How To Treat Bed Bug Infestation At Home

US EPA

Bed Bugs

Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control

Can you get rid of bed bugs on your own?

Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including:

  • How many bed bugs you have;
  • How much clutter is available for hiding places;
  • Whether your neighbors have bedbugs; and
  • Whether all residents of a house or building will participate.

Getting rid of bed bugs completely can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation. To be successful, everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.

The following steps will help you begin:

You may have to follow these steps more than once to kill all the bugs and their eggs.

Identify the Problem

  • Identify the pest:
  • Collect a sample of the pest to show an extension agentExitor other insect expert.
  • Extension agents can identify the pest at no cost to you. They are trained in pest control and know your local area.
  • If an extension agent or other expert says the pest is a bed bug, notify your landlord if you live in an apartment. The units near yours should be inspected.
    • Landlords may have a responsibilityExit to participate in treatment.
    • Check the housing codes and laws in your area.
    • Inspect all areas that may have bed bugs, plus surrounding living spaces, to find out the extent of infestation.
    • Develop a Strategy

      • Make a schedule for completing the steps below. Be sure to include any personal plans, such as vacations.
      • Keep records through the whole process. Note the dates and exact locations where pests are found. This will help you track progress and better know where to target your work.
      • Keep checking for at least a year after you’re done to make sure all the bed bugs are gone.

      Keep the Infestation from Spreading

      • Remove infested items. Place them in a sealed plastic bag and treat them. Learn more about treatment methods in the sections below.
      • Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left there for up to a year to ensure any active bugs are dead.
      • Empty the vacuum after each use. Seal the bag as tightly as possible and immediately throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
      • Discard furniture responsibly if you can’t safely eliminate the bed bugs. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
      • Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
      • Use spray paint to mark furniture with "Bed Bugs."
    • Have infested items picked up as soon as possible by the trash collection agency.
    • Don’t discard furniture if you can safely eliminate the bed bugs from it.
    • Prepare for Treatment

      Preparing for treatment is very important; it will make it easier to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been eliminated. This preparation should be completed whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.

      Kill the Bed Bugs

      • Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What’s Legal, What’s Not.
      • Considernon-chemical methodsof killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others depending on your situation. These and other methods can be helpful, but they might not get rid of the infestation entirely:
      • Heat treatment:You can use a clothes dryer on high heat. You can also use black plastic bags in a hot, closed car in the sun, but success depends on your climate and other factors. Do-it-yourself heat treatments might not work. Professionals have access to more intensive and proven methods that can even treat whole houses with heat. You may also purchase a portable heat chamber, which is usually quite effective.
      • Cold treatmentcan be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0 o F. You must leave the items in a sealed bag in the freezer at that temperature for four days. Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0 o .
      • Steam cleaners(wet or dry) can get into cracks and fabrics to treat carpets, baseboards, bed frames, and other furniture. The steam temperature must be at least 130 o F but should not have a forceful airflow, or it may cause bed bugs to scatter. Use a diffuser to prevent scattering.
    • If needed,hire a pest management professional or use pesticidescarefully according to the label directions:
      • Look for EPA-registered pesticides that have bed bugs listed on the label.
      • Use foggers (bug bombs) only with extreme care and only if bed bugs are listed on the label. Improper use can harm your health or cause a fire or explosion. Foggers should not be your only method of bed bug control. The spray will not reach the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. See Should I Use a Fogger? for more information.
      • Carefully look for any evidence of bed bugsevery few days after you complete your initial cleanup and control processes.If you see bed bugs, either the initial cleanup missed some bugs or eggs have hatched. Retreatment may be needed.
      • Consider using different types of pesticides if repeated treatments are needed.Desiccants (chemicals that dry things out) can be particularly effectivein some situations since they work by drying out the bug (which means the bed bugs can’t develop resistance).
        • If using desiccants, be sure to use only products registered by EPA as a pesticide.
        • Do not use pool- or food-grade diatomaceous earth(made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms). This type of diatomaceous earth can harm you when you breathe it in. The pesticide version uses a different size of diatoms, which reduces the hazard.
        • Desiccants can be very effective but may take several months to work.
        • Evaluate and Prevent

          • Continue to inspect for bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remain. You can use interceptors, traps or other monitoring methods. Interceptors are placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs. Commercial and do-it-yourself interceptors are options.
          • Continue to protect your home from bed bugs.

