Tips for Killing BedBugs
It pays to know your enemy when Killing bedbugs. It
requires that you understand where they hide and then deciding whether
or not to hire a professional or if you decide to do it
yourself. Each of these topics is reviewed below.
If you do decide to hire a professional (not a bad idea to
get a quote) be sure to check our list of experienced bed
bug exterminators in your area.
Killing BedBugs Basics:
It's helpful to understand some of these basics for killing
bedbugs, regardless of which approach you take.
Know the Enemy:
One female bedbug will lay somewhere between 200 to 500 eggs.
Each egg can hatch and develop into an adult in as few as 3
weeks. The adult can live up to 12 to 14 months
without feeding. If you have bedbugs, try and stop them early
Signs of Bed Bugs
includes stains on sheets (top left), mattresses (top center and top
right) and bed bug bites on arm which can appear as a single bite, in a
row or pattern. Severity depends on how allergic the
individual is to bedbug bites, with most people showing no skin
reaction. (bottom pictures)
Approximately 50% of bedbugs will hide in and around the bed
including the mattress, box spring and bed frame.
They prefer to hide in tight spaces such as under mattress
labels, behind plastic box spring corder guards, inside wall cracks,
along baseboards, bed frame joints, and in torn fabrics. Hollow bed
legs could also make for
a convenient hiding place.
Picture of bedbugs hiding
behind a box spring corder guard
Bed bugs do leave behind clues that they were present.
This includes brown feces marks on sheets or the mattress,
old molted skin and egg shells.
Each bed bug will feed in intervals that are 3 days apart.
Each meal lasts approximately 10 minutes. A bed bug
can survive for 2 months to a year without feeding. Bed bugs
also have a distinct raspberry type odor. This is why trained
dogs are an effective way to spot bedbug hiding places.
Hiring a Bed Bug Pest Control Expert or Killing Bedbugs
Bed bugs can rapidly multiply, so if you suspect you have bed
and can afford an exterminator, we suggest using an expert.
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.
this link to find a qualified local bedbug exterminator near
you. 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.
of using an expert for killing bedbugs is the cost which often involves
a fee for a home
inspection ($100 - $500), with the high end expense in larger cities
where a bed bug sniffing dog is used. The treatment
itself can cost between $750 to $1000 depending on the number of rooms
that need to be treated. When calling a bed bug pest control expert,
ask the following
- Cost for the estimate
- What chemical and non chemical approaches will be used for
killing bedbugs. Professionals use sprays that contain pyrethrins,
bromophos, phenchlorphos and
- If you have children, fish and pets, ask about safety
- Is the treatment guaranteed (often 2 to 3 bed bug
treatments are needed)
Regarding treatment approaches, heat is one of the most
effective ways to kill bedbugs. This is often used on combination with
chemical approaches. Many contractors have special equipment
that can super heat
a room to the required 120F. This will kill all living bedbugs and
Required Products and Methods for Killing Bedbugs Yourself:
A bed bug infestation cannot be eliminated with only one type of spray
or mechanical method such as vacuuming. The best approach is to
purchase either an insecticide
based bed bug kit or organic
bed bug kit, which will have all of the products and
instructions to the job correctly. Some products are designed
to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact, while others are used to
provide lasting protection; they kill bedbugs that you might have
- Bed Bug
Spray: There are two types of bed bug sprays:
- Knock Down
Sprays: These products kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on
contact. They are mattress safe and come in
insecticide formulation and organic formulations. We
recommend purchasing the insecticide bedbug spray Sterifab
for this purpose as it has been tested against insecticide resistant
bed bugs and costs under $20 per bottle. If you prefer
organic products, we recommend Bed
Longer Lasting Sprays: These sprays last for 3 to 6 weeks
and are used to create a lethal area that kills bed bugs when an insect
crawls through the treated area. After applying a mattress
safe spray, these products are applied to areas such as baseboards,
furniture and bed frames to kill any bed bugs that were missed and late
hatching bed bugs. We recommend the insecticide based Phantom
spray since it was tested against insecticide resistant bed
bugs. New York State residents should buy Bedlam
instead since Phantom is not available in that state. For
those that prefer organic treatment, use bed bug dust as we are not
aware of an effective natural residual spray.
- Bed Bug Dust:
This product is naturally made from crushed fossils. it is
spread around a room after treatment. Bed bugs come in
contact with the dust and then quickly die when a scab forms on their
Use a crevice tool to pick up bed bugs. The insects can be seen with
the naked eye. Dispose of the vacuum bag outside of the home
after use. Note that bed bug eggs cannot be picked up with a
vacuum. These can be picked up with duct tape (apply to eggs
and pull), or with steam and sprays.
