Getting rid of bed bugs has proven to be a challenging task for hundreds of years. Most people would love to hire a pest control company to come into their home and spray a special mixture of “bed bug whoop ass” to solve the problem. Unfortunately, this mixture does not exist. Bed bugs (and eggs) are highly resistant to insecticides. Humans make matters worse by providing the perfect cluttered spaces for insects to thrive in. Mattresses, furniture and bedding make ideal nesting areas because we are not able to treat them with harsh chemicals.
The bottom line is that bed bugs are resilient. Insecticides can not be relied on to kill an infestation. In this guide, I am going to teach you how to get rid of bed bugs yourself with an integrated pest control approach.
Bed bug bites are commonly mistaken for bites from spiders or mosquitoes (and vice versa). *Making matters worse, some people do not have any reaction to bed bug bites at all. Therefore, it can be misleading to identify an based on bite marks. The most accurate method to identify an infestation is to search for physical signs. The important areas to monitor are bedding, mattresses, carpet edges, crevices and furniture. If a crack or crevice is large enough to fit the edge of a credit card inside, then it can nest bed bugs and eggs. If you suspect that you may have bed bugs or want to check your hotel room before you can rest comfortably, look for the following signs (also see the photos below):
This is a neat tool that will make your life much easier as you complete the treatment plan below. Bed bugs, eggs and their droppings are tiny and easy to miss. Use this tool to detect infested areas. It comes with a UV light source as well as a built in magnifying glass. It uses a specific UV frequency that causes bed bug eggs and excrement to illuminate. This will allow you to quickly scan bedding, mattresses and all of the hot spots listed below. This tool also comes in handy for detecting head lice.
Bed bugs are capable of living in almost any small crevice that provides protection. During the early stages of the infestation, they are mostly found in close proximity to your mattress. However, as the problem grows, they venture into other locations. Learning how to rid of bed bugs at this stage is very difficult. Below is a list of hot spots where you will want to concentrate your efforts. Please remember that if a crevice is large enough to penetrate with the edge of a credit card, it is large enough to hide bed bugs and eggs.
*Note: This is an extensive list but there is not way to predict with 100% certainty where bed bugs will decide to nest. Use your best judgement and do a thorough search of all possible areas.
Using Heat to get rid of infestations on bedding and fabrics
This step is straight forward. Vacuuming will help to get rid of some bed bugs and eggs. It also helps with sanitation. This will aid the other methods as part of our integrated approach. Be sure to read the list of hot spots above to help you detect the nesting areas. Vacuum all of the hot spots while scraping with a brush or vacuum nozzle as you move along.
*Note: Use care when emptying the contents of the vacuum. Use a sealed bag and dispose of it immediately.
Take 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and put it into a spray bottle. Then spray all of the same hot spots with alcohol . Continue to brush while spraying to dislodge anything you may have missed the first time. This step will NOT get rid of bed bugs by itself. However, it is an important step in our integrated approach.
Heat treatments are the best way to get rid of bed bugs. Many pest control companies are using this exact method to eliminate infestations in homes and apartments around the world. Steam cleaners are extremely versatile and they give you the ability to treat areas where insecticides are undesirable (or illegal). Steam can kill bed bugs and eggs fairly quickly while leaving zero chemical residue.
Note* This product is 25% off on Amazon.com at the time I am writing this guide.
Diatomaceous earth is a dust made of the silica-based skeletons of diatoms (microorganisms). It kills bed bugs by sticking to their bodies and eliminating the wax layer of skin that keeps in their moisture. They will usually die within a few days of contact. However, it may take 1-2 weeks to kill the adults in some cases. Diatomaceous Earth is rated for safe use in areas where insecticides are not.
Important note:* There are a few different types of Diamtomaceous Earth. Some types are toxic. Make sure that you purchase this powder yourself to eliminate the risk. We dont’ want to put our family in danger. Below is the correct type of diatomaceous earth to use for getting rid of bed bugs inside of your home. I also did the research for you to find a reputable (and safe) brand at a very good price.
Using the Correct Diatomaceous Earth
This formula is perfect for killing bed bugs yourself. When they come in contact with the powder it will latch onto their body and cut through their exoskeleton. This allows the the moisture in their body to escape which is vital to their survival. They will dehydrate and die within a few days of contact. Safer Brand’s bed bug powder also contains an attractant formula that will kills insects even faster by ingestion. This is the most economical and convenient solution to help get rid of a bed bug infestation. It provides an organic solution with lasting protection.
*Note: Amazon.com is currently featuring this product and offering a 53% discount (at the time this guide was published). This product comes in a 7oz bottle. I recommend that you purchase 2 bottles (14 ounces).
