How to Get Rid of Bedbugs
Step by Step Instructions
Getting rid of bedbugs is a problem faced by more and more
the incidence of bed bug problems has gone up 500%.
being found in schools, on public transportation and of course in homes
and apartments, across all 50 States in the U.S. and around the world.
They are spreading due to fewer pesticides targeting these
bugs as they used to be exterminated when killing other household
Note that products are suggested based on our research on how
to get rid of bedbugs. Links will take you to the lowest cost
resource we could identify for each product mentioned.
Bed bugs bite during the night. Serious infestations
could result in over 500 bites (they are actually skin punctures, not
bites). Any reactions
to bed bug bites are an allergic reaction. While
they don't spread disease, the allergic reaction itself can result in
red markets or bumps on the skin, impetigo which is a bacterial skin
condition, asthma and even shock which is called anaphilaxis.
Bites are often found in clusters of 3, but can consist of a
Picture Bed Bug Bites
Not everyone shows a reaction to bed bugs. Some
people can get a rash in a hour while others will show no reaction.
Bed bugs are attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide
given off when sleeping. As they find skin, they puncture the
skin and feed from 3 to 5 minutes before returning to their hiding
Bed bugs can only get into a building if they are brought into
the building by a person that carries them in via used furniture,
luggage etc. It is not a matter of being neat or clean.
A person who is visiting could be carrying the bugs which
jump off their belongings into a home or apartment.
One bed bug can quickly reproduce, with each bed bug leading
to 500 babies in 1 year time, so removing them early is important.
Often bed bug bites are confused with mosquito bites,
resulting in treatment or extermination being delayed.
Before you Get Rid of BedBugs:
The key to getting rid of bedbugs is to know where
they hide. Since they feed on human hosts, most are
found around the bed itself with studies showing over 50% found hiding
around the mattress and bed frame. They are going to hide
where they will not be disturbed. The rule of thumb is that the least
likely places to look or be disturbed are where bed bugs are going to
hide. Look in any dark tight places. Here are the 5 places
bed bugs are most likely to hide:
Rid of BedBugs Starts
with Knowing Where Bed Bugs Hide
Take the linens off the bed. In the early stages
look for spotting which is caused by fecal staining (digested
Box spring: Fecal or brown stains may appear on the
of the box
spring. If you suspect bed bugs, you may need to rip the
fabric covering and inspect the inside of the box spring for live bed
the head board and the bed frame. In hotels the head boards
are wall mounted. This is a common hiding place because the
head boards are not disturbed.
Near the Bed:
As infestations get larger, bed bugs need more places to hide.
Pull drawers out of the dresser and look underneath the
Look underneath all furniture.
behind pictures :
any pictures or wall hangings could be hiding bed bugs.
in Cracks in
Wallpaper or Wall Cracks: Bed bugs can hide behind the
or in cracks.
This diagram shows common bed bug hiding places:
Picture of Bed Bugs at
Different Stages of the BedBug Lifecycle
An adult bed bug is approximately 1/4 inch long and is
brown/red in color.
Rid of Bedbugs
The first decision you have to make is to go the "do it yourself" route
for getting rid of bedbugs
or hire a professional. If you can afford it, the
professional option is the way to go, particularly in the case
of larger bedbug infestations.
The cost for a typical home bed bug treatment is $750 to
$1000 plus some exterminators may charge for a home inspection.
Often a bed bug sniffing dog is used to find all of the bed
bug hiding places. Ask about the chemical and non chemical
approaches you choose when selecting a professional. Compare
quotes and equipment used for getting rid of bedbugs from 2 or more
Here are two easy steps for finding an experienced bed bug exterminator
Call Home Advisor(877-233-1145): Home
Advisor is a network of independent pest control companies that
are pre-screened by the network. They will provide up to 4 free quotes.
Database: We maintain a database of bed bug exterminators
which can be searched here.
If you pursue the do it yourself approach for getting rid of bed bugs,
do not buy a "bed bug bomb"
many local hardware stores as these may kill or knock down
the bed bug population, but not their
eggs. They can also cause the bed bugs to disperse instead of being
killed, only to return later on.
Instead, purchase a bed bug kit such as the one offered
for Bed Bugs (organic approach) or from Amazon
(insecticide based approach) These cost approximately $70 - $160 and
contain the products you need to remove the pests from your home
including a mattress safe pump spray, bed bug dust, a hand steamer, and
an instruction booklet.
It is also highly recommended that bed
bug proof mattress and box spring covers are purchased
(instead of throwing them out).
The steps needed for getting rid of bedbugs are described
below. The key is to kill all bed bugs and the bed bug eggs.
for Getting Rid of Bedbugs Yourself
The key to bed bug treatment is to be thorough. If you can
fit a credit card into a crack, it is big enough to hide bed bugs.
Every item within 10 feet of the bed such be treated
including furniture, picture frames, window ledges, headboards and bed
1. Designate a Safe Area:
You'll need an area outside of the treatment area to move
items that have been treated. Select a hallway or bathroom
next to the treatment area.
2. Bag and remove all
clothes and linens: Fold the blankets and other linen on
the bed. Don't remove anything from the room
unless it is bagged. A convenient way to do this in sealed bags is to
use either a plastic bin with a snap lid or Ziploc
Double Zipper Big Bags. Bring clothes to the
laundry room and
wash what you can in 120 degree hot water (highest setting) followed by
20 to 30 minutes in the dryer.
What you can't wash, place in the dryer for 30 minutes at
high heat. This will kill all bed bugs and eggs.
3. Vacuum the Room:
The vacuum can pick up any bed bugs that you can find. As
mentioned, they like to hide in areas that can't be disturbed, such as
along the cracks between the floor and baseboards. Use the
crevice tool, not the brush tool. Bed bugs could get caught
in the brush.
4. Treat the Mattress:
Start by using the vacuum with the crevice tool along all seams and
tufts of the mattress. If you have a hand
steamer, steam areas vacuumed and let dry. Steaming is an
optional step for extra protection./
Next use a Knock down Spray, which is a type of bedbug spray that will
kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact. (They do not have a long
residual effect, so other sprays or products are needed for
lasting protection.) We recommend the knock down spray Sterifab
(alcohol and synthetic pyrethroid) as it was tested by ICR and resulted
in 100% of bed bugs sprayed being killed, Another good choice
Red Label and Bedlam.
Follow the manufacturer directions. If you prefer to use
organic products on surfaces that come in contact with your family, use
the mattress let it dry and then move it to the safe area.
When dry, place the mattress into a zippered bed bug mattress
cover (WalMart offers low cost covers called MicronOne).
Spray anywhere you believe bed bugs are hiding, particularly under
labels and in tufts/seams.
When Getting Rid of
Bedbugs, Treat Mattress with a
Knock Down Bed Bug Spray that is Mattress Safe such as Sterifab
5 Treat the
Perimeter of the Room: Use a spray that has a lasting
residual effect along the baseboards and furniture. We prefer
the sprays Phantom
JTEaton Blue bottle is also a good choice.
Why Phantom for getting rid of bedbugs? The active ingredient in
Phantom cannot be detected by bed
bugs, so it doesn't repel them away from treated areas,
a risk in some other products. Bed bugs have also
started to show some resistant to commonly used products in some
cities, reinforcing Phantom as the best choice for a residual
spray. That said, the other products mentioned are also
excellent choices with excellent feedback from readers of the
Bed Bugs Handbook.
Getting Rid of Bedbugs
with a Spray
Picture Bed Bug Treatment
with Bedlam Aerosol Spray around Perimeter of Room
6. Treat the Box Spring:
Follow the directions above for treating the box spring (vacuum then
steam). If the bottom of the box spring has a fabric cover, either
dispose of the cover or peel it back. Be sure to
inspect for bed bugs. Here you can use the Phantom
Spray or the Sterifab.
Place the box spring into a
bed bug box spring cover when done and move to the safe area.
Treat All Cracks and
Seams inside the Box Spring Here an Exterminator uses
JTEaton Blue Label as a Residual (long lasting) Bed Bug Treatment
7. Treat the furniture
and other areas near the bed: Bed bugs tend to be hiding
near the bed.
