Bed Bugs Infestation
Bed Bugs infestation can happen to anyone at anyplace, from a four star
hotel to a
small apartment. A bed bug infestation
starts when bedbugs are carried into the home, usually via luggage or
used furniture. In an apartment there is a
20% change that they will spread from one apartment to an adjoining
apartment and a 7% chance that they spread from an apartment above
or below you. Treatment is best left to professionals who know where to
look, but home treatment is possible if you are methodical or
if the $750 - $1000 cost of treatment is too high for your budget (plus
the cost of anything you discard). The key in any case is to act fast
before the bed bugs have a chance
Many cities are seeing a rapid increase in the spread of bed
transportation, apartments, movie theaters and even offices. No
building is immune, with even the most
high prices buildings having a problem. Where there are people coming
and going, there can be bedbugs. For example,
calls to the New York City 311 line from 1/1/09 to 9/30/09 increased
+47% to over 25,000.
Bed bugs can live up to 18 months between feedings (most up to
so a bed bugs infestation can last a long time, even in an unoccupied
They do not spread disease, although bed bug bites can cause
an allergic reaction on the skin in some people. Bed bugs can
reproduce quickly, with a female laying up to 500 eggs in her lifetime.
How to Control Bed Bugs - What to do First
The first step in treating a bed bugs infestation is to confirm that
you have a bed bug problem. You can
do this by comparing a trapped insect to the pictures you see below,
send in a sample to Identify LLC with this form (PDF download) (small $20
fee) or a local
government office for confirmation. Most areas that have a bedbug
will provide look at your bedbug sample (see our
local bed bug prevention resources guide).
Call a Bed Bug Exterminator
If you are a homeowner, call 2 or 3 local pest control companies for a
quote. We suggest starting with a network that pre-screens members such as the Service
Network (phone 877-233-1145). They pre-screen members and certify
that they are licensed and insured. They will also provide 4 free
You can also find a qualified local bedbug exterminator by searching our database.
Please keep in mind that if the bed
bugs are not treated correctly, insects missed will begin to multiply
and the problem will return. Don't use a pest control company
unless they have extensive experience treating bed bugs.
As an alternative, If you are a member of Angie's
contact them for a
recommendation, since they collect consumer reviews of local
Don't wait or the problem will get much worse and possibly more
expensive to treat. We have a list of pest control companies
that are specifically qualified to treat bed bugs. These companies will
provide a quote at no charge to you.
Be sure to use a bed bug specialist, as they will know where to look
and may have specialized equipment such as heating units.
Make sure that the company you talk to has
experience with bedbugs and that the specific person sent to your house
has experience. Ask for a written guarantee that the bed bugs
infestation will be taken care of, particularly since it may take 2 to
3 treatments. Ask about child and pet safety if this is a
If you live in an apartment, call the landlord. The landlord has an
obligation to quickly address any bed bug issues. Call your
local health department to understand your rights.
Many bed bug exterminators will use a dog to sniff out the bed
bugs infestation before treatment begins. Bedbugs give off a musty
like odor that
can be detected by a dog. The bugs are very flat and will hide in any
crack, so a dog can be a useful way to see if any bugs are in a room.
some firms, particularly in a large city, will charge up to $400 just
for the inspection with a dog.
Closeup of Bed Bug on
Picture of Bed Bug Fecal
Stain on Mattress
Bed Bugs Picture and
Nymphs (just born) At Crack in Wall
Bed Bugs Infestation Products
The key to removing a bed bugs infestation is to kill both the
and their eggs. The goal is to find every bed bug
hiding place in a room and then to use the appropriate product designed
to kill them. Since bed bugs look for a human host to
feed on, most will be found (studies show approximately 50%) in or
around the bed. Once all of these hiding places are taken, the bugs
will move on moving from the bed to other parts of the room.
There are several chemical and non-chemical ways to treat a
bed bugs infestation. These are described below::
pump sprays are used to spray mattress, box spring
and other objects in a room. Usually two types of sprays are
used, a knock down spray to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact,
and a residual spray that provides lasting protection. A good
choice for a knock down spray that has been independently reviewed by
University of Kentucky researches is Sterifab
They same researchers confirmed the effectiveness of the residual spray
natural dust product called fossil
The dust clings to the bed bug's body, drys out their
exoskeleton, causing death. Dust will remain in a room and
kill any bedbugs that hatch from eggs you might of missed.
bugs are killed at 120 degrees F. Steaming
is a safe and fast way to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. It
doesn't hurt for example to lightly spray a mattress and box spring,
then steam area and then leave dust behind. Steam works well
in cracks and on upholstery. Steamfast
is a good portable steamer, although a professional grade steamer such
as a Vapamore
ordinary vacuum will pick up bed bugs. It will not
pick up eggs, so a vacuum is a good 1st line of defense.
Zippered covers are used after mattress and box spring
treatment has been completed. Make sure covers are bed bug
approved, to avoid the bugs squeezing through the zippers.
