The first thing to know about how to treat bed bugs is that it is a multi-step process. If you are thorough when
applying the different bed bug treatments available, then it
should take care of the problem. If the infestation is severe or if a
room has many cracks and hiding places, then a professional should be
How to treat bed bugs requires patience and possibly a repeat
steps outlined below for killing bedbugs in the home, apartment or
office. Treatment involves not only killing adult bugs, but also
killing hard to spot eggs. Both need to be treated in order for
treatment to be effective.
There are three general phases you will move
through to treat bed bugs. Bed bugs are difficult to
remove in the home. It is essential that all three are followed.
Inspect and find the bed
bugs and where they are hiding in a room.
Treat bed bugs in the room
by vacuuming, the use of two types of bed bug sprays (knock down spray
to kill on contact, second spray for lasting protection), bed bug dust
and as a precaution steam (use of steam is optional).
Prevent bed bugs from
returning by sealing cracks in
the wall and floor, and by applying bed bug dust.
Before treating, it may help to
prepare the room as indicated in the following bed bug videos.
Note that even professionals often need to apply 2 to 3 treatments
before an infestation is completely gone. Our advice is to use a
professional if you can afford it (or at least get a quote from a
reputable company like Home Advisor) particularly if bed bugs have gotten into the walls or are in multiple rooms.
Steps to Treat Bed Bugs
Buy a Bed Bug
Treatment Kit or Individual Products
Kits are the most economical way to get the information and
the products that you need. Good choices to explore are kits with all natural ingredients made by from All
Stop or Naturasil
Bed Bug Patrol or a kit with insecticide based products from Bed Bug Supply.
Kits contain the following essential products.
Bed Bug Sprays: Purchase a
non-toxic spray which
will kill the bed bugs and eggs on contact. Make sure the one you buy is non-toxic and mattress safe,
since you may be using
it on surfaces that come in contact with your body and pets.
If you would only like to purchase one spray, consider Sterifab,
which will kill both bed bugs and the bed bug eggs. The
product is also mattress safe. A second spray such as Phantom is
used to create an invisible area that will kill any bed bugs that cross
through the sprayed area.
Bed Bug Dust:Dust
is used to
kill bed bugs that you may have missed with the spray or that have
hatched from eggs that you have missed. It is a natural
product that will cling to late hatching bedbugs.
Steamer: A bed
bug steamer is
an effective way to
kill bed bug eggs. In fact many professional pest control experts use
heat to kill bed bugs and eggs. Steam can also enter cracks in floors
and under molding that is hard to reach with other products.
Mattress and Box Spring Covers:Zippered
will trap any bed bugs that remain after treatment inside the mattress
and box spring. This is particularly important for the box spring
as there area more places to hide. If a mattress is ripped it will need
to be covered in a zippered case or disposed of.
Treat bed bugs on
Carpet and Other Surfaces: A
strong disinfectant used in a carpet cleaner will kill eggs. You can
also use the disinfectant on a rag to kill the eggs when wiping
surfaces. Eggs are small white specks and can be easily missed. The
female bed bug has no preference as to where eggs are deposited, so
they can be in plain site and in cracks. A good disinfectant for
killing eggs is Xtreme Clean Disinfectant.
Bed bug Itch: Bed bug bites
cause an itch in many
people. Everyone reacts differently to the bites. While the itch should
naturally go away, there are products to soothe the skin and make the
itch tolerable. Good choices include All
Stop Healing and Protection Spray and the homeopathic all
natural itch reliever Itch
Interceptors can be a helpful
way to see how bad an infestation is or if it has gone away. An
interceptor is a small bowl which fits under each leg
of the bed. Bedbugs climbup the outside and fall into a well where they
are trapped. Keep the interceptors on the legs at least
2 weeks after treatment, since it takes up to 12 days for all eggs to
hatch. No bedbugs in the bowl means that the problem has probably
Vacuum all surfaces. Get into hard to reach cracks with the
tool that may have come with your vacuum. Do not use a brush attachment
since the bugs might get caught and then be released into the area
where you store the vacuum.
Be sure not to miss any areas. Use the crevice tool to not
vacuum at the edge of the walls, but around mattress and furniture
seams. Vacuum around windows, indentations, door handles, and anywhere
else the bugs could hide.
Bed bugs can live in the vacuum bag. Remove it from the
it in plastic and remove from the home. If you leave it out in a
garbage can in the heat of the day, that should kill any bed bugs
To treat bed bugs on clothes, bag all of your clothes in the
room and other items such as sneakers and toys. Note: do not move
anything from a problem room into a "clean" room unless it is bagged
and sealed/tie wrapped. Move clothes, blankets and bed covers to a
washing machine and wash on the hottest temperature available.
University of Kentucky research shows that bed bugs and bed bug eggs
will be killed by a normal hot cycle in a washing machine OR by 5
minutes of heat in a clothes dryer. If you have a full machine of
laundry, then heat for 30 minutes in a dryer (heat needs to be at least
175F or 79C). An ordinary clothes dryer will work fine.
If there are other items in the room such as sneakers and
they will withstand heat, put each one in the dryer for 5 minutes and
Bed bugs love corrugated surfaces such as cardboard. Remove
magazines and newspapers; which all make for good hiding places for the
Spray Around the Room
Spray any bugs that you might see. This will kill them on
Spray along mattress seams, into cracks in the floor, around door
handles and in the mattress frame. Inspect and spray liberally. Check
all areas such as picture frames and as a general rule, look very
closely approximately 20 feed from the bed. This is the maximum
distance bed bugs will hide from the host (you). Most bed bugs will be
around or on the bed. Sprays such as Phantom
have a residual quality which will continue to kill bed bugs after
If you decide to dispose of mattresses (which isn't necessary
put them in zippered
cases), then wrap in plastic before moving through
the house. Any time you remove from the infested room can spread the
bugs to other areas.
The following bedbug video provide step by step instructions for treating the
mattress, frame and box spring. When you treat bed bugs start
with the mattress. Be sure to look under the bed label, a
common hiding place. When treating the box spring, it is
necessary to peel back or remove the fabric that covers the bottom.
Find and Kill the Bed Bug Eggs
Bed bug eggs are small, 1mm in length and are white elongated
objects. They have a cement like substance which causes them to stick
to surfaces. The cement makes them hard to remove. Females seem to
prefer laying eggs on textured surfaces such as furniture or the
cardboard of a picture frame. When infestations return after treatment,
it is often because the method used to treat bed bugs missed some of
the hard to spot eggs.
Picture of Bed Bug Eggs (white specs) and Bed Bugs on
There are several approaches to dealing with eggs. We
you try both as an extra level of protection.
Disinfect: The first is to wipe
all surfaces that you can reach with a disinfectant such as the Extreme Clean Disinfectant.
Mixing disinfectant into a carpet cleaner and then cleaning the carpets
is also a good step to take. Be sure to test on an area to avoid
discoloring the carpet.
Steam: Eggs cannot withstand
extreme heat. A steamer will super heat the eggs and kill them.
Spread Bed Bug Dust
bug dust will not kill the eggs. However, after a bed
(baby bed bug) hatches, if they come in contact with the dust, it will
penetrate their shell and kill the bed bug. Spread dust into cracks,
around the bed, in cracks and any other place you suspect they are
After spraying the seams of the mattress and box spring,
dry. Purchase zippered covers (available as part of the kit) or buy one
such as the Allerzip
to trap any bed bugs you may have missed.
If you want to buy one locally, and can't find one that says it is for
bedbugs, a waterproof zippered hypoallergenic casing should
work. Covers to do not prevent bed bugs, they only trap and kill any
that you might have missed during treatment. They also keep future
infestations from getting into your mattress.
What If the Bed Bugs Treatment Doesn't Work?
There are several things you can do if treatments do not
Repeat the Process: Removing
insect from the
home is difficult. The steps described above may need to be repeated up
to 3 times to remove all bed bugs. There are also reports of bed bugs
that are resistant to common treatment options. If you see no progress,
the call a professional pest control firm. Be sure to check rooms that
are next to and above the infested area. Recheck everywhere, even
inside smoke detectors and behind electrical and switch plates on the
wall (be careful).
Call a Bed Bug Exterminator: Bed
bugs can be
professionally killed by most extermination firms. Preferably call one
that is known for bed bug removal. Check our guide to local bed bug pest control resources or
check an online contractor directory such as Angies
Professional Bed Bug exterminators use several approaches
Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs: Bed
give off a distinct odor that can be picked up by dogs. Since bed bugs
hide in cracks, the dogs can sniff them out.
Super Heating to Treat Bed Bugs: Bed
bugs and bed
bug eggs are killed above 114F (46C) when exposed to this heat for 7
minutes. Some pest control firms will seal a room and then use heaters
to bring the air temperature up to that level. Most companies will heat
rooms for 3 hours or more.
Freezing: Some companies like
use freezing to
kill bed bugs. This involves placing items from the room in containers
which use dry ice to reach the required temperature to kill bed bugs
and eggs (-25.6F or -32C).
However you choose to treat bed bugs, expect to repeat the
up to 5 times. This is true whether you do it yourself or if you call
in a professional.
Ask a Question or Share Your Bed Bug Experience With Others
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