"The best bed bugs treatment approaches are to either hire a professional or if you can't afford an experienced exterminator, to purchase a kit that contains the combination of products required to do the job correctly. When hiring an exterminator, be sure to ask the questions outlined on this page such as experience and guarantees, since 2 to 3 treatments are required if using insecticides. Professional application of heat requires one treatment, but is the most expensive approach. A do it yourself kit contains at least two sprays, bed bug dust and other products required to kill bed bugs on contact and to provide protection against bed bugs and eggs that might have been missed. If you live in an apartment, be sure to contact the managing agent, as all adjacent apartments will need to be inspected and possibly treated. "
Bed bug treatment options include both chemical and non chemical approaches. Both are often used in combination to ensure that an infestation is eliminated and so that it doesn't return. Whether you do it yourself or hire a pest control firm to kill bed bugs, more than one treatment might be needed.
The key to bed bug removal is to know where to look, to be
thorough and to have the right tools. It's always better to
hire a professional although this approach can be expensive. Do it
yourself treatment is an alternative, particularly if an infestation
was caught before it gets out of hand.
Both approaches are reviewed below:
Removing bed bugs from a
room will take 1 to 2 people an
entire day. Products needed include a good vacuum, mattresss
safe bed bug spray, steamer, fossil dust and mattress covers designed
to trap bed bugs in the mattress. A typical kit can be
affordably purchased on line such as Bug Patrol (organic bed bug kit) or as an
alternative an insecticide
based bed bug kit. The link will take you to an
insecticide based kit with sprays that have been tested for bed bug
Tip: Many bed bug spray products purchased in local hardware stores will not work in areas such as the Northeastern United States, where there are large populations of insecticide resistant bed bugs. Bed bug sprays that have been independently tested and work against all bed bugs includes Sterifab, Phantom and Bedlam.
Tip: Purchasing only 1 bed bug product product, such as a knock down spray, will kill visible bed bugs and eggs on contact, but will not provide lasting protection against bed bugs and eggs you might have missed, such as those that are hiding deep inside baseboards, resulting in a return of the infestation.
Professional bed bug
treatment can be expensive with
often costing $1,000 or more (approximately $900 per room for bed bug
insecticide treatment, $5000 or more for heat treatment which is called
For this reason, we suggest getting several quotes. Start with the Service Magic Network (877-233-1145), which pre-screens each member and ensures that they are licensed and insured. Members of the network will provide up to 4 free quotes. Compare the quotes provided to bed bug exterminators from our list of local bed bug experts.
Be sure to ask questions such as the cost for in-home inspections (some firms charge $50 - $500 for a bed bug inspection). The higher end of the estimate involves the use of a bedbug sniffing dog (bedbugs give off a unique smell that can be detected by trained dogs with high levels of accuracy). A professional firm can determine if you actually have a bed bug problem and will know where to look for the pests.
The benefit of a professional is their experience and access to chemical and non chemical treatment methods that aren't available to consumers.
The bottom line is that if you have a small infestation in 1 room, then a do it yourself approach might make sense. If you believe that the infestation is larger, then call in the professionals.
Either way, it will probably
take 2 to 3 bedbug
treatment sessions to eradicate the problem.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to get a written guarantee if you use a professional.
Tenants or apartment owners are often reluctant to admit to a landlord, management company or co-op board that they have bed bugs out of fear or embarrassment. Once they call, it is also unclear in many municipalities who is responsible for bed bugs treatment.While most local government building codes call for a building manager to keep an apartment habitable and free from vermin, the codes or laws don't alway address bed bugs.
If you have a bed
problem, first check with your local government to and ask who
regulates apartments or rental units in your area. Then
specifically inquire about your rights such as the right to treatment,
whether or not timeliness for inspection and treatment are defined in
the law, and if it is clear who pays for treatment.
If local laws do not mandate landlord or building management treatment and responsibility for payment, it may make sense to negotiate with a landlord, such as splitting the cost of bed bugs treatment 50/50. Your local department of health can be helpful in getting a managing agent to act. Contacting the media as a last resort may also speeds things up.
It is important that all units near the infested apartment are inspected and possibly treated. If this does not occur, after treatment the bed bugs are likely to return. Studies show that there is a 20% chance that they will spread to an adjacent apartment and a 7% chance that they will spread to an apartment above or below the infested unit.
The insects you see in your home may resemble bed bugs, but actually be something else. One way to tell is via appearance of the bed bug and if there are any symptoms of bed bug bites on your body. A bed bug bite or red bump on the skin is actually an allergic reaction. Bed bugs do not spread disease to humans, but the bed bug bite can be extremely itchy. They do naturally go away in a few days.
