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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast: Scientifically Approved Ways and Products

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how to kill bed bugs: photo

If you have found yourself reading this article, there is no point in explaining to you what kind of small brown bugs have settled in your mattress. Based on recommendations of scientists, we have prepared a detailed guide for you. From this review, you will learn how to get rid of bed bugs PROPERLY and defeat them once and for all.

Yes, they are indeed the nasty parasites which are so hard to eliminate as they are incredibly tenacious and skillful at hiding. What you need is to take 10 crucial steps towards successful eradication of these pests. How to kill bed bugs effectively? A bed bug bomb seems to be the fastest way to get rid of the bloodsuckers. But is it true?

We’ll bust the myths about the ever-popular bug bombs which are utterly useless against these insects. In order to find out the truth, we have compiled the opinions of scientists from more than ten American universities. At the very end of the review, you will find TOP 15 proven bed bug killing products.

Bed Bug Killing Plan: 10 Steps to Eliminate Bed Bugs

All scientists agree that eliminating bed bugs is a hard work. “Management will require employing several nonchemical methods such as vacuuming, washing bedding at a high temperature, using steam or heat treatment, and sealing up hiding places. Insecticides may be required to eliminate serious infestations. The best approach is to combine chemical and nonchemical tactics with increased sanitation and habitat modification practices” (University of California Statewide IPM Program).

Where to begin? What measures and in what sequence should be taken? We have drawn up a plan of action so that you know how to get rid of bed bugs successfully. The plan includes 10 steps.

  1. Inspection. This will allow you to control the situation. Bedbug eggs and larvae are hard to notice, since the former are minuscule while the latter are transparent or whitish. Therefore, look for signs of their presence in your room, such as black dots and blood stains.
  2. Ultimate cleaning. Even if the first idea that comes to your mind when you see bed bugs is to flee, get yourself together. You still have some cleaning to do. Also, throw away old trash and wooden furniture that you do not use. Check the second-hand wooden furniture when buying. On returning from s trip, take ALL of your stuff (even new and clean things) to the laundry.
  3. Vacuum clean the carpets and floors, as well as all corners and crevices to remove as many adult parasites and their larvae as possible. The vacuum cleaner will not help to get rid of eggs (as they are too sticky), so use sticky tape in case you notice the eggs.
  4. Wash all of your clothes and bed sheets at 120°F. What kills the adults, larvae, and eggs is high temperature. Try to steam clean those items you can’t wash.
  5. If possible, take all the furniture outside, into the sun, as they do not like extreme heat. If you have substantial infestation at home, and so a lot of things are to be treated, or if you travel frequently, a thermal camera for treating infected objects (such as Dr Infrared Heater, 18 cubic feet portable heater quickly reaches 120-155F in minutes and effectively kills bed bugs for ~$171) will be handy.
  6. Although most often these human parasites are found in the bedrooms, sometimes they happen to migrate to other rooms, in the bathroom, for instance, so make sure you check everything. If necessary, make repairs and seal cracks and crevices in the walls and the floor.
  7. Warn your neighbors; ask them if anyone has the same problem as it is easier to kill the bed bugs together than alone. Do not be ashamed as they can settle even in the most luxurious buildings. As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention specialists claim, “Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found”.
  8. Insulate the bed as the main source of infection. Do not dispose of it, even though it seems to be the easiest solution. Take away tables, chairs and other furniture which is directly adjacent to the bed. If possible, move the bed away from the window sill and walls. Treat your bed with insecticides and pack the mattress in a special zipped mattress protector. When on a trip, don’t put the suitcase on the hotel furniture, especially the bed. Use protective cases for the suitcases to prevent bed bugs from getting into your house.
  9. Use insecticides to treat cracks, crevices and all bed bug hiding places under furniture and carpets, behind baseboards, outlets and pictures. Have a spare liquid insecticide in order not to waste time buying it in case you find a bed bug.
  10. Exterminator. Professional services are the last on our list for two reasons. You should call an exterminator in case you fail to cope with the problem on your own and, of course, if you can afford it. Exterminator services is the most expensive solution while being the most effective one.

You are about to find out why the bugs can infest any house, even a 5-star hotel, how to react to their appearance, how to behave during a vacation so as not to bring them home, how to kill bed bugs and how long do it take to clean the house of the infestation.

Table of Content:

STEP #1 Inspection: 5 Obvious Signs of Bed Bugs

Clearly, it is much easier to identify adults than to note the presence of larvae on a light-colored mattress. A larva’s body is much smaller than an adult’s one, it is transparent or whitish. Mission impossible is finding the pearly eggs which are the size of a pinhead.

We have found out that the human attention is the best detector. The scientists advise conducting a regular, careful inspection of all the “potentially hazardous” zones in your bedroom, especially the mattress. It is such check that will allow you to begin treatment in time rather than the use of any other devices for identifying the insects.

Furthermore, no matter how good they are at hiding, the following signs always give them away:

  • Feces in the habitat.
  • If you see some black dots (which are actually digested blood) somewhere where it’s supposed to be clean, make your conclusions.
  • Larvae skins.
  • Larvae throw them when turning into adults.
  • Blood stains on the bed sheets.
  • Bite spots on the human body.

In order to be full, the adult bed bugs won’t get enough of a single small bite. Usually, they leave tracks of 3-5 itchy bites located next to each other. Most often they attack hands, feet, and the neck. These insects almost always bite at night, just before dawn, but in the case of severe hunger they can pay you a visit whenever. If you’re interested in the devices for bed bug detection, refer to our review of the best bed bug detectors for more details.

The Scientists’ Opinion on How to Eliminate Bed Bugs

There is no magical panacea against bed bug infestation. IPM Program specialists confirm this and recommend combining chemical and non-chemical methods for the best control. Here are the most effective treatments:

  • Vacuum cleaning.
  • Bed sheet washing.
  • Furniture rearrangement (the University of Illinois Springfield specialists recommend having your bed as an island in the middle of the room) .
  • Fill any cracks where the bloodsuckers could possible hide.
  • Mattress covers.
  • Killing insecticides.

where bed bugs live: photo

Mattress protector. As the scientists claim (and real life experience attests to this), the majority of bed bugs (about 70%) settle in mattresses, box springs and bed frames.

That is why you should devote most effort to treating the mattress. Cover it in a special mattress protector for 12 months. Within this period, all the adults and larvae will starve inside it.

After that, you will have to destroy the remaining 30% of pests. What is the most effective way of doing this? What do entomologists have to say about various bed bug control solutions?

Bed Bug Killing Products in Liquids and Dusts. The main aim of the insecticides is to kill insects in inaccessible places. The scientists distinguish both natural and chemical insecticides as well as Diatomaceous Earth among contact treatments.

The ever-popular boric acid is, unfortunately, useless in this case. As the experts explain, boric acid is useful for cockroach control because roaches groom themselves and boric acid is a slow-acting stomach poison. Bed bugs cannot ingest it.

Traps serve more as a monitoring rather than killing measure. The University of Minnesota experts consider them to be multifunctional. “Bed bug interceptors not only help to reduce the number of bed bugs that can reach the bed but also act as a monitoring tool to help determine whether bed bugs are present.” It is therefore sensible to use them during the entire process of eliminating the bloodsuckers.

Foggers (Bug Bombs). Despite the common misconception, the scientists are positive that foggers and bug bombs are ineffective against any home pest insects. There is no effect because no poisonous fog droplets can reach the insects’ shelters and kill them there. Moreover, a reverse repelling effect is observed as the parasites hide even further down the cracks and breed there.

How Bed Bug Control Products Work

Type Ingredients Action Effectiveness (1-10)
Mattress covers Made of dense fabric with pores narrower than bed bugs. Isolate the insects and doesn't let them escape outside or enter inside the mattress. 9
Insecticides Pyrethrins, pyrethroids, neonicotinoid, chlorfenapyr. Contact action. 10
Natural solutions Geranium, clove, peppermint and other essential oils. Contact action. 7
Diatomaceous Earth 100% organic insect killing product. Dehydrates parasites to death on contact. 8
Traps Sticky or plastic interceptors. Means of parasite population monitoring. 9

Let us warn you: it is a hard and long job to do. But if you are consistent and practice the integrated approach of combining the timely cleaning with the use protective covers for the beds and insecticides, you are guaranteed to succeed.

Experts still debate the effectiveness of various products and active ingredients, but they are unanimous about what kills bed bugs is vacuuming, washing bedding at a high temperature (120° F), using steam or heat treatment. This gives a 100% success result. Therefore, do not neglect these simple and banal at a first glance ways.

A Single Bug Bomb Can Kill All Bed Bugs Immediately: True or False? False.

So, it’s time for some serious actions now! Many people try to use bug bombs and foggers, but the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, NY specialists, warn us: “Foggers and bug bombs are not effective against them”.

This is so because the sprayed droplets of the synthetic fog cannot penetrate hidden spots inhabited by the bed bugs. The University of Kentucky scientists agree with this.

They insist that the home insect foggers (“Bug Bombs”) are useless against crawling insects. When applied in this manner, very little insecticide actually penetrates into cracks, voids, and other hidden locations where cockroaches, ants, silverfish, and most other household pests congregate and spend most of their time.

The main point is also that the ingredients within “bug bombs” also tend to be repellent, causing insects to scatter and move deeper into wall voids and other hard-to-reach areas, which means they are hiding a bit further!

It’s pointless to rely on any repellents either as their bloodthirstiness is stronger than the smell. That’s why protective cases and insecticidal sprays remain the most effective means of dealing with the bed bugs today.

STEP#2 Monitoring

If you either still hesitate or you’ve been bitten by a bed bug or some other insect or haven’t been able to find their nest at home, try using traps. There are two types of such devices: plastic and sticky ones.

