Bed Bugs How To Get Rid Of It

Bedbugs

Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.

Check if it’s bedbugs

Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Signs of bedbugs include:

  • bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
  • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
  • small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)

Bedbug bites can be red and itchy. They’re often in a line or cluster.

Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo

Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.

How you can treat bedbug bites

Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.

Things you can do include:

  • putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
  • keeping the affected area clean
  • not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
  • antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
  • the redness around the bites is spreading

You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.

Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP

It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

How to get rid of bedbugs

contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides

wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes

put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)

clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early

do not keep clutter around your bed

do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first

do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs

Page last reviewed: 21 January 2019
Next review due: 21 January 2022

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.

          For additional information, please see : The following links exit the site Exit

          Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem.

          11 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Naturally

          • Share
          • Tweet
          • Pin It

          Remedies To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

          Bed bugs are a nightmare. While commercially available repellents can take care of them, they will cause some serious damage to our health, too. It is best to try some natural bed bug repellents like essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil or citronella. Other bed bug eliminators include kidney bean leaves, thyme, clove and diatomaceous earth.

          Bed bugs are parasites that belong to the cimicid family. They are small, oval, brownish insects that feed exclusively on blood. While there are quite a few parasites of the cimicid family that feeds on animal blood, thecimex lectularius, the common bedbug, is the famous one as it prefers feeding on human blood. While an adult bed bug has a flat body, and looks pretty much like an apple seed, after feeding, its body swells and also turns a reddish color. Bed bugs usually feed on their hosts quite unnoticed.

          Though bed bugs are believed to be more active during the night, they are not nocturnal creatures. A female bedbug can lay hundreds of eggs in its lifetime. These eggs are usually the size of a speck of dust and can be brought into your house along with adults, via luggage, used furniture, used beds, clothing, etc. Bed bugs cannot fly. However, they can move quite quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings.

          While some adverse health conditions may be caused as a result of bed bug bites, like skin rashes, allergic symptoms, and even psychological problems, bed bugs are unknown to transmit any disease pathogens. 1

          Is Your House Infested?

          One of the most evident signs of bed bug infestation is finding itchy areas on your body when you wake up after a sleep. These itchy areas may also present as small red bumps. Small blood stains on your sheets or pillow cases, bed bug excrement on the bed and bed linen or walls, egg shells or shed skins in areas where bed bugs usually hide, and sometimes even a musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands are some other giveaways to a bed bug infestation.

          Since bed bugs have flattened bodies, it makes it easy for them to hide in the tiniest of spaces, like mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. Though bed bugs do not have nests, they tend to live in groups. Over time, they tend to scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location, and even to adjoining rooms.

          If you suspect that you may have a bed bug infestation, remove all bedding and dust covers and blankets, box springs etc. and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. You must also check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones, radios, carpet edges, and even electrical outlets.

          Ways To Exterminate Bed Bugs

          Once you have identified a bed bug infestation in your house, it is understandable that you want to jump right in and eliminate them. But this will be a long, drawn-out battle, and there is nothing like patience and preparation to win it.

          Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. Now, this is not an easy task as it includes washing and drying bedding, linens, curtains, clothing, etc. in hot water and then meticulously checking that it is indeed bed-bug free. The cleaning up process also calls for some heavy-duty vacuuming. The entire house, furniture, linens, furnishings etc. need to be regularly vacuumed. After each vacuuming session, ensure you remove the vacuum cleaner bag into another plastic bag and place it in the garbage bin outside the house.

          Another way to get rid of these bugs is to freeze them. Although bed bugs can live for up to a year in a cool room, they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. Freezing infested items for at least two hours at -17°C should kill them off.

          Like cold, steam too can help get rid of bed bugs. Steam can penetrate mattress linings, crevices and cracks effectively and efficiently. Steam cleaning infested items and rooms at about 140°F (60°C) can destroy bugs as well as their eggs without damaging the surroundings. 2

          Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

          You can also try out some natural insecticides to get rid of the bed bugs and their eggs. In this regard, plant essential oils have gained importance as a significant natural source of pesticides. They represent a market estimated at $700 million. The total production of essential oils in the world is estimated to be around 45000 tons. 3 Most essential oils affect the inner cell membranes of insects, causing cytotoxic effects. It is this property that proves beneficial when tackling any kind of bug or insect infestation. 4 And while the essential oils are toxic to the bugs, they are safe for humans. Here we look at some essential oil based natural insecticides as well as some other less harmful repellents to help get rid of bed bugs.

          1. Tea Tree Oil Spray

          Studies show that tea tree oil is an effective insecticidal. The essential oil of tea tree effectively disrupts the permeability barrier of cell membrane structures, thus resulting in the loss of chemiosmotic control and fatality. It is this membrane-damaging property of tea tree oil that makes it an effective natural insecticide in fighting bed bugs. You can use the homemade spray in hard-to-reach places, like cracks, crevices, and furniture joints. 5

          To Use:To make a natural insecticide with tea tree oil, mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil with 50 ml of water. Pour it into a spray bottle and shake well. Spray liberal amounts of the natural insecticide in all areas where you think bed bugs are living. Use this application daily until all the signs of bed bugs have disappeared. Remember to shake well before each application.

          2. Lavender Oil

          Like tea tree oil, lavender essential oil can also be used as an effective natural insecticide to kill bed bugs. Lavender oil is also believed to destroy bed bug eggs as well. It is also said that it is the smell of lavender that kills the bugs. \However, the oil probably acts as a cytotoxin and thus kills the bed bugs. 6

          To Use:To make a spray, mix 10–15 drops of lavender oil with 50 ml water. Shake well, pour into a spray bottle and use in areas where the infestation is seen. You can also use lavender soap or powder as a spray. Another method is to place fresh lavender leaves or flowers in and around the infested areas to get rid of the bed bugs.

          A combination of lavender oil and peppermint oil was also found to be highly beneficial in exterminating bed bugs. 7

          To Use:Add 10–15 drops of lavender essential oil and 10–15 drops of peppermint oil into a spray bottle. Fill it with water. Then shake well and spray in affected areas.

          3. Citronella Spray

          Citronella, or lemongrass as it is more commonly known, is another essential oil that can repel and kill bed bugs as well as its eggs. Citronella oil is believed to increase the acidic condition within the bugs, thus effectively eliminating it. Like lavender, the smell of citronella is also believed to help get rid of bed bugs. 8

          To Use:Add 10 drops of citronella oil to a small bowl of water. Pour it into a spray bottle, shake thoroughly, and spray in affected areas to get best results.

          4. Eucalyptus Oil Spray

          The evergreen, mighty trees of the eucalyptus can be seen in most places across the world. The essential oil found in its foliage is widely used in food, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, etc. It is also used extensively as an insect repellent. Eucalyptus is believed to exhibit ovicidal activity, as well as insect repellency against bacteria, fungi, insects, weeds, nematodes, and mites. 9

          To Use:To make the spray, take two ounces of water, 1.5 ounces of witch hazel or vodka and 30 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Pour all this into a spray bottle and shake well to mix it. Then spray the solution on the affected areas. Repeat the spraying every two hours of so.

          5. Essential Oils Of Orange

          Orange oil contains d-limonene which is classified as an insecticide. This is a nerve toxin which kills the bugs and insects within minutes of contact. 10

          To Use:Make a spray solution by mixing 1 cup of compost tea, 1 ounce of blackstrap molasses and 2 ounces of orange essential oil in 4 liters of water. Mix all this together well and spray in the affected areas.

          6. Neem Oil

          For generations, neem oil has been used for various medicinal and insecticidal properties. The tree, the leaf, the seeds are all used for medicinal purposes with beneficial results. Studies show that neem oil, especially cold pressed neem oil, has high toxicity, and antifeedancy and can repel a number of pests. 11 It was also shown to have high larval growth inhibition properties. 12

          To Use:To make a spray solution, add 1 ounce of concentrated neem essential oil to 4 ounces of water. Add ½ teaspoon of soap in order to emulsify the solution. Mix it well. Then spray and wipe down beds, sheets, walls, crevices and all other potential bed bug hiding places. Do this three times a day for the first three days. Then shift to treating your home every alternate day for a total of 18 days.

          7. Sweet Flag

          Sweet flag oracorus calamus, is an uncommon, semi-aquatic, perennial plant found in Eurasia and the Americas. Valued for its rhizome and fragrant oils, this plant has been used medicinally as well as for its insecticidal properties, since time immemorial. Recent studies have also revealed that the sweet plant possesses antifungal and antibacterial properties. 13 The antimicrobial property makes the sweet flag effective against bed bugs.

          To Use:To make a spray, boil 100 grams of sweet flag and 50 grams of turmeric powder in one liter of water. Boil this for an hour. Then keep the solution in a closed container for 24 hours. The next day, filter and dilute the solution in 10 times the water. Transfer to a spray bottle and spray lavishly in affected areas and its surroundings.

          8. Bean Leaves

          Did you just think “folk lore” when you read the word kidney beans? Well, push that thought aside. Studies have shown that the leaves have microscopic hairs called trichomes on its surface that entangle the bugs onto it, literally stopping them in their tracks. Unlike a Velcro effect, the trichomes actually get hooked onto bugs’ legs, trapping them. 14

          To Use:Scatter kidney bean leaves all over the house, especially in infested areas. You can also place the leaves under mattresses. You can either wait for a couple of days before getting rid of these leaves or opt to use fresh leaves every day for a few days. Since the bugs are stuck on the leaves, getting rid of the leaves will ensure the bugs never return.

          9. Thyme

          Thyme oil or thymol concentrate are effective bed bug repellents. They are also shown to be effective deterrents for egg laying by mites. 15

          To Use:You can tie a thyme stick with a cotton cloth and burn it near the infested area, or in the infested room. Alternatively, place thyme leaves in net bags and place them in and around the infested areas. Remember to replace these bags with fresh leaves every third day. Continue the process for up to a month to ensure all bed bugs have been killed.

          10. Clove

          Like most other essential oils, clove oil too possesses insecticidal and insect repellent properties. It is believed that the acidic pH of cloves, as well as its pungent smell, disturbs the survival of the bugs, thus destroying them. 16

          To Use:Mix 1 teaspoon clove essential oil with 1 cup water. Pour into a spray bottle, shake well, and spray in affected areas.

          11. Diatomaceous Earth

          Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a non-toxic insecticide that is used for the protection of stored products and to control pests in the home and garden. It is a natural product that harms neither the earth nor people. It can be conveniently used in any space, even crevices on walls and other inaccessible regions. DE comes as a fine crystalline powder. Fine for the human eye, but the crystals trap and tear up the bed bugs. 17

          To Use:Spray or sprinkle food grade DE on the bed, the floor, the crevices, and other areas where bugs are likely to hide. Let it stay for up to three days. After three days, vacuum or broom up the entire house.
          Some other products that work effectively against bed bugs are baking powder and boric powder. While boric powder is toxic, baking powder is harmless for humans.

          Also, remember that most essential oils should be effective in getting rid of bed bugs. This is because, as mentioned, the oils function as cytotoxins, destroying the membranes of the bugs. So, go ahead, get started on ridding your home and hearth of those pesky blood suckers.

          1.Bai, Xiaodong, Praveen Mamidala, Swapna P. Rajarapu, Susan C. Jones, and Omprakash Mittapalli. “Transcriptomics of the bed bug (Cimex lectularius).” PloS one 6, no. 1 (2011): e16336.
          2.Benoit, J. B., G. Lopez‐Martinez, N. M. Teets, S. A. Phillips, and D. L. Denlinger. “Responses of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, to temperature extremes and dehydration: levels of tolerance, rapid cold hardening and expression of heat shock proteins.” Medical and veterinary entomology 23, no. 4 (2009): 418-425.
          3.Tripathi, Arun K., Shikha Upadhyay, Mantu Bhuiyan, and P. R. Bhattacharya. “A review on prospects of essential oils as biopesticide in insect-pest management.” Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy 1, no. 5 (2009): 052-063.
          4.Bakkali, Fadil, Simone Averbeck, Dietrich Averbeck, and Mouhamed Idaomar. “Biological effects of essential oils–a review.” Food and chemical toxicology 46, no. 2 (2008): 446-475.
          5.Cox, S. D., C. M. Mann, J. L. Markham, H. C. Bell, J. E. Gustafson, J. R. Warmington, and S. G. Wyllie. “The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil).” Journal of applied microbiology 88, no. 1 (2000): 170-175.
          6, 8.Watson, Anthony C. “Method of treating bed bug infestation and preventing transmission thereof.” U.S. Patent Application 14/753,825, filed June 29, 2015.
          7.Singh, Narinderpal, Changlu Wang, and Richard Cooper. “Potential of essential oil-based pesticides and detergents for bed bug control.” Journal of economic entomology 107, no. 6 (2014): 2163-2170.
          9.Batish, Daizy R., Harminder Pal Singh, Ravinder Kumar Kohli, and Shalinder Kaur. “Eucalyptus essential oil as a natural pesticide.” Forest Ecology and Management 256, no. 12 (2008): 2166-2174.
          10.Hink, W. F., and B. J. Feel. “Toxicity of D-limonene, the major component of citrus peel oil, to all life stages of the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae).” Journal of medical entomology 23, no. 4 (1986): 400-404.
          11.Benelli, Giovanni, Stefano Bedini, Francesca Cosci, Chiara Toniolo, Barbara Conti, and Marcello Nicoletti. “Larvicidal and ovideterrent properties of neem oil and fractions against the filariasis vector Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae): a bioactivity survey across production sites.” Parasitology research 114, no. 1 (2015): 227-236.
          12.Isman, Murray B., Opender Koul, Anna Luczynski, and Jerzy Kaminski. “Insecticidal and antifeedant bioactivities of neem oils and their relationship to azadirachtin content.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 38, no. 6 (1990): 1406-1411.
          13.Motley, Timothy J. “The ethnobotany of sweet flag, Acorus calamus (Araceae).” Economic Botany 48, no. 4 (1994): 397-412.
          14.Szyndler, Megan W., Kenneth F. Haynes, Michael F. Potter, Robert M. Corn, and Catherine Loudon. “Entrapment of bed bugs by leaf trichomes inspires microfabrication of biomimetic surfaces.” Journal of The Royal Society Interface 10, no. 83 (2013): 20130174.
          15.El-Gengaihi, S. E., S. AA Amer, and S. M. Mohamed. “Biological activity of Thyme oil and Thymol againstTetranychus urticae Koch.” Anzeiger für Schädlingskunde 69, no. 7 (1996): 157-159.
          16.Chaieb, Kamel, Hafedh Hajlaoui, Tarek Zmantar, Amel Ben Kahla‐Nakbi, Mahmoud Rouabhia, Kacem Mahdouani, and Amina Bakhrouf. “The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review.” Phytotherapy research 21, no. 6 (2007): 501-506.
          17.Quarles, William. “Diatomaceous earth for pest control.” IPM practitioner 14, no. 5/6 (1992): 1-11.

          Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

          Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

          You take care of your house. You vacuum the rugs, clean the windows, and keep the bathrooms spotless. Guests visit, and they feel like a cleaning service makes daily trips to your house. Now imagine one morning you wake up to find that you have tiny bite marks on your body. Upon further inspection, you realize that there are small bugs in your bed. That’s right. Bed bugs.

          What do you do?

          Your first instinct might be to think that your house isn’t clean enough, but that may not be the case. Rest assured, bed bugs can come from several different places and are rarely a reflection of housekeeping skills. Here are some home remedies for bed bugs.

          How Do People Get Bed Bugs?

          Like most bugs, bed bugs come from outside the house. If you live in an apartment or any other shared living situation and have a bed bug infestation, it could be that they came from an adjoining apartment through cracks in the floors and walls.

          Pesticide foggers like bug bombs don’t get rid of bed bugs, but instead, displace them– they go searching for a new home. For that reason, you want to avoid using bug bombs to deal with the infestation. I

          f it makes you feel any better, if you live in a shared housing situation, it’s possible that your infestation is the result of one of your neighbors bug-bombing an infestation.

          Introducingused furnitureto your house is another way bed bugs find their way inside. Be wary of used furniture, especially upholstery. Check and treat any pieces of furniture carefully before bringing them into the house. Check used clothing and books as well.

          Even if it’s brand new, pay close attention to any furniture that has beenstored or transported in the back of a truck.

          Finally, if you stay somewhere with bed bugs, they can also hitch a ride on you, your family, or your guests, either via your clothing or in your luggage.

          How to Detect Bed Bugs

          Bites on your skinare the first sign of a bed bug infestation. If you have unexplained bug bites, especially first thing in the morning, you might want to start checking around for other signs of an infestation.

          Check your mattress for the visual signs of bed bugs. If you have them, you may see red or rust-colored stains, indicating crushed bed bugs.

          Signs of Bed Bugs

          • Red/RustyStains
          • BlackDots
          • EggShells
          • Tiny,Living Bugs

          You might also see tiny black dots, which are bed bug excrement, and egg shells (around 1mm, a pale yellow color) resulting from the bed bugs reproducing. Finally, you may see the bugs themselves walking around.

          Make sure you check every surface down to the box spring, and anything surrounding the bed as well. Check curtains, baseboards, behind wallpaper and even under the carpet. Bed bugs prefer fabric and wood to plastic and metal, so check any wooden furniture as well.

          If you suspect you have bed bugs, call a professional exterminator to confirm it for you.

          Bed Bugs and Your Health

          Bed bugs bite because they live on blood, either human or animal blood. They feed on your blood for about ten minutes, then swell and turn red. Their bites are painless but can become itchy, but unlike mosquitos, they are harmless and do not transmit diseases.

          However, if you scratch the bites, you can cause an infection. One characteristic of bed bug bites?

          They are numerous, and they have a tendency to appear in straight rows. If you seemultiple bites arranged in a straight line, there’s a good chance you’re looking at bed bug bites.

          How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

          The best way to get rid of a bed bug infestation is tocall an exterminator. They’ve dealt with bed bugs before and know how to do a thorough enough job to keep them from returning. An exterminator is your best bet, just to make sure you take care of the problem completely.

          However, there are some things you can do at home to get rid of bed bugs and to supplement a professional.

          Treating an Infestation

          Usehot waterto wash all clothes, linens and anything fabric that may have contacted the bugs. Heat will kill anything hiding in your linens. Use a dryer to dry everything as well, because a dryer will hit the bugs with a double dose of heat.

          Just make sure you pay attention to the tags on the fabric, as your linens may be dry clean only. Dry cleaning can also kill bed bugs, but make sure you inform the dry cleaner of the possible infestation.

          Treating an Infestation

          • WashAll Clothes, Fabric and Bedding With Hot Water
          • Vacuum
          • SteamYour Mattress and Box Spring

          Once you’ve given your bedding the heat treatment, follow up by vacuuming all areas of the infested room(s).Vacuuming will remove any bugs from the nooks and cranniesin which they may be hiding.

          Use a brush to loosen all bugs and eggs. Make sure you clean out your vacuum thoroughly afterward and dispose of any vacuum bags outside of the house. Use a steamer on things like your mattress and box spring. Steam will take care of remaining eggs.

          Finally,coveryour mattress, box spring, and pillow in a completely closed bug-proof cover. Sealing up your bedding with a cover ensures that anything left will not be able to escape or feed and will eventually starve. Starvation can take up to a year, however.

          Prevention

          Whether you’re looking to prevent bed bugs from re-infesting a room or looking to avoid one before it happens, there are a couple of things you can do. Start by making sure that your house isspotless.

          Messy rooms and improperly stored items create a lot of places for bed bugs to hide, so the less attractive your home to bed bugs, the less likely you are to experience an infestation.

          Preventing an Infestation

          • Clean Your House
          • Prevent Bed Bugs From Climbing Your Bed
          • Make a Habit of Cleaning
          • Inspect New Items for Bed Bugs

          Remove bridgesfrom the floor to the bed. Keep bed bugs out of bed by keeping blankets from dragging the floor, and don’t use the bed as storage for anything.

          Bed bug interceptors are relatively inexpensive and are placed under the feet of the bed, preventing bed bugs from reaching the legs and climbing to the bedding. Consider using them. Finally,prevention is ongoing. Clean often, checking for signs of a recurrence.

          The earlier you catch bed bugs, the easier they are to clean out. Inspect all used items that you introduce to the house. When staying in a new place, check that bed for bugs. When returning from a trip, clean everything you took, including your luggage.

          Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

          The best ways to get rid of bed bugs are pesticides, heat treatment, and thorough cleaning, but there are a few home remedies that might help.

          • Silica gel(the packets included in various products to ensure dryness) ground up and applied to affected areas will stick to the bugs and dehydrate them. Be very careful to avoid inhaling the silica gel, and it is probably best to avoid using it if you have pets or kids. Baking soda can also work for the same purpose.
          • Tea tree oilin your laundry and sprayed in affected areas will repel bed bugs, as well as lavender oil. Mix lavender oil with eucalyptus and rosemary oils and water to make a repellent spray.
          • Sprayingrubbing alcohol can kill some bugs on contact.
          • Scented dryer sheetstend to deter bed bugs. Placing a layer of them on your bed may keep them from visiting you.
          • Double-sided tape.Much like bed bug interceptors, double-sided tape prevents bed bugs from reaching your bed in the first place. Apply the tape to the underside of your bed near the legs and the bugs will get stuck on it. Just be sure to keep your blankets from touching the ground, or some of the bugs will be able to reach the bedding.

          Bed Bug Removal Recipe

          • Cayenne Pepper– 1 Tsp
          • Ground Ginger– 1 Tsp
          • Oregano Oil– 1 Tsp
          • Water– 1 Tsp

          You might have ingredients for this simple homemade bed bug repellent right in your kitchen. The strong smells of cayenne, ginger, and oregano repel bed bugs and other insects, too. If you know where the bed bugs are entering the room, use a mixture of cayenne pepper, ginger, and oregano oil to keep them away.

          Mix the ingredients in water, strain it, and use a spray bottle to apply the solution at entry points. Make spraying a regular habit, and you’ll prevent the bugs from entering. To keep other insects from getting into your home, spray doorways and windowsills.

          Sleep Well

          If you have bed bugs or are just worried about preventing an infestation, rest easy — there are plenty ofnatural bed bug repellentsand ways to kill bed bugs available.

          Bed bugs can happen to anyone and even if you keep a tidy home, random variables, like your neighbor setting off a bug bomb next door, mean that an infestation can happen anytime.

          In this article, you learned how to detect bed bugs, as well as a few home remedies for bed bugs, including how to repel bed bugs naturally.

          Do you have a friend struggling with a bed bug infestation? Use the buttons below to share to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

          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."

          Add Comments: