Bed Bugs How Do I Get Rid Of Them

US EPA

Bed Bugs

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.
  • If an extension agent or other expert says the pest is a bed bug, notify your landlord if you live in an apartment. The units near yours should be inspected.
    • Landlords may have a responsibilityExit to participate in treatment.
    • Check the housing codes and laws in your area.
    • Inspect all areas that may have bed bugs, plus surrounding living spaces, to find out the extent of infestation.
    • 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."
    • Have infested items picked up as soon as possible by the trash collection agency.
    • Don’t discard furniture if you can safely eliminate the bed bugs from it.
    • 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.
    • If needed,hire a pest management professional or use pesticidescarefully according to the label directions:
      • Look for EPA-registered pesticides that have bed bugs listed on the label.
      • Use foggers (bug bombs) only with extreme care and only if bed bugs are listed on the label. Improper use can harm your health or cause a fire or explosion. Foggers should not be your only method of bed bug control. The spray will not reach the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. See Should I Use a Fogger? for more information.
      • Carefully look for any evidence of bed bugsevery few days after you complete your initial cleanup and control processes.If you see bed bugs, either the initial cleanup missed some bugs or eggs have hatched. Retreatment may be needed.
      • Consider using different types of pesticides if repeated treatments are needed.Desiccants (chemicals that dry things out) can be particularly effectivein some situations since they work by drying out the bug (which means the bed bugs can’t develop resistance).
        • If using desiccants, be sure to use only products registered by EPA as a pesticide.
        • Do not use pool- or food-grade diatomaceous earth(made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms). This type of diatomaceous earth can harm you when you breathe it in. The pesticide version uses a different size of diatoms, which reduces the hazard.
        • Desiccants can be very effective but may take several months to work.
        • 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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          How to get rid of bed bugs – the signs that say you have them, and how to prevent them

          Bites, blood spots on the bed sheets, black spots on the mattress. these are all signs of a bed bug infestation

          • 14:15, 20 AUG 2018
          • Updated 16:15, 20 AUG 2018

          Ugh, the slow-dawning and horrifying realisation that you have bed bugs.

          The tiny bloodsucking creatures love to live in the crevices between bed frames and mattresses.

          Bedbugs feed exclusively on blood, crawling out from their hiding places at night to bite you. They aren’t thought to transmit diseases, though.

          Bedbugs tend to prefer fabric or wood over plastic and metal, and often hide near to where you sleep – for example, under the mattress or along the headboard.

          They can surprise you though – by hanging out away from the bed in other furniture, along the edges of carpets and even behind mirrors – or inside smoke alarms.

          Although difficult to get rid of, it’s not impossible. Here’s a guide to working out if you’ve got bed bugs, and how to treat the problem as soon as possible.

          How can I tell if I have bed bugs?

          The quicker you can act to treat the problem, the easier it will be, so look out for these seven signs:

          What do bed bugs look like?

          Bed bugs are nocturnal, but they prefer to feed on a deeply sleeping host, which for human beings is in the few hours before sunrise.

          These appear as itchy, red welts that can be flat on the skin or raised.

          The majority of bites will appear on the chest or back, neck, hands, feet or face. However, bed bugs can bite any area of exposed skin.

          The bites tend to appear in clusters as they crawl around testing areas multiple times to find the best source of blood. So the bites can show up in groups, rows or zig-zag lines.

          The bites may cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters. In more severe cases, they can become infected with bacteria if scratched – signs of infection include pain, increasing redness and swelling

          How do I treat bed bug bites?

          A mild steroid cream or antihistamine can help relieve itchy bites.

          You might need antibiotics for worse reactions – see your GP if you experience pain, redness, swelling or other signs of infection.

          Read More
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          Signs and symptoms of bed bugs

          1. Blood stains on bedding

          You’re not going to like this, but you do need to know about it: when you move in your sleep and squash a blood-filled bed bug that’s just fed, it’ll leave little blood smears on your sheets, duvet covers an pilowcases.

          Still, at least you’re getting closer to the truth.

