Bed Bug How To Get Rid Of Them Yourself
Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control
Can you get rid of bed bugs on your own?
Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including:
- How many bed bugs you have;
- How much clutter is available for hiding places;
- Whether your neighbors have bedbugs; and
- Whether all residents of a house or building will participate.
Getting rid of bed bugs completely can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation. To be successful, everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.
The following steps will help you begin:
You may have to follow these steps more than once to kill all the bugs and their eggs.
Identify the Problem
- Identify the pest:
- Collect a sample of the pest to show an extension agentExitor other insect expert.
- Extension agents can identify the pest at no cost to you. They are trained in pest control and know your local area.
Develop a Strategy
- Make a schedule for completing the steps below. Be sure to include any personal plans, such as vacations.
- Keep records through the whole process. Note the dates and exact locations where pests are found. This will help you track progress and better know where to target your work.
- Keep checking for at least a year after you’re done to make sure all the bed bugs are gone.
Keep the Infestation from Spreading
- Remove infested items. Place them in a sealed plastic bag and treat them. Learn more about treatment methods in the sections below.
- Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left there for up to a year to ensure any active bugs are dead.
- Empty the vacuum after each use. Seal the bag as tightly as possible and immediately throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
- Discard furniture responsibly if you can’t safely eliminate the bed bugs. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
- Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
- Use spray paint to mark furniture with "Bed Bugs."
Prepare for Treatment
Preparing for treatment is very important; it will make it easier to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been eliminated. This preparation should be completed whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.
Kill the Bed Bugs
- Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What’s Legal, What’s Not.
- Considernon-chemical methodsof killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others depending on your situation. These and other methods can be helpful, but they might not get rid of the infestation entirely:
- Heat treatment:You can use a clothes dryer on high heat. You can also use black plastic bags in a hot, closed car in the sun, but success depends on your climate and other factors. Do-it-yourself heat treatments might not work. Professionals have access to more intensive and proven methods that can even treat whole houses with heat. You may also purchase a portable heat chamber, which is usually quite effective.
- Cold treatmentcan be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0 o F. You must leave the items in a sealed bag in the freezer at that temperature for four days. Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0 o .
- Steam cleaners(wet or dry) can get into cracks and fabrics to treat carpets, baseboards, bed frames, and other furniture. The steam temperature must be at least 130 o F but should not have a forceful airflow, or it may cause bed bugs to scatter. Use a diffuser to prevent scattering.
Evaluate and Prevent
- Continue to inspect for bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remain. You can use interceptors, traps or other monitoring methods. Interceptors are placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs. Commercial and do-it-yourself interceptors are options.
- Continue to protect your home from bed bugs.
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In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
When Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.
Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.
People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.
If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."
The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
A 4-Step DIY Bed Bug Treatment Guide
What Does a Bed Bug Treatment Program Include?
Learn the Best Way to Kill Bed Bugs on Your Own
Have you discovered bed bugs in your home or have bites from bed bugs? A treatment by a professional pest control company or exterminator may not be in your budget or work with your schedule.
Luckily, it is possible to treat a bed bug infestation yourself without spending a fortune. You must be diligent and committed to the treatment process, but you can eliminate bed bugs yourself! Read our guide below for the 4-step DIY bed bug treatment process.
Not sure if you have bed bugs or where to find them? Read our guide on what bed bugs look like and our guide to finding where bed bugs hide in the home before you begin to treat.
Preparing a Room for Bed Bug Treatment
Before you begin your own bed bug treatment, you will need to prepare the room or rooms where bed bugs have been found, in addition to rooms that share walls with the infested rooms. Remove any items in the room that you absolutely cannot treat or that have already been treated. Cover items that will be removed from the room in plastic bags before moving to the next room to prevent any unseen bed bug from infesting another room.
Remove any paintings or art from the walls. Be sure to thoroughly check any item that is removed from the room to prevent bed bugs from being transferred from room to room.
If you have a mattress that is heavily infested, we recommend covering it with a bed bug proof mattress cover or bed bug mattress encasement before moving. You will also need to cover your box spring with a box spring encasement.
If your mattress needs to be disposed of and replaced, be sure to cover the mattress with plastic before disposing to protect sanitation workers. Labeling a mattress or covering with "Bed Bugs" is also helpful.
Infested sheets, linens, and garments should be washed and then dried in a household dryer on high heat (over 120 degrees F), as the heat will kill bed bugs. Any garments that cannot be washed may need to be dry-cleaned or discarded as insecticides cannot be used on these materials.
If stuffed animals, books, or soft toys are infested, place those items in an air-tight bin along with vapor strips to kill the bed bugs.
Products needed for Step 1
Treat the Cracks, Crevices, Tufts, and Folds of Your Home for Bed Bugs
Products needed for Step 2
Treat Your Mattress for Bed Bugs
To get rid of bed bugs in a mattress, use an aerosol spray labeled for bed bug treatment, such as Bedlam Aerosol Spray, and spray or mist the insecticide onto the mattress. Focus on the seams, tufts, and folds of the mattress and spray until the mattress is damp. Allow mattress to dry before remaking the bed with freshly laundered sheets that have been run through a dryer on high heat.
After treating a mattress or box spring for bed bugs, we recommend encasing each in a bed bug proof cover. This will prevent re-infestation and will make future inspections and treatments easier. Be sure any product that has been sprayed or applied to your mattress is dry before you cover the mattress with a bed bug proof cover. You can make the bed with your freshly laundered linens over a bed bug proof mattress cover.
After encasing, you will not need to re-treat your mattress or box spring further. If you are not encasing your mattress or box spring, you will need to reapply the aerosol spray every 7-10 days until you do not see any further bed bug activity.
You can follow the initial aerosol spray treatment with an insecticide dust. Dusts are great for hard to reach areas like the corners of mattresses and where mattresses and box springs meet. Dusts also last for several months.
Don’t forget to dust your box spring as well. Remove the dust cover from the bottom of the box spring and dust in corners and crevices.
Again, we highly recommend encasing your mattress and box spring to avoid having to re-treat.
As mentioned above, high heat kills bed bugs. A bed bug or bed bug egg must have direct contact with hot steam to be killed. We recommend using a bed bug steamer to steam your mattress, box spring, and other furniture.
Steaming is a great option in rooms and areas where the use of pesticides must be limited due to health or other concerns. When using the steamer, take your time and slowly move the steamer across the item you are treating for the best possible treatment. We still strongly recommend you follow-up with an insecticide labeled for bed bugs in areas where it is permissible to do so. All steaming should be done prior to covering a mattress or box spring with a protective cover and applying insecticides.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Yourself
If you’ve arrived here, you probably know—or suspect—you have a bed bug problem. You are in the right place. We offer one of the most effective and detailed guides on how to get rid of bed bugs yourself.
The truth is that bed bugs are not caused by poor sanitation, and they have nothing whatsoever to do with social or economic status. Anyone who is in the wrong place at the wrong time is susceptible to an infestation. They can thrive in the finest hotels, well run hospitals, and million-dollar homes.
It has truly become an epidemic.
The question is no longer “if” you or someone you know has been infested by bed bugs. The question is “when?”
We know firsthand the devastation they can have on your physical and emotional well-being. You can read all about the founder of this website’s struggle with bed bugs here .
The step-by-step methods described below have been tested and proven time and time again. To ensure they work you will need to take action, following the instructions precisely. If you have the will, this guide will provide you with a proven course of action to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.
You stand at a turning point.
Important Bed Bug Information and History
“Why do I need to know about the history of bed bugs?” you ask.
We’d love nothing more to give you the first step of the treatment process right now. However, you’ll need some basic information to form a foundation of knowledge for the steps that lie ahead. You need to develop a specific mindset in order to get rid of bed bugs yourself. It is important to understand what you are up against and what it is going to take to win.