The former are the double plastic cup-holders to be placed under the bed legs which keep the bloodsuckers crawling off the bed inside one circle, and the ones crawling into the bed are kept in another one. Thus, being a 2-in-1 piece, the device allows you to track the movement of bugs and catch them.

Monitoring devices such as ClimbUp® are useful for confirming the presence of bed bugs when a visual inspection cannot. When installed under bed legs, they also provide a barrier between floor and bed which can potentially reduce bites, especially when beds are pulled slightly away walls and encased, as Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky confirms.

Climbup Bed Bug Interceptor for ~$30 is the most popular product of this type today. Check the current price on Amazon.com

The second type - Sticky cardboards that can be placed anywhere and be used to monitor a variety of insect pests, including bed bugs. The idea of their operation is the same: when an insect touches the adhesive tape, it sticks to it and dies. Some of such products even have food baits. The following 3 items are considered to be the best sellers among top 100 products on Amazon.com:

best bed bugs traps: photo

STEP#3 Killing Bed Bugs By Hand

Just pick up insects and physically destroy them. Entomologists from the University of Minnesota suggest bed bug handpicking as one of the measures reducing the number of these pests indoors but point out that it is not 100% effective.

Once you have captured a bed bug, squash it or simply remove using a sticky tape. Although being a labor-consuming solution, killing bed bugs by hand will significantly lower the infestation if you do it regularly.

What items do you need to succeed? Put on a pair of gloves and take tweezers to pick up bed bugs. Then, place them in a small container and throw it into the trash.

Or you may resort to another tactic. Take a flashlight, old credit card or something like that, hot soapy water, and several plastic bags. Force the pests out with the help of the flashlight and by pushing the card along cracks. Note that the card should be plastic.

Check a baseboard on both sides — that adjacent to the floor and that along the wall. You may get bed bugs stuck to a tape or wipe them out with hot soapy water.

LuxPower Tactical V1000 LED Flashlight: photo

Using a flashlight is crucial because bed bugs always hide in dark spots, particularly in cracks. Since they can be not only brown but light brown as well, it will be hard to detect them without the bright light directed into the harborage.

Hold the flashlight in line with the treated area so that eggs and larvae cast a shadow. This will help you reveal much more pests. Since you need a really bright flashlight, take a device fitted with LED bulbs. LuxPower Tactical V1000 LED Flashlight (2-pack) for ~$13.99 seems to be the best bet.

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, the device generates a large area floodlight or a focused spotlight, depending on the set mode. While being a powerful flashlight, it is a compact and easy-to-use product. According to the customer feedback, the device can be successfully used for this purpose: “These are nice bright flashlights, also sturdy. My son uses them at work, looking in tight areas for bugs,” a buyer noted.

STEP#4 Treat infested mattress

According to the entomologists, 70% of the bed bugs in the house settle in the mattress, box spring and bed frame during a typical infestation. That is one of the priority tasks is to treat the infected mattress and to protect the new one by using protective encasements.

Modern encasements are made of firm materials (polyurethane, polyester, etc.) the pores of which are smaller than the bed bugs so that you could lock up all existing blood-suckers and their larvae inside and prevent new ones from getting into the mattress from the outside.

Remember! The encasement should cover the mattress for a year as it is this period of time that is required for the captivated bed bugs to starve. If you happen to take the encasement off and then put it back on, you might as well start everything all over again.

Here is the #1 Bestseller in the Mattress Encasements category on Amazon.com: LINENSPA Zippered Encasement Waterproof, Bed Bug Proof Breathable Mattress Protector. This encasement will protect your mattress from bed bugs and mites, and it is also waterproof.

It is really as good as it sounds, according to the customer feedback: “This is an excellent product. I purchased this to contain bed bugs that were on my mattress. I bought some diatomaceous earth and treated my bed first then placed the cover over the mattress. I've been sleeping like a baby ever since. No more bites.” The customers also add that it is nice to sleep on and it doesn’t rustle or cause sweating. You can get all of that for ~$24.99. Buy on Amazon.com

linenspa bed bug mattress cover: photo

Read our review of the 5 Best Bed Bug Mattress Protectors to find out which mattress encasement to pick, why vinyl analogues aren’t a good choice and whether your pillows require protection.

STEP#5 Use Organic Dusts

Here is what Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky recommends to those who cannot afford a professional exterminator:

Bed bug eradication is challenging, and it’s prudent to hire a professional when resources allow. However treatment can be expensive, often costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Those who cannot afford this often must cope with the problem themselves. A useful step that anyone can take to combat bed bugs is to install bed encasements. Covering the mattress and box spring can help eliminate a substantial portion of the bed bug population. Bugs that are spotted can be removed with a vacuum, or killed with over-the-counter insecticides labeled for such use.

He noted that most bed bug insecticides intended for householders had little remaining effect after the stuff had dried. Therefore, it’s important to initially contact as many of the insects as possible. While such products as diatomaceous earth will kill bed bugs, boric acid powder is believed to be useless.