Photo of Bed Bugs
You can mail a sample bug with this form
(PDF download) to IdentifyLLC. They have a team that will examine your
specimen and let you
know if the insect in question is a bed bug. There is a $20
fee for this service. Most local cooperative extension
offices and some health service offices will do the evaluation for
Bed bug life cycle
Bed bugs change in appearance at each life stage. They need to feed to move from one stage to another. They can be seen with the naked eye.
Bed bug bites are usually seen in clusters or neat rows on the skin. it
is possible to see individual bites. In most cases, bites are
only on skin areas exposed during sleep.
Everyone reacts differently to the bites with some people having no allergic reaction (the majority of people) with others getting large red bumps and in severe cases, blistering.
Bed Bugs treatment for bites is not necessary as they will naturally clear in several days and are not dangerous. Human allergic reactions tend to vary each time a person is bitten.
Required Bed Bugs Products (all should be proven against insecticide resistant bed bugs):
1. Contact Mattress Safe Spray (kills bed bug eggs and bed bugs on contact).
Optional Bed Bug Products:
There are several optional products that will help you with your bed bugs treatment. These include:
1. Mattress, box spring and pillow covers: These covers are used after treatment to trap any bed bugs and bed bug eggs inside the mattress or box spring. This step is critical to a successful treatment program. We mark it as optional as they can be expensive, but are very important if you can afford it. You do not have to throw out your mattress or box spring if you plan on covering them. A good example are these covers from Allerzip.
2. Bed Bug Traps: Inexpensive bed bug traps such as Climbup Interceptors can be placed under each bed leg. They will prevent most bed bugs from crawling up onto the bed. Empty traps indicate that your bed bugs treatment was successful.
3. Hand Steamer: Steam heat is a safe method for killing bed bugs and eggs. While not required, it is another helpful tool, particularly for those that prefer to use organic methods of killing bed bugs treatment. Use a nozzle type hand steamer.
The majority of bed bugs in a room will be 5 to 10 feet from the bed. You can see adult bed bugs with the naked eye. Bed bug Eggs are the size of a pin head and may be difficult to see or find, but can be killed as described below.
1. Inspect the Room: Use a flashlight and a magnifying class to locate where bed bugs are hiding in a room. Check every crack and seam that is at minimum 5 feet to 20 feed from the bed. Establish a "safe" area outside of the treatment area to store items as they are treated and removed.
Diagram of Typical Bed Bug Hiding Places. Studies show 50% of bed bugs will be within 10 feet of the bed, an area which is your primary bed bugs treatment focus.
2. Bag and wash
all linens: Place any clothes and linens that can be
washed into sealable plastic bags or a plastic bin with a snap tight
good choice is to use Ziploc
Double Zipper Big Bags since they are bed bug proof.
Wash in hot water and then dry at highest temperature for 20
to 30 minutes. Heat and drowning in water will effectively
kill bed bugs and bed
Empty any nearby closets and wash or dry clean what you can. Do not bring clothes back to the room until the bed bugs treatment in the room is complete. As an alternative, freezing for 8 or more days (5 should be enough, 8 to be safe) will also kill bed bugs, which is perfect if you have a large freezer or for items that cannot be washed.
3. Throw Out Clutter: Bed bugs can easily hide in magazines, newspapers and books. Inspect and throw out any disposable items. Remove any hiding place such as objects that are under the bed. They can also hide inside electronics, particularly items near the bed such as the bottoms of lamps and inside clock radios. Dispose of cheap items. Inspect more expensive items.
4. Vacuum the
Entire Room: If you can, loosen carpet around the
perimeter of the room. If you can't don't worry, sprays
should be able to penetrate the area. Bed bugs like to hide
the joint where carpet meets the wall. Use the vacuum
attachment to remove the bugs. Do not use a
brush attachment to avoid bed bugs and eggs getting caught in the
attachment and then falling off.
Vacuum all areas thoroughly. Use the crevice attachment to vacuum along the seams on the bed frame, box spring and mattress. Dispose of the vacuum bag when done in a sealed plastic bag and then place outside the home. If needed, loosen bed frame to expose any joints to see if bed bugs are hiding.
5. Treat the
mattress: Start the bed bugs treatment by vacuuming all
seams with your vacuum crevice tool. You can also use a hand
steamer for an added level of protection, as steam will kill
both bed bugs and eggs.
