Guide to Treating Bed Bugs in Chicago

" Treating bed bugs in Chicago is made easier by the many available resources. Bedbugs are a growing problem as confirmed by a recent press release from the Illinois Department of Public Health. In a recent survey, Chicago was named as having the 5th largest bed bug problem in the United States. The Chicago Metropolitan Tenants Association receives approximately 200 tenant complaints per year. This site provides an overview of Chicago area resources, do it yourself suggesitons and tips for selecting Chicago based bed bug exterminators."  

Treating bed bugs in Chicago is a common area of concern among residents. Areas where there are tourists are particularly susceptible as they travel in luggage.  Recently a family in Chicago sued a local hotel complaining of bed bugs bites.  to fight the problem Chicago and Illinois government offers several resources that could help apartment and home owners.  

In a press release dated 2/24/09 the Illinois Department of Public Health issued a press release stating that "bed bugs are making a comeback in Illinois."  They issued the release in reaction to an increase in the number of calls reporting bedbugs.  

In the mean time, the best way to avoid bed bugs is to not carry them into the home or apartment.  This includes the avoidance of used furniture and mattresses that may contain the bugs and inspect luggage when traveling before opening.

Bed bugs in Chicago have been reported at local universities such as Loyola  and hotels all around Chicago including Naperville, Rosemont and Arlington Heights.

Local universities such as Wheeling Jesuit University are studying non toxic ways to fight the bed bug problem.

bed bugs in chicago
Bed Bugs in Chicago
The BedBugRegistry reports 435 consumer reports of Bed Bugs as indicated on map

Bed Bugs Chicago Video

How to Kill Bed Bugs in Chicago

Here are some basic steps for fighting bed bugs.  If you go about it  yourself, you will need to be armed with information so that you can spot bed bugs and bed bug eggs, and the several types of products needed.  For example, sprays alone will not kill eggs.  The most cost effective way to purchase products and the needed information is through a kit such as the one offered by Bed Bug Patrol (organic) or Bed Bug Supply (insecticide). Home treatment can cost as much as $3,000 or more.

For step by step instructions see our guide to  how to kill bed bugs.  A brief summary is as follows:

1. Clean - bed bugs can be picked up with a vacuum.  Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after cleaning outside of the home.  Bed bug eggs cannot since they are attached to surfaces with a cement like substance.  To kill eggs either steam or a knock down spray such as Sterifab is needed.

2. Use the Washing Machine and Dryer - Wash clothes in hot water and then dry on high heat in the dryer for 20 minutes.  Placing items in the freezer for 5 days will also kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs.

3. Fill Crevices and Cracks - Bedbugs like to hide in gaps between the floor and walls are in joints of the bed frame. 

4. Treat Mattresses and Box Spring - First treat mattresses with a knock down spray. Don't throw away your mattress.  Purchase a mattress cover that states it protects against bed bugs such as the AllerZip Waterproof Bed Bug Proof Zippered Bedding Encasement. Be sure to also treat the box spring, bed frame and other furniture found near the bed.  Check all cracks and crevices.  On the mattress only use a mattress safe spray such as Sterifab (Bed Bug Patrol for Organic).  On other items use a longer lasting spray such as Bedlam or Phantom.

5. Reduce Clutter - Bed bugs look for cracks to hide in.  Throw out newspapers and magazines, since these are preferred hiding places.  Seal items and plastic bags and dispose outdoors.

6. Steam Treatment - Sprays and the heat generated by a hand steamer will kill bed bugs and  eggs.  . 


Bed Bugs in Chicago - News Stories


Experts say bedbugs becoming a National Epidemic
- Daily Herald

Bed Bugs are Biting Again, Health Officials Warn
- CBS TV Chicago (2/24/09)

Flea Market Find Turns Into Bedbug Nightmare
- WBBM TV Chicago (2/27/09)

Bedbug Summit Meets in Chicago: 10 Things You Should Know About Bedbugs.
- ChicagoNow.com

Bed Bugs in Chicago Resources


There are many sources of bed bug help in Chicago:

The Illinois Department of Health can be contacted for information on Bed Bugs and  bed bug biology  at  the Health, Division of Environmental Health, 525 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761, 217-782-5830, TTY (hearing-impaired use only) 800-547-0466. They also offer a guide to bedbug prevention and control:

If you have Bed Bug complaints, the should first be reported to the municipality in which the infested location lies. If outside city limits, complaints can be reported to the appropriate county health department (not the state health department, i.e., IDPH).

City of Chicago - if you have bed bugs in your apartment or want to report discarded furniture or mattresses that you believe have bed bugs, dial 311 and report the incident.

If you would like to have an insect specimen examined for confirmation that you have a bed bug problem, download and send the specimen with this form provided by the Illinois Department of Health.

Chicago Bed Bugs Tenant Rights


If you have bed bugs in the Chicagoland area, call the Chicago tenants rights hot line at 773.292.4988. Open M-F from 1-5pm.  They can inform you as to your rights and the latest landlord tenant laws regarding bed bug extermination and who is responsible for treatment and paying for bed bug treatment.  You can also read their helpful advice for tenants regarding bed bugs in Chicago, When Bed Bugs Attack.

If you rent in Chicago, the family assistance centers might be able to provide some help with bed bugs in Chicago issues as well.

The City has also partnered with the Safer Pest Control project to provide up to date information. Click here for the Chicago Bed Bugs Information Center. There are also resources for filing complaints against someone that sold you infested furniture or a mattress. File complaints here.

Chicago Exterminators for Bed Bugs

It is important that your selected pest control company has experience with bed bugs specifically.  Given the high cost it pays to get several quotes.  We suggest starting with members of the Service Magic Network (1.877.233.1145), since they have several locations in Chicago, and pre-screen members to make sure that they are licensed and insured.  Members will provide up to 3 free quotes.

Readers can also search our online bed bug exterminator database.

A good exterminator will provide a quote, treatment plan and review methods that will be used (chemicals, spray, steam, freezing, heat etc.).  Compare quotes as a thorough bed bug extermination can take 2 workers all day to complete.  Also be sure to get a guarantee since 2 to 3 treatments are sometimes needed as well as a follow up inspection by the exterminator.  Asking for references from satisfied customers that received bed bug treatment is also a good idea.

You can also check Angies List for consumer reviews of bed bug service in Chicago.

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