bedbugs is a rallying cry for many homeowners and apartment dwellers.
This goal requires knowing where to look for the bugs, and having the
right tools to get the job done. This includes a good mattress safe
spray, hand steamer, dust product, vacuum and access to a washing
Other helpful items include a bed bug approved mattress cover
and box spring cover. Optional items include a rug disinfectant to kill
bedbug eggs and an anti itch cream, assuming you are having an allergic
reaction to the bed bug bites. The first decision is to do it yourself
or hire a professional. All of this is covered in the bed
The desire to kill bedbugs requires knowledge and the products
needed to remove them from your home. First some basics.
How Did Bedbugs Enter Your Home?
Unlike other insects, bedbugs cannot enter the home from the
outside. They need to be dropped into the home after either
hitching a ride in luggage after traveling or from an adjacent
In terms of apartments, bed bugs travel 20 feet at most from
where they are dropped. In an apartment, this can be from
above, below and any side of the room where the infestation occurs.
Bedbugs are not due to filth, clutter or someones bad living
habits. They do come from hiding places in used furniture, or
if picked up by a person from one location and dropped in another.
80% - 90% of bedbugs in any room can be found in and around
the bed, since this is where their human host lives.
How Do You Know You Have Bedbugs?
Bedbugs are similar to several other bugs. The
easiest way to know, is if you are suffering from single or multiple
bites, that occur in the middle of the night. The red marks
that surround the area that a bed bug punctures the skin varies by
individual, depending on their allergic reaction to the bedbug saliva.
Reactions to the bed bug bites can worsen after each biting
episode as the body becomes increasingly more hypersensitive to each
Picture Bed Bug Bites on
To be sure, if you are able to catch a bedbug, you can send a
bug in the mail to IdentifyLLC (pdf
download), who for a small fee will examine the bug and let
Bedbugs are 1/5 of an inch long before feeding and grow longer
after feeding. Each feeding lasts 5 to 10 minutes and will
occur every 10 days.
Picture of Bed Bug Before and After Feeding
You Need to Find Them to Effectively Kill Bedbugs
One reason for hiring a bedbug exterminator or expert such as Terminix
doing it yourself, is knowing where to look for the pests.
Here are some common hiding places:
Around the Bed:
Near the Bed
- Tears in the mattress
- Box Spring
- Inside the box spring
- Around Edges
- Look at joints, where one piece meets another
- Note: bed bugs prefer wood frames and do not like
surfaces such as metal frames
Other Areas to
- Behind Clock Radio
- Carpet seams (where it meets the wall)
- Behind Pictures
- Behind cable and electrical wall plates
- Inside books, papers and magazines located near the
- Wall paper seams
- Around door locks
- Molding cracks
You get the idea. Here's helpful chart
that summarizes where you look:
Picture of Bedbug Hiding
Another sure sign are brown or red stains on the mattress or sheets.
This is feces left behind by the bedbug.
Picture of Bedbug Stains
What Does it Cost to Kill Bedbugs?
Kill Bedbugs Yourself with a Kit
Doing it yourself will cost approximately $175 for all the
needed products. One of the most popular organic kits is sold
for Bed Bugs.
Kits contain several or all
of the following products. It's the same basic
used by professionals:
- Mattress Safe
Spray: will kill bedbugs on contact. Does NOT
kill bedbug eggs.
- Fossil Dust: sprinkled
around the room to kill any bedbugs on contact that hatch after
treatment. Bed bug eggs are the size of a pin head and easy
- Hand Steamer:
heat will kill both bedbugs and bed bug eggs.
Steaming cracks will kill any eggs before they hatch
Covers: after treatment seal mattresses that are in good
condition. You do not have to throw out a mattress.
Sealing it will trap any bedbugs that you missed.
Without being able to feed they will eventually die inside
kill Bedbugs with a Bed Bug Exterminator
Bed Bug pest control experts have the experience needed to know
where to look for bedbugs. Be sure to ask for a written
estimate, a guarantee (bed bug removal can take 2 to 3 treatments) and
for specifically what you need to do to prepare (eg; remove everything
from closets etc.).
An in person inspection can range from $100 to $500 depending on how it
is done. The higher end includes the use of a bed bug
sniffing dog. Bedbugs have a unique odor, which is why a dog
is used (smell like raspberries). The treatment itself can
cost $750++ depending on the size of the residence (number of rooms),
approaches used and the extent of the problem. Ask about
chemical and non chemical treatment options.
Because hiring a professional is expensive, we suggest collecting
quotes from more than one company. We suggest the following
1. Call Local Bed Bug
(877-233-1145) both online and via phone will
provide 4 free quotes from local bed bug experts that are part of their
expert. There is no charge for this service.
2. Check our Bed Bug Exterminator Directory
have a searchable
directory of bed bug experts that can be found here
Pest control experts may have equipment and chemicals that are not
available to the public that are designed to kill bedbugs.
This includes the ability to super
heat a room (113 degrees F heat kills bed bugs and eggs), use chemicals
to treat a building, and even a super heat truck where household items
can be sealed in a chamber.
How to Kill Bedbugs - A Step by Step Approach
Getting rid of bed bugs requires a methodical step by step approach.
It involves cleaning and inspecting every item in the room
where bedbugs are found. Carry NOTHING from the room being
treated unless it is in a plastic bag closed with a tie wrap to avoid
dropping bugs in others rooms of the home.
1. Remove and wash all
linens and clothes.
Bag and wash in hot water
followed by 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer at high heat to kill bedbugs.
cleaning, bag and leave out of the room. Ziploc
are inexpensive and will kepp bed bugs out of the
clothes. Wash all blankets,
linens, sheets and any clothes. Pay attention to items that
are near the bed. Even sneakers and toys may be able to be
placed in the dryer (avoid melting and damage.
2. Loosen carpet along
the edge of the room.
Bed bugs will hide along
the cracks and the slats that hold the carpet to the floor.
Loosen all cable and electrical plates in the room.
Inspect and bag electronics (after you unplug) .
Check behind picture frames.
3. Vacuum the
. Use the suction tool on your vacuum to
"suck up" any visible bedbugs. Vacuum along the edges of the
room, the entire carpet and along seams on the mattress.
After vacuuming is complete, dispose of the vacuum bag by
removing it in the room being treated, seal in a plastic bag, and
dispose of out of doors.
4. Spray the Mattress
and in Cracks
. Using a mattress safe spray such
as the one offered as part of the
Dermisil kit (Bug Patrol)
of if you prefer an insecticide
based spray use Sterifab
These are both known as "knock down" sprays, which kill bed
bugs on contact and help to reduce the bed bug population. Lightly
the mattress, box spring, along the edges of the wall and in all
Keep a window open to allow for quick drying and to avoid
mold. After the mattress and box spring dries, cover with a
bed bug approved zippered cover such as those offered by Walmart
Treating a Mattress with Bed Bug Spray
Bugs may run and scatter when sprayed, as they become disoriented and
In additon to a knock down spray, it is helpful to also buy and use a
spray that has a residual effect such as Bedlam
Apply to cracks in the bed frame, around furniture and along
baseboards. If using on furniture, test first to avoid
Use a Residual Bed Bug Spray along Baseboards, Cracks and
Follow the manufacuters direcitonsn and be sure to wear gloves and eye
5. Hand Steam the Cracks
and Along Seams
. Steam all areas of the room,
including the edges of carpet and into cracks. The steam is
the best offense against killing bed bug eggs, which are "glued" to
surfaces with a cement like substance. This is why vacuuming
doesn't help. Steam along the seams of rough surfaces such as any
nearby furniture. You can use a small
or a more effective industrial grade steamer
Picture of Bedbugs and
Bedbug Eggs on Couch fabric
5. Clean Carpet:
you have you have carpeting, use a carpet cleaning machine
with a strong disinfectant mixed into the water. Test in a
small area to make sure that the carpet doesn't discolor the carpet.
One popular disinfectant is PuraCleenRx
Be sure to clean along the edges.
6. Spread Fossil Dust:
Natural dust products such as Fossil
(also called Diatomaceous Earth) should be spread under
furniture, inside cracks and behind the loosened wall plates (avoid
liquid products mentioned earlier around electrical
products). Bed bugs often appear to return after treatment,
when in fact the bedbugs that appear are those that hatched from eggs
you might of missed. Fossil dust attach to the bugs and cut
their shell, causing death.
Many contractors are adding these products inside the walls
of new apartment construction to protect against the spread of bedbugs.
It is an all natural organic safe product to use.
You can also place a few inexpensive disposable Bug
Patrol Traps around each bed leg.
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