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

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

          How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs at Home

          A new study shows bed bugs are very hard to kill. Here’s how to get rid of them—or prevent them from ever moving in.

          Two insecticides commonly used to kill bed bugs are becoming less effective against them, according to a study published today in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

          In the past 15 years, there has been a resurgence of bed bugs throughout the U.S., and people often struggle to rid their homes of the hardy pests, known for causing itchy red welts.

          After the bugs developed resistance against many of the most powerful pesticides, such as DDT, exterminators had been increasingly relying on two chemicals—chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin. But until now, no one had looked at whether bed bugs were developing defenses against these chemicals too, says Ameya D. Gondhalekar, one of the study authors and a research assistant professor at the Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management at the Department of Entomology at Purdue University.

          Gondhalekar and his team exposed 10 different groups of bed bugs collected from different parts of the country to each of the chemicals in a glass vial. After several days, they examined how effective the chemicals were at killing the bugs.

          While most of the bed bugs were wiped out by the chemicals, three groups continued to thrive after being treated with chlorfenapyr, and five groups were still kicking after being treated with bifenthrin. That means that while some bed bugs will respond to these chemicals, others won’t—and it’s likely that more and more bugs will become resistant over time.

          “This is just more evidence that this pesticide-only approach to controlling bed bugs isn’t really working,” says Consumer Reports’ senior scientist Michael Hansen, Ph.D. “The take-away is that if you want to control these bed bugs, you can’t just spray.”

          How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation

          Prevention and vigilance are key to preventing a bed bug problem. “It’s much easier to control them if they are found early, [when there are only a few of them], as opposed to when they grow to number in the hundreds,” says Gondhalekar.

          Monitor your home.Bed bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices like walls, luggage, boxes, and clothing, but since they feed on humans while they sleep, they’re most commonly found in beds. If you suspect an infestation, or if you live in an apartment building with a bed bug problem, regularly inspect your bed sheets, mattress (including underneath), and box-spring seams for bugs. They’re flat and oval-shaped, with red or brown bodies, roughly the size of an apple seed. Watch for adults, nymphs, and eggs, as well as exoskeletons (casings that the bugs leave behind when they molt) and dark, rust-colored spots (feces).

          Encase your mattress.Enclosing your mattress, pillows, and box spring with a protective cover can block bed bugs from reaching their favorite hiding place.

          Be cautious when you travel.Hotel and motel rooms are hotbeds for bed bugs. When checking in, put your luggage in the bathroom, then inspect the bedding. Stow your suitcases on a luggage rack or a hard surface.

          When you return home, quarantine your bags.Decontaminate your luggage and clothing by putting your entire suitcase into a large chest freezer (if you have one) for four days, suggests Gondhalekar, before bringing them back into your home. Extreme hot or cold temperatures kills bed bugs. You can also put your clothes in the dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes, and try steam cleaning your luggage and clothing.

          How to Treat a Bed Bug Infestation

          Minimize its spread.First, notify your landlord if you rent in a building to control its spread to other units. Thoroughly vacuum any infested areas, including carpets and mattresses, and then empty the vacuum bag into a plastic bag, seal it, and throw it in the trash outside. If you can’t get the bed bugs out of your furniture, discard items in a responsible manner. To avoid someone else from salvaging infested furniture or mattreses, rip, remove stuffing, or spray paint with the words “bed bugs.”

          Bring on the heat.Heating infested furniture or the entire apartment to a very high temperature—more than 100 degrees, in most cases—will kill bed bugs. If you have a hand-held steamer, blast cracks and crevices.