          2. Bed bug poo stains

          These look like black felt tip marks on fabric. Usually found on the edges of mattresses, or on bedsheets.

          These stains are digested blood – the bed bugs’ fecal matter.

          Again, sorry. Rest assured, it sounds grim, but it isn’t dangerous.

          Wipe the stains with a wet rag – if they smear, you’ve got a positive sighting for bed bug faeces.

          3. Bed bug eggs and egg shells

          Female bed bugs can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a bed bug’s lifetime.

          Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days.

          This is why taking quick action to treat the problem is best.

          Bed bug eggs are translucent to pearly white in color and when first laid, are coated in a shiny film to help them stick to surfaces.

          Bed bug eggs are shaped like a grain of rice and very, very tiny – around 1mm. Still visible to the naked eye, but a magnifying glass helps.

          Empty shells will be less shiny and look flattened.

          They’re more likely to be find where the bed bugs are hiding, especially on rough wood or fabric surfaces.

          4. Bed bugs’ shed skin (or shells)

          Don’t let this spoil the classic cinema snack for you, but bed bug shells look like tiny, translucent popcorn kernels.

          After hatching, the bed bug starts life as a nymph. They look like adult bed bugs, except they’re smaller and lighter in colour.

          As they mature, they’ll shed their skin 5 times, once at each new stage of development.

          Look for the evidence in the usual bed bug hangout joints – box springs, mattresses, wooden furniture and framing, and so on.

          Read More
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          5. What do bed bugs look like?

          Spotting an adult bed bug going about its business in your home is one of the last ways you’ll become aware of an infestation, but it’s worth knowing what to look out for.

          They’re brown, oval and flat, ranging in size from 4.5mm to as long as 7 or 8 mm when fed – approximately the size of an apple seed. They turn a reddish color after feeding – because they’re then swollen with blood.

          6. The musty smell

          You’ll know it if you ever sniff it – and your instincts will tell you it’s not good.

          Bed bugs have glands that release pheromones when they’re disturbed, to warn the rest of the group.

          The odour is musty and repellent.

          Bad news: if you can smell them, you’ve got a severe infestation on your hands.

          Slightly better news: if only a trained bed bug sniffing dog can find it, might be catching the problem early. Hopefully.

          Read More

          How to get rid of bugs

          How to treat or kill bed bugs?

          David Cross, Head of Technical Training at Rentokil Pest Control, has the following tips for treating bed bug bites:

          “There are many natural remedies and ‘old wives tales’ on what you can use to help reduce the inflammation and itching associated with bed bug bites. Below are just a few of these you may want to try after washing your bites with soap and water, and then drying"

          1. Calamine lotion:This relieves itching and also helps to dry rashes and protect the skin
          2. Baking soda and water:Make a paste with baking soda and water, and apply it directly to the skin. Let it dry before wiping away with a cotton pad
          3. Toothpaste:The menthol contained in toothpaste is said to be a good anti-itch remedy. Apply a generous amount to the bite to soothe the burning sensation and relieve the itching
          4. Witch Hazel:This provides a mild anaesthetic effect that helps to calm the itching caused by bites
          5. Aloe Vera:Both “fresh” Aloe Vera or gel works well against insect bites. The active substances and amino acids present in Aloe Vera help relieve itching and burning sensations
          6. Lemon juice:This has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also a natural astringent. Lemon juice can help dry rashes and itchiness while reducing redness and swelling”

          Prevention and steps

          1. Strip your bed

          Apart from possibly leading to unpleasant skin reactions, the bed bug bites are also keeping the pests alive, as they feed on your blood.

          If they can’t feed, they can’t breed, keeping the infestation alive.

          Strip your bed of all sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding, and seal them in plastic garbage bags to keep bed bugs from escaping and infesting other parts of your home.

          Take the bags straight to the washing machine, and wash them using the hot water setting.

          Then, dry the bedding on high heat if their tags allow it. This heat treatment will kill any bed bugs or eggs hiding in your bedding.

          Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bed bugs, shells, fecal droppings, or eggs that might be along the seams of your mattress, pillows, box spring, and along the cracks and crevices in the bed frame, headboard, and footboard.

          Follow up the vacuuming with a high-pressure steamer to kill bed bugs and eggs hidden deep within furniture.

          While the mattress and box spring are left to dry, spray down the joints of the bed frame, headboard, and footboard with a contact spray and residual spray.

          Once the mattress and box spring are dry, encase them in sealed bed bug encasements.

          2. Prevention

          Move your bed away from any other points of contact, like walls, nightstands, and other furniture.

          Tuck in or remove any hanging skirts or sheets, and remove any storage under the bed that is touching any part of the frame.

          The only thing your bed should be touching is the floor via its legs. Place bed bug interceptors under each leg – they look like cups that the bed bugs fall into when trying to climb up the legs of the bed.

          The cups will help you monitor how quickly the bed bug population in your home is dwindling as they lose access to feeding on your blood.

          If your bed has a solid base rather than legs, you’re best off throwing it out.

          3. Hunt and destroy all bed bugs in your home

          Clothes, books, and other personal belongings shouldn’t be left on the floor, as they make treatment more difficult and add hiding places for bed bugs.

          Seal them in garbage bags and store them in another room.

          Any clothing that was picked up from the floor or removed from dresser drawers should be dried on high heat for at least 45 minutes.

          Once treated, clothing that you don’t normally wear should be stored inside garbage bags outside of the infested room.

          Then, vacuum and steam along baseboards, window sills, and the edge of the carpet.

          Make sure you clean the vacuum and steam cleaners afterwards.

          A portable bed bug heater can be used to clean items that can’t be washed or vacuumed, such as books, shoes or luggage.

          You can also use bed bug sprays and powders to kill the pests in hard-to-reach areas.

          Powders can be left undisturbed to do their work, but sprays will need to be reapplied every two weeks for a few months.

          Read More
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          How do you get bed bugs?

          Bed bugs can be transported easily in luggage, clothing and furniture.

          Once in your home, they can quickly spread from room to room. They don’t jump or fly, but can crawl long distances.

          Top tips to prevent bed bug infestations:

          inspect your mattress and bed regularly for signs of an infestation, and get professional advice if you think you have bedbugs

          avoid buying second-hand mattresses and carefully inspect second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home

          keep your bedroom tidy and remove clutter

          Bedbugs aren’t attracted to dirt, so they’re not a sign of an unclean home, but clearing up any clutter will reduce the number of places they can hide.

          Once treated, they should be dead within a few weeks, depending on the severity of the infestation.

          Bedbugs: how do I get rid of them?

          Bedbugs are very hard to get rid of. If you do have bedbugs, it is strongly recommended that you hire a licensed professional pest control operator.

          If you are a tenant and have bedbugs, you should tell your landlord right away. Tenants who have bedbug-related issues should speak with a public health officer for help in dealing with the infestation.

          If you live in a multiple-unit dwelling and building management has asked you to prepare your unit for bedbug treatment, this usually includes emptying storage furniture to make it easier to inspect, organizing your belongings and placing them in bags, washing all your clothes and bedding, and moving furniture away from the walls. The pest control operator will usually give you specific instructions to prepare for an inspection or treatment.

          Professional pest control operators can use a variety of tools to control bedbugs. These include liquid insecticide sprays, aerosol insecticide sprays, insecticidal dusts, diatomaceous earth, pressurized carbon dioxide snow, and steam and heat treatments.

          Whichever treatment is used,it will only be effective if physical control methods and preventative measures are used together.

          How to find a professional pest control operator

          Contact information for exterminators or pest control operators can be found by contacting the Canadian Pest Management Association or your provincial pest management association.

          Physical control methods

          Learn more about bedbugs

          Physical methods of controlling bedbugs include steam cleaning, vacuuming, heating, freezing, washing, and throwing out items. Steam cleaning should be done before vacuuming, as the steam will flush any bedbugs not killed out of hiding. Heat treatments should be left to the professionals.

          Steaming, washing and throwing out items

          • Infested (but intact) mattresses, upholstery and plush items that cannot be washed with hot water and detergent should be steam cleaned. Bedbugs die at 50°C and steam cleaners generally emit steam at a temperature of at least 100°C. Dry steam or low vapour steamers are better because they leave behind less moisture. Steam will only kill the bedbugs that it reaches, so move the steam cleaner slowly to maximize depth. Avoid excess moisture, which could lead to mould.
          • Putting small items in the freezer or outside is sometimes effective. However, freezing temperatures must be kept for a prolonged period (4 days of consistent cold at -19°C), and may not kill all of the bedbugs.
          • Place small non-washable items and dry-clean-only items in a hot dryer for 30 minutes or more.
          • Wash mattress pads, bedding, bed skirts, infested clothes, curtains, and so on in hot water and dry them on the hottest dryer setting. Store clean, dry items in light-coloured sealed heavy duty plastic bags or plastic storage bins with secure lids to avoid infesting other areas.
          • Throw out any items that can’t be washed, heated, or steam cleaned.
          • Vacuum daily following the directions below.

          Vacuuming

          Handheld vacuums, vacuums with a cloth bag, and vacuums with hoses that are made of fabric are not a good idea for bedbug clean-up because these vacuums can become infested. For households with family members who have allergies or asthma, it’s best to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to avoid putting insect and dust allergens back into the air.

          • Bedbugs cling to wood and fabric, and their eggs are cemented to the surface where they were laid. Using a stiff brush attachment and a back-and-forth scraping motion on the surface of the mattress, and a nozzle for the seams and crevices, carefully vacuum all sides to remove bedbugs and eggs. This includes the mattress, box spring, bed frame, baseboards, non-washable furniture cushions, any rugs and carpeting, around heating units and baseboards, and the inside and underneath all drawers and furniture.
          • Let the vacuum run for a bit to make sure all bedbugs have been sucked into the bag, then dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed white plastic bag (white plastic makes it easier to spot a bedbug), in a garbage bin with a lid.
          • Stuff paper towel in the end of the vacuum hose and seal it with tape to prevent any bedbugs from escaping.
          • Wash all vacuum attachments in hot water and detergent.
          • Store the vacuum in a large plastic bag and seal it.
          • For a bagless vacuum cleaner, follow the instructions above, but also empty the canister contents into a plastic garbage bag, seal and dispose of the bag right away, and wash the dust container in hot water with detergent.

          Using pesticides and pest control products

          Health Canada regulates pesticides in Canada. We make sure that each pesticide registered for use meets Canada’s high standards for health and environmental safety, and that the product works as claimed on the label.

          Each registered pesticide comes with a detailed label that provides directions on how to use the product safely, which pests it controls, where and on what it can be used, and how to apply it properly. To see if a pesticide has been registered for use in Canada, check the label for a Pest Control Products (PCP) registration number. If the product label does not have a PCP registration number, do not buy or use it. Unregistered pesticides are illegal in Canada and their safety and effectiveness have not been reviewed by Health Canada.

          Follow these precautions when using pesticides:

          • Carefully read the label before buying or using pesticides, to figure out which products are best for your situation and to use the product safely.
          • Use only pesticides registered by Health Canada and only as directed on the label.
          • Never use any treatment on people, pets or bedding unless the pesticide label specifically says to do so. For example, pesticides registered for use on bed frames are not meant to be used on mattresses or box springs.
          • Do not use pesticides on baby cribs, playpens, or toys.
          • Do not use homemade pesticides. While they may seem simple and harmless, many homemade pesticide recipes can be dangerous both to make and to use. They could harm you and your family.

          For more information on pesticide use and regulation, contact Health Canada’s Pest Management Information Service.

          Ozone generators

          Ozone generators are machines that produce ozone gas. Manufacturers and vendors may claim that they can kill bedbugs and get rid of mould and indoor air pollution.

          However, Health Canada is warning Canadians:do not use ozone generators. These devices are not safe. They can cause respiratory problems that include:

          • coughing
          • chest pain
          • shortness of breath
          • irritation of eyes, nose and throat

          No ozone-generating devices have been approved for use on bedbugs in Canada. Home-owners and pest control operators should not use ozone generators to control bedbugs, mould or other pests.

          Bed Bug Eggs – How to Get Rid of Them

          Bed bugs have been around for years, infesting many areas all over the world. Infestations have decreased after the emergence of the pesticide DDT. However, infestation has increased in numbers since over a decade ago due to the bed bugs’ easily transported or easily nature. Bed bugs can easily spread and cause infestations when transported via clothing, furniture, luggage, beddings and others. There are a lot of possibilities where one can pick up bed bugs and cleanliness is not hindrance to these pests. Bed bug infestation has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the area for they are also found in the cleanest of homes and hotels, aside from public places like offices, stores, the gym and many other places. These little pests are small, oval and brownish flightless insects about the size of an apple seed, which survive on human and animal blood. Bed bugs can live more than 300 days under the normal temperatures they live in and with adequate food supply. Female bed bugs can actually lay one to five bed bug eggs each day, amounting to a total of about 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. In order to stop the infestation, not only the bed bugs have to be eliminated but also the bed bug eggs. A few steps must be done in order to stop the infestation.

          Controlling Bed bugs and Bed Bug eggs

          The initial step in controlling and treating bed bug infestation is to clean up all the areas where bed bugs are live and where bed bug eggs are laid. As soon as you see a bed bug or bed bug eggs, rubbing alcohol may be sprayed on it to instantly kill these pests. Call the pest control as this may already be a sign of infestation. You can start with controlling the infestation by cleaning all beddings, clothing, linens and rugs. These items must be washed with soap and hot water then dried in the hottest drier setting allowed for the fabric, for about 30 minutes. For items that can not be laundered, killing bed bugs and bed bug eggs is possible by placing those items in a plastic bag and heating under the sun.

          Next step is to scrub the mattress and carpets to remove bed bugs and bed bug eggs prior to vacuuming. After scrubbing, vacuuming all these frequently including other areas where they live will help remove these pests. After vacuuming, the vacuum bags must be disposed of by placing it in a plastic bag then throwing it on the garbage outside the home. If the mattress is infested, it is probably best to get a new one. However there’s an option to save the mattress by enclosing it and boxy springs with a tightly woven cover to prevent bed bugs from entering or for missed bed bugs from escaping. This cover must be kept on for at least a year to ensure that all remaining bed bugs and bed bug eggs are dead.

          Next step is to repair cracks in the house with plaster and to glue down loose or peeling wallpapers to prevent bed bugs from harboring in those areas.

          Extermination

          While cleaning the infested areas, using pesticides are usually required in eliminating bed bugs and bed bug eggs. However, care should be taken in using pesticides due to the harmful and toxic chemicals. It is best to use pesticides which are safe for use on bedroom and other areas. Pesticides should indicate whether it is safe in treating mattresses and beddings from bed bug infestations.

          Generally, the best option is to seek a professional pest control help. They are experienced in finding where bed bugs are hiding and where bed bug eggs are laid; they also have pest management tools at their disposal. Assisting the pest control professional is essential by allowing access to all areas of the home for inspection and treatment. Clutter may need to be discarded during pest extermination.

          Preventing Bed Bug Infestation

          Cleaning and inspecting the home regularly will help prevent the infestation from coming back. When travelling, it is best to examine the places you go to for signs of bed bugs or bed bug eggs and avoid those places and keep the luggage of the floor. Prior to coming back home, inspecting the own body and the luggage is essential and upon returning home, all clothes worn and clothes inside the luggage must be washed in hot water and dried under the hottest cycle allowed for the fabric.

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          Got bed bugs?Here are 10 products that can help you get rid of and prevent them.

          Bedbugs

          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.

          Continued

          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.

          Bedbug Treatments

          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.

          Continued

          Bedbug Extermination

          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.

          Sources

          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."

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