Bed bugs are not some recent phenomenon hyped up by the media. They have been around for thousands of years. In fact, there is evidence that the Romans and ancient Egyptians were plagued by them. Infestations are not new to North America, either. Evidence suggests they hitched rides with colonists in the 17th century on their voyages across the Atlantic Ocean.
Bed bugs thrived in America until the 1950’s when they were nearly eradicated by the use of extremely toxic pesticides. However, those chemicals posed serious threats to human health, and new regulations eventually prevented their use.
Years after these toxic chemicals were restricted, bed bugs returned with a vengeance and are thriving in the modern world.
Factors Contributing to theCimex LectulariusResurgence:
- Cimex Lecturlarius (scientific name) continually develop resistant to most modern pesticides and insecticides. They are skillful hitchhikers who hide in luggage and clothing, giving them free access to every part of the globe in this age of worldwide travel.
- Bed bugs reproduce quickly and can build large populations that go undetected for critical lengths of time.
- Most people lack awareness, as they know little or nothing about these pests.
- Until the last 5 years or so, most people—including professional pest control operators—had very little experience in dealing with bed bugs.
- We have yet to take the problem seriously enough as a global society.
Will Society Eventually Win This Battle?
Bed bugs have finally become enough of a problem in the world that they are beginning to gain everyone’s attention. It is becoming apparent that a viable large-scale solution is necessary. Various levels of government, scientists, pest control companies, and industries are starting to come together to find answers.
Still, most people lack the knowledge and resources to get rid of bed bugs themselves. To make matters worse, the travel and hotel industries appear to place a disproportionate emphasis on response strategies rather than preventative ones. This worries us.
We believe the war on bed bugs will shift to our favor only when the worldwide focus shifts to a better strategies. Until this changes, it is our opinion that the situation around the world will continue to get worse before it gets better.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous to Your Health?
Bed bugs are not dangerous as far as transmission of diseases. The only physical danger is due to secondary infection from improper care of bites. Resist the urge to scratch bites and treat them as you would a mosquito bite.
Bed bugs are most dangerous to your psychological and emotional health. After they move into your home, your nights are sleepless ones, permeated with anxiety and paranoia. Night after night, the stress compounds, with a cumulative effect similar to—and as severe as— post-traumatic stress disorder. If you allow them to, these effects can linger long after the bed bugs are gone.
Don’t Be Ashamed About Having Bugs
Keep Your Head Up. We can’t stress enough that everyone on this planet is prone to a bed bug infestation. Social status and cleanliness play no roles whatsoever. So stay positive and tackle this problem head on. There is no reason to be ashamed that bed bugs chose your home. They’re not particular. They’ll go anywhere, whether they’re welcome or not.
Don’t Let These Critters Control Your Life
- Keep things in perspective. Dealing with a bed bug infestation can be an overwhelming process. Remind yourself frequently that this is only a temporary problem, a phase in your life.
- Be diligent in your removal efforts and follow the steps in this book carefully. If you can see your progress your outlook on the situation is bound to improve.
- Do not isolate yourself or your family. This is dangerous to your emotional health.
- Utilize your support network. Talking about the problem with people you trust will help you to deal with the anxiety and stress.
- It is usually best to be honest with friends and family. This will allow them to protect themselves from the danger of bed bugs spreading to their homes, too.
- Try to get out and enjoy life. It’s important to find activities that will give your mind time to relax.
- Never be afraid to ask for help.
Learning how to get rid of bed bugs is an important step. However, dealing with the psychological and emotional issues can be just as important. We fully understand the stress and hardship you are going though. We promise you can and will enjoy life again soon.
It’s important to remind yourself that this bed bug infestation is only temporary. You will get through it.
Can I Really Get Rid of Bed Bugs Myself?
A part of you is undoubtedly still wondering if you can really get rid of bed bugs yourself. Here is the best way we can describe your chances for success. There are two quotes about “half measures” that we have grown fond here at BreakingBedBugs.com. The first of those quotes is from the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book:
“Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point.”
In truly critical situations, half measures usually give us zero results, and this is especially so when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs. One hundred percent commitment will be required.
The second quote is from a popular television show, Breaking Bad. The fictional character Mike Ehrmantraut, head of corporate security at Los Pollos Hermanos, is speaking to Walter White about his past mistakes:
“I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.”
(Jonathan Banks and Bryan Cranston are the actors who portrayed the two characters in that series.)
Why are we talking about quotes and movies instead of how to kill bed bugs? That’s because we believe it is extremely important that you understand—and adopt—the mindset required for accomplishing the task that lies before you.
So long as you are committed to using the full measures as described in this guide, you are fully capable of getting rid of bed bugs yourself.
Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Ehrmantraut
Identifying a Bed Bug Infestation
About a third of people who are bitten by bed bugs show no physical symptoms. Likewise, there are a number of physical reactions to other insects, bacteria, and allergens that could be mistaken for bed bug bites. Therefore,neveruse the presence of bite marks—or the lack of them— to verify whether or not you have an infestation.
The most accurate way to verify an infestation is by identifying physical signs of the bugs themselves.
What Do They Look Like?
Generally, bed bugs look like a reddish-brown apple seed. They have a long oval-shaped body. You’ll be able to identify more features with a magnifying glass then the naked eye.
- Adult bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects, complete with six legs and antennae.
- Before feeding, they measure roughly 5-6mm (about 1/4 inch) long. They appear flat in shape and reddish-brown in color.
- After a meal, they expand to 7-10mm (about 3/8 inch) long and turn bright red in color.
- Nymphs range in size from 1mm to 4mm (barely visible to about 1/8 inch).
- Prior to feeding they are a whitish/transparent color.
- After feeding, nymphs turn a bright red blood color.
How to Properly Identify the Presence of Bed Bugs
If you have an infestation, you will likely discover excrement, blood spots, and eggs. Bed bug feces will look like a tiny dark spot about the size of the period in this sentence. You may also observe small blood stains from crushed bed bugs on your bedding or mattress. Eggs on the other hand will appear white or transparent in color about the same size as the excrement. (2-3 mm in length)
While these signs will help in the verification process, none of them are one hundred percent reliable in identifying a bed bug infestation. Each of these items could be something else entirely, and this evidence taken alone may lead you to falsely believe that you have a bed bug presence.
In order to have complete certainty,verify a bed bug infestation by identifying a live bed bug or skin castings. Cimex lectularius cast their skins as they grow. These castings vary a great deal in size, but you can learn to recognize them. They look like a paper version of a live bed bug.
Additional Identification Tips
It is important to observe as many photos as possible to familiarize yourself with the appearance of bed bugs. Use the resources in this guide along with additional online photo searches.
You can also utilize other online resources such as:
It is best to place the bug on a white surface to make identification of its features easier. A photo from the top, bottom, and side, taken with adequate lighting, is also helpful if you are posting to Reddit for confirmation.
Tools such as an ultraviolet light source and magnifying glass will make identification easier.
Things Commonly Mistaken for Bed Bugs
Making bed bug verification even trickier is the fact that so many other bugs are similar in appearance, as are tiny pieces of debris that almost everyone has in their home. Below is a list of things commonly misidentified as bed bugs or their eggs:
- Bat bugs
- Spider beetles
- Tick bugs
- Larder beetle larva
- Juvenile German cockroaches
- Dried skin
- Pebbles, seeds, and other tiny pieces of debris
The Bed Bug Inspection Process
One of the most common reasons for failing to get rid of bed bugs yourself is neglecting to complete a full bed bug inspection. It’s crucial to find all their hiding places. The purpose of the inspection is to gather critical information about the locations and severity of the infestation. This information will be very helpful with subsequent treatment measures.
Bed bugs have a very flat body shape which allows them to hide in virtually any crack or crevice. They prefer dark, isolated, and protected areas, and they like wood, paper, and fabric surfaces, so pay special attention to these areas and these materials.
Where Do They Like to Hide?
TheUniversity of Kentuckyconducted a study to determine where you are most likely to find bed bugs during a home inspection. Based on a study of 13 infested apartments, these are the locations where bed bugs were found:
- 34.6% – box spring
- 22.6% – furniture such as couches and upholstered chairs
- 22.4% – mattress
- 13.4% – bed frame and headboard
- 3.1% – baseboard areas
- 2.3% – walls and ceilings
- 1.4% – other
- .2% – nightstands and dressers
Image courtesy of louento.pix (CC BY-ND 2.0)
How to Inspect Your Home
Carefully inspect the following areas with a magnifying glass and ultraviolet light source. Keep records that indicate all locations of bed bug activity. Most guides about how to get rid of bed bugs will tell you to inspect adjoining rooms next to, above, or below the areas of a detected infestation. Our advice is to inspect yourentiredwelling. It just isn’t worth using a half measure here. If all pockets are detected, treatment will be quicker.
Mattress and Bed Inspection
- Corner protectors
Inspect Components Adjacent to the Mattress
- Hollow plastic caster legs
- Bed spring coils
- Interiors of hollow bed posts
- Bed frame
- If the bed has wooden slats, check each slat carefully, as wooden slats contain many cracks for bed bugs to hide in and lay their eggs.
- When wooden slats are bolted to the bed frame, the bolts should be undone and the drilled holes inspected and treated.
- If your bed is an ensemble bed, check the base carefully as it is more likely to harbor the bugs.
- Be sure to check the edge of the material underneath the ensemble base.
Areas Around the Bed
- Bedside furniture such as tables, dressers, or other furniture should be turned over and examined.
- Drawers in bedside furniture should be removed and examined.
- If headboards are attached to the wall, they should be removed to allow access for inspection and treatment.
- Once you have thoroughly inspected the bed, move on to inspect the rest of the bedroom. Check other items and furniture throughout the room and paying close attention to seams, buttons, and wooden areas.
Areas Often Overlooked During Bed Bug Inspections
- Locations where luggage is kept
- Appliances such as telephones, alarm clocks, radios, etc.
- Clothes and laundry (both clean and dirty)
- Behind switch plates and electrical outlets
- Smoke detectors
- Light fittings
- Underneath carpet edges
- Underneath door transitions
- Underneath rugs
- Skirting boards, joins in floor boards
- Loose wall paper and paint
- Old nail and screw holes in walls and ceilings
- Cracks in walls and ceiling
- Any other wall voids
- Window casings
- Picture frames, mirrors, and any other wall hangings
High-Risk Factors Affecting Pest Control Methods
Certain risk factors at the site of an infestation can make it more difficult to get rid of bed bugs successfully. These risk factors include:
- Clutter : Bed bug control in cluttered rooms is nearly impossible. If you have a lot of clutter, we will guide you through where to put it in a future chapter.
- Cooperation: It will be your job to ensure that other members of the home understand that successful bed bug treatment will require their cooperation. This also includes cooperation from a landlord if you are a renter as well as cooperation from neighbors if you live in a multiple occupancy dwelling.
- Construction and Room Integrity: Excessive gaps, cracks, and crevices in and around walls, ceilings, floors, trim, and molding can all make bed bug extermination more difficult.
- Multi-Unit Dwellings: Treating apartments, duplexes, and condominiums is often more challenging due the higher likelihood of a re-infestation.
- Heavy Infestations: Heavy infestations will naturally require more treatment and time.
- Improper Control Attempts: If you have already attempted to get rid of your bed bug infestation by using improper control techniques, there is a good chance that you made things worse by spreading the infestation deeper into your home. Some exterminators will not even take the job if there is evidence that you used improper treatments.
- Not following steps in the proper order: For example, you can make things much worse by trying to get rid of bed bugs with your vacuum cleaner before setting up proper room containment.
Bed Bug Treatment Preparation
We strongly encourage you to gather all of the bed bug treatment supplies you will need before you begin any steps. It’s best to have everything on hand so you can quickly and seamlessly move from one phase to the next.
Remember, bed bug treatment will take some patience and may require you to repeat certain steps. No single product or method exists that will kill bed bugs and eggs with one swift action. Only an integrated approach with multiple pest control methods can be successful.
Below is a list of the important items you will need before you begin. We’ll explain where and how to use them in subsequent sections. We encourage you to read through the entire guide before you start any steps so that you can get a complete picture of what needs to be done.
We’ll be referring to all the pest control treatment items listed below throughout this guide. They will all be discussed again in more detail in the Bed Bug Supply Guide. In that guide, you’ll learn important details about each of the supplies along with where you can get everything quickly and inexpensively.
You’ll likely have some of these items in your home already. Others will be readily available at local stores. A few of them may need to be ordered. The Supply Guide will help you figure all of that out.
There are frugal alternatives to some of these pest control supplies if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford to buy them. We believe that a lack of resources should never stop you from getting rid of bed bugs successfully.
- Thick garbage bags (contractor bags)
- Re-sealable plastic storage bags, such as Ziploc® bags, in the gallon and 2.5-gallon sizes.
- Vacuum cleaner with hose
- A mattress encasement for every box spring and mattress in the affected area
- Pillow encasements
- 100% amorphous silica gel desiccant dust (CimeXa)
- Pest control duster
- White sheets, white pillow cases, and white cotton blankets. (Easier to monitor progress and bed bug activity on white bedding)
- Paint brush with fine bristles
Optional Treatment Supplies
- Bed bug climb up interceptors
- Mineral oil
- Steam cleaner
- Dissolvable laundry bags
The next step of the process will be to begin treating your bed(s). We’ll instruct you how to do that, and doing so will provide you with some much needed relief. However, before we begin making the bed bugs unhappy,we need to first lay down the most important step – the proper control and containment of bed bugs.
Bed bugs are very small and easily capable of moving from one room to another though tiny cracks and crevices. It’s crucial to eliminate the pathways they could use to enter and exit a room. If you live in a dwelling that attaches to other units, such as an apartment or townhouse, it is extremely important that you control their movement to and from the other units. These adjoining dwellings put you at a higher risk.
- CimeXa (silica gel desiccant dust). Diatomaceous earth was used for many years but is significantly outperformed by 100% amorphous silica gel desiccant dust. It does all of the things that diatomaceous earth does, only better and more quickly. It is equally safe and inexpensive.
- Pest control duster. You may need to order this online. They are difficult to find locally. However, this is a critical component. No half measures here.
Insecticide Dust (CimeXa)
100% amorphous silica gel desiccant dust is theMVP of our bed bug treatment plan. You may also see it referred to as “ASG insecticide dust,” or by the brand name “CimeXa”.
ASG insecticide dust is synthetically produced from sand using a simple manufacturing process. Despite the phrase “silica gel” in its name, the material is a hard substance formed into dust. The word “amorphous” refers to its being non-crystalline. This is the quality that makes it safer than diatomaceous earth for humans and pets. Synthetic forms of amorphous silica gel are commonly used as drying and anti-clumping agents in powdered foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.
A Superior Pest Control Tool
CimeXaworks betterthan diatomaceous earth for getting rid of bed bugs because it has a static cling effect that helps it to adhere to a bug’s body more effectively than diatomaceous earth does. You will want to apply the dust in very thin layers so that bed bugs are not deterred from coming into contact with it. If the dust is applied too thickly, they will simply avoid it. Once it attaches to their bodies, it quickly absorbs their protective coating and kills them within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
This product is the reason we can confidently teach you how to get rid of bed bugs yourself. In addition to its effectiveness, it is also a safer and more practical option than diatomaceous earth. For instance, it can be safely applied to open areas, while diatomaceous earth is approved only for crack and crevice treatment. It does not pose as great of an inhalation danger or risk of damage to your lungs as does diatomaceous earth. However, you’ll still need to take precautions when applying. More on that later.
Controlling Bed Bugs with Containment
Your first goal is to create a barrier around each room infested with bed bugs. You will use ASG insecticide dust to create this containment.
- Apply the dust around the borders of the room where the carpet edge or floor meets the wall. Usually you will want only a super thin dusting. However, since the main purpose of this step is to control bed bug movement with a containment barrier, you can go a bit heavier here to ensure all areas have adequate coverage. Containment is achieved by “building a wall” around the borders of the room so bed bugs have no way to crawl in or out without coming into contact with the insecticide dust.
- Use a small painter’s brush toapply a thin layer of insecticide dustaround doors and to other areas that are not practical to treat with the duster. This dust has a static cling so it will attach to some vertical surfaces. You want to try to prevent bed bugs from using the center of the walls or ceiling to move from one room to another through the middle or top of doorways.
- Apply a light coat of dust to cracks, crevices, and voids in the wall and perimeters of the room. We don’t mind if bed bugs continue to harbor in these areas for a little while longer because it reduces the likelihood that they will move around and infest other areas or belongings.
Pest Control Duster
Westronglyrecommend getting a pest control duster to apply the this insecticide dust. A pest control duster is relatively inexpensive and does a much neater job than a squeeze bottle does. This will allow you to apply the dust in hard-to-reach places. In a pinch, we’ve seen people use squeeze bottles. Unfortunately, you will encounter constant clogging, inadequate coverage, and an inability to treat hard-to reach areas.
Should You “Protect” or “Isolate” Your Bed?
When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, one of the hottest debates is bed protection versus bed isolation.
What Is Bed Protection?
Protecting your bed means that you make sure bed bugs are not harboring in the bed frame, headboard, or mattress. To protect your bed, you will encase mattresses and box spring in a high quality bed bug-proof encasement. Bed bugs will still be able to crawl onto the bed, but you are taking steps to ensure they will not be able to live in your bed.
Protecting the bed is going to sound less appealing than isolating it because you won’t be stopping them from biting you altogether. You will drastically decrease the bites, but they will still have access to you. Perhaps you will derive some satisfaction from knowing that when they cross treated barriers on their way to you, any meal they enjoy will be their last.
There are some benefits to gritting it out this way. We learned earlier that roughly 70% of infestations studied were concentrated in the mattress, box spring, headboard and bed frame. The main advantage to bed protection over bed isolation is the ability to monitor the infestation on an ongoing basis. Evidence of bed bug activity is easy to spot in a non-isolated bed with white bedding.
What Is Bed Isolation?
Isolating your bed means you are completing all of the protection steps along with taking additional steps to completely prevent bed bugs from being able to access your bed.
Which Method is Better for Bed Bugs?
Isolation is controversial among some pest control professionals. Some believe that it is a bad idea to completely isolate the bed because bed bugs will disperse and spread further throughout your dwelling.
This is where our philosophy differs from most others. In the field, we’ve never seen compelling evidence that bed bugs will flee to other areas of your house due to an isolated bed. We have seen evidence that they will temporarily flee due to the application of certain pesticides. But not solely because a bed is isolated.
The riskdoesstill exist that bed bugs may try to flee the treatment area for one reason or another. That is why “room containment” form the last section is crucial.
We truly believe that proper containment is the reason this guide has worked for so many people when all other efforts failed.
Therefore, in our opinion, isolation is perfectly acceptable if proper containment is applied and maintained.
Which Treatment Method Should I Choose for My Bed?
If you can deal with a few more nights of sleeping with bed bugs, then we recommend that you follow the instructions for protecting your bed, not isolating it. The ability to more easily monitor and detect bed bugs during treatment is very valuable.
However, we’ll say it one more time – If you have followed the containment steps in the previous section, we’ve never seen bed isolation make or break the process. Both options can lead to an equally successful outcome.
When Is It Better to Isolate Your Bed?
If you are being bitten very badly, or you have severe allergic reactions, distress, or mental anguish, you can choose to isolate your bed without fear of jeopardizing the entire treatment. If you do decide to go this route, you’ll need to be diligent in keeping the containment areas strong. As long you maintain the containment areas, bed bugs will have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
Killing Bed Bugs in a Mattress
Whether you have decided to protect your bed or isolate your bed, the next step is the same, as both methods require you to kill bed bugs in the mattress, box spring, headboard, and bed frame.
Pest Control Supplies Everyone Will Need
- Encasement for mattress, box spring, and pillows
- White sheets, white pillow cases, and white cotton blankets
- Thick contractor bags
- Re-sealable plastic storage bags, such as Ziploc bags, in the gallon and 2.5-gallon sizes
- ASG insecticide dust (CimeXa)
For Bed Isolation Only
- Bed risers, to elevate the bed and keep bedding from touching the floor
- Mineral oil (or similar)
- 4 sturdy bowls or bed bug climb up interceptors for holding mineral oil under the legs of the bed frame.
- Strip the bed: Put all of the dirty linens into a garbage bag and tie it off tightly. Make sure the bag is airtight by pushing on it to see if it deflates.
- Launder your bedding as soon as you can: Use extreme caution when opening the bags so that you don’t expose your laundry room to bed bugs. You also have the option to use laundry bags that can be placed directly into the washer and safely dissolve with water.
- Wash in hot water and dry on high heat for the longest possible cycle: Heavy items may require two complete cycles on high heat to ensure everything has been exposed to lethal temperatures for a sufficient amount of time. When you take the items out of the dryer, put them immediately into a new bag to protect them from re-infestation.
- Repeat: Repeat these steps with any other fabrics, curtains, and clothing in the infestation areas after you are finished treating the bed.
- Move the bed frame away from the wall.
Bed Bug Removal with a Vacuum Cleaner
A vacuum cleaner is a great tool to remove bed bugs from your mattress. Just be sure to read the next section for best practices before you get started. You’ll need to take a few simple precautions to make sure your vacuum cleaner itself does not become infested with bed bugs or eggs.
Vacuum the Mattress and Box Spring
Thoroughly vacuum bed bugs and eggs from the mattress and box spring. Vacuum slowly and methodically along the edges, folds, seams, and surfaces. Remove the dust cover on the bottom of the box spring to expose the framing. This is one of the bugs’ favorite places to hide. Carefully vacuum every inch, crack, and crevice inside of this area to remove as many bed bugs as possible.
Keep a close lookout for eggs during this entire process. This is where a UV light will prove extremely useful, since eggs can be difficult to spot due to their size and transparency. Eggs are coated in a sticky cement-like substance. Therefore, the suction of a standard vacuum cleaner is usually not strong enough to remove all eggs on its own. You’ll need to scrape them with the vacuum nozzle or a secondary scraping tool.
Vacuum the bed frame and headboard
Since the bed frame and headboard will not be encased, you’ll need to pay special attention to these areas. The bed frame in particular can be a difficult item due to numerous cracks and crevices. Depending on the type of bed frame you have, it may even be necessary for you to take it apart so you can have full access to important areas.
Kill All Remaining Bed Bugs
The next step in the process is to kill any remaining bed bugs and eggs that you missed with the previous steps. This is why an integrated pest managment plan is so important. Bed bugs are difficult to kill with any single method.
Apply CimeXa (ASG Dust)
- Apply a light coating of CimeXa to each section of the bed and its components to kill remaining bed bugs. CimeXa offers excellent residual killing effects.
Install Mattress Encasement
- Install a bed bug mattress encasement on each box spring and mattress in the infested area. Be sure to use an encasement that has been tested and approved for protection from bed bugs. The encasements can be used to salvage infested beds or to protect new ones. Once they have been installed, any bugs or eggs that are still inside will be trapped and killed over time.
- Put the mattress and box spring back on the frame carefully, so you don’t rip the encasements. Encasements are effective only if they are completely intact. It is important to inspect them periodically for rips and tears. Areas where the encasement comes in contact with sharp edges, such as bolts, are particularly susceptible to becoming damaged. Placement of duct tape, over these areas may help increase the longevity of the bed bug encasement.
Additional Step for Bed Protection Only
- If you chose to protect your bed rather than to isolate it, apply a very thin dusting of CimeXa around the bed posts. Use the dust conservatively. You don’t want to deter the bed bugs unless you are isolating the bed. You want to invite them into contact with the dust.
Additional Steps for Bed Isolation Only
- Put your bed onrisersto ensure that your sheets, blankets, and other bedding do not touch the floor while you sleep.
- Place sturdy bowls orbed bug climb up interceptorsunder the legs of the bed and pour mineral oil into the bowls. Any bed bugs trying to climb onto the bed will become trapped in the oil.
- Vacuum again to pick up any strays that fell or crawled off the mattress and box spring in the process.
- Remember that you yourself can carry bed bugs into the bed with you. Wear only clean clothing which has been washed, dried, and stored in a location that is safe from bed bugs when you get into bed. To keep your clean clothing safe from bed bugs, you can store it in a tightly sealed contractor bag or re-sealable plastic bags such as a Ziploc bags.
Final Treatment Steps
- Put apillow encasementon each pillow.
- Put clean white linens on the bed. Clean white linens will enable you to see bed bugs, blood, or other stains more easily if any still remain after your treatments.
- Change and launder bedding every three to five days. Check the sheets every day for bugs, molted skins, blood spots, and stains that look like spots of black ink. If you protected your bed, this is evidence that you still have bed bugs in your home. This can be helpful information, especially if you do not react to bites. If you isolated your bed, this is evidence that the bugs are still in your bed.
- If you find evidence of bed bugs, consider repeating the steps above for vacuuming and cleaning the mattress, box spring, and bed frame, to ensure bed bugs are not living in your bed. In any case, continue to repeat all treatments approximately every two weeks until you no longer see signs of bed bug bites and all other evidence.
- Take precautions to make sure the bed bugs and the eggs that were collected in the vacuum cleaner are handled safely to avoid spreading them around your home (more on this in the next section)
- Examine all of your precautions daily. Maintain your containment areas. Inspect every encasement for holes or tears.
- Keep all pets away from the infestation area.
Should I Get Rid of My Mattress?
We understand the thought process behind wanting to get rid of a mattress infested with bed bugs. However, it’s best not to throw your bed away.
First off, bed bug infestations are not limited to beds. Disposing of your mattress and box spring will not solve your problem. New beds brought into the home will quickly be infested, and you will be right back where you started.
Second, there is a high probability that bed bugs and eggs could be dispersed throughout your home during the mattress removal process.
Finally, we also need to consider where that mattress is going when you get rid of it. How long will it be sitting there? Is there a chance others will accidentally come into contact with it? While disposing of your bed might feel like a good idea, it won’t do you any good to spread the infestation throughout the neighborhood because it will eventually find its way back to you.
The bottom line is that getting rid of your mattress will not help your bed bug problem.
How to Remove a Bed Bug Infested Mattress
Many people still insist on removing bed bug infested matresses despite our warnings. If you decide you must throw yours away, please follow these instructions to protect yourself, and your neighbors:
- Meticulously wrap items you are discarding in plastic or shrink wrap. Use duct tape to keep the wrapping from coming unraveled.
- The mattress being removed should be handled with extreme caution. Avoid shaking, dropping, or banging them into walls.
- Mark infested items with red spray paint to let others know they are not safe to take.
- Coordinate the disposal of infested items with your neighborhood trash collection schedule. The less time these items have to spend outside, the better.
If you bring a new bed into your home, make sure you protect it by using an encasement for both the mattress and the box spring. Bed bugs may still make their way onto an encasement, but their access will be limited to the exterior. Just be careful that the encasement is not punctured or ripped during delivery and installation onto the bed-frame.
As you can see, properly removing a bed bug infested mattress or box spring will take just as much work as simply treating them.
Remove Bed Bugs with a Vacuum Cleaner
As we’ve discussed, vacuuming certain areas of your infestation is an effective tool to remove bed bugs quickly. It will also provide immediate bite reduction for victims. We want to take a moment to discuss best practices for removing bed bugs with a vacuum cleaner.
Best Vacuum for Bed Bugs
While most types of vacuum cleaners are suitable for this stage of treatment, we’ve found that vacuum cleaners with bags and a hose attachment are the best for bed bugs. They simply make cleanup a bit easier. However, many people have used canister vacuums successfully, too. Just make sure the vacuum you choose comes equipped with a HEPA filtration system.
Vacuum cleaners to avoid
- Battery-charged or handheld vacuum cleaners often don’t have enough suction power to dislodge bed bugs and their eggs.
- Brush hose attachments with bristles will work to the bugs’ advantage, not yours. Bed bugs and their eggs tend to cling to such surfaces. Use a scrub brush that you throw away afterward.
Will the Vaccum Become Infested?
You have to be careful how you handle your vacuum cleaner when you are using it to get rid of bed bugs, as vacuum cleaners can become infested. If at all possible, it is always a little safer to use a separate vacuum cleaner from the one you use routinely in your home. However, this is not always a practical or available option. Therefore, here are the steps we recommend you take to reduce the likelihood that your vacuum cleaner ends up harboring bed bugs.
Can Bed Bugs Climb Out of a Vacuum Cleaner?
Yes, bed bugs will most likely find a way to climb out of most vacuum cleaner if given the opportunity. Take the following precautions to ensure your vacuum cleaner doesn’t become the source of a re-infestation.
- Sprinkle a small amount of CimeXa insecticide dust into your vacuum bag or canister before you start removing bed bugs. This will create inhabitable conditions.
- When you have finished vacuuming, seal the vacuum cleaner in a contractor bag and remove it from your home.
- Once you have it safely outside, carefully empty the contents of the canister or vacuum bag into a separate contractor bag. Seal that bag tightly and insert it into a garbage bin.
- If you are using a canister vacuum, the canister and filter should be washed thoroughly.
- You can treat the bottom of the vacuum where the rotating bristles are located with CimeXa or even steam to kill bed bugs clinging there.
- When you have finished vacuuming, sprinkle a little more CimeXa into the vacuum bag, canister, and other parts of the vacuum that might have been exposed to bed bugs.
- Another option to kill bed bugs trapped in a vacuum is to seal it in an airtight bag along with a Nuvan® ProStrip®. This product contains a pesticide that is released as an invisible vapor that is lethal to all life stages of bed bugs, including eggs. We’ll talk more about Nuvan ProStrips in an upcoming section. Just be aware that they take 7-10 days to be completely effective. You will be without a vacuum cleaner for that period of time.
Vacuuming Tips for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs and Eggs
- Use aflashlight or a UV light sourceif one is available to you. UV flashlights are inexpensive and are useful throughout the entire process of removing bed bugs and eggs from your home.
- A magnifying glass is also helpful because bed bugs can hide just about anywhere. Areas as small as the crevice in the head of a screw can harbor bed bugs.
- Move the nozzle along infested areas slowly.
- Use the tip of the nozzle or a throw-away scraper or brush to dislodge eggs.
- In addition to vacuuming the mattress, box spring, headboard, and bed frame as laid out in the previous section, you should also apply these vacuuming techniques to any other fabrics, carpets, furniture, and anything else you can think of. The more items you vacuum, the more bed bugs you will remove.
Can I Vacuum After Treatments?
Bed bugs tend to gather and hide in the carpet edges where the silica dust was applied for containment. While you probably will want to vacuum these areas, it’s important tomaintain the integrity of the containment. An acceptable option here is to vacuum a few feet of the containment barrier at a time and then reapply the insecticide dust to maintain containment prior to moving on to the next section.
It may seem like a lot of work to do things in order as described. However, if you start vacuuming carpet edges before applying the CimeXa insecticide dust to them, or lose containment integrity in any way, bed bugs will likely find a way to survive.
How to Kill Bed Bugs with Steam
Steam is an effective treatment method for killing bed bugs that is used by many pest control professional. It differs from ASG insecticide dust and vacuuming in that if it’s done properly and with the right equipment it instantly kills bed bugs in all of their life stages on contact. Its downside is that it offers zero residual killing power.
Steam is an optional step in our treatment system. Steamers with enough power and heat to kill bed bugs are quite expensive.
If you choose to use steam anyway, do so after vacuuming but before applying CimeXa dust, as steam will likely neutralize its killing effects. Remember to avoid the carpet edges where your containment barriers are laid down. While it’s true that the bugs love to hide there, it’s best just to vacuum the carpet edges, not steam them, as described in the previous section.
Tips for Using a Steam Cleaner to Kill Bed Bugs
- Steam is dangerous. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and always stay focused on what you are doing.
- Make sure you use a dry vapor steam unit to reduce the risk of mold. Regular steamers will leave excess moisture in everything you treat.
- You can steam almost anything in your house, including floorboards, furniture, baseboards, walls, ceilings, nooks, and crannies. However, never apply steam to electrical outlets, wires, or electronic devices.
- As mentioned above, avoid steaming the carpet edges.
- Steam must hit bed bugs directly but not so hard that it blows them away rather than killing them.
Application of Steam
Always use extreme caution when using a steamer, because the high temperatures can cause severe burns. Move slowly and deliberately so that all of the bed bugs and their eggs that the steam comes into contact with are killed. With the proper temperatures, you can expect to move about one inch per second. If the steam is coming out too fast, fit a thin cloth over the nozzle. This will decrease the force of the steam without affecting its temperature.
Best Steam Cleaners
Killing bed bugs with steam can be expensive if you don’t already have access to a unit. For example, the least expensive steamer that meets all of the necessary criteria retails for between $300-$350 dollars at the time of this writing.
Temperature is the most important factor, since heat is the bed bug’s Achilles heel. The temperature as listed by the manufacturer should be at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit at the tip of the steamer. That will leave steamed surfaces at a temperature of about 155-165 degrees, which will kill all bed bugs and their eggs instantly. We list more tips about the best steam cleaners for bed bugs in the supply guide at the end of this page.
It our opinion, unless you have a general need for a steamer in addition to getting rid of bed bugs, it is not practical to spend $300 dollars here. An alternative option would be to rent a steamer from a local tool or equipment rental business. This would be dependent on what is available in your area.
CimeXa Insecticide Dust
We have already discussed using CimeXa insecticide dust for bed bug treatments in previous sections. Let’s take a deeper look at this pest control substance so you can fully understand how to use it properly.
CimeXa vs Bed Bugs
- We believe that 100% amorphous silica gel desiccant dust (CimeXa) is the most effective tool for killing bed bugs yourself. You can read about it’s superior effectiveness in this field test conducted by Pest Control Technology.
- It has a static cling effect that causes it to adhere to bed bugs’ bodies and kill them quickly.
- CimeXa quickly absorbs a protective layer that holds moisture in bed bugs’ bodies, thus killing them within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of first contact.
- The static cling effect provides far more exposure than other materials and leads to an accelerated kill as compared with diatomaceous earth or any other substance available.
Is CimeXa Safe to Use for Pest Control?
CimeXa is one of the only options for getting rid of bed bugs that is rated for use in open areas, including in and around the bed. Most of the other products on the market are only rated for crack and crevice treatment.
While CimeXa is arguably much safer and certainly more versatile than most other options, you should still use extreme caution during applications. Inhalation dangers to humans and pets may exist before the dust has fully settled. Follow the labeled instructions carefully and wear the recommended protective gear (breathing mask) at all times.
Killing Bed Bugs with CimeXa Powder
Treat as many surfaces in the infested area as possible to maximize the chances bed bugs will come into contact with the dust. Keep in mind that if the crevice is large enough to fit the edge of a credit card into it, it is large enough for a bed bug to hide in or pass through.
- door and window frames
- holes in the walls
- damaged wall paper
- electrical switches and electrical outlets
- plumbing voids
- heating and air conditioning equipment
- any other wall or ceiling fixtures.
CimeXa will adhere to some vertical surfaces but you can’t rely on it to stay there as long as a horizontal surface. Periodical reapplication may be needed. As mentioned earlier, it is always important to dust lightly. If insecticide dust is spread too heavily, bugs will avoid it altogether. Our goal here is to get rid of bed bugs, not deter them.
There is a demonstration video with visual instructions in the Supply Guide.
CimeXa vs Diatomaceous Earth
It isn’t even close. CimeXa is a far superior tool for killing bed bugs. If you still have doubts, take a look at the field test done by Pest Control Technology that we referenced above. Diatomaceous Earth should not be considered as an option.
CimeXa vs Heat Treatments
A very strong argument can be made that heat treatments are one of the best ways to kill bed bugs. However, this is not something that can be used as a home remedy. Heat treatments should only be performed by trained, licensed professionals. Attempting to do this on your own could damage items or burn down your house.
Futhermore, for heat to be 100% successful, the target temperature of 130+ degress needs to be reached across theentire structure at once.This is not practical to achieve without the proper training and equipment.
Heat treatments are a powerful tool, but we don’t recommend using it if you are getting rid of bed bugs yourself.
Does CimeXa Kill Bed Bug Eggs?
Unfortunately, CimeXa will not kill bed bug eggs. However, you can remove most eggs by scraping and vacuuming. CimeXa will quickly kill any nymph that hatches from an egg you may have missed. Hatching takes about 10 days so that is why it’s important to maintain your treatments over the next few weeks.
With containment, vacuuming, and the initial application of CimeXa, you can easily exterminate 90% of the infestation within the first 24-48 hours.
Treatment of Personal Belongings
Now comes the somewhat tedious process of treating personal belongings for bed bugs. Everything will be going into bags and containers. While this piece of the process will take some time, it is important. We want to encourage you not to lose resolve now, not after you have come so far. It is more important than ever to keep moving forward.
As you work through this phase, label each bag or container with its contents and whether those contents are “possibly infested” or “safe.” Treatment methods will vary depending on what is in each bag, so keep similar items grouped together.
Kill Bed Bugs with Washer and Dryer
Organize, bag, and treat washables such as clothes, curtains, shoes, bedding, stuffed toys, pillows, etc. The washer and dryer can be great tools to kill bed bugs. Wash everything in hot water and dry them on the highest heat setting possible. Keep the loads light because overfilling the dryer will affect its ability to reach killing temperatures throughout the entire chamber.
Isolate all washed and treated items in new seal-able bags so that bed bugs can’t infest them.
Some hard toys and other non-delicate items can be put into mesh bags and run through a dishwasher with “heated dry” turned on. Always use extreme caution moving infested items to an area of your home that is possibly not infested.
Additional Bed Bug Treatment Options
Organize, bag, and treat hard items such as electronics, books, paintings, jewelry, and any delicate items that can’t be washed.These are more challenging items to treat. Some of these items may dusted with CimeXa, but use your discretion. Once these items are isolated in bags you have a few options about how you can treat the bed bugs that are inside.
Nuvan Prostrips contain a pesticide that releases as an odorless, invisible vapor that is lethal to all life stages of bed bugs, including eggs. The vapors emerge from these strips slowly over time, so you should leave items sealed in the bags with them for at least 7-10 days.
Portable bed bug heaters
You may be unable to use heat treatments to kill all bed bugs in your home but they are available to treat smaller items. It will work quicker than Nuvan Prostrips but it is a much more expensive option.
Portable bed bug heaters range in cost, depending on size. The typical price point is between $200 and $400 dollars. They are available in various sizes and kill 100% of bed bugs in all life stages, including eggs. These heaters can also be utilized to treat luggage upon return from travelling to ensure bed bugs are not transferred into your home. You’ll find more information about portable heaters in the Supply Guide at the end of this page.
Discarding Unneeded Belongings
Feel free to throw away any small items that you don’t absolutely need anymore that can fit into a contractor bag or a large Ziploc bag. You don’t need to throw everything away, but if the item is small enough to dispose of safely, without the risk of spreading bed bugs, then you can get rid of it.