          Use an insecticide alternative.Substances such as diatomaceous earth, boric acid, and silica gel kill bed bugs by damaging their outer coating so they dry out and die. Put these powders into cracks and crevices around your home (being careful not to ingest or inhale them).

          Enlist professional help.Not all bed bugs respond the same way to insecticides, so if you have an infestation that you can’t control yourself, a professional can help you determine the correct treatment or insecticide to use.

          Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

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

          What do you do?

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

          How Do People Get Bed Bugs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

          How to Detect Bed Bugs

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

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

          Signs of Bed Bugs

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

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

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

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

          Bed Bugs and Your Health

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

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

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

          How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

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

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

          Treating an Infestation

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

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

          Treating an Infestation

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

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

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

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

          Prevention

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

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

          Preventing an Infestation

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

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

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

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

          Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

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

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

          Bed Bug Removal Recipe

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

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

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

          Sleep Well

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

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

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

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

          How to get rid of bed bugs

          Once a bed bug problem is discovered, most people just want to know the best way to eliminate them. Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take, prior to professional bed bug treatment, to help manage the level of an infestation from bed bugs. Watch our video on the 5 simple steps you can take to help eliminate bed bugs from your home.

          5 simple steps to help you tackle a small bed bug infestation

          This video player requires JavaScript.

          High levels of hygiene, deep cleaning and the use of DIY bed bug spray products will help to kill some bed bugs. However professional treatment is often needed to successfully treat an infestation as it can be hard to get rid of bed bugs completely on your own. DIY solutions are not usually powerful enough to eradicate the presence of bed bugs. They have built up resilience to many types of conventional pesticides, making even professional treatment difficult.

          Identify Your Pest

          The first step to solving any pest problem is to know what pest you are dealing with. In this case, you need to be sure you have bed bugs and not another biting insect such as mosquitoes or fleas. Pest control services and solutions vary depending on the species infesting your home or business.

          Bed bugs are nocturnal, only coming out at night to feed, which makes them difficult to spot. During the day they tend to hide in cracks and crevices near their preferred feeding area(usually a bed). If you can identify the common signs of bed bugs, it will help to confirm if there is an infestation present in your premises.

          Correct identification of a bed bug or bed bug bite will help you to choose the most effective pest control solution, saving you both time and money.

          Watch our infographic video about bed bugs.

          This video player requires JavaScript.

          Choose Your Method

          DIY or Professional?

          When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, you are likely to need professional help even though there are DIY options to help reduce the numbers of bed bugs these are unlikely to eradicate an established infestation completely.

          The DIY option, requires you to take a proactive approach to managing an infestation taking up a lot of time as you will need to be carefully monitoring the effectiveness of the DIY treatment. You will also need a basic awareness of common bed bug hotspots to make your DIY treatments as effective as possible and you’ll need to understand how and where they can spread to ensure that all potential areas of infestation are monitored and treated.

          The professional solution just needs you to contact your local, Rentokil expert at the first signs of bed bugs, to allow immediate treatment byBPCA(British Pest Control Association) certified technicians.

          DIY bed bug treatment (not recommended)

          If you decide to control bed bugs on your own, there are a few steps you can take straight away to try and manage a small bed bug problem.

          How to get rid of bed bugs yourself

          1. Inspect- check bed bug hot spots such as mattress seams, bed frames, headboards, along the edge of carpets, and nearby furniture(cabinets, drawers, armchairs, sofas)for live insects.
          2. Wash- wash infested bedding at a high temperature of at least 60℃ for ideally 90 minutes minimum.
          3. Heat- If possible, place items into a tumble dryer for minimum 30 minute cycle.
          4. Vacuum- vacuum your bed, mattress, and any area near to where you have spotted bed bugs. Use the hose attachments to clean along walls and around edges. Afterwards, take the vacuum outside of your property to empty into an outside bin and seal securely.

          Although these steps can help to control the problem, they do not guarantee to eliminate a bed bug infestation completely. The most effective solution for complete bed bug eradication is by an expert, professionally qualified pest controller.

