How Many Bed Bug Treatments Are Needed

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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          Bedbug Treatments: Facts and Myths

          What works and what doesn’t to get rid of a bedbug infestation?

          • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

          Bedbugs aren’t easy to get rid of, and in desperation, you might be tempted to try the first remedy you read about online. Unfortunately, many of these methods are ineffective—and some can even be dangerous. If you ever find yourself in a battle with these pesky varmints, make sure to separate fact from fiction before you fight back. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will save you time, money, and aggravation.

          Fact: You’ll Need to Call Pest Control

          The most effective means of getting rid of bedbugs is to call in a trained professional and have them apply a pesticide. Many pros also recommend giving your home a thorough cleaning because bedbugs can hide anywhere and pesticides can’t be applied to everything you own. You’ll need to get rid of clutter and launder anything washable in hot water. You may also need to steam-clean your carpets and furniture.

          Fact: Pesticides Don’t Always Work

          Bugs can develop resistance to pesticides over time, especially if they’re overapplied. Chemicals, such as deltamethrin, that were once commonly used to combat certain pests are no longer effective. According to research from 2017, bedbugs may be developing resistance to pyrethrums, the most common chemical used to combat them.

          Fact: You May Not Have to Toss Your Furniture

          If the infestation is caught early, a professional pest control application and diligent cleaning should remove these critters from your furniture. More severe infestations are another matter. If your mattress is torn or separated at the seams, bedbugs have likely moved inside, making treatment near impossible. In such circumstances, replacement may be your only option.

          Fact: Mattress Covers Work

          A number of companies make bedbug resistant mattress covers that form an impenetrable barrier around the exterior of your mattress. If you’ve had your home treated for a bedbug infestation, using a mattress cover can prevent any remaining bugs in your mattress from getting out and biting you.

          Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs With Bug Bombs

          Bug bombs, or total room foggers, release a pesticide into the air in your home. Most bug bombs contain pyrethrin, one of the chemicals used to combat bedbugs, so you might think this product is an effective way to eliminate an infestation. Not so.

          First of all, bedbugs (and other crawling insects) typically flee when pesticide is released, heading for cover in the deepest, most inaccessible crevices of your home. Second, effective treatment requires directed applications in all the places where bedbugs hide: behind moldings and casements, inside electrical boxes, or inside mattresses, for example. Chemicals released by a bomb simply can’t reach such places adequately to kill all the bedbugs in your home.

          Myth: Bedbug Sniffing Dogs are Highly Effective

          While companies that use bug-sniffing dogs may claim a success rate of over 90%, the truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of testing to see if these claims are true. (And at between $500 and $1,000 for their services, that’s an expensive "maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t.") In 2011, two researchers at Rutgers University did put some bedbug-sniffing dogs through their paces in real apartment buildings, and the results were nowhere near as effective as advertised. The accuracy of the dogs’ detecting abilities averaged just 43%.

          Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs by Turning Up The Heat

          Heat treatments do kill bed bugs effectively, but simply turning up your thermostat isnota heat treatment. To roast bedbugs in your home, you’d have to heat the entire house evenly to over 120° F for at least an hour (including the voids between interior and exterior walls and the insides of your furniture). No home heating system is designed to do that. Professional heat treatments usually involve sealing your home and using multiple heat sources throughout the house to raise the temperature.

          Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs by Turing Off The Heat

          Temperatures below 32° F can and do kill bed bugs outside of the home—if temperatures remain below freezing for a prolonged period of time. but who wants to live in a freezing house? Moving out for the two to three months that it would take to starve bed bugs of their source of food (you) is equally impractical.

          Bed Bugs

          If you miss just one pregnant female bed bug you can be reinfested withover 300 adultsand1000 new eggsin three months.

          Bed bugs are troublesome household pests. They’re sneaky, hard to find, and can pose potential health risks for you and your family. Armed with pest control capabilities backed by science, over 100 years of experience, and state-of-the-art tools and products, Orkin is well-equipped to assess your bed bug problem and mount a strategic response to rid your home of the pest and provide maximum protection.

          Inspection & Treatment For Active Infestations

          To the untrained eye, rooting out a bed bug infestation can prove difficult, and even if discovered, home remedies and over-the-counter deterrents are often ineffective. Utilizing our A.I.M. protection process, a highly-trained Orkin specialist will assess your home, implement a solution, and monitor activity to ensure the effectiveness of our efforts and offer added peace of mind.

          Ongoing Bed Bug Detection Service

          Bed bugs multiply quickly, and in just six months, a few can turn into a full-on infestation of 13,000 or more. Detection is critical to break the bed bug life cycle before they become a bigger problem. Orkin Bed Bug Detection Service gets to the root of the problem with targeted inspections of common bed bug hiding places in your home and ongoing monitoring to ensure the pests never return.