If you have larger items that can’t be safely sealed inside a contractor bag, use the same rules as with a mattress.
By now the infested areas should be completely clutter-free. There should be no clothes or bedding in the room or in the closets. No clocks or pictures on the wall. There should be no junk, debris, or any other small items on tabletops or anywhere else in the area. You’ve maintained the integrity of your room containment and followed all the steps in order to this point. You have these bed bugs right where you want them.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs For Good
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Up to now, most of your time and efforts have been spent in preparation. Now it’s time to get rid of the bed bugs once and for all.
Pest Control Supplies You’ll Need
- Pest control duster
- Paint brush with fine bristles (for areas where you will need more control over the application)
- Screwdriver to loosen electrical switch plate and outlet covers
- Dust mask
- Vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
Finish Killing Every Last Bed Bug
- Lightly treat the entire floor or carpet with CimeXa insecticide dust.Note: You will be keeping a very light dusting on the floor or carpet for the next few weeks. You can vacuum as often as you like and then reapply when you’re finished.
- Loosen electrical outlet and switch plate covers. Beg bugs love to hide inside of these. Apply dust to the insides with a pest control duster. Tighten when finished.
- Apply dust to all remaining cracks, crevices, and voids.
Treatment of Furniture
- Pull furniture and other items away from the walls. All furniture should be turned upside down to allow treatment of all areas. Remove all drawers as well.
- Couches and upholstered furniture will need to be treated in the same manner as the bed. Remove cushions and dust every crack and crevice possible. Attention to detail is required here. Use your paint brush and duster to meticulously coat zippers, the undersides of cushions, seams, tucks, folds, and buttons. Continue to use your furniture the same way you always did. It is now a killing station for bed bugs.
- Once a piece of furniture has been treated, you also have the option of placing bed bug climb up interceptors under the legs if you decide it’s best to isolate.
Additional Extermination Tips
- ASG dust will remain effective for ten years if left undisturbed. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to apply a thin coating to all non-traffic areas in your home. It works well in areas such as behind cabinets, wall voids, behind furniture, etc. CimeXa also kills other pests such as ants, cockroaches, spiders and silverfish.
- We don’t recommend caulking or sealing cracks, crevices, or voids in your home until you they have been properly treated. We don’t mind if bed bugs have access at this stage because we would rather they come into contact with the insecticide dust. The only exception to this rule is a crevice or void that would allow unobstructed access to another area of your home. If they can move freely between rooms without contacting insecticide dust, we have a big problem on our hands. If you feel that is the case, then feel free to seal that crevice immediately.
Reminder: There is a video in the Supply Guide with a live demonstration of how to apply CimeXa.
Treatment Tip for Severe Bed Bug Infestations
The next method described is an optional step forsevere bed bug infestations. Particularly if there is evidence of bugs behind walls and inside the structure of the dwelling. This is also an especially important tactic in apartment complexes, condos, town-homes, or duplexes. Some may consider it overkill for routine infestations but it’s up to you to decide what is best for your situation.
While this step requires a little bit of extra work to create and caulk holes, at this point, that is probably the least of your worries.
- Use a stud finder to map out a pattern where you will drill tiny holes in the walls in between the studs, just large enough to fit the tip of your duster into.
- Drill the holes at a forty-five degree angle right at the point where the top of the baseboard meets the wall. Doing so will allow you to caulk the holes afterward rather than spackling and painting.
- Apply CimeXa into the wall void at each location.
- Caulk the hole. You’ll barely be able to see it when finished.
Bed Bug Monitoring
Congratulations! The hardest part is finished! However, don’t let your guard down now. It is important to continue to monitor for signs of bed bugs and maintain the integrity of your treatments.
Routine inspections are your most important bed bug monitoring tool. If you find any live bed bugs or eggs, vacuum them up. Make sure you immediately reapply insecticide dust to any areas that you disturb.
Again, you can clean anything in the infested area regularly. Feel free to use normal household cleaning products so long as you reapply CimeXa when finished.
Passive Monitoring Devices
Bed bug climb up interceptors can be an effective passive monitoring device. Just be certain that the bed is pulled away from the wall and that blankets do not touch the floor. The bed posts should be the only way a bed bug can gain access to the bed.
Also Keep in mind that bed bug interceptors will fully isolate the bed.
You can also use a carbon dioxide trap as a passive bed bug monitoring device . You can purchase ready-made traps that work fairly well or you can make your own. Homemade traps often work even better because you can produce larger amounts of carbon dioxide . We provide instructions on how to do this in the Supply Guide.
In the end, though,YOUwill always be the most valuable tool for monitoring bed bugs!
Congratulations! Getting rid of bed bugs yourself is no easy task. However, you’ve just proved that it can be done just as quickly and efficiently as any professional treatment.
We applaud you for taking the approach that you did with your infestation. The only chance we have to truly win this battle with bed bugs is through education and prevention. The odds are strong that someone you know will also deal with an infestation at some point in their lives. Now you have the knowledge and resources to help them.
Your next step is to visit the Bed Bug Supply Guide where you’ll learn how to source the supplies and do everything as inexpensively as possible.
We wish you the best.
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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: A DIY Guide
Bed bugs have been pestering humanity for thousands of years, but in the 1950s they finally met their match: the pesticide DDT. Then DDT was banned, but for most of the 40 years since, bed bugs have not been a major problem. Now, however, these blood-sucking vermin are back with a vengeance. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs don’t spread disease, and there are practical steps you can take to prevent an infestation. And if you do get bed bugs, you can get rid of them yourself. We’ll show you what to look for, how do you get rid of bed bugs if you find them, and how to keep them out!
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like
A fully fed adult bed bug is about the size and shape of an apple seed. An unfed bed bug is more round and flat like a tick. Newly hatched bed bugs are the size of a poppy seed and are golden in color. Their eggs look like small grains of white rice, about 1 mm in length (sorry for all the food references).
If you find what you think might be a bed bug, take it to the entomology department of the nearest university or to a pest control company for official identification.
What Does a Bed Bug Bite Look Like?
Bed bugs love fast food. They like to feed and then scurry back to their hiding places. They try to avoid crawling all over their food for fear of waking it/us. They usually bite the bare skin they find closest to the mattress. That’s why it’s common to see two or three bite marks in a line along the skin that was in contact with the mattress or pillow. When this happens it’s time to learn how to get rid of bug beds fast.
Everyone reacts differently to a bed bug bite. Some will develop small itchy bumps like mosquito bites; others will suffer from large, puffy red lesions the size of a quarter. A lucky few will have no reaction at all. Other signs of bed bugs are bloodstains on your sheets, pillows and blankets. Are you scratching yet?
How to Check for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs don’t like being jostled, so they avoid hanging out in your hair or clothes, but they do like to stay close to their food source, namely you. The mattress is the first place you should inspect if you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of bed bugs fast. Bed bugs love to hang out in cracks and crevices. They can fit into any gap the thickness of a business card. One of their favorite spots is the piping along the edge of a mattress. Look for the bugs themselves, their dark droppings, your dried blood, eggs and gold-colored shells that have been left behind after molting.
Perform a quick inspection of the upper piping every time you change your sheets. Make a more thorough examination by folding the piping over and closely inspecting both sides all the way around, top and bottom. Do this a couple times a year or every time you flip or rotate your mattress. If you spot any signs, keep reading to learn how to get rid of bed bugs.
Bed Bugs in a Mattress: Isolate the Bed
What’s the best way to get rid of bed bugs? Stop feeding them. To prevent those unwanted dinner guests, isolate your mattress from the rest of the room. Start by pulling the bed away from the wall and away from other furniture like nightstands and chairs. Remove box spring skirting that hangs down to the floor. Oversize blankets that drape to the floor can also act as a ladder for the little buggers.
