Bedbug infestations can be spotted with the naked eye by inspecting the
mattress and linen or detected by bed bug sniffing dogs. Bed bugs
can also be mailed or brought to either public or private labs that can
confirm the presence of the insects.
Once a bed bug infestation is confirmed, treatment should begin
immediately before the infestation gets too large or moves on to
adjacent rooms or apartments. Steps to get rid of bed bugs
using a professional is preferred, however, for limited
infestations, do it yourself kits can be effective using a
Bed Bug Infestation Basic Overview
The goal of this site is to provide information on everything you need
to know to fight a bed bug infestation. Here's some quick
links to what can be found on this page. Use our search
feature to find any bedbug information you cannot find or send us a
question using the contact link at the bottom of this page.
Quick links to information about bedbug infestations::
To determine the size of a bed bug infestation start by examing all
areas around the infested bed. Bed bugs will try and hide as close to
the human host as possible. They start in the mattress seams, bed frame
and then work their way into nearby furniture. You can see bed bugs
with a naked eye, so use a flashlight and check all tight crevices.
Here's a video from National Geographic on some basic bed bug
information and bedbug infestations. Once you have reviewed
the video, see the
information below on steps for removing bedbug infestations.
Bed Bug Video on BedBug
Bringing in a professional for an inspection and quote is the best way
determine if you have a bed bug infestation. A pest control expert will
the seams of the mattress, furniture and other bedbug hiding places.
use bedbug sniffing dogs, which are very effective for finding bedbugs.
The downside of using a dog
is the higher cost of these types of inspections. You can use a
convenient on line form provided by this site
a bed bug pest control expert. This page also has tips for
choosing a professional and questions to ask such as experience, tools
used, cost and guarantees. It may take 2 to 3 treatments to
eliminate a problem.
Pest control treatment can cost upwards of $1000 for a home and
significantly more for an entire apartment building. Do it
yourself approaches will cost between $50 and $200.
Two methods for inspecting a room include:
the Mattress: Bed bugs leave
behind spots on the mattress and linens such as brown or red fecal
matter. See the picture below for typical bedbug marks.
Be sure to check any time you sleep in a new room such as a hotel,
cruise ship or friends house.
Place an Interceptor Under Each Bed Leg to Trap
A small bowel called a Climbup
Interceptor will trap bed bugs as they try
and climb up onto the bed. You can tell the extent of the infestation
by the number trapped. This is an inexpensive approach for both
learning the extent of the bed bug problem and to be sure they are gone
after the room has been treated.
Bed bug bites are not a reliable way to know if your home
needs to be treated for
bedbug infestations. The majority of people do not show any bite
A recent study
found senior citizens living in bedbug infested apartments with no bite
reactions on their body. A typical bedbug infestation is comprised of
Bed Bug Bite Picture
Bed bug odor is also not reliable for humans as an infestation
needs to be large and may not always give off a detectable odor.
This is not the case for bed bug sniffing dogs.
individual can identify bed bugs by several characteristics. Note that
they change in appearance depending on where they are in their
life cycle and before/after a blood meal:
In general you can identify bed bugs by:
Oval and extremely flattened
Bed bugs are up to 6 mm in length as adults and 9mm
parts: The mouth has 2 bristles which form a pipe-in-pipe
system and is
folded under the head and frontal thorax in a resting position.
Close Up Picture Bed
Pictures of Bed Bugs
Adult Bed Bugs before and after feeding:
Picture of Bed Bug Adults
Before and After Feeding
bed bugs are called nymphs, they have a lighter straw color before
feeding. The nymphs need to pass through 6 stages (called
instars) before becoming an adult. They need to feed to pass
stage to stage.
Picture Bed Bug Nymph
(baby bed bug)
Picture of Bedbug Eggs - Hatched
Insects That Are Similar in Appearance to Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are often confused with other insects. Insects that
are similar to bed bugs include:
When roaches are young they can look like bed bugs. Roaches have eggs
which are more rectangular and feces is in the form of pellets. They
are brown in color vs. bed bugs than red.
warehouse beetle adults and larvae :These types of insects
feed on bed feathers and human hair. The larvae shed tiny hairs, that
can cause human skin itch.
