Bed Bugs How To 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.

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

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

          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.

          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."

          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.

          What Causes Bed Bugs & How to Get Rid of Them

          "Good night, sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite," is a popular sing-song rhyme we may remember from our childhoods, but recently has taken on a whole new meaning.

          As bed bug infestations have become an increasingly popular news topic in recent years, the formerly cute and funny jingle has become a real-life nightmare. From popular tourist cities like Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City topping the list of metropolitan areas with the highest bed bug infestations, to upscale hotels being uncovered as bed bug hot spots, it’s the unknown that scares people the most. And it’s a lot easier to avoid an infestation when you know what causes bed bugs in the first place.

          What do bed bugs look like?

          Adult bedbugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies. They have been compared to the size of an apple seed, or the eraser on a pencil. They appear a translucent brown in color but, turn red after feeding (that’s someone’s blood!) Newly hatched nymphs are roughly the size of a pinhead and are a white-tan color until they feed.

          How do you get bed bugs?

          Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers, and they don’t need much to survive. Bed bugs attach themselves to clothing, hide in luggage, and can even use pets as a form of transportation. They have been found on second-hand furniture, inside moving boxes, in office buildings, clothing stores, and on public transit. Bed bugs can live up to 300 days and can lay one to five eggs per day. The good news: bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, and all infestations are treatable with the help of a professional.

          How do you get rid of bed bugs?

          Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to eliminate a bed bug infestation without some seriously hard work. Of course, at Catseye, we recommend using trained professionals to put a stop to your bed bug problem quickly and permanently.

          We prefer to use the Cryonite method to treat and eliminate bed bugs. The Cryonite method is when liquid carbon dioxide is converted into dry-ice snow that is at a constant temperature of 110 degrees below zero. Cryonite freezes bed bugs in their tracks while also eliminating their eggs. We use Cryonite instead of heat, fumigation, or other techniques because it is eco-friendly, can better reach the tiny cracks and crevices where bed bugs like to hide and can be used to target specific areas in your home.

          Your mattresses, box springs, furniture, window and door frames, curtains and other areas where bed bugs could be hiding are treated with the Cryonite method for eliminating bed bug infestations. Any eggshells and shed skins will also be removed. We offer special mattress encasements to deter bed bugs from nesting in your mattress and box spring if you live in an area that is more susceptible to infestations, or just for personal peace of mind.

          Watch the video below to see exactly what bed bugs look like with an up-close view of the creepy crawlies.

          Add Comments: