggs and can
be used on all surfaces such as couches and electronics.
- Bed Bug
Pesticide: While many bed bug insecticides are showing bed
bug resistance, many do not. Two types of products are used,
one to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact, and others to provide
longer lasting protection. Most of these are called IGR's
(insect growth regulators) which take up to 7 days to work.
Knock down products combined with residual IGRs are an
effective approach to bed bug treatment.
- Fossil Dust
(also called diatomaceous earth or fossil dust): This is a natural
product made of ground fossils. The dust is applied in a thin layer and
clings to the bed bug, causing death.
Bed Bug pesticides such as vikane are effective fumigants. A
room or home is sealed, and then fumigated. One company offers portable
fumigation chambers for treating household items such as electronics.
Temperatures: Freezing temperatures will kill bed bugs.
There is some debate as to how long is needed. While 5 days
is probably enough, waiting 2 weeks will ensure that all bed bugs and
bed bug eggs are killed. The Canada Department of Health suggests 3
days. This will work outdoors or in a freezer.
Do It Yourself Bed
Homeowners will need a combination of products and methods to
effectively kill bedbugs. You can save money by purchasing what
you need in a kit. You can buy an organic
bed bug kit
or one that is an insecticide
based bed bug kit
. The choice is based on your
preference and the knowledge that more independent research is typically
done on insecticides.
Bed bugs treatment products that are absolutely necessary include:
- Knock Down
Bed Bug Spray: A knock down spray will kill bed bugs and
bed bug eggs on contact. It is used to reduce the size of the bed bug
population. We suggest the insecticide based pump spray Sterifab
or the aerosol Bedlam
as both are shown to work against insecticide resistant bedbugs. An
organic alternative is Bug
- Residual Bed
Bug Spray: These sprays provide lasting protection, with
most working by interfering with the bed bug life cycle. These types of
products can take as long as 7 days to start working. We recommend the
aerosol spray Phantom,
as it also works on insecticide resistant bed bugs.
- Vacuum with Crevice Tool
- Hand Steamer (optional)
Garbage Bags (we prefer a bed bug proof bag such as Ziploc
- Bed Bug Dust:
This product is applied to cracks and crevices to kill any bed bugs
that hatch from eggs that might have been missed.
- Mattress and
Box Spring Covers: Mattress
covers for bed bugs and box spring covers are important as
they trap any bed bugs and bed bug eggs that you might have missed.
Step by Step Instructions for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
The key to killing bed bugs is to know where to look an to be
thorough, particularly when working around the bed.
1. Select a Safe Area
Typical Places Bed Bugs Hide
Choose an area just outside of the room that will be treated. This area
should be large enough to hold the mattress and other items after they
2. Wash the Blankets and
: Fold the blankets, sheets, bed pads ad pillow
cases. Place into a plastic bag or ideally something that seals such as
a plastic bin or Ziploc
. Bring items to washer and wash in hot
water followed by 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer.
3. Dispose of Clutter
Near the Bed
: Dispose of any items such as magazines and
newspapers that are near the bed. Other items such as items
in drawers should be place in snap lid plastic containers or sealed
plastic bags. Every item is suspect for hiding bed bugs.
They can be treated:
- In the washing machine and dryer...or
- 30 minutes in the dryer...or
- 5 days in the freezer, or outdoors in freezing temperatures...or
- inside a heat chamber such as a Packtite...or
- with the use of bed bug spray
The vacuum is a helpful tool for any treatment effort.
Vacuum floors, carpets, cracks and crevices thoroughly. Use
the crevice tool
around baseboards and any cracks and crevices. Use brushless vacuum
attachments if you have them to avoid bed bugs getting caught in the
brush hairs and then being spread to other areas. When done vacuuming,
remove vacuum bag in room being treated, seal in a plastic bag and
dispose of the bag outside of the home or apartment.
5. Treat the Baseboards
Start by vacuuming along baseboards with the vacuums crevice
tool. If you have a hand steamer, start by applying steam to
the perimeter of the room. Hold the steamer for a few seconds
in each location. When dry,, start with the knock down spray
the baseboards. Follow this with the residual spray (e.g; Phantom
in New York only). This is a good way to start, as this sets
up a perimeter in case any bed bugs are jarred loose during treatment
and try and hide.