Finally, place all the legs into insect interceptors like these made by ClimbUp. They allow bugs to climb into the outer pitfall area, but the slick plastic coated with talcum powder keeps them from climbing out or reaching the center well and climbing up your bed frame leg.
Bed Bugs in a Mattress: Bag Your Mattress
Once you’ve vacuumed and chemically treated your mattress and box spring, enclose them in encasement bags. If the bed bugs found a way inside the mattress, the odds are that the spray chemicals did not kill them. Encasement bags have special zippers that trap the bed bugs and prevent them from escaping. Keep these bags on for at least a year because a fully fed bed bug can live more than 10 months between meals.
If the idea of sleeping on a tiny bed bug cemetery is too much to bear, the only alternative is to toss the mattress and box spring and buy new ones. Just be sure to wrap up the infested one before hauling it through your house, and don’t buy a used mattress!
How to Clean Bed Bugs
Now that all the stuff is out of the bedroom, it’s time to treat the room itself. The first step is to vacuum every surface in the room, the baseboards, all the furniture, the mattress, box spring, bed frame, everything. Use a small wand to get into all the corners and crevices.
When you finish, throw out the vacuum bag to avoid spreading the bugs. If you use a shop vacuum or bagless vacuum, dump the contents you’ve collected into a bag, tie it up, and throw it out. And treat the filter and the inside of the canister with contact spray insecticide. Flat surfaces like walls and dresser tops can be wiped with alcohol. Wipe a small inconspicuous area first to see if the alcohol will damage the paint or finish.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Clothes and Bedding
The first thing to do after confirming an infestation is to bag up all your clothes, towels, bedding and curtains in plastic bags. Tie tight knots to seal the bags and keep them tied until they reach the washing machine. Wash with hot water and dry thoroughly. Temperatures over 120 degrees F will kill bed bugs and any eggs they’ve left behind.
Store clean clothes in another room until you’ve finished treating the infested room. If you plan to take laundry to a professional cleaner or public laundry, treat it chemically first to avoid spreading the bugs.
5 Ways to Kill Bed Bugs in Your Home
Hiring a pro to wipe out bed bugs isn’t cheap. Expect to pay about $200 per room to kill bed bugs, and you’ll likely need a few chemical treatments in order to eradicate bed bugs. Professional heat treatments will cost even more. And even if you hire a pro, you’ll still have to do lots of work yourself (moving furniture, washing all clothes, etc.). So consider declaring a DIY war on bed bugs. If you’re willing to spend $100 to $200 and do things right, your chances of success are excellent.
When working with chemicals, always read the directions. You should be able to stay in the room during the treatment process. Room treatments entail thorough cleaning and applying chemicals. The process needs to be repeated three times, two weeks apart.
1. Create a Kill Chamber
OK, you’ve dealt with your room, clothes and bedding—now it’s time to deal with your stuff. Everything in the bedroom needs to be treated: every book, shoe, lamp, photo, power strip, alarm clock, magazine, every knickknack and bric-a-brac…everything! If you don’t treat it, bag it, tie it up and throw it out.
Flat surfaces can be wiped with alcohol or sprayed with a bed bug—killing contact pesticide, but all items that have a small nook or cranny where bed bugs could hide (which is most stuff) need to be treated with penetrating fumes. Build yourself a kill chamber out of a large storage bin. Tape a pesticide strip to the side or lid of the bin, and seal your stuff inside for a couple days or however long the manufacturer recommends. Seal the lid of the bin with duct tape.
You can treat all your belongings by reusing the same bins; just make sure to keep your other stuff that’s waiting to be treated bagged up in the meantime. Always wear gloves when handling pesticides and be sure to follow all safety instructions. The pesticide strips shown here are Nuvan ProStrips.
2. Bed Bug Sprays
Spray insecticide on all the areas where you’ve seen signs of the bugs or the bugs themselves. And spray all the areas where they’re likely to hide, like the furniture near the bed, the entire bed itself and the perimeter of the walls near the baseboard.
Most sprays are contact killers, which means they kill only the bugs and eggs they touch directly, so there’s no reason to spray all the walls, ceiling and the entire floor. Spray pesticides are available online and at home centers and hardware and discount stores. Many brands kill other insects, like fleas and roaches, as well.
3. Bed Bug Traps
Traps aren’t an effective way to wipe out a bed bug infestation, but they’re an excellent way to determine whether you have them. Set traps in areas where they may hide or travel, like near baseboard trim or under nightstands. If they aren’t living in your mattress or other parts of your bed, that means they need to travel up the legs of the bed frame to get to you, so place traps there as well.
If you confirm you have bed bugs in one bedroom of the house, one of the ways to get rid of bed bugs is you’ll have to treat that entire room, but you won’t necessarily need to treat the entire house. Set up traps to monitor other bedrooms and living areas to make sure they stay bug free. These Hot Shot traps are available at The Home Depot.
4. Spreading a Residual Powder
It’s not likely that you’ll kill all the bed bugs with a bed bug spray. That’s where a residual powder insecticide comes into play. It kills any bugs that wander through the powder. Some powders can kill bugs for many years if left undisturbed. Skip the open areas and spray the powder in those places where you think they’ll be traveling to and from, like near bed legs and under baseboard trim.
If at all possible, pull up the carpet where it meets the wall and puff powder around the whole perimeter of the room. Inside outlet boxes is a great place to use powders because sprays and electricity don’t mix. Bellow dusters work great for spreading residual insecticide powder. An old makeup brush is a good tool to spread the dust around on hard surfaces. Bed bug powders are available the same places you’ll find the spray pesticides.
5. Use Heat Instead of Chemicals
Insecticides are an effective way to eradicate bed bugs, but not the only way. If you or someone in your house is highly sensitive to chemicals, or you’re just not crazy about the idea of spraying chemicals where you sleep, kill the little blood suckers with heat. Temperatures above 120 degrees F kill all stages of bed bugs. Steamers can be used to treat all the same areas where you would have sprayed contact killers. Steamers like the one shown at (top) cost about $150 and are good for many other projects like removing wallpaper, cleaning tile, removing labels, cleaning engine parts and removing wrinkles from fabric.
Heat chambers like this one (bottom) can be used to heat personal belongings and kill any hidden bed bugs without chemicals. They come in various sizes, and prices start at less than $200. In the summer, you could let Mother Nature do the dirty work. Bag up your belongings and set them on the driveway. On a day when the temp tops 95 degrees, a bag placed in the sun should easily reach 120 degrees F inside.
Bottom photo: ZAPPBUG
Whole House Heat Treatment
Professional heat treatment is one of the least invasive ways to get rid of bed bugs. Large heaters are used to heat entire rooms up to more than 120 degrees F for a few hours. Unfortunately, these large heaters are expensive, and whole-house treatments can cost thousands of dollars.
Bed Bugs and House Guests
Telling Aunt Harriet not to come for Christmas is probably not going to work (though it might be worth a shot), but you can still boss your kids around. Send your kids off to college with the information they need to inspect for bed bugs in their dorm room. And include as a parting gift a package of a few detection traps.
Instruct those returning scholars to bag up their mountains of dirty laundry and leave the bags in the garage until transporting them directly to the washing machine. Wash clothes in hot water and dry thoroughly.
Bed Bugs in Apartments
Bed Bugs in the Hotel
Hotels are a common source of bed bugs, and even the best hotels can have infestations. Here’s how to avoid bringing them home:
- Inspect mattresses when you arrive in your hotel room.
- Ask for a new room if you find them.
- Keep clothes and luggage off the bedspread and floor.
- Hang up clothes and keep other clothes in your suitcase, not dresser drawers.
- Keep suitcases in large bags tied off or in store-bought luggage bags.
- Bag up daily items like shoes and wallets.
- Bag up dirty clothes and transport them directly to the washing machine upon return.
- Wash clothes in hot water and dry thoroughly.
- Inspect luggage and store away from living/sleeping areas.
- Wipe luggage down with alcohol or spray with insecticide if you find bed bugs.