Bed Bug Control - How To Kill Bed Bugs
Prepare the area : Pretreatment Procedures
- Reduce clutter to make bed bug inspection easier. Be careful when removing items from the infested area to other areas because you may transfer the bed bugs.
- Personal items (stuffed animals, soft toys, blankets) should be removed, cleaned with a vacuum cleaner, and bagged in plastic for a couple of days with Nuvan Strips. You can also bag laptops, phones and radios as well. The insecticide in Nuvan strips will not harm these items, and is non-residual, so you don't have to launder them after using the Nuvan strips
- Dismantling bed frames in infested areas may expose additional bedbug hiding sites.
- Remove drawers from desks and dressers, and turn furniture over to inspect and clean all hiding spots. All furniture should be pulled away from the walls.
- Stand up the box spring and shine a flashlight through the gauze fabric to expose bed bugs. If the fabric is torn (possible hiding place), remove fabric to prepare for spraying. If the mattress and or box springs are infested, you may want to consider Encasements by Mattress Safe. Once covered with these encasements, bed bugs can not enter or exit. There is no need to treat the mattress or box spring when using these encasements. Keep them on for a year.
- Active Guard Mattress Liners may be used on the mattress or box springs, killing bed bugs and dust mites for two years. Not only will it kill active bedbugs, but helps prevent bed bugs from infesting beds.
- Caulk and seal all holes where pipes and wires penetrate walls and floor, and fill cracks around baseboards and molding to further reduce harboring areas.
- Since infested garments and bed linen can't be treated with insecticide they will need to be laundered in hot water (120 degrees fahrenheit minimum). If washing is not available, sometimes heating the garments or bed linens for several minutes in a clothes dryer may work.
- Thoroughly clean the infested rooms. Scrub infested surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs.
- Vacuum areas of bed bug infestation with a vacuum attachment. Vacuum along baseboards, furniture, bed stands, rails, headboards, foot boards, bed seams, tufts, buttons, edges of the bedding, as well as the edges of the carpets (particularly along the tack strips). A good vacuum cleaning job may remove particles from cracks and crevices to encourage greater insecticide penetration. Bed bugs cling tightly to surfaces, so it is best to repeat vacuuming by scraping the end of the vacuum attachment over the infested areas to pull out the bed bugs. It is not good to use a bristle attachment, because you may transfer bed bugs to other areas since they cling to the brush. Dispose of vacuum cleaner bags after you are finished.
- Caulk cracks and crevices in the infested building exterior, and also repair openings to exclude birds, bats, and rodents that can serve as alternate hosts for bed bugs.
- Monitoring devices such as the SenSci Volcano Bed Bug Detectors and Bed Bug Monitor Traps should be placed around the infested area to help determine where the bed buge population resides. It is important to know that these devices are for monitoring only. Lack of trapped bed bugs does not necessarily mean that you are bed bug free.
Bedbug Pictures: What does a bed bug look like?
Adult Male Bed Bug
Adult Female Bed Bug
Bed Bug Nymph
Inspection Check List
The common bed bug is visible to the naked eye. Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened, and about 1/4 to 5/8 inch long. Their flat shape enables them to readily hide in cracks and crevices. After a blood meal, the body elongates and becomes swollen. Eggs are not placed on the host's body, but are found on surfaces near where the host sleeps.
Look in any place that offers darkness, isolation and protection. These bugs will often wander. Inspect adjoining rooms where an infestation is found. Even when the bed bugs themselves cannot be found, their hiding places can be located by looking for the spots of fecal material they often leave. Aerosols like CB-80, PT 565 and V-One have pyrethrins as an active ingredient. Pyrethrins help flush out the bed bugs for easier inspection. These aerosols kill on contact, but the idea is to flush them out for inspection. Simply insert the crack and crevice tip of the aerosol in the hiding place to see if any bed bugs are flushed out.
Fecal and bloody spots (look like rust) are left on sheets and pillowcases when the engorged bed bugs are crushed. These indicators serve as sure signs of infestation. Adult bed bugs are about 1/4-inch long and reddish-brown, with oval, flattened bodies. Bed bugs prefer to hide in cracks and crevices during the daytime and come out to feed on the host's blood at night, usually while the host is sleeping. Since bed bugs can flatten their bodies, they fit in very small crevices, specially around the bed area. They are found in habitual hiding places, preferably close to a blood meal. Even though the their preference is to be close they can travel several feet for a blood meal. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but the bugs eventually become scattered throughout a room, occupying any crevice or protected location. They can also spread to adjacent rooms or apartments.
- Look for areas near where the bed bugs are biting. Main areas of inspection are cracks and crevices in head and foot boards and attached side railings and supports.
- Look for any cracks or crevices where bed bugs may crawl into to hide. If the top of the mattress has any rips, the bed bugs may hide there as well. Look in your boxsprings also, both top and bottom for any rips that might shelter these bugs.
- Cracks and crevices in head and foot boards, attached side railings and supports
- Inspect mattresses top, sides and bottom. Check all buttons, seams and rips.
- Inspect electrical switch plates, pictures on walls, wall posters
- Inspect cracks in plaster or seams in wall paper.
- Inspect electrical appliances-radios, phones, televisions, ect., look in hiding places.
- Inspect tack strips under wall-to-wall carpeting and behind baseboards
- Inspect secondhand beds, bedding, and furniture. Many newer mattresses do not offer as much shelter and protection for the bed bugs to hide.
- Pictures: Dark spots of bed bug excrement on a mattress.(M. Potter, Univ. of Kentucky)
Do I Have to Throw Out the Mattress?
This question is answered by the condition of the mattress and the size of infestation. If there are holes or tears in the gauze fabric or fabric of the mattress, bed bugs and eggs may be inside, as well as outside. There are restrictions on how beds can be treated with insecticides. We carry both Mattress Safe Bed Bug Encasements and ActiveGuard Mattress Liners.
1. Mattress Safe Encasements: Mattress Safe Products are bed encasements to place over your mattress or boxspring so you don't have to throw them away. They are bedbug certified. If using a labeled insecticide on the mattress or boxspring first, apply on mattress or box springs then zip it up. It has a patented hook to keep the bed bugs inside the encasement so they cannot escape. Keep the encasement in place for one year (due to bed bug life cycles).
2. Active Guard Liners: Active Guard Mattress Liners may be placed on beds and are effective as both preventative and active bed bug treatments. They kill bed bugs and dust mites within 72 hours and will prevent bed bugs from infesting mattresses. ActiveGuard Liners act like a fitted sheet; it comes in single, full, queen, and king sizes that fit up to 17" in depth.
If you decide against Mattress Safe Encasements or ActiveGuard Liners, use insecticides labeled for beds such as Steri-Fab, Cimexa Dust, Phantom Aerosol, Bedlam Aerosol, or Temprid SC (See below).
How to treat the mattress with insecticides:
Look carefully at the folds and seams of the mattress, the headboard, foot board (if present), box spring/support platform, frame, etc for bedbugs and treat these area after vacumming.
The following residual insecticides and dusts are labeled to spray and dust mattresses:
Dusts last longer than aerosols, but the crack and crevice tips on the Phantom and Bedlam areosols enable you to get into the smallest cracks. It is a good idea to use a combination of sprays and dusts. Temprid SC may be used on the tufts and seams of mattresses. It works well as a residual insecticide sprayed in other recommended treatment areas such as night stands, chests, dressers, couches and chairs.
Treat all baseboards and furniture (Night Stand, Chests, Dressers, Couches and Chairs)
Bed Bug Treatment: Sprays and Dusts
There are several products on the market that work well for bed bugs:
Apply residual liquid, aerosol or dust residual insecticides such as Temprid SC, Temprid Ready Spray Aerosol, Optimate CS, Cimexa Dust , Alpine PT Aerosol, Transport Mikron, Bedlam Plus Aerosol, and Phantom Aerosol.
It is best to use a combination of these products for application purposes.
You can get these at discounted rates in be form of kits: Bed Bug Kits
The kits have the residual insecticide with the dust and aerosols.
Spray liquid insecticides or aerosols :
- Spray around and under the bed and along the baseboards near the bed. After removing the drawers from the furniture, the inside of the cabinetry should be sprayed as well as the bottom and sides of the drawers. Do not treat the inside of the drawers. If needed the clothes in the drawers should be removed and laundered.
- Spray around the inside of closets, door frames and doors.
- Spray molding at the top and bottom of the room. Spray around windows.
- Spray seams of drawers, both top and bottom. Spray dressers from below. Spray where dressers touch the floor.
- Spray where the bed touches the floor, spray chairs and underneath chairs.
- Spray all baseboards, loose plaster, behind bed frames and headboards, beneath beds and furniture, and bedsprings and bed frames. Do not apply to furniture surfaces or mattresses where people will be laying or sitting unless using a product labeled for that type of treatment. Infested bedding should not be treated, but should be removed, placed in sealed plastic bags, and taken for laundering and drying at high temperature.
Recommended Liquid Insecticides
Top liquid insecticide recommendation: Temprid SC Insecticide Temprid SC can be used on mattresses and boxsprings. (See details below)
Temprid SC Usage: Mix 8 ml (about 1/3 oz)(measurements on the bottle) or one 8 ml vial of Temprid SC with one gallon of water. Remember to use what you mix-within 24 hours. Adjust the spray pattern to a mist by turning the nozzle. A low fine mist is best for most spraying, but you may need to use a stream to get into some cracks and crevices. If you can't get into the cracks and crevices use one of the aerosols described below with it's crack and crevice tips to reach into these areas.
Optimate CS cannot be used on mattresses or boxsprings.
Optimate CS Usage: Mix 10 ml (about .33 oz) Optimate CS with one gallon of water (Remember to use what you mix-within 24 hours.) Adjust the spray pattern to a mist by turning the nozzle. A low fine mist is best for most spraying, but you may need to use a stream to get into some cracks and crevices. If you can't get into the cracks and crevices use one of the aerosols described below with it's crack and crevice tips to reach into these areas.
Aerosols (Temprid Ready Spray, Alpine PT or Bedlam Plus) Usage: Simply attach the plastic tip to the aerosol can. Apply as a crack and crevice or spot treatment where evidence of bed bugs occurs. This includes bed frames, box springs, inside empty dressers, clothes closets, curtain rods, hollow spaces, carpet edges, high and low wall moldings and wallpaper edges.
Recommended Insecticide Dust: CimeXa Dust
CimeXa Dust: Cimexa Insecticide Dust kills bed bug adults and nymphs, killing bed bug nymphs hatched from dusted eggs. As a lox toxic insecticide dust, CimeXa Dust is composed of 100% Amorphous Silica Gel. It is odorless and does not stain surfaces.
Dust Usage: (Do not dust on top of moist insecticides)
If possible disassemble bed frame and treat from all angles with dust and aerosol. After the mattress and box spring have been treated, enclose both of these with Mattress Safe Bed Bug Encasements. With these covers you can keep your bed and do not have to treat it again.
Important!! Do all of the treatments (as described above) 3 times, 10 days apart.
Bed bugs come out to feed every few weeks, so retreament is critical.
DO NOT USE FOGGERS OF ANY KIND!!! FOGGERS SCATTER THE BED BUGS AND MAKE YOUR JOB MORE DIFFICULT!!!
Monitoring and Trapping Bed Bug Infestations
SenSci Volcano Monitors: These bed bug monitors/detectors may be used with the lures or without the lure to capture bed bugs. As an identification tool, you can monitor your bed bug treatment plan or simply to monitor the presence of bed bug. Use the optional lure if a person is not present in the bedroom that is being monitored.
Bugo Bed Bug Monitors/Traps are adhesive traps that are places around the bed legs, catches the bed bugs before than can crawl up the bed leg into your bed.
Bed Bug Monitor Trap: The Bed Bug Monitor Traps recreate the conditions that bedbugs consider perfect including dark, tight tunneling areas and rough woodsy material. Bed bugs would usually be found: inside the small grooves of corrugated boxes, between mattress creases and aound/under wooden furniture.
Although the preferred host for bed bugs is humans, they will feed on other animals, such as poultry, mice, rats, canaries, dogs, and cats if necessary. They normally feed at night, but may feed in the daylight in rooms that are not used at night.
Bed Bugs Life Cycle
Bed Bugs Life Cycle Diagram
The life cycle stages of a bed bug are egg, nymph, and adult. The reason they are called bed bugs is that they readily infest mattresses, bed frames and box springs. Eggs are laid along the edges of or around buttons on the mattresses. Eggs can also be glued to rough surfaces. Bed bug females lay about 200 eggs, usually at the rate of three or four a day. Eggs are placed in cracks, crevices and other isolated and protected shelters. Females lay eggs after a blood meal. Eggs will hatch in one or two weeks into Nymphs. Newly hatched bugs (Nymphs) begin feeding immediately. At room temperature, and with an available food supply, the nymphal period will last 14 to 30 days. They shed their skin (Instar) five times before becoming adults. Bed bugs will mate soon after becoming mature, so the time from egg hatch to egg laying is 4 to 9 weeks, under favorable conditions. The average life span of the bed bug is 6-12 months and they feed every 10 days or so during this time. Bed bugs can survive many months without a blood meal and their reproduction is high.
- The female lays eggs in cracks and crevices along the edges of mattresses, box springs and bed frames. Bed bugs also inhabit other cracks and crevices throughout infested rooms. These other areas include; behind picture frames, switch plate covers, loose wallpaper, under door and window casings, baseboards or along the edges of carpets.
- Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices during daylight hours.
- They hide in the folds and tufts of mattresses, coils of springs, cracks and hollow posts of bed stands bed rails and headboards. They may be found in box springs, inside the cabinetry of furniture and the bottom and sides of drawers.
- Bed bugs may hide in upholstery of chairs and sofas.
- They are not restricted to these places, however.
- A second common source for bedbug infestation occurs in homes where bats, swallows, chimney swifts, pigeons, or other wild hosts have been roosting. Although similar in appearance, these bedbug species that normally feed on bats and birds can be differentiated from the Common Bedbug that prefer humans.
- The bat bed bug can and often feeds on humans. The bat bedbug has long hairs on it's body. Eliminate their bat hosts from the building and seal all openings so that bats cannot enter.
- Another group of bugs resembling the bed bug infest birds. These bugs are usually confined to bird nests. To control these parasites, the birds and their nests must be removed, and an application with a residual spray such as Temprid SC should be applied to the area.
What do bed bug bites look like and do they carry disease?
- Bed bugs do not carry disease.
- They do suck blood from their host with piercing mouth parts but the bite is painless.
- The skin may become irritated or inflamed due to the salivary fluid injected by the bed bugs. A small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite.
- It is important to recognize that not all bites or bite-like reactions are due to bed bugs. Bed bugs or their signs will be present if it is a bed bug bite.
- Bed bugs do not live under the skin. If you experience biting sensations during the day, it may be an allergy related condition.
- (Other possible sources of irritation are discussed in University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes).
Preventing Bed Bug Infestations
It's important to inspect used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses before bringing it into the home. Mattresses, in particular, carry the greatest risk of harboring Bed Bugs and their eggs. You should be wary of acquiring used furnishings, especially beds and couches.
A practice that we have incorporated in our traveling is to inspect for bed bugs in hotel rooms. If possible, carry a flashlight with you and inspect the bed area completely as described above. Also, you may want to inspect or vacuum luggage when you arrive home to prevent tranferring bed bugs to your home.
ActiveGuard Mattress Liners, impregnated with Permethrin will prevent bed bug infestation on beds.
Spray this ready to use spray both on your luggage and mattresses during travel.
ActiveGuard Mattress Liners
Can I prevent bed bugs from entering my home?
- After coming home from a trip some infestations can be prevented by washing any clothing or bedding used on the trip. Do this immediately.
- If you buy used furniture, inspect all the items before bringing them into your residence.
- Never bring discarded bed frames, mattresses, box springs, or upholstered furniture into your home.