How Are Bed Bugs Made

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 Do You Get Bed Bugs

          By DoMyOwn staff

          How do people get Bed bugs in the first place? To some it seems like they just magically appear, and people are often left scratching their heads (and other areas…), confused and frustrated that they’ve wound up with a bed full of bugs. However, it is no mystery how bed bugs are spread from place to place; humans have helped spread bed bug infestations for hundreds of years.

          How Bed Bugs Spread

          The incorrect assumption is that dirty locations attract bed bugs and house bed bug populations. Although most dirty locations do attract a host of nasty insects that spread germs and contaminate areas, bed bugs are pleased with clean or dirty.

          Bed bugs are able to spread via human travel and movement. The unique flattened and small round shaped of the bed bug allows them to hide just about anywhere they can squeeze.

          They hitch rides onto the fabrics of furniture, mattresses, luggage, clothing, etc., where they ride until they find a suitable host area, like your bedroom. This is where bed bugs can establish populations, which they can accomplish fairly quickly.

          Where You Can Get Bed Bugs

          Bed bugs are most often found in homes, apartment buildings, college dormitories, and hotels, which are all places with consistent hosts at rest for bed bugs to feed. But bed bugs have also been found in daycares, movie theatres, and even city buses; these places generally don’t have large established populations, but bed bugs can be picked up and transferred from people resting in these areas. Since people are constantly rotating in these spaces, bed bugs can be deposited and picked up on clothing, bags, and purses and taken home.

          Bed bugs hiding in furniture, mattresses, and other items you might bring into your home is another common way of picking up these little hitchhikers.

          Since bed bugs are hitchhikers, they travel commonly by luggage. Hotels and motels, no matter how clean or shining the reputation, can be susceptible to bed bug infestations. This is one of the most common ways people get bed bugs, when the bed bugs hitch a ride back to the traveler’s home.

          Steps to Prevent Getting Bed bugs

          • Never bring in upholstered furniture, bed frames, mattresses, or box springs found on the street into your home.
          • Check all borrowed, rented, or second-hand furniture for bed bugs before you bring them into your home. Check all cracks and crevices, even in wooden furniture.
          • The best way to prevent the spreading of bed bugs when traveling is to check the rooms before you stay in hotels. The nicest and cleanest hotels can be infested. Don’t place luggage on the ground, and inspect mattress, box spring, headboard, etc., for bedbugs before spending a night in your room.
          • If you suspect you’ve been around bed bugs, inspect your clothing and any items you had with you before entering your home. If bedbugs are found, launder items immediately or place in plastic bags until further treatment can be carried out with products like Sterifab.
          • Even if you don’t have bedbugs, seal cracks and crevices in your bedroom with caulk. Door and window frames, baseboards, floorboards, etc., should all be sealed to eliminate bed bug hiding spots. You can even seal cracks and crevices in bedroom furniture. Consider using a bed bug mattress cover, a box spring encasement, and even bed bug pillow covers to prevent bed bugs from taking residence in these items.
          • To do your part in preventing the spread of bed bugs, if you have to throw away any infested items, make sure to cover them in plastic if possible. Always place signs on the items stating that the items are infested in bed bugs. Never donate infested items.

          If you already have a Bed bug infestation, read our article: How to Get Rid of Bed bugs

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          The Most Bed Bug Infested Cities in the USA – See How Bad It Is

          The bed bug infestation which we thought was over post the Second World War era has actually made resurgence in the 1990s. Today, bed bug cities are a national problem in the United States. The bugs are everywhere: in five star hotels, movie halls, clothing centers and even our daycares and schools. Nearly 95% of pest control management agencies in the country claim to have encountered a bed bug issue.

          Bed Bugs: You can run but you cannot hide

          When it comes to bed bugs (known asCimex Lectularius), the problem istwofold– not only are they extremely difficult to get rid of; the failure to take necessary safety precautions eases their spread them from one city to another. Hapless travelers are at the greatest risk as they encounter bed bugs in hotels and in airplanes and end up bringing them home through their luggage.

          According to a survey conducted byNational Pest Management Association(with inputs from entomologists at The University of Kentucky), the number of bed bug cities in America in this decade are up by 10% as compared to the previous decade and by 25% a decade before that.

          It is not only America that is suffering from bed bug infestations: even cities in Australia, United Kingdom, Europe and Africa are also facing them. Many of the pest control operators in these countries also believe that bed bugs are the hardest to get rid of than any other bugs.