Picture of Carpet and
Source: University of Nebraska
Shiny spider beetles do not bite people. These spiders are often
confused with ticks and bed bugs. They eat dried pieces of plants,
seeds and dried meat.
Picture of Spider
Source: University of Nebraska
If you are using a professional, ask for a checklist of
steps needed to prepare for the exterminator. Any item that can be
disposed of, should be
removed in a sealed plastic bag. The Ziploc
Big Bag Double Zipper bags are a good choice for sealing
infested objects, since they cannot break through
the bags. Remove and throw out any clutter that you can from the room.
They are also a good choice for carrying objects from the room to other
areas of the home, such as the washing machine.
Depending on the approach, most exterminators as part of the
treatment for bedbug infestations will require
that all linens in the room be washed in hot water. Use the Ziploc
to move the clothing to avoid dropping bedbugs throughout your home.
Wash clothes on the hot water setting followed by 20 to 30 minutes in
the dryer. Bed bugs are killed at 114 degrees F.
you have a smaller bedbug infestation, it is possible to take a do it
yourself approach to get rid of bed bugs. The key to success
to inspect every inch of the room where the bed bug infestation is
taking place. The key difference to sprays etc is:
are they natural/organic or chemical/insecticide
are they mattress safe
do they kill bed bugs and their eggs
child/pet safety (after they dry)
Purchase a Bed
Bug Kit: To
do the job right, you need to pull together several products.
Some are essential and some are optional, but helpful.
are the individual products needed. You can save money by
purchasing a group of products in a kit. The choice of
products or chemical is one of personal taste. Best options include:
Bed Bug Pest Control Products and Their Use
Safe Bed Bug Spray:
A mattress safe spray is important since 50% of bed bugs in a room can
be found on or around the bed and box spring. Two good
are a chemical based spray such as Sterifab
or a natural organic spray such as Bug
Patrol. Both sprays will also kill bed bug eggs.
Based Bedbug Spray with Residual Action:
There are some new and older bedbug sprays on the market that not only
kill bed bugs and their eggs, but all provide some lasting protection.
We suggest purchasing Phantom
bed bug spray for this purpose as it cannot be detected by bedbugs
after it dries, yet will kill the for several weeks after application.
type of spray is good for spraying into cracks and crevices and around
the box spring. The spray may take several days to
a full effect since it works by killing bed bugs on contact and by
interrupting the life cycle of the bed bug.
3. Bed Bug Dust:
Bed bug dust is a natural product such as Dermisil
Fossil Dust, This
is also referred to as bed bug powder and diatomaceous earth.
bug dust is spread into cracks, walls and even inside a box spring to
kill any late hatching bed bug eggs. The dust attachers to
bug, creating a hole in their outer layer, killing the insect.
dust is an alternative.
4. Mattress and
Box Spring Cover: Zippered
bed bug mattress covers trap any
late hatching or missed bed bugs inside the mattress and box spring.
Mattresses do not have to be thrown out, just covered with a
zippered bed bug approved case. Be sure to buy a cover for
the mattress and box spring.
A vacuum can suck up live bed bugs from a mattress and along the cracks
in a wall. Use the brushless crevice tool to get into hard to
Other Helpful Bed Bug Pest Control Products
There are several products can help make sure that there are no more
bed bugs in a room being treated for bedbug infestations.
1. Hand Steamer:
Use a steamer
using the larger head on the steamer. Super heat the mattress seams,
around furniture (check to make sure
water doesn't stain wood) and along cracks. Bed bugs are
at 114 degrees Fahrenheit. A steam cleaner bed bugs can be a helpful
tool for safely killing bed bugs and their eggs.
The following advice for using a bed bug steamer is from the Australian
Code of Conduct for Bed Bug Extermination. A study has shown
that steam followed by insecticides provides better long-term control
than the use of insecticides alone. Control can not reliably be
achieved with steam alone. If buying a steamer, it must be
able to produce steam at a low flow and high temperature. It is best to
commercial units that employ ‘dry steam’, which allows for quicker
Note: ‘dry steam’ is a misnomer; items treated will still be damp and a
ventilation should be used to dry the room afterwards, otherwise mold
could occur. Immediately after steam treatment the surface should be
recording a temperature of 70 (176F) -80oC. Steam flow rate must be
kept to a minimum to avoid blowing bed bugs aroun dhte room.
Single jet steam nozzles can blow bed bugs away. If such
nozzles are used on mattresses then the nozzle should be always
Reliable T630 and the Vagamore
MR-100 are two models recommended by some pest control
2. Climbup Interceptors:
is an inexpensive way to trap bed bugs before they climb up onto a bed.
These inexpensive bowls are placed under each bed leg.
a bed bug climbs up the side, they fall into the bowl and are trapped.
This is a good way to measure the extent of bedbug
and to see if the bed bugs are gone after treatment.
3. Bed Bug Itch Cream
Besides the red marks left on the skin, bed bug itch is the most
problematic symptoms of bed bug bites. When asking how to stop bed bug
itch, just buy an insect bite topical ointment in a pharmacy.
bed bugs area constant problem you can buy a product that was
specifically made to stop bed bug itch such as All
4. Portable Heating Unit:
Not every item can be washed in hot water such as electronics or items
that will be damaged. A Pack
Tite portable heating unit will super heat any objects placed
inside to the required temperature for killing bed bugs. This
is the only way to save items such as electronics and other items you
would like to keep that may be infected. Professional
exterminators often use larger versions of this method for treating
items from bedbug infestations, such as a remote heat chamber or a heat
chamber on the back of a truck.
5. Carpet Disinfectant:
Carpeting presents its own problems when treating bedbug
infestations. It is a hiding place for bed bugs
and their eggs (particularly where the edges meet the wall).
One approach is to use a carpet cleaner with some strong
disinfectant mixed into the cleaner such as Xtremecleen.
Be sure to test in an out of the way area to see if the
product will discolor your carpet.
How to Get
Rid of Bed Bugs Do It Yourself Steps
Assuming you now have the products needed for treating bedbug
infestations, these are the steps for
inspecting a room, and killing bed bugs and bed bug eggs.
Select a Safe
Area: Select an area where you can move the mattress after
it has been treated. This can be out in the hallway or an
the bed linen: The bed area will be the location for all
inspections, where possible. Start by folding the bed linen on top of
the bed. Bag in a plastic container and lid or a heavy duty
plastic bag. A good choice is the Double
Zipper Large Ziploc bags, which are bed bug proof.
Remove from the room and put into the safe area.
Discard of Clutter: Bed bugs can hide in any newspaper,
books etc. Place items for disposal into a plastic bag for immediate
disposal outside the home. Do all inspections on the bed to keep bed
bugs in one area. Remove pictures, inspect, treat picture
backs with spray product and when dry, bag (dry to avoid mold).
Bed bugs can hide in electronics. The only way to deal with electronics
is to either discard or use a Thermal Heat Pack, which will super heat
to the required 114 degrees. Do not use liquids near any
electrical appliance or outlet.
Treat the Mattress: Vacuum all mattress seams. Treat the
mattress with a bed
bug safe spray such as the Sterifab
mentioned above. Follow the manufacturers directions. Spray
along all seams and into any holes in the fabric covering. Be
sure to treat around any mattress labels. Once you treat one
side, hold mattress up on edge and treat the other side and edges.
After treatment, move to safe area (hallway etc.)
Treat the Box Spring: It is possible that more bed bugs
have found a hiding place in the box spring than along the seams of the
mattress. Vacuum all areas of the box spring. Treat the top and sides
of the box spring with the spray product. Stand the box
spring on edge, within the bed frame, and treat around the bottom
fabric. Remove or peel back the fabric. Spray with
the Phantom spray along seams or the Sterifab. When done, put some bed
bug dust into the bottom of the box spring and replace fabric (not
necessary to replace fabric.
Treat Nearby Furniture: Move into the bed frame area if
you can. Remove contents from drawers and place into plastic
bags. Use zippered bags for items that can be washed.
Other items should be disposed of, or placed into a heat
chamber for treatment such as the one offered by PackTite. If
this is not an option, consider disposing of the item.
Be sure to remove each drawer and treat the bottom of each.
Test the bedbug spray to make sure that it doesn't stain the
wood as many are alcohol or water based. Also inspect any
furniture for signs of bedbug infestations, particularly if it is
Bed Bugs and BedBug Eggs
Edges of the Room and all Cracks: Vacuum along all edges
of the room using the brushless crevice tool (bed bugs can get stuck in
the brush kind and then drop in other areas of the home). Treat all
cracks and edges with the bedbug spray. After spraying let
dry. Seal all cracks with wall putty. Inspect all carpet
edges. Use bed bug spray such as Phantom
to treat cracks. After spray drys, spread bed
bug dust into cracks and around edges of room to kill any bed
bugs from late hatching eggs.
Check behind any wall plates (electrical, cable) for bedbug
infestations. Use dust products around electrical outlets if
needed. Sprays are fine around cable. When in
doubt, use dust.
Pictures Bed Bugs On
and Around Electrical Outlet
Steam clean any carpet. Add a disinfectant to the mixture
such as Xtremecleen
to kill any eggs that are hiding in the carpet. Test in an
out of the way area to be sure that mixture doesn't cause carpet
Use the diagram below as a guide to areas that should be inspected for
The bottom line is that every inch of the room should be
inspected and treated if necessary.
Bed Bug Hiding Places
Mattress and Box spring in Zippered Covers:
Zippered covers are not optional as 50% of bed bugs are found on, in
and around the box spring. Choose bed
bug mattress and box spring covers that are labeled for bed
bugs. Bed bugs could escape from covers that are not labeled.
Do not put covers on the mattress and box spring until they
are dry from any sprays.
Bring any machine washable items in a sealed plastic container or
plastic bags to the washing machine. Wash on the hottest
setting followed by 20 to 30 minutes in a dryer. Return to
room after drying.
Furniture and Mattress: Bring furniture and mattress back
to the room. Return any removed items.
It may take 2 to 3 treatments to completely address any bedbug
infestations that you encounter. It can take an entire day to
properly treat a bed bug problem. If all else fails, hire a bed
Preventing BedBug Infestations
The only way for bed bugs to enter a single family home is for
the bed bugs to be carried into the home by a family member.
Bed bugs only travel 100 feet in any direction of where they
hop off the object that carried them into a home.
For apartments with bedbug infestations, bed bugs initially
enter the apartment the
same way. There is then a 20% chance that they will spread to
an adjacent apartment and a 7% chance that they will enter the
apartment above or below the room that is infested with bed bugs.
Prevention starts with not bringing bed bugs into the home in
the first place. Here are some tips for avoiding bed bugs:
Used furniture or mattresses are often infested with
bedbugs. New furniture and new mattresses can also be
infested with bed bugs if they were transported in trucks that are used
to take the used furniture and mattresses away!
Used clothing that was removed from a home with bed bugs
could be hiding the insects.
Furniture and other household goods that came from a bed
infested self storage facility.
Bed bugs that were hiding in rented cars or trucks.
Rented furniture that was not properly inspected.
Travelers who picked up bed bugs in their luggage on cruise
ships, hotels and even public transportation.
Even used electronics and pictures can have bed bugs hiding
inside the device or along cracks in a frame.
Ask a Question or Share Your Bed Bug Experience With Others
Do you have a question or great story about bed bugs? Share it!
What Other Visitors Have Said About Bed Bugs
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Bed Bugs Australia Melbourne Is there anyone else in Melbourne, Australia that has/had Bed Bugs?
I’m fairly certain that’s what’s been biting me for the last 6 months (possibly …