It's can't hurt to put heavy tape over the zipper after the
mattress has been sealed. Both the mattress and
box spring should
be covered. Competitive prices on covers can be found at Amazon
Wash all linens on the hot water setting and
then drying in the dryer for 20 minutes will kill bed bugs and bed bug
Saving Money when Fighting a Bed Bugs Infestation
To save money, organic products are available in a kit available from Dermisil
for Bed Bugs
(organic kit), Amazon
. Kits cost
approximately $70 to $160 depending on what is included.
A bed bug exterminator such as Terminix
may have additional tools at their disposal for
dealing with a bed bugs infestation
including a heat chamber or the ability to super heat a room or
building to 120 degrees F. Heat chambers can be portable, on
the back of a truck, or located in a building. All objects
placed in the chamber are super heated for several hours to the
required temperature. A professional extermination will cost
approximately $750 or more depending on the size of your home.
When all else fails, an entire building can be fumigated.
This approach may be needed when there are elderly occupants
or many apartments with clutter.
Preparing for a Bed Bugs Infestation
The treatment goal for any room is to inspect every object and area.
If hiring a professional for a bed bugs infestation, don't remove
anything from the room being
treated without consulting the exterminator first. Moving
objects from one room to the next can spread the bugs. This
includes objects such as electronics, which could have bedbugs hiding
inside. Nothing should be removed from the room unless it has
been treated or is in a sealed plastic bag or container.
If doing it yourself, set up a "safe area" outside the room being
treated such as in the bathroom or hallway.
- Start with
the bed linens. Fold them on themselves, then
place and seal in a plastic bag. Carry to the
and wash on hot water, followed by 20 minutes in the dryer on the high
heat setting. Bag and wash whatever you can.
Big Bags are bedbug proof and can provide protection for
- Treat the
mattress and box spring. Treat the top and
sides with a knock down spray such as Sterifab
or the products included in the
Dermisil kit such as Bug
Patrol. After treatment, seal the mattress in the
and move to the safe area. When done, treat the box spring.
Be sure to remove or open the bottom cheese cloth on the box
spring. It is more likely for bed bugs to be hiding in the
box spring then on the mattress since there are more place to hide.
On the mattress, be sure to check under any tags or labels.
Treat Mattress and
Box Spring with a Knock Down Spray Which Kills Bed Bugs and Bed Bug
Eggs on Contact such as Sterifab
As pictured below, bed bugs leave behind skin, red marks and brown
fecal marks. Check and treat all seams. If you
decide to dispose of your mattress, wrap it in plastic and mark as
being bed bug infested before bringing it back into a room.
Bed Bug Picture
- Bedbug Marks on Mattress
- Use dust in
the box spring and around the mattress before resealing.
Make sure all
surfaces dry before using zippered covers to avoid mold. The
zippered covers trap any bed bugs and eggs you may have missed.
Bed Bug Dust Can Be
Applied to Mattress and Box Spring. It will Kill Bed Bugs by
Attaching to their Outer Skin
Exterminator using JTEaton
Green Label Bed Bug Dust
- Treat the Bed
Frame: Inspect the bed frame and backboard.
These are favorite hiding places. Spray in every
crack and follow up with steam and dust.
- Treat Along
It's a good idea to apply a residual spray along the baseboard of the
room to kill any bed bugs that try and hide in this area.
any credit card sized gap.
Treat Baseboards with
a Long Lasting Residual Spray Such as Phantom
Furniture: Check around furniture and under drawers.
Do as much as you can in the bed frame area to avoid
spreading bed bugs. Be sure to check behind pictures, wall
plates and along the floor boards. Use steam and spray
Areas Inside Furniture Such as the Tracks that Hold Drawers.
a Knock Down Spray (Sterifab) and then repeat with a Residual Spray
- Vacuum and
Steam: Use the vacuum, vacuum crevice tool along walls to
suck up any bed bugs you can. Steam will kill any bed bugs
you miss and kill their eggs as well.
- Dispose of
Clutter: Bag and dispose of anything you can.
Electronics can either be super heated in a PackTite
portable heating unit or disposed of. The fewer places you give a bed
bugs infestation to hide, the better.
Closing Cracks and
Crevices that are the width of a Credit Card will Eliminate Places Bed
Bugs can Hide
- Spread Bed
Bud Dust: After you complete your treatment, spread bed
bug dust (also called fossil
into cracks, under furniture etc as a protective barrier.
provides a long lasting effect as long as the area where the dust is
applied isn't disturbed.
- Reinspect for
bed bugs infestation:
After 1 weeks, inspect the room again to see if all bed bugs have been
removed. It takes a residual spray such as Phantom several
to be fully effective. An option is to put a ClimbUp
Interceptor under each bed leg. If the Interceptor
bowls are empty after 2 to 3 weeks, the problem has been solved.
More information can be found throughout the Bed Bugs Handbook site.
Don't be surprised if removing a bed bugs infestation takes 2
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