          Professional bed bug treatment

          How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Home

          Waking up to discover bed bug bites will still be very distressing, especially if young children are involved. If you’ve taken all the necessary bed bug prevention steps and have not achieved success with DIY treatments, your next step should be to contact a pest control professional.

          At Rentokil, our experts understand the habits of bed bugs and use their knowledge and expertise to choose the most effective bed bug control solutions for your property. We offer a range of bed bug solutions such as heat pod treatment and chemical which effectively manage a bed bug problem at each stage of their life cycle from eggs to fully grown adults.

          How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Business

          When it comes to bed bugs, businesses operating in the hospitality industry are at greatest risk. This is due to the high volumes of traffic hotels, B&Bs, and motels receive each day, which increases the risk of a bed bug infestation.

          The consequences are significant for brand reputation, customer reviews, employee morale, operational efficiency and ultimately revenue and profits. When it comes to bed bugs and business, DIY treatment is far too risky and cannot guarantee success. For complete protection, you should depend on a qualified, expert pest controller for expert bed bug control.

          At Rentokil we not only offer innovative bed bug solutions using heat pod treatment, but also provide training to help educate your staff on how to successfully spot the early signs of bed bugs in hotels and what to do before an infestation can take hold.

          How to choose your pest controller

          How To Choose your Pest Controller

          To find the right professional pest control company, you need to ensure the entire organisation, as well as the pest control technicians are able to fulfill key criteria. A good pest controller should be able to anticipate and answer all your health and safety concerns. Services and treatments should be tailored to suit your individual needs as much as possible.

          Crucially a professional should also respect your home, property or business site and operate with the greatest care and attention. He or she should be able to voice any challenges or restrictions right from the start. Equally, as a customer, you should always feel able to voice any concerns and ask as many questions as you need to.

          Key criteria for Selection:

          1. Certifications- licences and certifications will demonstrate that your treatments are carried out to the highest industry standard practices.
          2. Affiliated associations- membership of recognised industry associations will ensure your services are provided by a trained, insured and trusted company, which has to comply to strict membership criteria.
          3. Personal recommendations- even today, word-of-mouth and personal recommendations can be more powerful than a company’s own word. Speak to neighbours, friends, family and check review sites to find out about customer satisfaction.
          4. Online reviews- independent online Customer Reviews – such as Trustpilot, can be a source of information by your peers on the services they have received.
          5. Transparency- complete honesty and transparency early-on regarding the cost, level and duration of treatment required will help you see if the company is reliable.
          6. Expertise & experience- a well established, recognised company can offer peace of mind in the services provided and its relationship with customers.

          Why use Rentokil?

          With Rentokil you can be assured of complete pest protection from British Pest Control Association (BPCA) certified technicians. Our focus on control solutions will ensure elimination of your pest problem. At the same time, our approach to pest prevention will help your home or business remain pest-free long-term.

          Our experience and expertise in the pest control industry should reassure you of the quality of our service and our expertly trained pest controllers.

          • We tailor our treatments to target pests by species.
          • We customise our solutions based on the uniqueness of your home, building or business premises – recognising that every pest problem is different.
          • We use advanced solutions approved by industry governing bodies – helping to ensure reliability and success.
          • Our large network of entomologists and field biologists support the services and treatments used by our pest controllers on-site.

          Take Action

          Contact us today, to get rid of your bed bug problem and eliminate any stress or concerns you have regarding pests in your property.

          Bedbugs

          In this Article

          In this Article

          In this Article

          Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

          Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

          Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

          Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

          Where Bed Bugs Hide

          Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

          Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

          Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

          When Bedbugs Bite

          Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

          Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

          People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

          Continued

          Signs of Infestation

          If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

          • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
          • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
          • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
          • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

          If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

          Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

          If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

          Bedbug Treatments

          Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

          • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
          • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
          • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
          • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
          • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
          • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

          If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.

          Continued

          Bedbug Extermination

          While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

          Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

          Sources

          University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

          Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

          The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

          University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

          Add Comments: