How Long Bed Bug Eggs Hatch

Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs are nocturnal, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. These wingless insects have dorsoventrally flattened bodies that allow them to hide in areas such as floor cracks, carpets, beds and upholstered furniture.

A bed bug’s life begins with an egg, grain like and milky white in color. Female bed bugs lay between one and five eggs each day and may lie up to 500 eggs within one lifetime. Eggs are laid singly or in clusters and are placed within tight cracks or crevices. The egg is approximately 1 mm in length and is comparable in size to two grains of salt. Within two weeks, eggs hatch and immature bed bugs begin immediately to feed.

Nymphs

These young bed bugs, or nymphs, pass through five molts before reaching maturity. Although nymphs appear similar to adults, they are smaller in size and are not yet sexually mature. Young nymphs are also yellow-white in color, while older nymphs and adults are reddish-brown. In order to complete a molting stage, each nymph requires a blood meal. At room temperature, nymphs molt and become adults within five weeks.

Adults

Upon reaching maturity, bed bug adults often make weekly feedings.


Adult Bed Bug

How Long Do They Live?
The life span of a bed bug most commonly ranges from four to six months. However, some bed bugs may live up to a year under cool conditions and with no food.

Bed Bug Control

Cimex lectularius L.

Learn what Bed Bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a Bed Bug Infestation.

Find out how Bed Bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.

Learn about Bed Bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.

Learn how Orkin handles Bed Bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of Bed Bug extermination services.

Killing Bed Bug Eggs and Larvae Is Just as Important as Killing Adult Bed Bugs

I f you were dealing with just one bed bug, your battle would be easy and short-lived. Unless, of course, that bed bug were the size of your cat, or even of a tarantula.

But the real horror of bed bugs is that an infestation means you are fighting an entire, constantly reproducing, population.

You must learn how to kill bed bug eggs, or else, even when every unhatched bed bug has been eradicated, your efforts will be in vain. And if even a single impregnated female bed bug escapes, the infestation continues.

Read on to learn to identify bed bug eggs, bed bug larvae, and likely bed bug egg “hatch houses.” Find out how to kill the eggs before they hatch and become a mob of bloodthirsty little nymphs crawling atop your mattress at night.

Table of Contents

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Eggs and Larvae

Bed bug larvae will often be killed by the same insecticides or bed bug home remedies that kill adult bedbugs. However, the eggs will typically survive and will need treatment with a separate chemical or the same chemical, but about two weeks later when you can be sure all the eggs have hatched.

Thus, you really need to read all bug bomb or spray chemical claims very closely. Each chemical or natural insecticide is different, some killing off eggs and some not.

But, in reality, even though there are some anti bed bug treatments that kill some eggs, there really is no sure-fire chemical you can just buy and use to kill 100% of bed bug eggs for sure.

Thus, you have to use heat or apply anti bed bug measures two (or more times) at proper intervals. There really is no other way. That could mean calling in a professional exterminator, but not necessarily.

What Do Eggs Look Like?

Perhaps, you may be thinking, “How can I fight bed bug eggs? I wouldn’t know a bed bug egg from a grain of rice.” Well, in fact, they look very much like rice, only smaller.

Here are some features of bedbug eggs to help you identify them:

  • Grain-like shape.
  • Milky-white coloration.
  • About one millimeter long.
  • You’ll find one or a small cluster at a time.

Bed Bug Eggs and 1st Instar Nymph

But where will you find the eggs? Typically, there are hidden away (smart bugs) in inaccessible cracks and crevices. But, you may find some on your clothes, on pillows, on bed sheets, or on your mattress or box spring. It just varies.

How Long Does It Take for the Eggs to Hatch?

It normally takes less than two weeks for newly laid bed bug eggs to hatch. Six to 10 days is a good estimate, but it can vary based on temperature and other conditions in the environment (and “environment” here means “your bedroom!)

Females will lay only between 1 and 5 eggs at a time, but they can lay up to five hundred eggs in a lifetime and lay them nearly every day!

The Lifecycle of the Common Bed Bug

Bed Bug Life Cycle
4 Weeks – 5 Months Depending on Conditions

Upon hatching, bed bug “nymphs, ” as they’re called, immediately head out looking for blood. Nymphs then molt and go through several stages, leaving casing behind on your mattress or in your carpeting (besides fecal stains, which is digested blood poop. Yuck.)