6. Treat the Mattress
Treat along the Baseboards. An Aerosol Spray such as Bedlam
will come with a nozzle attachment that can direct the bedbug
insecticide directly into the crack where floor meets the baseboard
Start with the vacuum crevice tool. Follow this with the use of a hand
steamer to kill any bed bugs using heat. When dry, Use a
mattress safe spray such as Sterifab or Bug Patrol to treat the
mattress. When done, move mattress to the designated safe
is an Effective Method for getting rid of bed bugs (heat)
without the use of insecticides. Hold steamer in place for several seconds
before moving on to the next area. Steam can be used alone,
or in combination with a mattress safe insecticide spray (Sterifab
or organic spray (Bug
bugs Like to Hide in Thin tight Spaces About the Width of a Credit
Card. Be Thorough in Your Treatment Efforts,
Around Tufts, Seams and Particularly around any Mattress Labels
7. Treat the Night Tables
Remove drawers from any night tables and place on top of the box
spring. Treat the drawers with a knock down spray followed by
a residual spray. Do the same to the inside of the night
tables. Return drawers after treatment. Be sure to
treat any items in drawers that are near the bed. Also treat
the bottom and possible inside of any light fixtures that are on the
Note that electronics such as clock radios, televisions or computers
are common hiding places for bed bugs. The only options for
electronics are to
- throw them out
- store them away for a year to starve any hiding bed bugs
- buying a PackTite
Heat Chamber and then heating the item to the required temperature
(check with manufacturer to make sure item can withstand the
- freezing - place items in freezer for 5 days (also check
- call a local exterminator and see if they either
have a heat chamber or fumigation chamber that can treat electronics.
8. Treat the Box Spring
Be sure to treat inside furniture with the bed bug spray, particularly
along drawer tracks, a
common hiding place for bed bugs. After bed bugs treatment,
placing bed bug dust into cracks and crevices
It is equally important to treat the box spring as it is to treat the
mattress. Start by vacuuming with the crevice tool followed by the use
of the hand steamer. Follow this with the use of a knock down
spray and residual spray. Turn the box spring on its side,
and peel back or remove any cloth covering. Steam/spray the
inside of the box spring. Place bed
inside the box spring. When done, move to
the safe area.
9. Treat Bed Frame,
Around Windows and other Cracks/Crevices
Bed bugs removal in and around the box spring is important.
This picture shows bed bugs hiding behind plastic corner
guards on a box spring. To kill bed bugs use the bed bug knock down spray.
: Continue your
bed bugs treatment efforts with the steam, knock down spray, residual spray
sequence. Focus efforts in a 5 foot radius from the bed.
Treating the entire room is not a bad idea. Be sure
to treat inside the bed frame legs if they are hollow.
10. Cover the Mattress
Treat around window frames with steam, knock down and residual sprays.
Bed Bug treatment efforts require that you leave no stone unturned.
Look behind wall plates such as electrical outlets and cable
plates. Use bed bug dust in areas where it is dangerous to
use liquids such as electrical plates.
: After the mattress and box spring dry, place zippered
bed bug covers
over both. This will trap any bed
bugs and bed bug eggs you might have missed during the treatment effort. Return the mattress and box spring to the bed
frame.11. Use Bed Bug Dust
Sprinkle a thin layer of bed bug dust in any cracks and crevices.
You can place dust inside furniture etc. Use a duster to
apply dust or purchase in an applicator bottle like this product from JTEaton
12: How to Kill Bed Bugs
if you have Carpets
bedbug dust product can be applied to any cracks or crevices as the
last treatment step. Fossil dust is a natural product that kills
bedbugs when it clings to the outer area of the insects
: Be sure to vacuum and then steam
clean carpets. For added protection, add a disinfectant
formulated to kill bed bugs such as PuraCleenRX
to the cleaning fluid. Test to make sure that you do not
stain the carpet with the disinfectant.
Bed Bugs Removal Success
As you can see, getting rid of bed bugs is hard work. Bed bug treatment can take the better
part of a day and requires a combination of products. It can take 2 to 3
treatments for complete bed bugs removal. If the bed bugs
deeply penetrated the walls, it would pay to use a bedbug exterminator.
It is a good idea to place a bed bug trap under each bed leg such as a climbup interceptor
. If the traps remain empty 2 to 3 weeks after treatment, you know that your bed bug removal efforts have been successful.
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