It is important to thoroughly treat nearby furniture. Empty
the contents of drawers onto the box spring. Check items for bed bugs
and place into a plastic bin with snap lid or Ziploc
Big Bag. When getting rid of bedbugs in furniture
with drawers, remove drawers and treat around the
edges. Use the Phantom
Bedlam or JTEaton
Lightly use Bed Bug Spray
Around Window, Picture Frames and other Areas In Case Bed Bugs are
Hiding. Look for credit card sized cracks.
Bed bugs can hide inside electronics and clutter such as newspapers,
magazines and books. If not of value, dispose of any item you
can. Electronics can only be treated in a heat chamber such
as a PackTite,
or they need to be stored for 1 year in a sealed plastic container to
ensure that all bed bugs were starved. Confirm with the
manufacturer of the electronics/computer that they can withstand
temperatures of about 120F.
8. Treat the Carpet:
Bed bugs like to lay their eggs on rough surfaces such as carpet.
We suggest steam cleaning any carpets. For added
protection when getting rid of bedbugs, add a small amount of
disinfectant formulated to kill
parasites such as PuracleenRX
to the cleaning fluid. Test in an out of the way area to
ensure that the mixture doesn't stain your carpet.
9. Spread Bed Bug Dust:Bed
Bug Dust (also called dessicant dust, diatomaceous earth or
fossil dust) is a natural product made of ground fossils.
Some products are mixed with an insecticide. The
purpose is to use Bed bug dust to
kill any bedbugs that hatch from eggs that you might have missed.
As the bed bug walks through a thin dust field, the dust will
attach to their body, eventually suffocating the bed bug.
Dust can be spread places where the
spray shouldn't be used, such as around electrical outlets, and under
furniture and along walls. A duster such as the Mini
Pistol should be used as well as some type of dust
mask to avoid breathing in the product. You can
JTEaton Green Label, which comes in an applicator bottle.
The advantage of bed bug dust is that is doesn't break down, so it will
provide lasting protection. One tip is to place dust into
areas where bed bugs might return.
1. Buy a bed
bug encasement for the mattress: This will
prevent bed bugs from getting into your bed and will trap and kill any
that are already there. Using covers is standard practive when getting
rid of bedbugs. It is not necessary to replace the
mattress unless it is in bad condition. If removing a
mattress from the home. wrap in plastic to avoid dropping any bugs.
Mark the mattress as having a bed bug problem to keep other
people from taking the used mattress. Cover options include Allerzip
and lower cost options from MicronOne.
Note that covers alone do not protect against bed bugs that
are hiding elsewhere in the room.
2. Put plastic
bowls under the legs of the bed when getting rid of bedbugs: Bed
climb up the
outside wall and will get stuck in the bowl. You can make your own by
pasting fabric to the outside of the bowl so the bed bugs can
climb up. For added protection, put 1 to 2 inches of rubbing
alcohol or powder into the bowl. If there are no bugs in the
bowel after a
few days, there are probably no more bed bugs in the home and you have
successfully got rid of bedbugs. You can buy inexpensive
bowls called Climbup
Interceptors, with one going under each bed leg.
3. Put Double Sided Tape
Around Bed Legs: Tape will stop any bed bugs from
climbing up back to the bed. They also sell low cost bed bug
traps such as Bed
Bug Patrol Traps that will do the same thing.
4. Move bed 6 inches
from the wall: This will prevent any bed bugs from
climbing the wall and jumping back into the bed.
5. Be Careful
When Traveling: When entering a hotel room, keep
luggage away from the bed and
furniture. Ideally keep it near the door. Check the
box spring and bed to see if their are any brown spots. When
you get home, wash clothes in hot at 120 degrees or place
into a dryer on hot for up to 30 minutes. Both methods will
kill bed bugs. For those that want to be extra careful, buy a
portable heat chamber called a PackTite.
When returning home from a trip, place your packed luggage in
the PackTite. It will heat the luggage to the required
temperatures to ensure that it is bed bug free.