No stage in the bedbug life cycle has wings, and you are always dealing with flat-bodied insects. The young ones are more transparent, except after a blood meal. The older ones actually change body shape, becoming long instead of circular, after the gorge themselves on blood.

Bed bugs start 1.5 mm long but get up to 9 millimeters at full bed bug maturity. But they always remain immature “mentally” and keep on biting you and drinking your blood, from the moment they hatch to the bitter end.

Can I See the Eggs?

Bedbug eggs are hard to find and hard to see, but they are not impossible to see nor even microscopic.

If you look very closely and carefully on your mattress, clothing, pillow, or any infested area, you may well spot some eggs. But you need not see the eggs to know they must be there and to take drastic action to destroy them. After all, wherever there are bed bugs, bed bug eggs are not far off.

Can Bed Bugs Lay Their Eggs in Your Skin?

Bed bugs are nasty parasites, but they do not live inside of people or under their skin, nor is that where they lay their eggs.

You may have spied bed bugs in your hair and found bites on your face and neck. You may have sores on your ankles or legs or arms where they bit you. But you need not worry about bed bugs hatching inside of you. That’s one thing, at least, you can be thankful for.

They can, however, lay eggs on your clothes. Click the link to learn how to get rid of bed bugs in your clothes.

What Kills

Again, there are many things that will kill some bed bug eggs, but nothing known to man will kill all of them. And you couldn’t be sure the treatment would even touch them all (hidden in crevices as they are) even if you could know it would kill every egg it touched.

That said, here are two ways, besides pesticides that list egg-death as one of their virtues, that you can kill a “whole lot of eggs:” diatomaceous earth (DE) and rubbing alcohol. Read more about these remedies just below.

Yes, if you douse bed bug eggs with DE (diatomaceous earth), they will die and not hatch, at least most of the time. And DE will kill off larvae, nymphs, juveniles, and adult bedbugs too, even if not always immediately.

Here are some of the virtues of DE in your fight against bed bugs and their grainy eggs:

  • DE in a line creates a barrier that bed bugs will tend to avoid crossing, keeping them from laying eggs on the other side.
  • DE is non-toxic and all-natural. It is the discarded shells of tiny sea creatures called diatoms (think the white cliffs of Dover here) and is not earth at all.
  • DE will cut into delicate bedbug shells and either kill them right away or gradually dehydrate them over a period of up to one or two weeks at most. It will kill the eggs too.
  • No bed bug or egg can develop a resistance to DE. It always works.

But don’t get pool-grade DE or DE mixed in with pesticides. Read the “ingredients.” It should say you are just buying plain old diatomaceous earth and that it is meant for use on pests. And wear a mask when applying DE to avoid breathing it in.

Rubbing Alcohol

Yes, rubbing alcohol will kill at least most of your bed bug eggs, if it can contact them.

  1. Rub it on your legs and arms and the back of your neck before you sleep to deter bugs.
  2. Spray it on your mattress and box spring.
  3. Spray it under your bed on the carpet and along the baseboard of your bedroom.

This is a cheap, common product, and it can be a key player in your attempt to kill bed bug eggs and eradicate the population. But don’t use it alone. Make it a part of a bigger, broader bed bug action plan.

What Should I Do With Eggs on Clothing?

There may be bedbug eggs on your clothes. It’s possible, especially if you leave them lying on the carpet all day. But even in the laundry bin, they’re not immune.

Bed bug eggs can be killed by washing then drying your clothes. The dryer is what really gets them more than the washer, but who dries clothes without first washing them? You will need medium-high or more as the temperature setting to kill the eggs (at 118ºF), but that depends on your dryer.

What temperature can kill the eggs? Bedbugs die in heat. Eggs, nymphs, adults, all stages die, every last one of them. That’s why professionals with expensive high-powered equipment rely heavily on heat treatment to cure bed bug infestations.

Heat your home’s interior or a particular room to 118ºF for about 70 minutes, and all the bed bugs, both hatched and unhatched, will be destroyed.

That doesn’t mean they can’t come back, though, if your pet is bringing them in. So eliminate the source before doing a heat treatment.