Let’s start with Diatomaceous Earth, which is recommended by the scientists, as the bed bugs have not yet had time to get used to it and become resistant, which is, incidentally, confirmed by the EPA.

diatomaceous earth with Pest Pistol Duster: photo

Diatomaceous Earth is the remains of diatom algae composed of silicon dioxide. It is this compound that has an abrasive effect on many insects, including the bed bugs. It dries their armor – their exoskeleton, and the insects die.

That is why the bugs do not need to eat the powder to be poisoned and die, it will be just enough for them to touch it. In spite of such killing effect of its use, Diatomaceous Earth is organic and completely safe for people and pets. It costs only ~$9.47. Buy on Amazon.com

How should you use Diatomaceous Earth? You’ll need for that a special tool like Pest Pistol Mini Duster for ~$10.95. You’ll have to treat all of the bed bug infestation hotbeds, be it cracks and crevices in the floor, walls, furniture, bed frame and the space around it, etc.

The scientists recommend refraining from using other pesticides along with the Diatomaceous Earth (but make sure you do apply other bed bug control ways) and being patient, as the bed bug killing can take up to 2 weeks.

The only downside of using Diatomaceous Earth is that this stuff will cover your entire room. If you want to use a cleaner product, pay attention to liquid insecticides which are trusted by the Amazon.com customers.

STEP#6 Treat Cracks and Crevices Using Liquid Insecticides

Ortho Home Defense Liquid Insect Killing Product: the manufacturer assures that this bottle’s contents are able to kill not only regular bed bugs, their eggs, fleas, ticks, mites and lice but also pyrethroid-resistant insects. ~$14.90 Buy it on Amazon.com

Harris Bed Bug Control Product in the form of liquid with Deltamethrin as active component kills bed bugs and lice on contact; the customers, therefore, call it “instant death” and often use it simultaneously with Diatomaceous Earth for ultimate extermination of bed bugs. It is available for ~$19.49 Buy it on Amazon.com

bed bug insecticides: photo

However, bear in mind that certain species have adapted to the pyrethroid insecticides. That’s why you should make sure the manufacturer states whether the product is effective against pyrethroid insecticide-resistant insects.

Use Natural Liquid Insecticides

If you do not want to use insecticides, there are a lot of natural liquid insecticides based on oils. Although many pest control experts doubt the effectiveness of the oil-based bug killing products as bed bugs are really very tenacious of life insects and learned to adapt to any kind of poison with time, give it a try if it is important to you to use all natural products.

The manufacturers promise that their liquid insecticides will eliminate the adult bugs, larvae, and eggs by direct contact of the liquid with the parasites.

How to kill bed bugs using such products? The stuff is to be applied to all open and hidden spots where the bugs can settle. In fact, this refers to all possible sites from the floor to ceiling, including the hideaway spots, such as sites behind the pictures, wallpapers, cracks in floors, walls, etc.

Among the best selling natural liquid insecticides in the Pest Control Sprayers category on Amazon.com, you can find the Bug Control Product by EcoRaider for ~$17.95.

According to the manufacturer, this is “The only natural product kills bed bugs with 100% efficacy according to Entomological Society of America's published study”. It is promised to kill the bed bugs at any life stage as well as to eliminate the resistant species.

natural bed bug killer spray: photo

NB! Regardless of which product you’ve picked, don’t apply it spot-on as the bed bugs will get used to it and will simply flee to other places. You are supposed to treat the entire premises with it.

Also, while the room treatment does not cause any concerns, you have to be careful with the treatment of the linen. Even the natural liquid insecticides contain sls which is a synthetic sodium lauryl compound commonly used in household chemicals production and other products.

The United States Department of Agriculture specialists has proven that the prolonged contact of the sls with skin may result in dermatitis. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin, wait for a while before falling asleep on the treated bed sheets.

You can find more helpful products in our guide to picking the best bed bug spray

STEP#7 Wash All Of Your Clothes And Bed Sheets

Kill all bed bugs — the adults, larvae, and eggs — by washing all of your clothes and bed sheets at a high temperature (120°F). Try to steam clean those items you can’t wash.

Experts claim that this is one of the really effective measures to control bed bugs. Bear in mind that while washing in itself eliminates only a portion of the bed bugs, what kills all bed bugs is the heat of drying.

Before washing, sort out your clothes and bedding items into different piles depending on their washing instructions. So you will be able to wash the items at the highest allowable temperatures for each of them. Some clothes cannot be moistened and should be dry cleaned only.

After you have sorted the clothes, place each pile into a plastic bag and seal it tightly. This is crucial for preventing the bed bugs from crawling on other items like the carpet or curtains.

Bed Bug ERADICATOR Laundry Treatment: photo

Buy Bed Bug ERADICATOR Laundry Treatment on Amazon.com for ~$13.95 to obtain better results. If you cannot do washing at high temperatures, this liquid will help you eradicate all pests in the infested fabrics. Use it alone or with a detergent.

Since the stuff is based on natural ingredients, feel free to apply it to sheets or pillowcases. The product rates 3.7 out of 5 stars. “Are you sure your home dryer gets hot enough to kill the bugs? Commercial dryers have higher temperatures. The detergent kills what it comes in contact with. These creatures love to hide. This detergent I do know does help in the battle,” one user noted.

STEP#8 Kill Bed Bugs By Heat

How to get rid of bed bugs using extreme heat? You may expose the furniture and mattress to the sun but this can be unrealizable or will not produce the desired result. Moreover, in case of a heavy infestation, you will have to do treat a lot of things and do it quite frequently. In this case, you should consider buying a thermal camera like Dr Infrared Heater.

This portable device has a quiet turbo fan that is designed to eliminate bed bugs. For your convenience, the heater is equipped with a 2-tier steel rack shelf. This will let you treat the items more thoroughly. The volume of the unit is 18 cubic feet.

Once turned on, the heater instantly reaches temperatures as high as 155°F eradicating bed bugs. For the record, bed bugs and their eggs die immediately at 122°F while during a heat treatment of the room that is carried out by professionals, the air temperature indoors usually does not exceed 145°F.

Apart from that, when professional exterminators treat the room with heat, the temperature should be held at that level for 3 hours.

Keep in mind that this entails some disadvantages. Primarily, some of the objects located in your room may be damaged. Secondly, as entomologists from Penn State University indicate, treating the infested room with heat is effective for small spaces, for example, hotel rooms. In a large house it is unlikely to work since all areas of the building cannot be brought up to the same temperature. This is why having a portable heater is a good solution.

Dr Infrared Heater: photoThe product is available at a price ~$171 but, judging from customers’ experiences, this is great value for money. The heater rates 2.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. “Please do not believe the bad reviews given by people who think this is a solution to ridding their entire home of bed bugs. It is to be used as a prevention tool,” a buyer noted. “I found a dead bed bugs in the bottom of it after treating some things in it. I've also been running it 3 times a day for a month straight in preparation for an upcoming relocation, and it hasn't broke down yet,” another customer said.

STEP#9 How To Prevent Bed Bugs From Entering Your House

Prevention is the best way of combating an infestation, given that bed bugs have weak mouthparts and claws making them unable of tearing the thinnest sealant or cloth. So, take advantage of their biological peculiarities and block all possible access inside the building.

Once you have sealed and covered with a material all openings and cracks, the movement of bed bugs will be stopped. This will reduce the intensity of their biting for a certain period of time.

Look for cracks and crevices on the walls as well as along baseboards. Caulk them with a silicone sealant. Also, seal openings around pipes or other structures passing through walls, floors and ceilings.

Bed bugs can move to an adjacent room through electrical, heat and phone line conduits. For this reason, you should monitor these sites and, if any pest activity is detected, be sure to block the infestation from both sides of the wall.

waterproof silicone sealant  Loctite from bed bugs: photo

You should better use a waterproof silicone sealant like Loctite which can be purchased on Amazon.com at a price of ~$5.77.

This product made of 100% silicone is designed for sealing door frames, windows, and vents, as well as for weather-stripping and other purposes. It can be applied to a variety of materials from glass and wood to stainless steel and marble.

Loctite has scored 4.0 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com. “I used it to seal in between the logs (I have a log house) that had a small gap to keep the rain out...and I used it to seal a leak in the rain gutter. It works great for things like that,” a buyer said.

Scientists from Indiana University indicate a number of signs showing that bed bugs move between the rooms in the house:

  • The pests were detected in ceiling light fixtures
  • You saw them crawling out of electrical or switch plates as well as their droppings in the area
  • You have encountered bed bugs in the sites untypical for them, such as the bathroom where the insects can get moving along water pipes.

A good option for preventing the movement of bed bugs between rooms is installing a door sweep, such as Fowong ZH-83 WCDW003 available on Amazon.com for ~$9.99.

door sweep Fowong ZH-83 WCDW003: photo

The product has two layers and is made of an eco-friendly silicone. It is designed to create a physical obstacle for the insects so that they cannot get into another room through the doorway. Fowong strip will stop even the tiniest insects as it closes a gap of 0 to 28 mm.

This sweep door is easy to install for which no tool is required. If needed, this 39 inch long strip can be cut to size with heavy duty scissors. The product rates 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. “I installed two of these strips along the side of the door on the inside and outside, and now no more bugs or weather!” a customer wroted. He also recommended cleaning the surface well before putting the strip on.

STEP#10 Call An Exterminator

No matter how hard you tried, there is always a chance to fail. Do not blame yourself for that. If the infestation is heavy, it is not an easy task to cope with bed bugs. In this case, you should rely on professional operators. They are more skilled, experienced and they have a special-purpose equipment. Also, many strong insecticides are of restricted use and cannot be purchased by homeowners, only licensed professionals are allowed to use them.

So, exterminators have arrived. But even then you should not adopt a passive stance but, instead, you should do your best to cooperate with them. Scientists from the Michigan State University have revealed that, according to research, those who cooperate with exterminators can make the eradication process much shorter.

  • Do not enter the house, nor should you air or vacuum the room until you are allowed to. Exterminators will tell you how long you should wait.
  • Look for surviving bed bugs after the treatment is completed. It is possible that some unhatched eggs may survive. This fact does not imply that the operators did their job poorly. It is a common practice to treat the room repeatedly in two weeks because the survived eggs will hatch causing a new infestation.
  • If pest management professionals conclude that the treatment has not produced the desired results, they may suggest combining several methods. You should follow their recommendations to get rid of bed bug completely.
  • After the treatment, set sticky tapes or cardboards to monitor the presence of the pests in the rooms.

In what cases can a bed bug treatment be ineffective? First, it occurs when not all sources of the infestation have been detected. Secondly, not all sites have been treated. Thirdly, when insecticides have turned out to be not effective enough. Fourthly, you removed some infested items before the treatment and then brought them back with bugs alive and kicking. Anyway, whatever you are going to do, first consult your pest management operator.

15 Bed Bug DIY Treatment Products Comparison Chart

Product Type How does it work? Effectiveness Price

Climbup Insect Interceptor

ClimbUp Insect Interceptor Bed Bug Trap min: photo

Plastic capturing device Provides a barrier between floor and bed. Talc powder is optional for best results. Early detection only

~$33.73

Trapper Insect Trap

Trapper Insect Trap min: photo

Sticky tape

(Pack of 90)

Catches bed bugs at all stages of development. Upon contact with the adhesive tape, the bug sticks to it and dies. Early detection only

~$17.19

Harris Killing Product with food lure

harris traps min: photo

Sticky tape

(Pack of 4)

Lures and kills insects. Early detection only

~$5.99

Dr Infrared Heater

Dr Infrared Heater min: photo

Thermal camera for treating infected objects Quickly reaches 120-155F in minutes and effectively kills insects in infested objects   High

~$171

Hot Shot 95911-1 Fogger

hot shot fogger min: photo

Insecticide bug bomb Very little insecticide actually penetrates into cracks, voids, and other hidden locations where household pests congregate and spend most of their time.  Not effective according to scientists 

~$10

LINENSPA Zippered Mattress Protector

LINENSPA Zippered Bed Bug Mattress Protector min: photo

Mattress protector Locks all existing insects and their larvae inside.  High, but slow 

~$24.99

Safer Diatomaceous Earth

safer diatomaceous earth min: photo

Organic 100% Natural Kills insects on contact Fast

~$9.47

Pest Pistol Mini Duster

pest duster min: photo

A tool for sprinkling dry insecticides It helps to sprinkle dry insecticides into cracks and crevices. 

~$10.95

Bed Bug ERADICATOR

Bed Bug ERADICATOR Laundry Treatment min: photo

Bed Bug Laundry Treatment, natural ingredients  Kill bed bugs during laundry   Can be used without a detergent

~$13.95

Loctite Sealant

Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof Sealant min: photo

100% Silicone and waterproof Seals cracks and crevices preventing bed bugs from entering the house or moving between the rooms  Can be applied to various surfaces and materials — from stainless steel to wood 

~$5.77

Fowong ZH-83 WCDW003

Fowong ZH 83 WCDW003 min: photo 

A door sweep made of silicone  Prevents bugs from getting into the adjacent room through the doorway  Stops even the smallest bugs as it closes a gap of 0 to 28 mm 

~$9.99

LuxPower Tactical V1000 Flashlight

LuxPower Tactical V1000 LED Flashlight min: photo

LED Flashlight (2 packs) Should be used to detect bed bugs in dark sites like cracks where they normally hide  It can generate a large area floodlight or a focused spotlight 

~$13.99

Ortho Home Defense Dual-Action Pest Killing Product

ortho home defense spray min: photo

Chemical liquid pest control product  Kills insects on contact  Fast 

~$14.90

Harris Pest Control Product

harris killer spray min: photo

Chemical liquid solution for killing pests  Kills insects on contact  Fast 

~$19.49

Bug Control Product by EcoRaider

natural bed bug killer spray: photo

Natural liquid pest control product  Kills insects on contact  Fast 

~$17.95

How To Make Your Own Bed Bug Trap?

Let’s have a look at recipes suggested by specialists at the University of Rutgers. You will need 10 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of yeast and one and a half liters of warm water. Pour the mixture into a cup and place the container on top of the overturned pet bowl. Let the solution stay overnight.

Yeast makes sugar release CO2 which is a strong attractant for bugs as it mimics vapours of the human body. Be sure these pests will detect the attractant even though they are far away from the site where your homemade capturing device is set.

However, this solution has some downsides. First, if you sleep in the bedroom nearby, your body will surely be a more powerful attractant. Second, the effect of the yeast-based lure lasts for about 8 hours. This means that you should prepare the mixture every day.

Another recipe requires dry ice which will serve the same function as yeast. Put this ingredient in an open thermos with a volume of one and a half liters. Place it on the overturned pet bowl with its outer walls tapped and covered with talc. Do not put too much talc, just a thin layer. This will not let the captured bug detach from the substance. The advantage of this recipe over the previous one lies in the duration of the effect lasting about 12 hours.

How To Kill Bed Bugs By Freezing Them To Death?

Apart from the extreme heat, freezing is what kills bed bugs as well. The temperature should be below 32°F and maintained at this level for a week or more. In case you hire exterminators, the process will be much faster as they have a special equipment for that. For example, there are commercial steamers or spot-freezing types of equipment exploited by professionals.

However, when it comes to small items, such as shoes and telephones, you can manage them on your own. Wrap them in plastic bags and place in a freezer. It takes at least 4 days to eliminate the infestation. Bear in mind that leaving the infested clothes outdoors in winter is not effective because only a portion of the bed bugs will be killed.

Scientists from Purdue University have told about a new commercial technology exploiting CO2 stored at low temperatures “to deposit a super-cooled snow on materials that kills bed bugs and other pests by rapid freezing”. According to them, this specific snow “evaporates into a gas, without leaving behind any residue”.

And yet, freezing bed bugs entails a number of disadvantages. First, freezing does not provide residual protection. Secondly, even the equipment used by professionals poorly penetrate certain materials like wood.

All You Should Know: Who Are the Bed Bugs, Where Do They Settle and How Do You Get Them?

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are long (up to ¼ inch long) wingless brown beetles with an oval flat torso and three pairs of short legs. As the New York State IPM Program put it, “they are also known as: Cimex lectularius, chinches de camas, chintzes or chinches, mahogany flats, red coats, crimson ramblers, wall lice, the bug that nobody knows, lentils on legs, animated blood drops”.

As the EPA specialists have accurately mentioned, a hungry bed bug looks like an apple seed. This hallmark is easy to bear in mind to recognize this parasite easily. They feed on blood, and its body swells considerably and takes deep red color (it can even become as dark as black). If you happen to come across a whole bunch of these insects, you’ll feel an unpleasant sweet odor which is exuded by the special glands at the bottom of their body.

what do bed bugs look like: photo

These insects are extremely human-centered as humans are perceived as the center of the universe and an infinite source of food. Eating every 5-10 days and a temperature of 80° F are considered to be perfect conditions for the bed bugs’ life and breeding.

Without food or if the temperature falls below 60° F, they hibernate and their metabolic processes are slowed down. They fall asleep till better days. According to the University of California Statewide IPM Program, they can remain in such state for up to 400 days.

That's why you should repeat treatment every 7-10 days and it can take a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Alternatively, they are forced to attack warm-blooded animals, but this is a much rarer scenario.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

As you can imagine, insects do not appear out of nowhere, there is always a reason for their infestation. Here are some of the possible causes of bed bugs:

1. Tourism. At the moment, it is this huge-scale migration of people across the globe that generates more and more hotbeds of bed bug infestations. Here’s how it works: you travel, spend the night at a new place in and they crawl into your things in your suitcase, and you're taking them home in it. That’s it. Then it will be like a time bomb. Having two little bugs will be enough to breed and make your sleep a living hell.

2. Neighbors. Since they are great runners and can run up to 100 feet, it won’t be difficult for them to cover the distance between points A and B. We can’t guarantee that your place won’t become point B. If your neighbors are infested by the bed bugs, you are potentially endangered as well. Certain scientists believe that they can travel via a central heating duct.

3. Large crowds, be it dry cleaning or laundry facilities, airports, schools, libraries, offices, shops, public transport, theaters, etc. Unfortunately, you can catch a bug in any of these places, so bear in mind some basic rules: check your clothing and carry-on luggage once you return home if there is the slightest suspicion of bed bug infestation (for example, if you saw any bugs crawling in the laundry room).

By the way: your kids can catch not only bed bugs at school, but also some head lice. Find out which actions should be taken in this case from our Guide on How to Kill Lice.

4. Buying Used Furniture. Yes, the bugs can move in with you along with the used closet or dresser you purchased. They can even arrive with new furniture, in case they inhabit the factory where it was made or the furniture store.

Where Can They Settle In Your House?

After the bugs manage to get into your house, they settle somewhere inconspicuous, such as behind the wallpaper, outlets, carpets, paintings, cracks, moldings, baseboards, etc. Their favorite spots are still the bed (mattress, frame corners, as well as bed linen) and wooden furniture. You would be, however, gravely mistaken, if you believe that they limit themselves to inhabiting a single room.

As the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists explain, “Typically, an infestation starts in one room and spreads slowly to other places where people sleep”. That’s why they recommend deciding on a single place to sleep at your house and stick to the choice. Otherwise, they will follow you as they are used to live at a distance of up to 8 feet away from human beings.

where do bed bugs live: photo

How to Tell If You Have Bed Bugs

Suppose, they have already infested your house, what should be done? Do not panic and do not rush to look for insecticides right away. Follow the 7 steps outlined below and you will already be on the halfway to the victory over the blood-sucking insects. But first, you need to be 100% sure that it is the bed bugs that are in front of you.

How to Avoid Infestation?

It’s not difficult to prevent the appearance of the bed bugs if you are vigilant and follow these rules:

At home:

  • Clean the rooms more often.
  • Use protective encasements, and in case, you take it off, turn the mattress more often and check the seams around the perimeter.
  • Have a spare liquid insecticide in order not to waste time buying it in case you find a bed bug.
  • If necessary, make repairs, seal the cracks in the floor, firmly attach the skirting boards, etc.
  • Throw away old trash and wooden furniture that you do not use.
  • Check the second-hand wooden furniture when buying.

During & after travelling:

  • Use protective cases for the suitcases.
  • Don’t put the suitcase on the hotel furniture, use a special luggage stand only if it is available.
  • Be cautious when buying large wooden items or furniture when travelling as they can be infested.
  • Once you get back, take ALL of your stuff (even new and clean things) to the laundry.

How Dangerous Are Bed Bugs for Humans?

We can barely call these insects lovely roommates. The first thought that comes to mind at the sight of these swarming creatures is disgust and aversion as no one wants to live in a room infested with bed bugs.

Some hypersensitive people can even be stressed by the bed bugs’ presence, the quality and quantity of their sleep will deteriorate, and they can develop a "persecution mania" (the feeling that they still live in the house even after you killed them).

How really dangerous are human parasites and do their bites carry any diseases? Fortunately, the scientists agree that at the moment no clear relationship between the bed bugs’ bites and occurrence of certain diseases has been identified.

Dr. Stephen A. Kells and Jeff Hahn from the University of Minnesota confirm this: “Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease to people. They have been discovered to harbor 28 different human pathogens, but fortunately, the transmission of these diseases to people has not been demonstrated”.

However, should you be hypersensitive to the substances the bed bugs emit with their saliva when biting, you can find yourself having an allergy, and such complications as the nettle-rash and others. However, as the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports, these cases rarely occur. Still, we have to warn you of the symptoms that should alert you:

  • if the small bites turned into big red spots;
  • sudden fever;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • breathing difficulty;
  • fatigue and lightheadedness.

Pay attention to any potential symptoms that are not typical of your healthy state, provided that you are not sick at the moment, and the symptoms have appeared after these blood-suckers’ bites. Consult a doctor once you experience any of them.

Bed bug Treatment Infographic

Fighting the bed bugs is a long and complicated task in coping with which you will only succeed if you are consistent and if you follow our recommendations. Practice a systematic approach to this unpleasant business by combining modern means of cleaning with the protective bed encasement and using the insecticidal liquids. Such a formula will result in a bed bug-free house and your sound sleep.

bed bugs
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COMMENTS: 9
Leave a Reply
Adelina123  •  Wednesday, 30 May 2018 20:36
Oh, I use LENENSPA Mattress Protector, and for me it's just a godsend! They perfectly protect from unwanted pests, and waterproof. They deliver a little noise, but these are trivia. Very soft, and pleasant.
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Robert Schlie  •  Tuesday, 07 March 2017 22:27
Diatomaceous Earth, after my landlord did the heat and chemicals this cheap dust does the trick. IT WILL WORK, just keep putting it down. Get rid of your bed and sleep on air mattresses until you get them gone, IT WORKS!! Do not waste your money on anything else just keep up with it and it will kill off almost any infestation. I cannot stress enough, USE DIATOMACEOUS EARTH, they cannot and never will be immune to it, it is like if you walked or crawled through broken glass, you will bleed out, so do the bugs in a way, they cannot become immune to something like that. It would be like them being immune to be squashed, not going to happen.
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PACTION Newark  •  Tuesday, 18 October 2016 19:03
Does anyone know if the electronic or ultrasonic pest repellents are effective in the prevention of bedbugs?
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Ryan E  •  Monday, 07 November 2016 22:48
They aren't, unfortunately. Diligence is the best preventative measure you can take.
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HenryS  •  Thursday, 29 September 2016 16:45

Are bed bug traps by ClimbUp sticky inside?

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Mary Sue  •  Thursday, 20 October 2016 23:01

No, they are not sticky, because it's not necessary. There is talc inside a trap, and thanks to this, bed bugs can't crawl the walls, because they become too slippery. Optionally, you can replace it with Diatomaceous Earth — but even without this replacement, everything will work well...

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Buyer  •  Saturday, 22 October 2016 00:12

Do common bed bug traps really work?

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author  •  Thursday, 03 November 2016 14:43

Yes, they do. But it is just an additional tool to monitor bed bugs. If you want to kill them you need to use powerful sprays and purchase special bed bug mattress covers.

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mike  •  Saturday, 10 September 2016 20:32

Very helpful information. I will share this on my website. Thanks

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