Important: All Diatomaceous Earth is not created equal. I chose this brand to recommend because it uses amorphous diatomaceous earth (also known as silicon dioxide). Amorphous diatomaceous earth is derived from fresh water sources unlike diatomite diatomaceous earth, which can be derived from unnatural sources (and has been linked to cancer). It is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and USDA Certified for use in organic gardening. This means you are using a product that has undergone rigorous testing to make sure it is safe AND effective. -
If for whatever reason you decide to use an insecticide, this is the best chemical solution for killing bed bugs quickly. Maybe you don’t have access to a steam cleaner or diatomaceous earth and you need quick relief from these pesky insects. I picked this particular product after reading about it on the NCHH (National Center for Healthy Housing) website. When I did my follow up research, I found nothing but raving reviews about it’s effectiveness when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs (which you can read for yourself here).
- Tempo Ultra SC has no odor, is non- staining and long lasting
- 1- 8 oz. bottle makes approximately 30 gallons
- Effective for indoor and outdoor pest control.
- Active ingredient: Cyfluthrin, cyano 11.8% (Cannot be shipped to CT or NY)
Note* You should always use care when handling insecticides (or any chemicals for that matter). ChippTips.com or myself take no responsibility for any negative outcomes that may occur from misusing or mishandling this product. While I am very confident in the effectiveness of this formula, it is an insecticide and should be handled with caution. Please follow the manufacturers directions carefully. If you have any questions or need more assistance, here is a resource from the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Citizens guide to pest control and pesticide safety
This is another fantastic product that can be a powerful tool for getting rid of bed bugs. It also has value in other areas. This mattress encasement is a wonderful way to treat and prevent bed bug infestations while also providing real health benefits for people who suffer from daily allergy and asthma triggers. The quality, effectiveness and durability of this mattress encasement speaks for itself and the company that makes it backs it up with a 10 year warranty! The price may change but at the time I am writing this guide, they are currently 35-50% off at amazon.com. Prices also vary depending on the size you need. You can view them here. Or, you can read all the great reviews about this product here.
*Correction: In my video I called this a “vinyl” mattress cover. However, SafeRest box spring encasements contain no vinyl, phthalates or PVCs.
Save Your Infested Box Spring! Rather than disposing of expensive box springs, SafeRest encasements can seal off the box spring preventing insects from escaping. This will kill the bed bugs by starvation and dehydration. The encasement will also protect a new box spring from bed bugs entering the mattress in the first place.
*Specifically Designed and Lab Tested for Bed Bugs and Allergy Protection
*Machine Washable with your sheets. Use normal household detergents that do not contain bleach. Tumble dry on low heat. Do not iron.
It is very important to catch a bug infestation early before it becomes too large to get under control. I found a very useful tool to detect and prevent bedbugs from getting into your mattress. This is a trap that slides under the four posts of your bed frame (or any piece of furniture with legs). Bed bugs become trapped in the tray when they attempt to climb into your bed. What I love the most about this design is that the trap has sections so you can monitor which direction the bugs are traveling from. As far as I know, this is the only one that has this feature. In summary, this device will:
Here is a list of all the items we talked about that you need to complete your treatment plan. All you need to do is check the items you would like to keep and “x” the items that you don’t want to buy. It doesn’t get any easier than this!
Cimex lectularius (Bed Bugs) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. However, they can live many months without a meal. This makes them extremely hard to deal with.
Once nearly eradicated, bed bugs have returned with a vengeance over the past 20 years. There are many theories regarding their resurgence. One of the major reasons is a widespread resistence to insecticides such as DDT. Here are a few other suspected causes for their population growth:
Bed bugs can be found everywhere from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. The presence of bed bugs is not just a problem in developing countries. Their populations are rapidly spreading in major cities of 1st world countries. They can be found everywhere from 3rd world countries to 5 star hotels and resorts. Cleanliness is not always a factor. Infestations occur mostly within about 8 feet of sleeping areas such as houses, apartments, hotels buses, trains, airplanes etc. They remain out of sight during the day and usually feed at night. Getting rid of bed bugs is an important topic regardless of where you live.
They have not been know to spread disease and are generally not considered a medical or public health hazard. They are however, a huge annoyance. Having these insects equates to a lot of itching, frustration and loss of sleep.
Bed bug bites can affect people in different ways. Some people have no reaction to the bites at all and some can have a serious allergic reaction. In some cases, multiple bites can require medical attention.
Most bites resolve within one to two weeks. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, and include:
They are experts at hiding! Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a meal. Theyare usually transported from place to place as people travel. They travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location. Once they are in your home, getting rid of bed bugs must become your priority.
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and spreading a bed bug infestation.