"Getting rid of bed bugs involves inspecting and treating every surface of the infested room. For apartment tenants, it involves discovering who is going to pay for the problem and then how to go about treatment. Don't despair. There are insecticide, organic and non-chemical approaches that do work, they just may take 2 or 3 treatments. While we recommend the use of a bed bug exterminators since they have the required knowledge and equipment, we also provide step by step directions below for those that would like to treat their home and kill bed bugs themselves."
Getting rid of bed bugs has many methods and approaches.
Despite the panic you hear about on television, there are insecticides
and organic products that are effective in killing bed bugs. The
challenge is to find them, and then apply the right bed bug
product to get rid of the bed bugs. Here
are a couple of ways you can effectively kill bed bugs and remove them
from your home or apartment.
Professionals have the experience and specialized equipment
for getting rid of bed bugs. Even if you decide not to use a
professional, they are a great source of education and can confirm the
size of any infestation, even if you decide to do it yourself.
Because some professionals charge for on-site inspections, and with bed bug treatment costs of $1000 or more, we suggest getting quotes from multiple bed bug exterminators using the following approach:
You may have heard about the use of bed bug dogs as part of a plan for getting rid of bed bugs. Bed bugs give off a distinct odor that can be picked up by trained dogs. This is an accurate approach for finding infestations, however, an on-site inspection by a dog can cost several hundred dollars just for the inspection. While the use of a dog is helpful, if you know you have bed bugs, it isn't critical to a successful bed bug treatment plan.
Also, be sure to accompany any bed bug exterminator as they inspect your home. Bed bugs can be seen by the naked eye. Ask to see an actual bed bug before agreeing to treatment.
It is possible to treat a bed bug infestation yourself if you are willing to purchase the bedbug products needed to do a thorough job. We do understand that many readers do not have the money to do this. For this reason, we do provide no cost and low cost suggestions as alternatives.
A bed bug control kit can be an effective way for individuals that want a cost effective "do it yourself" approach to killing and preventing bed bugs. They are significantly cheaper than buying products individually (although you can use this approach as well).
Most bed bug kits include all or some of the following bed bug products:
Bed Bug Spray: These come in a pump or aerosol can, and also come in organic/natural or as an insecticide. There are also sprays known as "knock down" sprays which kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact, and those which interfere with the bed bug life cycle, that provide protection for several weeks. Recommended bed bug spray products are as follows:
Bed Bug Dust (also called Fossil Dust or Diatomaceous Earth): Bed Bug dust is spread in a very thin layer in cracks, crevices, along baseboards and behind cable and electrical outlets. Some dust products also contain an insecticide. Dust should be applied after spray products have dried. It is recommended that bed bug dust be applied with a powder applicator which can be purchased for approximately $10 from Amazon.com.
Mattress Covers - Approximately 85% of bed bugs will be in or around the bed. By sealing the mattress and box spring, bed bugs trapped inside will die since they will not be able to feed. A good low cost source for bed bug tested zippered covers is WalMart.
Healing Spray - A bed bug itch spray such as All Stop is made specifically for bedbug skin reactions and will help to reduce the primary symptom, skin itch. In most cases, bed bug bites will go away on their own in 2 to 5 days.
Bed Bug Information - Information on how to kill bed bugs. A step by step guide with pictures of what to look for (although everything you need is outlined on this website).
The key to getting rid of bed bugs is to clean all surfaces
and treat all cracks and surfaces where bed bug eggs could have
remained behind. Follows this suggested bed bug treatment
The Bed Bugs Handbook is continually researching the most effective products available for getting rid of bed bugs. Here are our recommendations.
|Products||Recommended Products||Lower Cost Alternative|
|Vacuum with Crevice Tool||Use any vacuum||Rags to collect bed bugs|
|Hand Steamer||Vapamore Steam Cleaner||Steamfast or any other hand steamer you currently own. A hair dryer on low air, high heat setting is an alternative as well.|
|Knock Down Mattress Safe Bedbug Spray||Insecticide
|Sprays are low cost. If you pick only one bed bug spray or product, buy Sterifab.|
|Residual Bed Bug Spray (kills bed bugs for several weeks)||Insecticide
Earth applied with a
Pest Pistol Mini Duster
|Bed Bug Dust||Diatomaceous
Pest Pistol Mini Duster
Pest Pistol Mini Duster
|Mattress and Box Spring Covers||Allerrzip or WalMart MicronOne||WalMart MicronOne|
|Bed bug proof storage bags or bins||Ziploc Big Bags or Plastic bins with snap on llids||Ziploc Big Bags or Plastic bins with snap on lids|
1. Vacuum all surfaces: The
vacuum is ahelpful tool for getting rid of bed bugs. Bed
bugs can be picked up by a vacuum. Use the crevice tool to vacuum (no
brush attachments), around the bed, bed frame and the perimeter of the
room, particularly along any baseboards. If you have carpet, steam
clean. Add a strong disinfectant to the cleaner such as PuraCleenRX.
If using a disinfectant test in out of the way area to avoid staining
the carpet. When done, seal vacuum bag in plastic and dispose outside
of the home.
Note that a vacuum will not pick up bed bug eggs. These need to be killed with sprays or steam heat. All of the insecticide based sprays mentioned in this page kill bed bug eggs.
2. Wash All Linens: Bed bugs will be killed by hot water followed by 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer. Fold blankets and other bed linens on the bed. Bag, ideally in a Ziploc Big Bag, or plastic bin with lid. Move to washing machine and wash and dry.
3. Treat and
move the Mattress to safe area: If you have a
hand steamer, steam along all cracks and crevices. The heat
will kill any bed bugs and bedbug eggs.
Use a mattress safe bedbug spray such as Sterifab. Spray lightly (follow manufacturers directions) along all possible hiding places, such as around buttons, tufts and any labels. When done, move the mattress to the safe area you designated outside of the room.
3. Treat the Box Spring: It is possible that more bed bugs are hiding in the box spring than the mattress. Use the mattress safe spray (if you only purchased one bed bug product) or preferably a residual spray such as Phantom. Treat all seams and tufts. Peel back and bottom cloth covering and treat inside the box spring. Replace or dispose of fabric.
Drawers from Nightstands and Inspect other Items such as Electronics:
Place all items from nearby
drawers on the box spring. Place all items in a plastic bin
with a snap on top or in a Ziploc
big bag. The only way to ensure that items are bed bug free
are to either visually inspect them, use a steamer or hair dryer to
heat them to the required temperature (hold hair dyer on low air, high
heat setting for 30 seconds) or buy a PackTite.
A PackTite is a portable vinyl case that is big enough to
hold a suitcase. Place items into the PackTite and heat.
Remaining Items in Room: Treat remaining furniture,
picture frames, cracks in the bed frame, headboards etc. with the
residual bed bug spray. Be sure to inspect behind headboards
and electrical plates. Do not spray liquids into electrical
outlets, instead use diatomaceous earth (fossil dust) around edges of
wall plate. Also check any cable outlets.
7. Spray and Seal Seams and Cracks - Bed bugs will look for a hiding space as close to the bed as possible. This includes the bed frame, cracks in the walls, behind electrical plates and along bed boards. Use the residual spray (Phantom or Bedlam) and spray into all bed frame joints. Spray along the baseboard.
8. Spread Bed Bug Dust - Bed bug eggs attach to surfaces like cement. This makes them very difficult to remove. They can be killed with a steamer and by spreading bed bug dust that will kill the bed bugs when they hatch.
Zippered Covers on Mattress and Box Spring: Zippered
covers will trap any bed bugs you might have missed. Bed bug
eggs in particular are small and sometimes difficult to locate.
The covers will trap any late hatching bed bugs as well.
Only use zippered bed bug mattress covers that are
specifically tested to trap bed bugs, as others may allow them to
escape. We suggest products offered by Allerzip
for a premium bed cover and MicronOne
for a lower cost option.
When ready, return the mattress to the room and your bed bug treatment is complete. To be sure, you can also place Bed Bug Climpup Interceptor traps under each bed leg. These traps are effective and when empty, will let you know that your plan for getting rid of bed bugs has worked. Leave the interceptors in place for 2 to 3 weeks to be sure.
Getting rid of bed bugs may take 2 to 3 treatments to remove
all bugs. Check adjoining rooms or if you live in an apartment,
rooms on each side, and apartments above and below yours to see if your
bed bug problem is caused by another tenant.
Companies are continually introducing new types of bed bug
traps and monitors to provide alternatives to chemcial insecticide
based approaches for getting rid of bed bugs.
A good source for latest bed bug traps is Bed Bug Supply. While we woulnd't walk away from the approaches for getting rid of bed bugs outlined above, the traps can be part of a total bed bug removal plan. Different kinds of bed bug traps include those offered by:
Do you have a question or great story about bed bugs? Share it!