From your bed bug kit, use a mattress safe spray such as Sterifab (insecticide based spray) or Bug Patrol (organic spray). Spray into cracks, onto any visible bugs and around the seams of the mattress, box spring and bed frame. Spray around the edge of the room, window sill if near the bed and behind pictures and headboard.
Follow the manufacturers bed bugs treatment directions. Do not soak the mattress and do not cover or use until dry. When done with the contact spray, treat the seams only with a residual spray such as Bedlam or Phantom (check manufacturers label). Skip the second spray step.
Apply organic bed bug dust (also called diatomaceous earth or fossil dust) to all seams after spray products have dried. This will provide additional residual protection.
When finished treating both sides of mattress, move to the
"safe area" outside the room.
6. Empty Night
Table Drawers on Box Spring: Now that the mattress has
been moved out of the room to the "safe area", use the remaining box
spring as a table to treat items in drawers. The
goal is to examine, inspect and treat items in a small area of the room
to avoid spreading bed bugs.
Inspect and treat or place items into a plastic bin with a snap lid, or sealable plastic bag such as Ziploc Big Bags. Items should be inspected closely. Those that are bed bug free should be placed into container. Others should be washed in hot water followed by 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer or placed into the freezer for 8 days. As an alternative, place items into a PackTite portable heat chamber for heat treatment.
Dispose of what you can. As items are treated, place into sealed containers and remove to the safe area outside the treatment area. Treat the drawers and move to the safe area. First use the knock down contact spray, followed by the residual spray. Be sure to spray into any cracks and tracks that hold the drawers.
7. Treat the
Night Tables: For all furniture, bed bugs treatment
includes spraying both inside and outside. Use both types of bed bugs
spray. Test in an out of the way area to make sure that
sprays do not stain your furniture.
8. Treat the Box
Follow similar steps to treating the mattress. Start with
vacuuming and as an option, steam all seams. Pay special
attention to any plastic corner covers. Peel back fabric on
bottom or remove and dispose when applying bed bug treatment. After
vacuum/steam, apply the contact spray and then the residual or longer
lasting spray. When spray is dry apply bed bug powder.
Move box spring to "safe area" when treatment is
9. Treat the Bed
Frame and Headboard: Follow the same steps for the
headboard. Remove or loosen from wall to be sure you are
getting all bed bugs. Loosen all frame joints and treat.
Also treat any hollow areas such as frame legs.
10. Treat along the baseboard, remaining areas of room and carpets: Start by vacuuming along baseboard with crevice tool. Use both sprays along baseboard and other possible hiding areas. Some exterminators like to do baseboard step first to kill any bed bugs that might have been moved from items being treated.
Bed bugs treatment for Carpets can be accomplished with steam cleaning. For added protection, consider adding a disinfectant to the carpet cleaning fluid such as PuraCleenRX. Test in an out of the way area to make sure cleaning fluid plus disinfectant does not discolor carpet.
Loosen and check behind electrical covers and cable TV wall covers. Do not use liquid sprays around electrical outlets. Instead opt for bed bug powder or dust. The same applies to lamps. Be cautious around any electrical item.
Mattress and Box Spring: If a mattress has a rip in it or
is old, consider disposing of it outdoors. If it is worth
saving and not ripped, then buy a bed bug proof zippered cover for both
such as the AllerZip
Waterproof Bed Bug Proof Zippered Bedding Encasement from Amazon.com.
Covers trap any bed bugs and eggs into the mattress, box spring or pillows. After about 14 months, any adults will starve to death.
Tip: It is not necessary to throw out the mattress or box spring as part of bed bugs treatment. Just be sure to cover both after treatment with a zippered cover that specifically states that it is made for bed bug treatment.
12 Return all items to room and use a bed bug trap: It is helpful to place inexpensive bed bug traps such as Climbup Interceptors under each bed leg. When the traps stay empty for 2 to 3 weeks, you know that the bed bug treatment has been successful. Fewer bed bugs in the trap will also indicate that you are making progress.
Note that it can take 2 to 3 bed bugs treatment sessions to
completely eliminate the problem.
Caution: Be sure to avoid over application of any sprays during bed bugs treatment. Only use mattress safe products on any surface that comes in contact with people or pets. Follow manufacturers directions at all times and do not use any time until sprays are completely dry. Wash any bedding that may have been treated or in a room that has been treated. If you experience any symptoms after treatment such as nausea, vomiting, respiratory pain, or dizziness seek medical help as you may have had a reaction to products used.
A pest control expert has several bed bugs treatment tools at their disposal that are not available to a home owner or apartment owner. These include:
Do you have a bed bug treatment question or suggestion? Share it!