Bedbug Extermination

"Bedbug extermination can be accomplished at home with a do it yourself kit or with the help of a professional.  Depending on the size of the infestation, multiple treatments may be needed, since it is difficult to kill all bedbugs and their eggs with one treatment.  Professionals have the advantage of knowing where to look although the cost can be 5x to 10x more than doing it yourself."  

Bed bug pest control requires several types of products.   A do it yourself kit is approximately $150 - $200 when purchased online and is the most affordable way to buy the several different types of products needed including a bedbug spray, dust and hand steamer.  

An inspection of a home by a professional could cost from $100 - $500 depending on the approach used, plus the cost of treatment which can range from $500 to $1000.  Inspections can include the use of a bed bug sniffing dog (bed bugs give off a unique raspberry like scent).

Bedbug Extermination Basics:

Bedbug extermination requires that an entire room be inspected, cleaned and treated.  They are attracted to people at night and use the carbon dioxide creating when a person is breathing to determine where the host is located.

1. Inspection: In a single room bedbugs will be found within 20 feet of the bed.  They hide in the seams of mattresses, inside tears in the mattress fabric and around their favorite hiding place, the box spring.  Check the cracks in the bed frame, particularly if the frame is made out of wood.  Bedbugs do not like hard smooth surfaces such as metal.  Studies show that 80%+ of bed bugs are found near the bed.

Check in and around the edges of carpet, behind pictures, and behind wall plates.  Check rooms to each side, above and below the room where the bed bug infestation is centered.

bedbug extermination
Locations Bedbugs Hide

2. Clean: Bedbugs cannot survive a hot water wash followed by 30 minutes in a clothes dryer.  Wash all blankets, drapes, linens etc. When carrying clothes to the laundry room, carry in plastic bags to avoid dropping any bed bugs.

Vacuum floors, carpets and around the room.  The vacuum will pick up any bugs. Unfortunately, it will not pick up any bedbug eggs, since these are naturally cemented to surfaces in the room.

3. Treat: Sprays are needed to kill any bedbugs that can't be vacuumed.  A mattress safe spray can be used on the bed, in cracks and along the edges of the floor.  A hand held steamer is the only tool that will kill bed bug eggs.  The steamer will super heat the eggs, which will then be killed.  Not killing the eggs will cause bedbugs to return after a room is treated.  Professionals often seal rooms and then super heat them to kill all the bugs and eggs present.

4. Prevent: There are two types of natural dust that can be used to kill bed bugs that hatch after treatment.  The bedbugs come in contact with the dust, which attaches to their shell, penetrates and then and kills them.  The two types are fossil dust or diatomaceous earth.  Both are natural and organic ways to kill bed bugs.

One approach is to encase the mattress and box spring in a bedbug approved cover such as the Bed Bug Proof Box Spring Encasement by Protect-A-Bed.  This traps the bedbugs inside the mattress and kills them, since they can't escape the cover to feed.

Do It Yourself BedBug Kits:

There are two popular kits on the market offered by Dermisil for Bed Bugs and the Dead Bed Bugs Elimination Kit.  Both offer similar types of products designed to kill bed bugs.  Both kits are good choices.

Getting rid of bed bugs is hard work.  Kits usually include:

  • Bed Bug Spray
  • Hand Steamer
  • Dust Product
Some kits also include an instructional booklet, itch relief for bites, and bed bug certified mattress covers.

Selecting a Bedbug Extermination Company:

Bedbug extermination by a professional can be expensive.  In New York City, an apartment inspection (not treatment!) with the use of a bed bug sniffing dog is $500.  Treatment can cost from $500 to $1000 or more depending on the size of the residence.  Apartment buildings are a special case, since multiple floors (rooms above and to the side) of the place where the bugs were found may need to be treated.  It is not unusual for entire buildings or dormitories to be evacuated for days during treatment.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a bedbug extermination company distributed by the New York City Department of Health.

How to Find a Bed Bug Pest Control Company:

  • If in an apartment, ask the super or neighbor about companies they may have used.  Also check with the landlord.
  • Use the Internet to search for companies, particularly those that are mentioned in the press.  Many companies can be found in our local listings.  Directory services such as Angie's List.angies list also have consumer reviews.
  • Look for companies that advertise “integrated pest management” services. They’re more likely to inspect and monitor conditions, and they’ll recognize needed improvements. 
  • Use companies that are registered  Department of Environmental Conservation in your State. 
  •  Ask for references.  Ask to speak to customers that completed treatment. 
  • Ask about their membership in recognized national, state and local pest control associations. 
  • Ask companies how they approach the problem of bed bugs. Good companies will insist on inspecting the premises before quoting a final price , provide a written inspection report, along with an action plan and will price a job according to inspection findings, not based on a flat fee.
  • Ask if the company can repair any cracks in walls or floors that are found, which are bed bugs hiding place, or can they refer you to a contractor that they work with. If repairs are not part of the service agreement, then the company should provide you with a list of things needed to solve the problem.
  • Ask the about the treatment plan that will be used including equipment, chemicals, and the safety of those approaches for both adults, children and pets.  Ask about chemical and non chemical approaches (heat, vacuuming etc).
  • Ask how carpets will be approached and how they will ensure that hard to kill bedbug eggs are going to be exterminated.
  • Ask about their policy toward repeat visits and how many visits they find are needed to complete the job.
  • Ask if employees are trained for bed bugs and have had experience with bedbug extermination. 
  • Determine if they encourage notifying adjacent apartments and successful approaches for getting all surrounding apartments to cooperation in the bedbug extermination efforts.  
  • Agree on a service treatment plan and pricing structure. Don’t short-change the solution. The cheapest services are rarely the best. 
  • Know what you and the company are each responsible for. 
  • Walk around your home with the pest control professional during each visit, and keep track of the work being done. 
  • Ask the pest control professional to point out any conditions that contribute to bed bugs in or near your property, and get a written inspection report.

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