          Ongoing bed bug detection service may not be available in all markets. Inspection fee may be necessary for bed bug detection.

          Get A Bed Bug Inspection, Schedule a call with an Orkin Specialist

          The Orkin Process

          The A.I.M. Process: How We Help Get Rid of Bed Bugs

          If you have seen evidence of bed bugs or want to help protect your home against this multiplying intruder, your Orkin specialist will come and inspect your home.

          Bed bugs are sneaky and hard to find, but your Orkin specialist is trained to pinpoint evidence if they are around. On the first visit, we will examine your entire home including the bed, furniture, rugs, and linens. We will conduct an inspection of target areas, and if required, use tools to check cracks and crevices.

          Your Orkin specialist will usually start in the bedroom and work their way through your home, concentrating on the furniture and the areas immediately surrounding the furniture.

          Upon completion of the inspection and an assessment of the situation, your Orkin specialist will recommend the best course of action. If the inspection confirms an infestation, Orkin will recommend a treatment plan based on the severity of the infestation and your preferences. We will use the best tools and science to address the causes and treat your bed bug problem in the best way for your family, pets, and the environment. This implementation method targets bed bugs as well as the bed bug larvae — preventing them from maturing into breeding, biting, and potentially disease-carrying adults.

          Bed bugs can be difficult to eradicate; so your Orkin specialist will perform a follow-up visit to help ensure the effectiveness of the professional treatment that was performed. Additionally, your Orkin specialist will document the visit and recommend next steps to ensure the best maintenance approach for your home.

          How to Identify Bed Bugs — 0:54

          Bed bugs can multiply quickly, so early detection is critical to help prevent an even larger infestation. Our integrated A.I.M. protection process works to assess your home, implement solutions, and monitor any bed bug problems you may face.

          At Orkin, we never stop learning from bugs. We use the latest technology and unparalleled training, so we can protect your home with an effective plan suited to your specific needs. Simply put, we have Pest Control Down to a Science®.

          Bed Bug Resources

          What do bed bugs look like?

          Learn the unique characteristics of adult and newly-hatched bed bugs. Learn more >

          What are the signs of bed bug bites?

          Learn bed bug bite characteristics and how they can impact your health. Learn more >

          What are the signs of a BED BUG infestation?

          Learn the signs to look for to determine if you might have a bed bug infestation. Learn more >

          HOW DO YOU GET BED BUGS?

          Learn how bed bugs travel into your home, what they’re attracted to, and where they hide. Learn more >

          What our customers have to say

          We’re not happy until you’re happy.

          • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
          • If pests return between treatments, your Orkin Tech will return for a touch up at no extra charge.
          • If we are unable to solve your pest problem, we’ll refund your last service payment for as long as you are our customer

          We’ve been here from the beginning

          Our more than 100 years of pest control experience began in 1901 by then fourteen-year-old Otto Orkin. In that time, we’ve become an industry leader in specialized protection against common pests including insect, termites, rodents, and more .

          Bed Bug Treatment

          Just when you thought you had rid your home of common pests such as cockroaches, rats or mosquitoes, there is a smaller, yet more annoying, kind of insect that may have also infested your household.

          This insect is known as a bedbug, and it breeds mostly within the confines of the bedroom. However, they can also be found in other parts of the home such as living rooms and closets.

          They terrorize all types of homes and apartment complexes regardless of how clean the areas may be. They also infest motels, hotels, college dorm rooms, and other dwellings.

          How Long Have They Been Around?

          They have caused problems for humans for thousands of years. As time passed by, humans could not bear the annoyance they encountered with these small insects and they tried many ways to control and exterminate the pests. Different methodologies were suggested such as the use of alcohol, oil, plants with microscopic hooks, woven baskets, pesticides and dust.

          But no matter how hard you tried to contain the problem, they would always come back, even more so as the weather became warmer. This has been a dilemma until recent years, when more methods to get rid of them have emerged onto the market.

          Have Bed Bug Problems?

          Why the Resurgence in Populations?

          A lot of people are wondering why they are suddenly making the news again and becoming a common problem for many households. It is unclear how exactly they appear in your homes; however, it is believed that frequent traveling, obtaining second-hand furniture from a different home, and a resistance to pesticides contribute to the resurgence of these species.

          There are several reasons why they are once again growing in numbers. One reason is that they were not totally exterminated in the first place. In fact, the people with infestations had performed treatments in the past that never worked. Their method in the past to treat infestations was by throwing away any furniture that was infested with bugs or eggs.

          The mistake here is that people just throw the furniture away, without killing any eggs that might hatch in the furniture and crawl back into the house.

          Throwing out bug-infested furniture also results in community infestations, because people searching for free furniture on the side of the road may see a perfectly good couch and want to take it home with them. Because they are not aware of a pest problem that is lurking silently in the furniture, they will probably end up with bugs in their house too as soon as the eggs hatch.

          Bugs Are Wittier Than We Think

          Another reason why they are becoming a recurrent problem is that quite a few people who have them in the past have only treated certain parts of their house that they thought were infested.

          The mistake here is that people underestimate their wits. These bugs hide in safe places where the extermination methods cannot reach them, and they move fast that they can easily scatter to a different part of the house where treatment is not being applied, therefore surviving the extermination process.

          Though it seems like a never-ending battle to get rid of them, there is hope! This article will help you learn how to identify them, how to treat the bites, and how to battle and prevent the spread inside your home and outside of your home with modern methods that have been proven to be successful.

          What Do They Look Like?

          They are small, oval-shaped, wingless, six-legged parasitic insects related to aphids. Their body is crinkled and it looks like an accordion.

          The common bedbug that has been identified as the bug that bites humans is the Cimex lectularius. Sometimes they can be mistaken to be fleas or tiny cockroaches, but unlike fleas, they do not jump and they are fast walkers.

          They are bloodsuckers and they feed on both animals and humans alike, thriving off the host’s blood and they prefer to stay in places where their prey sleeps or rests. Unlike body lice, they do not want to be disturbed and they don’t cling to their host for a long time.

          Mature bugs are mahogany in color and they have a distinct unpleasant odor that is caused by the oil they carry in their body. Their body sizes may vary. Some can be as small as a poppy seed, while others may be as big as apple seeds when they mature. Males can be distinguished by a sharp ended abdomen, while the female bug can be identified with a round ended abdomen.

          The adult grow up to 5mm long. They start out with a flat oval shape, but after dining on a bloody meal, their bodies become red due to consumption of blood and their shape looks more like small footballs.

          How Do They Breed?

          Warm and humid conditions support their breeding and survival. The life cycle from egg to adult can take four to five weeks. Cooler conditions haven been known to shorten the life cycle, but then again, some of these insects may adapt to the cold temperature to survive even longer.

          Breeding is a harsh process for the female. The male slashes or pierces the abdomen of the female to inject his sperm. Fertilization occurs at the ovaries of the female and after the introduction of the sperm, the female leaves the scene to avoid further injuries. This process is called traumatic insemination.

          Males will also attempt to mate with other male and slash the abdomen to inject its sperm. They cannot distinguish males from females because they only base attraction on body size. Males ward off other males that are trying to pierce their abdomen by producing alarm pheromones.

          How Do They Develop?

          There are three stages of development: eggs, nymphs, and adults. The female lays three to five speck-like eggs a day, reaching an astonishing two hundred eggs during its lifetime. Without magnification, these tiny eggs are very difficult to identify.

          A sticky residue enables the egg to adhere to surfaces, and the eggs will mature there undisturbed. The eggs are commonly “cemented” by this sticky residue on wood, paper, cardboard or fabric, and they sometimes look like a yellow white bean with a lid.

          Eggs are laid in clusters and the females will stop laying the eggs after 11 days, or possibly more if they decide to rest and feed.

          It takes six to ten days for the eggs to develop and when they hatch they produce one-millimeter nymphs. These nymphs resemble the adult, but they have lighter color. Nymphs, upon reaching maturity, molt or shed their skin around five times before becoming an adult. It begins to look for a victim to feed on as soon as it gets out of its egg.

          The nymphs can survive up to 3 months without a meal and the adults can live from six to eleven months without feeding on blood. They are most active during the night and they prefer to hide close to their hosts during the day.

          What are Some of the Most Common Sources?

          Furniture that is made of fabric and wood are most likely to be the breeding grounds for these bugs. This is why mattresses are the most common source. These parasitic organisms are so small that you can hardly see them with your naked eye.

          They are also very good at hiding because they have adapted to squeezing themselves into crevices and spaces so that they will not be easily disturbed. Small dark spots are usual hiding places.

          Because of their ability to get into cracks and crevices to hide from the pesticides or treatments, many problems are not completely eradicated during an extermination process. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly check in any cracks, holes, and crevices and apply treatments in other places as needed.

          Used Furniture

          It seems to be the trend nowadays to buy secondhand furniture due to the rising costs of buying new furniture. However tempting buying used furniture may be, and even if you think they can still be repaired, you have to make sure that you inspect it very closely. Secondhand furniture may have hundreds of eggs and bugs that are waiting to find their next victim.

