Bed Bugs How to Kill Them

" Bed bugs how to kill them can be tricky since they hide in tight spaces such as  wall and floor cracks. The key to killing bedbugs is to know where to look and then by having the right combination of product available to do the job. If doing it yourself doesn't work, you may want to bring in a pest control expert, since they have equipment and sprays not available to home owners. "  

People often ask about bed bugs how to kill them. People often assume it’s difficult to kill bed bugs, but it’s really not. The key is to make sure you treat the entire infested environment and have the right combination of products on hand.  That said, we always recommend calling in a professional if you can afford it, particularly if you have carpets.  To get an idea as to cost, contact an exterminator network such as Service Magic (1.877.233.1145) that provides free quotes (up to 3) and that check local exterminators to make sure they are insured and licensed in your area).

Bed bugs how to kill them treatment begins with a thorough inspection. Use a strong flashlight, and peer into all the little crevices and corners where the bugs can hide. While bed bugs are often found on mattresses and bed frames (hence the name, right?), they can also infest furniture such as sofas, chairs, and even dresser drawers. They can also infest carpeting, where they are usually found along the baseboard. Bed bugs can hide in any crack, so look along the seams in a mattress, between pages in magazines and newspapers and on the back of picture frames.  Since they hide inside cracks products like sprays are needed to reach the bugs.

bed bugs how to kill them
Bed Bugs How to Kill Them
Most bed bugs in a bedroom will be within a 5 foot radius of the bed.  Be sure to inspect behind headboards, inside hollow bed frame legs, inside furniture and underneath drawers

Studies show that when thinking about bed bugs how to kill them, approximately 80% of bed bugs are found near the bed, since that is where the human host lives. Be sure to check the bed frame and backboard carefully since there are cracks between every frame joint. Even if you can spot all of the bed bugs, it is very easy to miss the eggs as they are small, and the size of a pin head. We provide advice below for killing these as well.

Once you’ve found the bed bugs how to kill them may take up to 3 treatments for most infestations.

Use Your Washing Machine

If you have bed bugs, you will need to wash all your bed linen and any other washable items in hot water. Follow this by 10 to 20 minutes in the dryer.  If you have bugs in your dresser drawers, wash all that clothing in the hottest water the fabric will stand. If you have curtains hanging near your bed, you should also wash those in hot water. If you can’t wash your bed linens or clothes right away, seal them in plastic bags until you can. After washing, dry up to 30 minutes on the highest heat possible.

Do not carry clothes to the washer. Bag them first in the room with the infestation in order to avoid dropping any bugs along the way.

Note that items that cannot be washed, can be placed in the freezer for 5 days.  It is important to be thorough no matter which approach you choose for bed bugs how to kill them.

Use Your Vacuum Cleaner

After you’ve laundered everything, get out the vacuum cleaner. Use the crevice tool to get into the crevices of your mattress and the corners of your bed frame. Of course, you can use the crevice tool of your vacuum cleaner on other furniture as well, including the insides of dresser drawers. Also vacuum the carpeting around any infested furniture, and use to crevice tool to get along the baseboards.

After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag immediately by placing it in a sealed plastic bag. Only remove the vacuum bag in the room with the infestation to avoid spreading the bedbugs to other rooms. Seal the bag with a tie wrap throw out in an outside garbage can. If you can, freeze the bag first to kill the bugs. Garbage cans in the direct sun should become hot enough to kill any bugs inside.

Note that a vacuum cleaner is not effective against bedbug eggs, only the bed bugs themselves.  Other treatment options as described below are necessary for the eggs.

Steam all Surfaces

Use a Hand Steamer to kill any remaining bed bugs and bed bug eggs. Bed bug eggs are the size of a pin head and will not be killed by a spray.  Steam heat from a hand steamer will kill the eggs.

bed bugs how to kill them
One way to approach bed bugs how to kill them is a hand steamer. It generates the temperatures required for bed bugs bed bugs and bed bug eggs without the use of chemicals.  If you want to only use organic products, follow treatment with the application of natural fossil dust (also called diatomaceous earth or bed bug powder)

Bed Bugs How to Kill Them Using Sprays and Bed Bug Dust

In addition to mechanical methods for bed bugs how to kill them (steam, heat), a combination of sprays and powder are necessary to do a thorough job.  Sprays needed include a mattress safe knock down spray to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact (use Sterifab for an insecticide based spray or Bed Bug Patrol if you prefer organic sprays).  These sprays do not provide lasting protection.  This is why a second type of spray is also needed, called a residual spray (use Phantom or Bedlam, the later if you live in New York as residents cannot buy Phantom).  Suggested insecticide based products are shown to kill insecticide resistant bed bugs, an important factor in areas where there are large bed bug problems such as the NorthEastern United States.

The next step in dealing with bed bugs how to kill them is to select the correct treatment products. You can buy treatment products for bed bugs at many hardware stores, or you can order them on line in a kit from companies such as Dermisil (organic kit) or an insecticide based bed bug kit.  We recommend purchasing a kit since these contain the information you need to effectively remove the bugs including where to look, and what treatment products to use when.

bed bugs how to kill them
A bed bug kit such as this one contains the combination of products needed (knock down spray to kill on contact, residual spray for lasting protection, bed bug dust, duster). It is a lower cost way to purchase bed bug products.

For most infestations you will need the following to bed bugs how to kill them:

  1. Start by treating the mattress. Use a mattress safe spray which will kill bed bugs on contact .  Spray all surfaces and inside cracks to kill bed bugs on contact.  Do not soak the bed with the spray.  Be sure to follow the manufacturers directions.

    After treating the mattress move it to a "safe area" outside the area being treated so that you have access to the box spring and bed frame.

    bed bugs how to kill them
    Use a Mattress Safe Bed Bug Stray such as Sterifab. (Bed Bug Patrol for Organic) Be sure to spray inside seams and other potential hiding places
  2. Treat the box spring and bed frame. Start with the mattress safe spray and treat the outside and inside of the box spring.  You may need to peel back the fabric or throw it out (use a plastic garbage bag, seal it and dispose outside the home.  

    Follow this with a residual spray such as Phantom or Bedlam (New York State residents can only purchase Bedlam) .   If you are using only organic products, use a fossil dust (bed bug dust) product in seams and tufts. 

    bed bugs how to kill them
    Treat the inside of the mattress, be sure to treat around all potential bed bug hiding places such as where the slats meet the box spring frame.
  3. Treat Nearby Furniture.  Be sure to remove all items from nearby drawers and either place them on top of the box spring or place into snap tight plastic containers.  Each item should be inspected.  Where possible, either wash, freeze, steam or dispose of each one.

    bed bugs how to treat them
    Bed bugs how to kill them in furniture drawer tracks.  Be sure to spray around all tracks, underneath drawers and the inside of all furniture.
  4. Treat all baseboards, window frames and other potential hiding places. When an infestation gets larger, the bed bugs will spread out and look for other hiding areas.  Seal any cracks and crevices in floors and along baseboards to reduce the number of places that they can hide.

    bed bugs how to treat them
    Window frames provide tiny cracks where bed bugs can hide.  Be sure to use a bed bug spray around the frame.

    bed bugs how to treat them
    Use a residual spray (Bedlam shown here) around the baseboard.  These sprays will kill any bed bugs that cross through the treated area for several weeks.
  5. Cover the Mattress and Box Spring: There is no need to throw out a mattress or box spring that is in good condition. Purchase and use zippered bed bug mattress and box spring covers to lock in any bed bugs and bed bug eggs that you might have missed.  Do not use the covers until the sprays or steam treatment completely dries.  For extra protection, bed bug powder can be applied in a thin layer inside the mattress seams. Once covered, return the mattress to the bed from the safe area.

    bed bugs how to kill them
    Bed bug dust applied in a thin layer can provide added protection
  6. Apply bed bug dust in cracks around room. Apply a thin layer of natural bed bug dust to kill any bed bugs that you might have missed. If you miss any bed bugs, the dust clings to their outer layer, causing death. 
  7. Steam Clean Carpets. Use a carpet disinfectant (if you have a carpet in the room), also to kill eggs that may be in the carpet.  Use a carpet cleaner or steamer.  As a disinfectant to the cleaning solution or water such as PuraCleenRx to kill any eggs and remaining bugs.
  8. Use Bed Bug Traps (optional). Inexpensive bed bug traps called Climbup Interceptors can be placed under each bed leg.  When the traps stay empty for 2 weeks, the infestation has been eliminated.

It is normal for do it yourself or professional approaches to require 2 or 3 treatments.

Hiring a Bed Bug Exterminator

Of course, you can also just hire an exterminator to come in and treat the house for you.  It can't hurt to get a quote from a network such as Service Magic, since they know where to look for the bugs.  You can compare the price to doing it yourself.  A professional will cost from $450 to $1000 for one room or more.  

Professionals also have specialized equipment, particularly for larger, multi-room or apartment infestations.  For example, a pest control company when faced with the challenge of bed bugs how to kill them may have equipment that can super heat a room to 120 degrees for a sustained period of time as an approach for killing bed bugs.

Most commercial treatment products for bed bugs how to kill them contain permethrins and/or pyrethrins. These ingredients are quite effective, although there are reports of some bed bugs resistance, although this hasn't been a big problem to date (insecticide based products recommended above have been shown to kill insecticide resistant bedbugs).  Follow the directions on the manufacturers label.

Some people use boric acid to get rid of bed bugs, but this is not really recommended. It’s not as effective as some other products, and it is also harmful if it comes in contact with your skin or if you inhale it.

Look for a product that states on the label that it is safe for people and pets. Some people prefer to use natural products in order to avoid the risk of side effects. There are some good natural products available, but read the product information carefully to make sure you know what you’re getting. They aren’t all effective. When finished, protect your mattress with a zippered bed bug cover. This will trap any live bed bugs you missed and will keep any remaining bedbugs from infiltrating your mattress. You can purchase one for under $10 at Dermisil.

As mentioned, don't be surprised if you home requires several treatments. Also check rooms that are directly adjacent, above and below the room where the bed bugs have been found. They don't move very far, but can infest other rooms as an infestation grows.

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