Steam Treatment

Steam, if hot enough, can also kill bedbugs. Steam treatment can be used on mattress seams or anywhere bed bugs may be hiding. It can kill off their eggs as well.

You would need special equipment to kill bed bug eggs by steam-power, however, so this would likely be a job for professionals. But you can find out the best steam cleaner for bed bugs in this article.

In sum, note that what kills bedbugs generally also kills their eggs. DE and rubbing alcohol are two good tools, but insecticides or heat treatment can also be effective.

It’s not absolutely necessary to call in a pro to kill off bed bug eggs, but if you are going to do it by heat or steam treatment, that’s likely where you’re going with it.

Remember that killing bedbugs is only a temporary fix. Killing them and their eggs win the war permanently, barring a new “invasion.”

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

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How Long Does It Take Bed Bugs Eggs to Hatch?

Bed bugs are quick breeders. Their numbers can increase rapidly in a number of weeks and their eggs are hardy and resilient. Once they have been laid, it doesn’t take long for the next generation of bed bugs to spring to life.

Basics of Bed Bug Eggs

Female bed bugs are only capable of laying eggs after feeding. However, as long as she has a regular intake of food she can, and will, lay plenty of eggs. The number of eggs that a single, female bed bug can lay throughout her lifetime may surprise you.

The average adult bed bug has the ability to live for up to an average of one year. If they have access to a consistent food source and are able to feed daily, female bed bugs can lay eggs every day, too. Following a single meal, a female might lay up to 20 eggs over a 10-day period.

These eggs may be laid in a group, or individually as she is on the move around a room. Within optimal conditions, a bed bug’s eggs have an extremely low mortality rate. Around 97 percent of eggs laid will survive and hatch successfully. Within 5-6 weeks, the nymphs could be adults and begin their own reproductive cycle.

The number of eggs that a female can lay means a rapidly growing bed bug population. The bed bug population in your home can double in size approximately every 16 days. This is quite an alarming rate of growth, especially if you are unaware of the problem.

Bed bug eggs are also very difficult to detect and see with the naked eye. They are typically around the size of a dust speck and white in color. It is unlikely that you will be able to spot them without a magnifying glass.

Due to their light coloration, the eggs are even more difficult to find, especially against a light-colored background. Once the eggs have been laid, they are very sticky and will adhere to almost any surface. This makes them great travelers if they have been deposited on shoes, bags or clothes.

What Conditions Do Bed Bug Eggs Need to Hatch?

The length of time it takes for a bed bug egg to hatch depends mainly on temperature. In optimal conditions of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, around 60 percent of bed bug eggs will hatch after six days. However, for more than 90 percent of the eggs to hatch, it can take up to nine days.

This time can increase by several more days if the temperature is not warm enough. When the mercury drops to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the eggs will take two weeks or more to hatch.

Factors That Prevent Bed Bug Eggs From Hatching

Temperature sensitivity is the main factor that can affect the hatching of bed bug eggs. When exposed to high temperatures, above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the eggs will not survive. However, this temperature must be maintained for a minimum of 90 minutes.

Using heat treatment is a very effective method to target both adult bed bugs and their eggs. However, this kind of treatment usually requires professional help and may damage furniture or furnishings. Contact a pest control company if you are interested in finding out more about how heat can treat bed bugs and their eggs.

If you would like to try killing bed bugs with heat before consulting professionals, steam can be a great way to reduce bed bug numbers within many areas of your home.

If you’re looking for a powerful and reliable steamer for use against infestations and at a good price, the PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner is a great choice. It’s heavy-duty, made to last, and produces a great covering of extremely hot pressurized steam – exactly what you want in order to kill insects and their eggs on impact.

This steamer can be used on a wide number of surfaces and objects, including mattresses, carpets, curtains, clothing, box springs, bedding and baseboards.

If you wish to take this one step further, you can try using a specially-designed bed bug heating system.

My favorite way to heat household items to a temperature that is sure to kill all bed bugs and eggs without needing to purchase expensive pest control heat treatment is to use a ZappBug Heater, which is specially designed to kill all stages in the bed bug life cycle.

Simply place infested items into the ZappBug heater and it will automatically reach the all-important bed bug killing temperature, so you can be sure the items come out all-clear.

Large and small versions are also available.

With regard to colder temperatures, bed bug eggs have the ability to remain dormant for up to one month. They will remain in a dormant state for that period if the temperature is too cold to hatch.

While you may think that pesticides will kill bed bug eggs and prevent them from hatching, you would be wrong. However, if the correct chemical is used, the bugs will die very soon after hatching. It is important to use the right chemicals to ensure that bed bugs do not survive after they have hatched.

Final Thoughts

The length of time it takes for bed bug eggs to hatch depends mainly on temperature. If they are exposed to optimal temperatures, they can hatch in less than a week. However, they have the ability to remain dormant if temperatures get too low.

Heat can work against them, and will successfully kill bed bug eggs if used correctly. If you’re looking to target bed bug eggs and prevent them from hatching, consulting a professional may be the best choice.

The BedBug Life Cycle

Understanding the bedbug life cycle is vital if you want to get rid of bed bugs! Get quick facts about bed bug eggs, nymphs and adults; watch the video to see what they look like in real life; and learn what you need to know about all life stages to successfully identify and kill them.

Where do you want to start?

These links will take you directly to specific sections of this page:

There’s a link back up to this menu at the end of each section for easy navigation. Of course, you can just read the whole page!

BedBug Life Cycle Quick Facts

While you may not be all that interested in their biology and behavior, here are 8 quick facts about the bedbug life cycle you should know:

  • You can see all stages of bed bugs (even eggs) with the naked eye
  • An adult female can lay 200-500 bed bug eggs in her lifetime
  • Bed bug eggs are harder to kill than nymphs (baby bed bugs) and adults
  • Bedbugs can grow from a hatched egg to a full adult in about a month
  • Baby bed bugs cast their “skins” (exoskeletons, technically) as they grow
  • Bed bugs need a blood meal to live, to grow, and to reproduce
  • Baby bed bugs may feed as much as one time per day
  • Adult bed bugs can live up to 18 months without feeding!

For a look at live bed bugs in all stages of their life cycle, click on the video below. You can jump down to the full discussion of the key things you should know about the bedbug life cycle in order to get rid annoying little buggers successfully by clicking here.

Bed Bug Life Cycle Video

I love this video because it show all stages of bed bugs (including eggs) in real life so you can get a better idea of what they look like. It also shows what cast skins look like which is important because they are one of the 9 symptoms you should look for to figure out if you have a bed bug infestation. One note though, the nymphs (baby bed bugs) in this video still have remnants of a blood meal in them so they look darker that they would if they had not been fed. For more photos of baby bed bugs, check out our bed bug picture gallery.

The video does start out a little goofy and may not seem that serious at first, but entomologist Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian knows his stuff. Its actually jam packed with useful information about what bed bugs look like in all stages of their life cycle. Definitely worth the2 minutesit takes to watch!

This video is shared via the Bed Bug Answers Channel on YouTube. For more helpful videos, visit (and like!) us on YouTube 🙂

Keep reading for a more detailed look at each stage of the bedbug life cycle.

Bed Bug Eggs

What do bed bug eggs look like? Believe it or not, even bed bug eggs are visible to the human eye although they can be hard to see.

Personally, I think bed bug eggs look like little pieces of rice. But they can be compared in size to a large grain of salt as shown in the video above. They are tiny (about 1mm long) and are very light in color – ranging from translucent (almost clear) to a milky sort of white color.

This is why a magnifying glass can be helpful when you are looking for signs of bed bugs. They have a sticky film which gives them a kind of shiny appearance and helps them stick to surfaces until they hatch. More photos of bed bug eggs.

It takes about 6-10 days for a bed bug egg to hatch. The hatched egg looks clearer in color and kind of like tiny deflated balloon. Once an egg has been hatched is not shiny any more and has a dried out appearance.

Its important to note that many of the treatments that will kill bed bugs will not kill their eggs. The only things that are known to effectively kill eggs are heat and gas fumigation. This is something to keep in mind when choosing bed bug pest control options.

Fear not. If you can kill the babies before they reach adulthood and reproduce. you can stop the bedbug life cycle in its tracks!

Baby Bed Bugs (Nymphs)

The first thing a newly hatched baby bed bug does is search for a blood meal. Baby bed bugs (technically called “nymphs”) go through 5 stages of development instars. So a 1st instar nymph is a “newborn” and a 5th instar nymph is a “bedbug teen”, so to speak.