          According to expert pest management researcher, Clive Boase (who has conducted many pest surveys in United Kingdom), the early 1930s had actually seen a significant reduction in the bed bug issues since more National Housing Schemes came to be implemented; additionally, the home inspection rules for checking for vermin were also made more stringent. Similarly, the United States also enjoyed a brief period in the 1940s where there was significant reduction in these pests. This was mainly due to widespread use of DDT based insecticides. However, the same is not true in this era; the use of chemical control is not feasible for widespread use mainly due to higher costs; additionally, the bed bugs themselves are getting more and more resistant to such insecticides.

          The rise of bed bug cities is encouraging Governments to rethink their insecticides. However,three factorshave to be considered before one can actually create a new line of insecticides:

          • They should be safe for use around pets and children.
          • They must be effective in killing bed bugs.
          • They should be economical.

          Even DDT, which was effective in the earlier half of the 20 th century, is now no longer effective in killing bed bugs, as resistant strains of bed bugs have been seen in Hawaii, Japan and Korea as well as in Israel, and Iran.

          Top 10 Bed Bug Infested Cities in the United States

          A survey conducted by a reputed pest management company in 2013 has yielded the following list of bed bug cities in North America:

          1. Cincinnati
          2. Philadelphia
          3. Detroit
          4. New York
          5. Columbus
          6. Los Angeles
          7. Dallas
          8. Chicago
          9. Houston
          10. Baltimore

          In addition to these bed bug cities, the following cities in US have also reported an increase in number of bed bug complaints as compared to the year 2012:

          1. Sacrament- An increase of nearly 54%
          2. Milwaukee- Nearly 53%
          3. Las Vegas- 50%
          4. Columbus- 47%
          5. Baltimore- 46%
          6. San Bernardino- 41%
          7. Louis- 40%
          8. Cleveland- 36%
          9. Louisville- 31%
          10. Denver- 28%

          What time of the year are bedbugs most common?

          In the bed bug cities mentioned above, nearly 49% reported an increase in the number of complaints in warmer months. However, in remaining 51% bed bug cities, the problem was reported throughout the year.

          Where are bedbugs seen in the bed bug cities?

          Bed bugs are more common in residential dwellings but they are also being reported in schools, offices and shops. Movie theatres are also not spared. Nearly 9 out of 10 pest control professionals report treating single family homes, condominiums and rental apartments.

          Here are further statistics regarding bed bug cities in United States:

          • Nearly 75% of infestations are also seen in hotels and motels.
          • 47% of college dormitories reported an infestation.
          • 46% of nursing homes had increases infestations as compared to 2011.
          • Office buildings and schools reported 36% and 41% infestations.
          • Public transport and libraries came in last with 21% and 12% infestations across the country respectively.

          Bed Bug Infestation: A bit of good news

          A bit of good news in these reports is that the compared to data received in 2011 and 2012, the year 2013 actually saw adecreasein number of bed bug infestations inmovie theatreswhich was down by 10%.Airlinesalso reported fewer infestations, (nearly by 2%) andretailstoreswere down by 21% as compared to 2011.

          Why are detection methods not as effective as they were?

          Researchers believe that we have more bed bug cities in USA today than ever due to the fact that the bugs have developed genes that help them produce anti-pesticidal substances. Moreover, simply visual observation for detecting bed bugs is no longer reliable; pest control companies are therefore encouraging consumers to use active monitoring traps and pitfalls to detect bed bug presence.

          It is an Epidemic

          The rise in number of bed bug cities is showing that America is in the midst of a bed bug epidemic. It is therefore essential that complete removal of bed bugs is done using Integrated Pest Management systems that include heat treatment, the use of right products and continuous monitoring. Only this can help prevent infestations so we can reclaim our bed bug cities back.

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

          Bed bug bites: Have you been bitten? Five signs to look for and how to get rid of them

          BED bugs bites can cause great irritation, but unless you spot an infestation and get rid of them, the problem will keep occurring. Because bed bugs are difficult to spot, the best way to identify you have a problem is by looking at your bites. There are five signs to look for.

          Bed bug bites are small insects that live in the cracks and crevices in and around beds.

          They can be difficult to spot for a number of reasons – one being that they crawl out at night and bite exposed skin.

          Bed bugs are also very small, with adult bedbugs only growing up to 5mm long – a similar size to an apple seed.

          One of the best indicators you have bed bugs is to distinguish the bites. The NHS lists five signs that show you’ve been bitten.

          Related articles

          Bed bug bites are small insects that live in the cracks and crevices in and around beds

          The first, is the bites can cause itchy red bumps not he skin.

          Secondly, they usually occur on exposed areas such as the face, neck, hands or arms.

          Thirdly, they often occur in lines across the skin.

          The fourth sign is they may cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters in more severe cases.

          Finally, bed bug bites can become infected with bacteria if scratched. Signs of infection when this happens include pain, increasing redness and swelling.

          The health body adds: “The bites usually fade in a few days. If they’re very itchy, you can buy a mild steroid cream (such as hydrocortisone) or antihistamine tablets to relieve the itch.

          Bed bug bites: How do you know if you’ve been bitten? (Image: GETTY)

          “See your GP if you develop signs of a skin infection, including pain, redness and swelling, as you may need antibiotics.”

          You can try and spot the presence of bed bugs in your bed. You may be able to spot the small bugs or tiny white eggs. A bright torch can help with this.

          Tiny black spots on your mattress may also be apparent – this could be their dried poo – or you may spot blood spots on your sheets if a bug has been squashed after it’s fed.

          An unpleasant, musty smell in your bedroom can also indicate an infestation.

          Related articles

          Bed bug bites: Also look out for tiny white eggs on your mattress (Image: GETTY)

          Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

          Bed bugs: What are bed bugs? How to spot an infestation and how to get rid of them.

          Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

          First, wash infested clothes or bed linen at 60C or put them in a dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes.

          Next, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose to suck up any bugs you can see. Proceed to dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner in a sealed bag.

          Consider throwing away any mattress or furniture that’s heavily infested.

          Use plastic mattress covers that encase the entire mattress – this will stop any bed bugs getting in or out.

          If you’re looking to prevent bed bug infestations, make sure to inspect your mattress and bed regularly for signs of an infestation and get professional advice if you think you have bed bugs.

          Avoid buying second-hand mattresses and carefully inspect second-hand furniture before bringing it in your home.

          Finally, keep your bedroom tidy and remove clutter.

          Horsefly bites have also been common this year. The bites are painful and itchy, but there are five other signs you may have been bitten.

          Bedbugs

          What should you know about bedbugs?

          Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. The effect of bedbugs on human health and reports of bedbug infestations of certain hotels has received media attention in recent years.

          How big are bedbugs?

          Bedbugs do not fly. Adult bedbugs are 5-7 mm in length.

          Where do bedbugs live?

          Bedbugs are pests that can live anywhere in the home. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture. Bedbug infestations are most common in beds, including the mattress, box springs, and bed frames. Bedbugs are most active at night. These pests may bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Common locations for bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands, and arms.

          Are bedbug bites painful?

          A bedbug bite is painless and is generally not noticed. The bites may be mistaken for a rash of another cause. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itching.

          How do you know if you have bedbugs?

          Fecal stains or rust-colored dark spots, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) of bedbugs in crevices and cracks on or near beds are suggestive of infestations, but only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation. A professional pest-control company may be required to help identify and remove bedbugs from the home.

          What home remedies and medications treat and get rid of bedbugs?

          Home remedies for bedbug bites include measures to control itching, such as oatmeal baths or cool compresses. Typically, no treatment is required for bedbug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief.

          Picture of Bedbug Bites

          The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites, unlike some other insects that leave bites here and there.

          Bedbugs do not seem to spread disease to people. But itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily.

          What are bedbugs? What do bedbugs look like?

          Bedbugs are small oval-shaped non-flying insects that belong to the insect familyCimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bedbugs reach 5 mm-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals.Cimex lectulariusis the scientific name for bedbugs.

          Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, appearing engorged and more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are light-colored and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bedbugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly. However, they are able to crawl rapidly.

          Temperatures between 70 F-80 F are most favorable for bedbugs, allowing them to develop into adults most rapidly and produce up to three generations per year.

          Where are bedbugs found?

          Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

          Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

          Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

          SLIDESHOW

          Are bedbugs found in hotels?

          Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

          Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. Bedbugs tend to be most common in areas where people;

          • sleep,
          • they usually concentrate in beds, including;
          • mattresses or mattress covers,
          • box springs and bed frames,
          • matttress seams and cracks,
          • curtains,
          • edges of carpet,
          • corners inside dressers and other furniture,
          • cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed),
        • recently used suitcases, bags, and other things that you have taken outside of your home, and
        • inside the spaces of wicker furniture.
        • They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items

          Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bedbugs and their health effects (even in upscale five-star hotels), and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests of fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bedbug bites covering their skin. Searching on travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bedbugs in numerous hotels.

          Since bedbugs can arrive on the clothing or in the suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels harboring the pests, hotels can be an easy target for bedbug infestations.

          In addition to hotels, bedbug infestations have been found in;

          edbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

          Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

          Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

          How do bedbugs spread?

          Bedbugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also hide in boxes, suitcases, or other items that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bedbugs can live on clothing from home infestations and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.

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