          You could decide to choose to buy secondhand metal or plastic furniture, but if you really want that wooden or cushioned furniture, you should have it steamed thoroughly or sprayed with chemicals before moving the furniture into your house.

          Travel

          You can get them from just about anywhere. These small bugs are opportunists, and they patiently wait as long as they need to until a victim comes along that they can hitch a ride to their next destination where they can breed and feed. They can survive over a year while waiting for their next meal.

          Students coming home from college may bring these insects with them. Airplanes, buses, and other public transportation methods are also not exempt from these insects. Even five-star hotels are not spared from infestations. If a person stays in a hotel, they may be unknowingly carried to the next destination on the person or their belongings.

          They can be transported on many different items such as furniture, clothing, shoes, hats, and other belongings. Pets can also carry them on their fur and into your home. Animals such as bats, rodents, raccoons, or birds roosting on the roof of the house may also contribute to an infestation.

          Moving to a New Home

          If you are in the real estate market and looking to buy a home, it is important to know that houses that have been unoccupied for more than a year have a lower risk for the presence because they can only last about 18 months without feeding.

          If the house that you’re thinking of buying has recently had people living in it that most likely did not properly take care of the home, you should consider fumigating the house just in case.

          How Do You Know You Have Bedbugs?

          Although there are no massive nests, you will know when you have them. These insects have aggregation pheromones and kairomones to help them communicate, congregate, breed, and stay in a small group. Sometimes you can see a large number of them during the middle of the night if you turn on the lights. They are kind of like cockroaches in the sense that once the lights turn on, they scatter.

          If you have mysterious bites on your body after sleeping in your bed, or on a couch, this is probably due to bed bugs. Exposed areas of the skin are vulnerable to attacks.

          What to Look For

          The arms, legs, hands, face and neck are the most commonly observed parts of the body that are the favorite feeding spots of these pests. As soon as they hit the accessible capillary that they are looking for, they will bite you in groups of threes, and sometimes even more throughout their meal.

          Itching, blisters, lesions, or pustule will be evident on the skin. A secondary infection to the skin due to the bites may be inevitable for the victim. In severe cases when the infestation in a household is too overwhelming, it may even cause the host to have anemia if he or she has been repeatedly attacked.

          Groups of Three

          Most bites come in threes. They are referred to as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These are bites that were made by a bug who has been disturbed while drinking your blood.

          As your body shifts, they get disturbed and move around one inch away from the first area that they were feeding on. If the body shifts again, they go through the same process, and that is why we can see bite marks in groups of threes.

          Fear and Anxiety from Bites

          Aside from having painful attacks and lesions, the victim may feel a lot of anxiety and fatigue, and may also experience financial and mental stress. People do not want to sleep on their bed through the night because they have a feeling that they are constantly being bitten.

          The fear and anxiety may cause the person to have imaginary itches, and the anticipation of being bitten may be overwhelming for a host even if they have rid themselves of them. The only way for them to confirm that they have resolved their dilemma is when they are not bitten at all throughout the night.

          How Do They Feed on Their Victims?

          They feed by piercing the skin of their hosts with their elongated beaks. They inject anti-coagulants and analgesic into the area where they suck the blood out, making it painless and unnoticeable when they take their meal.

          It takes around five to ten minutes for mature bugs to drink their victim’s blood, and the nymphs take a shorter period of time around 3 minutes.

          The saliva produces an inflammatory reaction to the skin similar to mosquito bites, but the reactions to the bites may vary and the time that the bite stays on the body may last for several days. They can drink blood that weighs up to six times their own weight. They will look like walking blood drops when they are fully fed.

          What are Some Ways to Treat Bites?

          You will definitely see huge red spots on your body when you are bitten by bedbugs. Bites can cause itching, mild allergic reactions, rashes, and inflammations that are more irritable than mosquito bites and therefore, most people seek out ways to treat their bites so that they heal quickly.

          Baking Soda

          To provide immediate relief to the area, you will need to combine baking soda and water to form into a thick paste to place it on the bite. Just allow it to dry in order to take away the pain and itching.

          Before you do that, you will need to wash the affected area with soap and water first. Few victims let the baking soda paste stay for more than an hour, but it all depends on how severe the bites are.

          After the application has done its job by providing you with relief, you will need to gently wash the area with water, and wipe it with a clean, dry cloth.

          Anti-itching Creams

          Taking antihistamines, applying steroid creams, calamine lotion, cortisone cream or using hydrocortisone cream can help calm allergic reactions and itching caused by bites.

          You can also use over-the-counter medications such as any topical anesthetic containing pramoxine, or you can use Benadryl (dipehnhydramine) to block the antihistamines. For swelling, use naproxen or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation.

          Aspirin

          Another way to reduce swelling is to crush up an aspirin and mix it with water to form a paste to use on your inflamed area in order to bring the swelling down.

          There is no need to be alarmed. They don’t carry any kind of disease that we know of. Typically bites will heal on their own in just a few days.

          How Can You Check if You Have Them?

          Small bumps or stains on fabric or wood may indicate that you have them. When you remove your bedding, you need to check the seams of the mattress. If you see skin shedding, empty or full egg cases, dark stains, and live bugs, it’s time to start thinking of ways to exterminate them.

          Dark stains are the fecal matter or digested blood that they have left behind. Try to get some rubbing alcohol and scrub the dark stains away. If it bleeds out and produces a brownish color, it is a good indicator of their presence.

          Inspecting the Bed

          To inspect your home, the best place to start is your bed and then you can work your way outwards from there. Since the insects need to stay close to the host, they choose to settle somewhere near their food supply which, in most cases, is the area that you sleep.

          Inspect the linens, pillow cases, mattress seams, pillows, the bed frame, and the head board. They love wood because it has a lot of crevices and areas where they can hide, and they do not move around much.

          The box spring for your bed is a likely congregation point. There are a lot of cracks and crevices that they can use to hide and breed. Even plastic covered box springs are vulnerable and it is wise to check the stapled areas where the fabric is connected to or in other places where holes exist in the plastic.

          Look Everywhere

          After inspecting your bed, check the cabinets or drawers beside it. Take the drawers out, turn them upside down, and check if there are bugs inside and under it. Table frames, bedroom furniture, the television, remote controls, clocks, paintings, any other possible hiding places you can think of must also be thoroughly inspected. If the room is carpeted, look along the edges and check the base moldings. They can literally be anywhere.

          Living room furniture does not escape infestation. Look closely at the sofa, its coverings, and its pillows. Be sure to check every space, even under the couch. Some can even land on books, toys, and other types of things.

          What are the Basic Tools to Help Check for Bugs?

          Simple & common inspection tools already located in most homes can help you determine if you have an infestation.

          Flashlight

          A flashlight will be needed to view dark areas that house lights cannot illuminate. Using a flashlight will make it easier to detect movement of these tiny creatures.

          Magnifying Glass

          You will need a magnifying glass to view very small bugs that are hiding within the seams or crevices of your mattress, couch, or other area that is infested.

          Tweezers

          Tweezers are helpful to pick up bugs or eggs.

          Container or Ziplock Bags

          Having something to put the unwanted insects or eggs in is a good idea, so that they don’t just climb out of your garbage and back into your bed.

          Knife or Thin Plastic Card

          Something thin like a knife will be handy to insert in crevices and check the possibility of a bug infestation.

          Screwdriver

          Use a screwdriver to remove wall sockets to see if they are hiding in there.

          Canned Air

          This will be helpful to flush out the bugs if ever they are found in hard-to-reach places.

          Paint Brush

          Having a paint brush will make it easier to sweep away the insects into a container that you can dispose of.

          What are Some Ways to Check for an Infestation?

          Bed bugs are named as such because they are primarily found on beds. To check your beds for evidence, remove all bedding and mattress encasements until the mattress is the only thing that is left. The mattress is the most common place where they will hide.

          Usually, mattresses also have box springs and wooden frames. These can be also breeding grounds so it is imperative that you look at them closely.

          You may need to ask someone for assistance so that you can lift up your mattress to expose the whole underlying part. The darkness that the mattress and box spring provide is a perfect breeding spot and it could be teeming with bugs.

          Most mattresses have creviced designs that seem to be deeper than the rest of the bed, so it is important to check these crevices for any bugs.

          Don’t Forget Your Tools!

          Because these bugs are extremely small, you might want to grab your tools from the list above. When inspecting a mattress or box spring, having a flashlight and a magnifying glass are handy tools for identifying them. It is of the utmost importance that you check all the crevices, seams, and edges of the mattress thoroughly for any eggs or live bugs.

          It is also essential to check all furniture in your house as well, especially those made of wood, fabrics, and foams. If you notice any sign, it is important to be able to plan a total extermination immediately before the problem gets any worse.

          What are Some Ways to Prevent Getting Bugs?

          Education and Awareness

          The growing instances of attacks are occurring more frequently around the world and the best way to stop this is to have the necessary knowledge of prevention. Education and public awareness must be supported by the community and the government.

          Being involved in prevention and suppression starts at home and it must involve members of the community to assure a pest-free environment.

          Cleanliness is a Non-Factor

          There are many methods and techniques used by people and pest control professionals to prevent an infestation. Cleanliness is not even a factor for preventing or getting rid of bugs. In fact, they don’t care how dirty or how clean an environment is as long as there are people they can bite and suck their blood.

          You might as well stop scrubbing your house from the walls to the floors. No matter how often you clean your house, they are able to survive.

          The most practical ways to prevent infestations are not very hard to follow. Here are some simple tips:

          • Do not pick up items such as furniture and mattresses that have been discarded on the curbs of streets. They may have been thrown away because of an infestation. Outdoor exposure will not only attract them, but it will also attract other insects such as roaches and fleas.
          • Items that have been exposed to moisture also have the chance of growing bold and bacteria on them, which may cause health problems. Bringing these items into your home will have its consequences, whether it brings pests or a mold problem.
          • Avoid buying used furniture, used mattresses, or any refurbished furniture from thrift shops, garage sales, secondhand furniture stores, and the like. Although these things will save you money from having to buy new things, it’s better to always stay on the safe side and prevent costly infestations to protect yourself and your family.
          • Regular cleaning and vacuuming of furniture and mattresses is vital to decrease the possibility of an infestation. Throwing away all items that have bedbugs or eggs on them is not a sensible solution because you can actually save these items.
          • For example, clothes or textiles can be heat-treated to kill eggs and bugs, and wooden furniture can be treated and washed to get rid of the eggs and bugs. And most furniture pieces can be fumigated to kill the bugs. In severe cases of an infestation, it is your option to throw them away.

          What are Some Effective Ways to Exterminate Them?

          In order to get rid of them, we must rely on the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that are founded on common-sense methods of treating pests. These principles are meant to prevent and eradicate pests without harming human health and the environment.

          There are actually several methods on how to get rid of them. Some methods may be branded as very effective, but these critters are known to be extremely difficult to get rid of completely because they are very small and thin enough to hide in small cracks, crevices and holes. When they hide in tiny cracks, it is difficult to kill the entire infestation.

          Bedbugs Can Detect Chemicals

          When you hire an exterminator, they may use chemical pesticides in your home in order to get rid of them. These pesticides can last three or more months before they disappear and lose their effectiveness.

          Since they can live for a year or more without getting a blood meal, they have the capability to starve themselves and wait until the chemicals lose their effectiveness. It makes you sit back in amazement at how bugs know to stay away from the chemicals.

          Scientists are also surprised at how smart they are at avoiding extermination by avoiding chemicals. They can easily detect chemical agents, so they can change their routes of access to your flesh. They want your blood and will travel as far as they have to in order to get a fresh drink of blood.

          Are Bugs Evolving to Resist Pesticides?

          There is also news from entomologists that bugs are somewhat resistant to certain pesticides that they are exposed to and this is quite a discovery if these bugs are evolving right before our very own eyes to become resistant to pesticides.

          Scientists are conducting research studies to determine if bugs are really mutating into a super pesticide-resistant bug. If this is true, that will mean that we will need to find different methods or eradicating them if the methods that we are using won’t work on them anymore. So far, the studies are still being worked on and the results are quite limited at this time.

          Some of the common-sense treatment methods include do-it-yourself (DIY) treatments and hired professional treatments.

          Do-It-Yourself Treatments

          Powder Kits

          Powder is an environmentally safe and natural substance that kills bedbugs. It is harmless to humans and pets, and it is similar to talcum powder. But to bedbugs, these are tiny razor blades. The powder is made of diatomaceous earth, or Kieselguhr. It is recommended to apply it around each bedpost, and in seams and crevices of the mattress.

          The diatomaceous earth comes from tiny sea algae that have been fossilized for millions of years. These tony sea fossils are nearly as strong as a diamond, and each microscopic piece has been crushed into even tinier pieces.

          When you look at this under a microscope, the diatomaceous earth looks like a type of cylindrical Chex cereal that is broken into sharp shards. These sharp microscopic pieces land on the insects and cause lesions on their exoskeletons, which will eventually cause them to die of dehydration within a day or two.

          After a week, it is best to vacuum up all of the powder and then reapply with another round of powder. And just to be on the safe side, you should repeat this process again within a month just to be sure that you’ve gotten rid of the bugs that were hiding in their tiny cracks and finally decided to come out to look for a blood meal.

          Powder is even a more effective remedy than common liquid sprays because it doesn’t dry up after few hours of application like liquid does. Bedbug powder usually costs between $6 and $15 per 8-ounce bottle.

          Mattress and Box Spring Encasements

          Special bed encasements such as mattress covers, box spring covers, and pillow covers are offered by companies that will prevent them from setting up camp in your bedding. They assure the consumer that once the mattress has been sealed, the bed is 100% safe.

          Access to go in and out of the seams and crevices is put to a halt, and any insect caught within the encasement will die in time because they will not have food to keep themselves alive.

          These mattress covers and pillow cases are similar to most other kinds of bedding. They are comfortable, soft, and washable. There is no special way to wash these bed protectors. In fact, you can just do your normal laundry and linen changing routines like you did before. You do not have to worry if the sheets were dipped into any chemicals that might harm your health.

          The only difference between these protection covers and regular mattress covers is that the fibers in the protective covers are so closely intact that it completely encases the mattress and the pillows, thus, making it hard for them to pass through the fibers.

          Effectiveness of Encasements

          So far, there has been a lot of positive feedback with regards to its effectiveness. You should also keep your bed as far away from the wall as possible in order to prevent bugs that are in the walls from reaching the bed mattress and pillows.

          It is important for people to know that these bed covers and pillow cases do not get rid of them immediately. As mentioned earlier, they have the capability to go for more than a year without blood.

          Due to the hunger strikes of up to a year, it is recommended to leave the mattress covers wrapped around the mattress for well over a year. This will cause the them to be trapped. Eventually these bed covers will be able to get rid of them completely and thoroughly by sealing them in the mattress until they die of starvation.

          By covering your mattress with these protective covers, you prevent the them from reaching you or anyone who lies down on the bed.

          These products may be quite expensive, but they are worth the full investment. It costs about $50 for a box spring encasement and $80 for a mattress encasement. Not being bitten every time you close your eyes, and getting rid of them altogether are reasons enough to shell out the extra bucks.

          An encasement is even an easier and less harmful method of getting rid of infestations compared to using chemical extermination techniques. Besides, mattress covers cost less than a new mattress.

          Traps

          Traps can also be used, serving as as lure or bait & once they have entered the bit, they will be sprayed. The traps usually cost around $20-$50 per unit.

          Insect Growth Regulators

          The growth of bedbugs must also be regulated to ensure that they will not be able to multiply. This can be done by killing or drying the eggs before they have even reached their maturity. A 16-ounce insect growth regulator usually costs around $20.

          Professional Treatments

          If the home treatments that you have tried in your home do seem to work, you will need to call a professional exterminator to eradicate these pests. It is easy to look for these companies as they are found online and in the Yellow Pages of your phone book.

          What to Expect For an Inspection

          When you have chosen an exterminator, they will advise you to pile your furniture together and remove light switch plates as these are breeding grounds for bedbugs. Wood cracks and wall crevices are also possible areas where these bugs hide. You will also need to toss your mattresses to find these insects.

          You also need to strip off your beddings from the mattresses as these may contain bugs. Your clothes may possibly be infested with bugs, so you also need to wash these with water at a very high temperature and let it dry underneath a blistering sun.

          Once done, exterminators will try to extinguish these pests with chemicals or other treatments such as steamers, freezing, heating, and chemicals in every corner of the house. They may even come back for more visits to ensure that no bugs have survived from the treatment.

          Cost to Hire an Exterminator

          If you are hiring the services of professional exterminators, you must expect to pay around $250-$2,000 or more for their service. The cost will depend on the extent of infestation.

          Steamers

          Professional exterminators often use steamers when killing them because they are safe for our health since the steamer contains only hot water. It does not contain any chemicals, yet it has the capability to kill them because of the high temperature.

          Steamers can reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit and they cannot survive in this heat. In fact, with temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit, they already begin to dry out.

          However, when using a steamer, ensure that you are wearing a respirator to prevent any discomfort brought about by the vaporized chemicals when they are steamed. Also, electrical outlets must be covered and not be steamed.

          A steam cleaning method is offered by exterminators around $300 for a treatment. You can use the steam method with insecticidal dust to get into the places that the steam could not reach for a more effective solution.

          Freezing

          Freezing is the newest and most effective treatment to kill bugs. This is a non-toxic pest control treatment that has been extensively used in Europe and Australia, and it was first introduced to America by a pest control company. It is a method to kill pesticide-resistant bugs and other pests through rapid freezing.

          A cryonite machine will spray CO2 snow at -110 degrees Fahrenheit, which leaves no gummy or wet residues. Professional exterminators usually leave the infested place in a cold frozen temperature for at least two weeks. These are not poisonous substances. However, the exterminator must be careful enough so he does not freeze the electronic items found in the house, or he might get electrocuted.

          Heat Technique

          Exterminators also use heating process. The residential dryer is highly effective, and it must be turned on to its highest heat setting for 15 minutes in the infested area.

          Once that is complete, you should seal the item for 24 hours and it should not be sent to Laundromats to prevent further infestation. A heating system can cost $800 to $2,000 per unit.

          Insecticides

          You may want to use insecticides to kill bedbugs. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol can be one chemical to kill the bugs when mixed with water. Or you may want to use other insecticides that come in a dust or spray form such as the propoxur, permethrin, cyfluthrin, chlorpyrifos, resmethrin, and fencalerate.

          Some people choose to use hydroprene, though it takes more time to eradicate the bugs as it sterilizes adult bugs. Insecticides are effective in killing them; however, some bugs have become resistant to insecticides and pesticides.

          A gallon of pesticides usually costs around $40-$70 depending on the type of pesticide that you purchase.

          Some insecticides can be used such as dichlorvos, malathion or pyretheroids, but they are limited in efficacy depending on the bug’s chemical tolerance.

          Pyrethroids

          Pyrethroids are man-made pesticides that have similar effects as pythrethrum, which are natural pesticides produced by chrysanthemums. They help kill insects and exposure to this chemical does not pose a threat to human health.

          Some pyrethroids are also used to treat lice and are used for repellants for other insects, and can be applied to clothes.

          Dichlorvos

          Dichlorvos comes in an aerosol or concentrated form. It is used to protect crops from pests, kill bedbugs, and it is also used in pet collars to help eliminate bug infestation. When consumed by insects, it acts as poison in the stomach.

          Malathion

          Malathion is primarily used to kill insects that damage fruits and vegetables. But it is also a pesticide for parasites, bed bugs, flies, mosquitoes and lice.

          Contact a Professional for the Most Effective Treatment

          Now you have a better idea of what they are, where they come from, how to prevent them, and how to treat bites. But most importantly, you know how to get rid of them. Overall, the best way to eradicate them is to call a professional exterminator. They have many years of experience and are the most knowledgeable experts that can help you with your pest problem.

          US EPA

          Bed Bugs

          Top Ten Tips to Prevent or Control Bed Bugs

          Related Information

          1. Make sure you really have bed bugs, not fleas, ticks or other insects.

          You can compare your insect to the pictures on our Identifying bed bugs Web page or show it to your local extension agent.Exit (Extension agents are trained in pest control issues and know your local area.)

          2. Don’t panic!

          3. Think through your treatment options — Don’’t immediately reach for the spray can.

          Be comprehensive in your approach. Try other things first. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques may reduce the number of bed bugs and limit your contact with pesticides. If pesticides are needed, always follow label directions or hire a professional. There is help available to learn about treatment options. (4 pp, 480 K, About PDF)

          4. Reduce the number of hiding places — Clean up the clutter.

          A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide and makes locating and treating them harder. If bed bugs are in your mattress, using special bed bug covers (encasements) on your mattress and box springs makes it harder for bed bugs to get to you while you sleep. Leave the encasements on for a year. Be sure to buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for the full year without tearing.

          5. Regularly wash and heat-dry your bed sheets, blankets, bedspreads and any clothing that touches the floor.

          This reduces the number of bed bugs. Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers Remember to clean them when you do the laundry.

          6. Do-it-yourself freezing may not be a reliable method for bed bug control.

          While freezing can kill bed bugs, temperatures must remain very low for a long time. Home freezers may not be cold enough to kill bed bugs; always use a thermometer to accurately check the temperature. Putting things outside in freezing temperatures could kill bed bugs, but there are many factors that can affect the success of this method.

          7. Kill bed bugs with heat, but be very careful.

          Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won’t do the job. Special equipment and very high temperatures are necessary for successful heat treatment. Black plastic bags in the sun might work to kill bed bugs in luggage or small items, if the contents become hot enough. Bed bugs die when their body temperatures reaches 45°C (113°F). To kill bed bugs with heat, the room or container must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding

          8. Don’’t pass your bed bugs on to others.

          Bed bugs are good hitchhikers. If you throw out a mattress or furniture that has bed bugs in it, you should slash or in some way destroy it so that no one else takes it and gets bed bugs.

          9. Reduce the number of bed bugs to reduce bites.

          Thorough vacuuming can get rid of some of your bed bugs. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, under beds, around bed legs, and all cracks and crevices around the room. Change the bag after each use so the bed bugs can’t escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin.

          10. Turn to the professionals, if needed.

          Hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase your chance of success in getting rid of bed bugs. If you hire an expert, be sure it’s a company with a good reputation and request that it use an IPM approach. Contact your state pesticide agency for guidance about hiring professional pest control companies. Also, EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety provides information about IPM approaches, how to choose a pest control company, safe handling of pesticides, and emergency information.

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

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