What do baby bed bugs look like?Well, basically they look like mini versions of adult bed bugs, but they are very light in color – almost clear.

Like the eggs, they start out very tiny (approx. 1mm), about the size and color of a sesame seed and grow to about 5mm (Вј inch) as adults.

The blood is clearly visible in a nymph that has just fed.They look like tiny swollen purple balloons!

As baby bed bugs develop toward adulthood, they do get darker in color.

They can feed as often as once every day and they have to have a blood meal to grow from one stage to the next. They can also survive months without feeding, but they basically get stuck at whatever developmental stage of the bedbug life cycle they’re in until they get their next meal.

They develop through a process called molting. Baby bed bugs literally “crawl out of their skins” as they move from one stage to the next. Cast skins (some people call them bed bug shells) are one of the key symptoms of a bed bug infestation. You can also see more pictures of cast skins here in the bed bug picture gallery.

Adult Bed Bugs

Adult bed bugs are about Вј inch long, about the size and shape of an apple seed. They are extremely flat like a business card or a credit card, which allows them to hide in very surprising places.

They are brown to reddish-brown in color and become more shiny and purple-ish red after they’ve fed. As they feed, they swell up into a capsule like shape – kind of like little blood balloons. (Okay, I know that’s gross – but its an accurate description). See more adult bedbug photos here.

On average, they feed about every 3-10 days. Again the estimates vary, but it most experts agree that it takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes for an adult bed bug to fill up on blood at one feeding. They must have a blood meal to reproduce.

Female bed bugs can lay an average of 3-5 eggs per day. The jury seems to be out on exactly how many bed bug eggs an adult female can lay in her lifetime, but the estimates range from 200 – 500!

Bedbug Life Cycle & Life Span Factors

The full growth cycle from egg to reproducing adult can range from 1 month to 4 months. Two factors that affect the time-table of the bedbug’s life cycle aretemperatureand theavailability of food(blood).

In warmer conditions bed bugs bed bugs mature more rapidly and are likely to feed more frequently if there is a source of blood. In cooler temperatures, bed bugs can go into semi-hibernation allowing them to live much longer – even without feeding.

In the absence of a host on which to feed, bed bug nymphs can still live for a few months. But they can’t develop from one stage to the next. Basically their growth is “stunted” until they can get another meal.

Adult bed bugs can be surprisingly hardy. Under the right conditions, they can survive up to 18 months without feeding. T hat’s right, a year-and-a-half!

This is why sleeping somewhere else, like a friend or relative’s house, will not solve your problem . When you return, they will still be there waiting. and hungry.

Hopefully, this overview has made you better prepared to identify and get rid of bed bugs.

Want to explore the bedbug life cycle further?This fact sheet from the Medical Entomology Department of the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research has lots of useful info includinga greatphoto infographicof the the bed bug life cycle by Dr. Stephen Doggett.

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Bed bugs

Quick facts

You may not realize that you have been bitten. Bite reactions vary from no reaction to mild red spots to severe rash or hives.

The return of the bed bug

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) were almost completely removed from North America due to mass treatments with highly toxic insecticides that are no longer in use.

Frequent travel, improved treatment methods that target other insects without affecting bed bugs, and a lack of public awareness has led to a rise in the spread of bed bugs.

Identifying bed bugs

Contact an expert to help identify any suspected bed bug specimens.

The "Let’s Beat the Bed Bug" campaign at the University of Minnesota found that 76 percent of samples submitted for identification are not bed bugs.

  • Adult bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown and wingless insects approximately 1/4" to 3/8" long (5-9 mm). They are similar in appearance to a wood tick.
  • After the bug has taken a blood meal its color changes from brown to purplish-red and it becomes larger and more cigar-shaped.
  • Young bed bugs resemble the adult in shape but are much smaller, 1/16" (1.6 mm), when they first hatch. They are nearly colorless except after feeding.

Life cycle

After mating, females lay white, oval eggs (1/16" long) into cracks and crevices.

  • An individual bed bug can lay 200 to 250 eggs in her lifetime.
  • The eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days and the newly emerged nymphs seek a blood meal.
  • Immature nymphs molt five times (they shed their outer exoskeleton) before reaching adulthood.
  • There may be three or more generations per year. All ages are found in a reproducing population.
  • Under normal circumstances adult bed bugs will live for about 2 to 4 months.
  • Bed bugs need to feed at least once before each molt, although they could feed as often as once a day.

    Young nymphs can survive without a blood meal for days up to several months. Older nymphs and adults can survive longer without a blood meal up to a year under favorable conditions.

    Bed bugs are also found in schools, retail facilities, office buildings, libraries and other public areas.

    Signs that you have bed bugs

    Look where you sleep

    Bed bugs typically group together in out-of-the-way areas. But some bed bugs will live by themselves, away from the rest of an infestation. The best way to check for an infestation is to look for bed bugs where you sleep or rest.

    In bedrooms, look particularly on and around:

    • boxsprings, mattresses, bed frames, tufts, folds and buttons on mattresses
    • furniture such as desks and chairs
    • behind wallpaper, clocks and pictures
    • cracks in wood floors and under the edge of carpet

    Be careful when you travel

    The greatest chance of finding bed bugs is while you are traveling. It is a good habit to check your room whenever on vacation.

    Check your luggage where you typically set it down when you enter your home and where you store it after travelling.

    While bed bugs are most commonly found in bedrooms, infestations can occur in other rooms including bathrooms, living rooms and laundry rooms.

    Look for spots or smears

    Bed bugs will sometimes deposit fecal spots (digested blood) while they are feeding. These are seen as dark (dark reddish or brownish) spots or smears found on bed sheets, pillowcases and mattresses, or in nearby areas.

    • Dark blood spots on sheets and bedding may indicate bed bug feeding.
    • In severe infestations, bed bugs may be more noticeable.
    • A combination of bugs, cast skins (empty shells of bugs as they grow from one stage to the next) and fecal spots will be very obvious when closely seen.

    Inspect carefully

    These insects are small (1/16" to 1/4") and very flat, so they can move into very tight corners and cracks. They have been found under picture frames between the glass and the frame.

    Bed bugs can be found behind electrical outlets and other wall plates.

    • Inspect all areas closely and, if in doubt, contact a pest control service.
    • If you find a bed bug stop inspection and begin control activity.
    • Bed bugs will move from their hiding places once disturbed. All further inspections should be accompanied by control measures.

    How to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home

    Traveling and bed bugs

    Inspect your personal items before packing and when you unpack

    You can only confirm that bed bugs are present by carefully inspecting each item. Pay attention to cracks, crevices, seams and folds of material.

    If you find bugs, then you have to be careful in containing the infestation.

    Bed bugs do not travel on people

    Bed bugs may hitch a ride on clothing, but they are not like lice and will not travel directly on a person.

    If you are concerned about bed bugs on clothing remove suspect articles and put them into a plastic bag.

    • Remove clothing in a place with a non-carpeted floor so bed bugs will have to travel before finding a hiding spot.
    • A wet cloth wiped over the floor will help contain any bed bugs that try to escape.

    Tips for reducing the risk of bringing home bed bugs

    If you think there might be bedbugs on your items seal everything in plastic bags until they can be laundered, washed by hand, heated or frozen.

    There is no need to throw away luggage and clothing after discovering an infestation.

    Before leaving the location, sort anything that can be washed and place in plastic bags.

    • Separate the laundry as you would if you were normally laundering items.
    • This will prevent escaping bed bugs as you try to sort the laundry at home.
  • Set the washer and dryer for the hottest setting that the fabric can stand.
  • If using a dry cleaning service, mention that the items may have bed bugs and that they can keep the articles in the plastic bags until just before loading into the machines.
  • Inspect suitcases and other items that cannot be placed into a washing machine and place them into plastic bags if you find bed bugs.
  • Suitcases may be hand-washed using soapy water and the hottest water possible.
  • Test the item to make sure it will not be affected by the hot water.
  • A temperature of 100°F to 120°F should be hot enough.
  • Use a scrub brush along the seams and folds.
  • Items that cannot be washed may be heated or frozen.

    • A two-hour core exposure at 120°F (45°C) is considered a minimum target temperature for heat treatments.
    • For freezing, a minimum of 23°F (-5°C) must be maintained for at least 5 days.
    • The exposure time can be reduced if the articles are flash frozen at a temperature of -15°F (-26°C), which would freeze the eggs instantly.
    • Most household freezers will have temperatures between 30°F and 20°F.
    • A 2-week freeze time is recommended if you are uncertain of the freezer temperatures.

    If you heat or freeze items, these conditions must reach the core of the articles being treated.

    Bed bugs on used furniture

    Used furniture is another potential source of bed bugs.

    • Do not pick up beds and furniture that have been left by the curb for disposal or behind places of business.
    • Bed bug infestations can be found on tables, drawers and even electronics if these items were located in a bedroom or another place that was infested.

    How to get rid of bed bugs

    Hire a professional exterminator

    We recommend that you seek assistance from a professional pest control company.

    • An exterminator uses specialty equipment to move furniture, take it apart and control the infestation.
    • They perform careful inspections along with non-chemical controls (heat treatments, vacuuming and steam treatments) and insecticide treatments.
    • The insecticides used are commercial products requiring special equipment and training.
    • Pest control services use heat treatment (118°F maintained for at least 70 minutes) in target areas.
    • All stages of bed bugs are killed when this is done properly.
    • Heat treatment does not prevent bed bugs from coming back into a home and reinfesting it.
    • Sometimes furniture is removed and heat treated in a container. But, it is not necessary to move or throw away your furniture or belongings, especially from an apartment or condominium.

    It is important to cooperate with a pest control service.

    To find a professional belonging to the National Pest Management Association, go to the Pest World website and type in your zip code in the search box under "Find a Professional."

    What you can do to help control an infestation

    When working with a pest management company there are some additional things you might have to do to help get rid of bed bugs.

    Using heat

    You can use your washing machine and dryer to kill bed bugs infesting clothes and other washable items.

    • Clothes laundered in hot water and/or dried in temperatures hotter than 122°F for 20 minutes will kill all stages of bed bugs.
    • This is typically the medium-high setting. If you are not sure what temperature your drier can reach, ask a professional to test it for you.
    • You can also heat curtains and other fabrics, rugs, shoes, backpacks, stuffed animals, toys and similar objects by drying them at medium-high for about 30 minutes for a full load.

    Using cold

    Cold temperatures can kill bed bugs if they are exposed to it long enough. All stages of bed bugs will be killed on objects left in a freezer at 0°F for 3 days.

    • Putting infested furniture outdoors during winter may kill some bed bugs.
    • Outdoor freezing temperatures will not always kill all of the bed bugs infesting an object. But, you can use the cold treatment to disable bed bugs until you decide what to do with the object.

    Encasements

    An encasement is a fabric covering that looks like a very large sack with a zipper and that completely fits around a mattress or box spring.

    They are useful when you want to protect a mattress you know is free of bed bugs (it has been heat treated or you have purchased a new mattress).

    • You can also use encasements on infested mattresses and box springs to trap the bed bugs inside them; you can keep using your bed as long as the encasements are not ripped or torn.
    • Buy encasements (from professional pest control services) that are specifically designed for protecting against bed bugs.

    Bed bug interceptors

    Bed bug interceptors are small plastic trays with an inner and outer ring. You can place them under the bed legs.

    Bed bugs that try to climb up from the floor to the bed become trapped in the outer well. Any bed bugs that try to climb down will become trapped in the center well.

    • Bed bug interceptors not only help to reduce the number of bed bugs that can reach the bed but also help determine whether bed bugs are present.
    • You can buy bed bug interceptors online, from pest management companies, or from retail stores.

    Insecticides

    • Do not try to treat bed bugs yourself. The insecticides available in over-the-counter products are not effective in controlling bed bugs.
    • Bug bombs (total release foggers) are not effective when treating bed bugs.
    • These products throw insecticide into the air and very little product comes in contact with bed bugs hiding in cracks and behind and under objects.
    • Bug bombs are potentially flammable if used incorrectly. It is easy for people to misuse or overuse bug bombs, and can result in unnecessary pesticide exposure.

    CAUTION:We strongly discourage you from trying to treat bed bugs yourself. But, if you decide to use a pesticide, it is very important to carefully read and understand the label before using and to follow all label directions. The product you use should be labeled for bed bugs.

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