- Hand held
Steamer: For the do it yourselfer, the only way to kill
bedbug eggs is with high heat. A streamer
and steam will superheat the eggs
and kill the bedbugs.
- Mattress and
Box Spring Covers: Zippered
covers will trap any bed bugs
and bedbug eggs that are missed inside. They will eventually
die. You do not have to throw out a mattress or box spring.
Quick Home Remedies When Killing Bedbugs
These are the basic steps that will start to protect you from
- Pull the Bed
From the Wall: Bed bugs will climb the wall and then jump
onto the bed. Pull the bed
at least 6 inches from the wall.
Popular home remedies
for getting rid of bed bugs is to buy 4 plastic bowls. Glue fabric to
the outside of the bowl so that a bed bug can
climb up the side. Please each bowl under a bed leg. Please an inch of
rubbing alcohol in each bowl. Bed bugs will climb up the
side of the bowl and then slide into the alcohol and die. This is a
convenient way to both catch the bed bugs and by the number found in
the bowel, you
can determine the extent of your bedbug problem or if a problem still
- Double Sided
Tape: Put double sided tap around each bed leg. The bed
bugs will get attached to and avoid the sticky surface.
- Bed Bug Traps:
Place a home
made bed bug trap or purchased bed bug trap such as a climbup
under each bed leg.
Vacuum and steam (if you have a hand steamer) the bed seams, box spring
and bed frame. You can see bed bugs with the naked eye.
Use a wire brush or thin object to pull them out of seams and
- Dispose of
Clutter: Items such as newspapers and magazines provide
hiding places for bed bugs.
- Duct Tape to
Remove Bed Bug Eggs; Bed bug eggs are cemented to each
surface where they are laid and cannot be picked up with a vacuum.
An easy bed bug home remedy is to pick up the eggs by
applying duct tape and pulling.
Step by Step Approach for Killing Bedbugs
For detailed instructions, see our guide to bed
- Inspect the
Look for brown feces marks. As bed bugs
congregate they will leave behind brownish/reddish marks and molted
skin. Inspect adjoining rooms as well as bedbugs will move
100 fee in every direction, including rooms that are above and below,
or any apartment that has a shared wall.
Picture of Bed Bug
- Throw Out
what You Can: Dispose of all lose papers, books
and any other item that could act as a hiding space. Consider disposing
as bed bugs can hide inside such as the casing of a clock or radio. Do
not use liquids around electrical items. For treatments around
electrical outlets use
- Try Home
Remedies for Getting Rid of Bedbugs: Look at the bed bug
home remedy ideas mentioned above, although we recommend purchasing an
but kit to ensure that you have products tested for killing
bedbugs that are insecticide resistant. If you trap any bed
you know that you may need to repeat the entire treatment approach.
It may take 2 to 3 tries. The key is to inspect and
treat each part of the infested room.
- Wash all linen, clothes and blankets in hot water followed by 20
minutes on high heat in dryer
- Treat the mattress with steam/vacuum followed by a mattress safe
- Treat the box spring, bed frame, adjacent furniture, around windows
with vacuum/steam mattress spray and residual spray. Inspect
- Treat with both sprays along baseboards
- Vacuum carpet and steam clean
- Empty and inspect all items in drawers that are near the bed.
Treat inside and outside of night tables and other furniture.
Furniture both inside and out. When killing bedbugs, most are going to
be found within 10 feet of the bed with 50% on or near the bed.
Shown Here: Sterifab
sprayed inside of night table
- Encase mattress and box spring in bed bug covers
Killing bedbugs often require 2 to 3 treatments. They can
inside lamps and electronics such as clock radios. Do not
spray electronics. Instead, store in a sealed container for
18 months to starve any hiding bed bugs. Items such as
computers should be thoroughly inspected.
What Doesn't Work when Killing Bedbugs
Avoid older dangerous methods of bed bug removal such as the
use of flammable liquids such as gasoline. Also
products such as boric acid which comes in a dust form do not work as
they are not ingested by bedbugs. If treating an apartment, products
contain pyrethroids may result in bedbugs dispersing from the
treatment. Pyrethroids will kill them on contact, but may cause other
to run away toward other rooms or apartments.
Again, the best approach is to hire a bed bug exterminator.
A good starting point is our list of experienced bed
bug exterminators. It also can't hurt to call Service
Magic (toll free 1.877.233.1145) since they provide 3 free quotes for killing bedbugs.
Ask a Question or Share Your Bed Bug Experience With Others
Do you have a question or great story about bed bugs? Share it!
References for Killing Bedbugs:
Closing in on
State University cooperative extension