How To Kill Bed Bugs
How to kill bed bugs involves cleaning the entire room where the
infestation occurs. The first step is to thoroughly vacuum all surfaces
and wash all linens in hot water followed by 30 minutes in a dryer. Use
a mattress safe spray to kill the bugs
by spraying in mattress crevices and cracks. Bed Bug dust can help
the cracks and provide lasting protection. While a professional
exterminator is always preferred, these tips will help you do it
yourself using a step by step approach. "
There are many ways to effectively kill bed bugs including
several organic and non-toxic methods. There are also chemical
approaches to rid your home of these pests.
While step by step instructions for how to kill bed bugs
yourself are provided below, we always recommend that you start with a
professional on-site inspection from a company with expertise fighting
bed bugs. This is a great way to confirm that you have have
bed bug problem and the extent of a problem. We suggest
finding a professional by doing the following:
1. Call or visit Service
Magic.com : This is a nationwide group of local pest control
experts that will provide up to 4 free quotes. T he Service Magic toll free phone
2. Search our Bed Bug Expert Directory: You can search our
Bed Bug Exterminator list .
If you are not sure that you have bed bugs, you can have a bug
evaluated by downloading this form and sending it to a firm that evaluates insects for a small fee ( PDF download ).
How to Kill Bed Bugs - Bed Bug Products
In general, the best way to get rid of an infestation if you
are going to treat the problem yourself is to:
- Wash all linen in hot water
- Vacuum thoroughly and use crevice tool around edges of
room, mattress and box spring
- Steam all seams and cracks
- Treat all surfaces where bed bugs can hide using
- Spread a thin layer bed bug dust in cracks and
- Seal cracks and crevices
- Trap any hiding bed bugs with mattress and box spring covers
Based on recommendations from bed bug experts, we recommend
the following bed bug products. Instructions for how to use these
products are below the list. Sprays should be able to kill both bed
bugs and bed bug eggs.
Recommended Bed Bug Products
Selected Based on Effectiveness and Cost
Always follow the manufacturers directions for how to kill bed
bugs. For sprays, wear gloves and some type of eye protection. For bed
bug dust, use a duster and apply a thin layer. Wear a face mask to
avoid breathing in the dust.
How to Kill Bed Bugs - Where to Find Them
Bed Bugs tend to hide in dark places such as in cracks or
under furniture or light fixtures. Before you can kill them you have to
know where to look. Anything you can remove and tie in a plastic bag
will keep the item clean as you eliminate hiding places. Common hiding
- Floors: look for cracks in
flooring, underneath your carpets, under molding or baseboards.
- On Walls: If you have
plaster, look in any cracks in the wall. Check for wallpaper that is
not firmly glued to the wall. Check around anything attached to the
wall such as shelves, mirrors and pictures. Remove all of these if you
can to clean behind them.
Outlets: Check behind
electrical outlets that are not firmly mounted. Check behind any wiring
that is on the floor or that runs along walls.
Bed Bugs on Back of
- Mattress and Frame: check
along the cracks and seams of the mattress. Separate the mattress and
box spring and be sure to turn over each. Remove any blankets etc for
washing in hot water. Check the crack between the head board and the
- Furniture: Check under and
around the bottom of any furniture. Check behind the furniture as well.
Check inside drawers and if you can pull out each drawer and then
remove from the room.
Bed Bugs on Upholstery
Clothes: Wash and bag clothes
in the room to be sure the bugs aren't hiding. Particularly check
laundry bags and any items that are on the floor. Wash clothes in water
that is at minimum 120 degrees. As an alternative place clothes and
other items in the dryer for 20 minutes with the setting at medium.
Books/Magazines: Check the
pages of any printed materials. Bed bugs can hide between pages.
Electronics: If there are
cracks in your phone or radio, look inside to make sure that bugs
haven't entered. Same for computers that have the fan grates in the
back. The only way to kill bed bugs in electronics is to hire
a professional that uses a dry ice spray or use heat from a hair dryer
or a portable heat chamber such as PackTite.
Bed Bug Hiding Places in
Bed Bug Hiding Places in
How To Kill Bed Bugs - Vacuuming
Vacuuming in cracks and crevices can be good way to either
remove the bed bugs all together or to at least remove most of them
prior to using insecticides, sprays and dusts. Be sure to use the
nozzle tools and scrape the surfaces since the bed bug eggs tend to
cling to surfaces. Avoid tools with brush attachments to
avoid having bed bugs getting caught in the bristles and then carried
to other locations in the home.
After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag by placing it in a
sealed plastic bag and disposing the bag outside of the house.
How to Kill Bed Bugs - Wash All Linen and Blankets
How to kill bed bugs on clothes is as simple as washing them.
Washing clothes, blankets and other machine washables will
help to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. Wash everything you
can in hot water followed by 20 minutes in the dryer. When
carrying clothes, to avoid dropping bed bugs on the way to the washing
machine, carry in a plastic bin or Ziploc
Double Zipper Big Bags. These Ziploc bags are also
a great way to protect items from bed bugs.
How to Kill Bed Bugs in a Mattress and Box Spring
First vacuum the mattress and box spring thoroughly. To kill
the maximum number of bed bugs and bed bug eggs, if you own a
go over each seam/button as heat from the steam will kill bed
bugs. If you don't have steamer or
vacuum, hold a hair dryer on low air/high heat
setting for 30 seconds over each part of the mattress.
When treating a mattress and box spring, a bedbug spray is a highly
recommended way for how to kill bed bugs (use gloves and some type of
eye protection for safety). If
prefer organic products, use a
spray designed for
use on surfaces that go near the skin such as the Bed
Patrol. This is a knock down bed bug product that kills on
contact. It should be used in conjunction with products that
provide lasting protection.
In terms of safe insecticide based products, Sterifab
is frequently recommended by bed bug experts for how to kill bed bugs.
In fact if you
can only afford one product for how to kill bed bugs, buy Sterifab.
Sterifab is a what is known as a contact or knock down killer (60%
isopropyl alcohol plus a synthetic pyrethroid). This means that it
kills close to 100% of bed bugs on contact. However, if you
miss any bed bug hiding places, which is easy, it doesn't have an
effect. The use of Sterifab will "knock down" the size of
the bed bug population. Any bed bugs missed can be killed by
a spray that creates an invisible barrier that has a longer term or
residual effect. Any late hatching bed bugs are killed when
passing through dried spray. Popular choices for a residual sprays
How to Kill Bed Bugs -
Treat Mattress Seams with
Light Coat of Bed Bug Spray
Lightly spray cracks and seams around the mattress. A common
hiding place for bed bugs is under any mattress labels. You
can also use Sterifab
as a convenient method for how to kill bed bugs in any crack and
crevice in the room, such as
along a baseboard.
Peel back the
fabric on the bottom and also treat the inside of the box spring.
If you have some, place some bed
bug dust (fossil dust) inside the box spring.
Note, only do this if the mattress and box spring are in good
condition and do not have holes. If the mattress is old and torn, or
purchased used, you are better off throwing it out. When
disposing of the mattress wrap it in plastic wrap to avoid dropping bed
bugs and mark it as having bed bugs so that someone else doesn't pick
it up. Many town sanitation departments have a free mattress
pick up service.
Once treated, move the mattress out of the room to a "safe" area such
as a hallway so
that you can access the box spring.
After treatment (after spray dries), seal the mattress
and box spring in a zippered cover. This is the easiest way
for how to kill bed bugs or late hatching nymphs (baby bed bugs) that
you might have missed. Low cost options for
covers are available from WalMart
They are also sold by Amazon.com.
How to Kill Bed Bugs in the Bed Frame and Furniture
Empty drawers on treated box spring (assuming you carried the mattress
of the room after treatment). Place content of drawers into
plastic bins with snap tight lids. Inspect all items for bed bugs. Wash
what you can in the washing machine. Dispose of any items that
are of no value to limit the number of bed bug hiding places.
Bed bugs can live for about a year without feeding, so if you
store items in bins, leave them there if you can.
Inspect all furniture, bottoms and side of drawers, picture
frames, and the bed frame for bed bugs. Treat all cracks with a bed bug
spray. For this purpose
a good option is Phantom
When treating furniture test out of the way areas to see if
sprays will stain. Steam can also be used, but test this as
How to Kill Bed Bugs in Wall Cracks, Wall Paper, and
along Floor Baseboard Molding
Use the spray products such as Phantom to spray along the
edges of the wall, and in any cracks. Phantom
takes up to 7 days to work since it interrupts the bedbug life cycle.
After spraying, place bed
bug dust (also called diatomaceous earth or fossil
dust) in a thin layer in all cracks and crevices.
Seal what you can to minimize number of hiding places.
Seal Cracks to Eliminate
Bed Bug Hiding Places
Treat Cracks First with Bed Bug Spray
How to Kill Bed Bugs in Carpets
First vacuum any carpets. Use a crevice tool to
vacuum around the edges of the carpet. Steam clean any carpets. For
added protection, add a strong disinfectant to the carpet cleaner such
Be sure to test to ensure that disinfectant doesn't discolor
How to Kill Bed Bugs - Types of Products
There are several types of products that are used when
figuring out how to kill bed bugs:
Synthetic Pyrethroid: This is an
effective choice for a knock down product that kills on contact, but
a lasting effect. Sterifab
is a popular choice as it kills bedbugs, bed bug eggs and is mattress
This chemical is quickly becoming the product of choice when selecting
a product that provides a residual effect against bed bugs.
It works by entering the cells of bed bugs and causing
paralyzes. It provides weeks of protection and is not detected by
bedbugs. Is is the main ingredient in the spray Phantom.
Chemicals: Some spray products use proprietary or multiple
chemicals. One of the most popular sprays, Bedlam,
uses this approach (contains SUMITHRIN® and MGK®-264). It is
an excellent choice as a residual spray as an alternative to Phantom.
Permetherins: This is the
leading insecticide ingredient. While it is considered safe, it is an
insecticide that has shown to cause problems in laboratory animals. See
this study by Cornell
University researchers. Permetherins (pyrethrum) is the
active ingredient in products such as Pronto, Ambush, BW-21-Z,
Cellutec, Ectiban, Eksmin, Exmin, FMC-33297, Indothrin, Kafil, Kestril,
NRDC 143, Pounce, PP 557, Pramiex, Qamlin and Torpedo
Benzalkonium Chloride: A safe
alternative to permetherins, particularly for areas that you sleep in
or near. Found in products such as Benzarid.
Plant Extracts: Certain organic
plant extracts are a safe way to kill bugs within seconds of contact.
Found in bed bug products such as Bug
Fossil Dust: Dust products can
be sprinkled in areas where the bugs tend to hide. It can also be
sprinkled into cracks. This product can be purchased at low
cost from Dermisil.
Steam: Steam heat applied
directly to the bugs will kill them. One the low cost end, a
good choice is Steamfast,
although a proffesional grade steamer
is always better.
How to Kill Bed Bugs with an Exterminator
A pest control expert may with experience killing bed bugs
will discuss with you one or more approaches to treating the problem.
They often have access to equipment such as:
Bed bugs are killed at 113º F. One effective and chemical free approach
to killing bed bugs is to super heat a room, or building to kill bed
bugs in all objects.
Dry Ice Spray: Bed bugs are killed at freezing
temperatures. A system using frozen carbon dioxide or dry
ice, is sprayed into cracks and crevices to kill bed bugs on contact.
The technology has an added advantage of being able to be
sprayed into electrical appliances and wall outlets, killing bed bugs
hiding in these areas.
Bed Bug Dogs:
Bed bugs give off a scent that dogs can be trained to detect.
This is a highly accurate way to find bed bug hiding places
in a home. The only downside is the cost of home inspections
that use a dog. If you suspect a problem, but aren't sure, a
firm that uses a bed bug sniffing dog can be an effective way to find
Used a last resort, a building can be fumigated with chemical
pesticides to remove bed bugs. This approach is effective,
In addition to these approaches, bed bug exterminators use
many of the chemical and non-chemical approaches found on this page.
After You Have Treated Your Home for Bed Bugs
As you clean items, place them in sealed plastic bags for
protection such as the bed bug proof Ziploc
Big Bags. After you vacuum remove the vacuum bag, seal in a
bag and remove it from the house. As an extra precaution you can freeze
objects used to kill bed bus such as the vacuum bag for several days to
make sure the bugs are dead before
you bring them outside. The sprays mentioned will kill bed bugs fast.
Just make sure that you have found them all.
Ask a Question or Share Your Bed Bug Experience With Others
Do you have a question or great story about bed bugs? Share it!
What Other Visitors Have Said About Bed Bugs
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...