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Ack! Bed Bugs! How to Get Rid of Them

Updated on April 23, 2015
Virginia Allain profile image

Eclectic is a good word for the many interests of retired librarian, Virginia Allain. Crafts, gardening, genealogy, travel, and more...

Don't Suffer from Bedbugs

People used to think bedbugs were pests of travelers in Colonial times in coaching inns or else something that pestered prisoners in jail. Unfortunately bedbugs are becoming more widespread than ever.

They show up in hotels and in people's homes. They easily hitch a ride on clothing to get from one place to another. They even turn up in offices, libraries, hospitals and other sites.

Getting rid of them isn't easy but I'll explain the process below. If they've invaded your space, you need help to get them out of there.

Bedbugs Bite T-shirts by MultipleOrganisms (shirt available from Zazzle)

What Does a Bed Bug Look Like? Here It Is...

Steps to Get Rid of Bedbugs (based on my friend's experience)

  1. Someone we know has bedbugs and you wouldn’t believe what he is going through trying to get them out of his apartment. Fortunately in the state he lives in, the landlord is required to treat the bedbugs within 3 days of them being reported. If you are a renter, check on this as it may be taken care of by the landlord.
  2. Getting rid of them is an expensive process. It’s $1500 to have a one-bedroom apartment heat treated. They heat the interior to 130 degrees to kill the pests. Before they start, they bring in a bedbug-sniffing dog. It pinpoints where the bugs are. In the sofa, the bed, inside the walls (bugs go in through the electrical outlets), in the closet, and so on. A sealed cover is zipped around the mattress and box springs since the heat treatment doesn’t penetrate all the way through those. The cover contains any bedbugs inside it. After 80 days, they die.
  3. Before the heat treatment, the resident must remove all their clothes and loose things around the place where the bugs can hide. This includes removing pictures from the wall. Those things have to be treated too. The clothes have to be run through a very hot dryer. You can pay for that prep treatment which costs about $600.
  4. A week or so later, the pest control people return with their sniffer dog. If it finds any, then a follow-up treatment with chemicals is applied. Again, the bedding has to be removed and run through a very hot dryer. Do not remove the sealed cover over the mattress and box springs.
  5. He’s had to alert his friends who may be the source of the bedbugs, so they can have their living space checked. While this is all going on, no one will want you to visit them. The bedbugs might hide in clothing and get transferred to a sofa or chair in the other person's home. The little critters are most active at night.
  6. If the infestation keeps recurring, he may be bringing them in from his friends who haven't had their apartment treated. It is likely that his landlord will evict the problem tenant. They can’t risk the bedbugs spreading throughout the apartment complex. It costs them quite a bit to check the adjacent apartments and have them chemically treated just in case.

Everything You Need to Know about Bedbugs - Video Tutorials Included on This Page

Detecting bedbugs with a sniffer dog.

Treating a bedbug infestation with heat treatment.

Treating bedbug problems with chemicals.

Home remedies for bedbugs.

Close-up look at a bedbug.

Dogs Are Trained to Detect the Bed Bugs by Smell

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Here's How the Professional Heat Treatment Works

This Video Demonstrates the Chemical Treatment That Professionals Use

Enclose the Bedbugs in the Mattress

You don't have to throw away a mattress to get rid of the bedbugs. Enclosing them in a zippered casing like this contains them once the general area has been treated by professionals.

My understanding is that after 80 days, the bedbugs die off, probably from lack of anything to eat. Do not remove this when you wash your bedding or the bedbugs are set free in your home again. Keep this permanently encasing the mattress.

You Don't Need a New Mattress, This Cover Confines Them and Protects You

Bed Bugs Aren't Just an Old Time Pest - They Are a Problem Now

I'm sure the Civil War soldiers suffered from this pest. They didn't have the benefits of special protective covers for their mattresses or other control methods now available.
I'm sure the Civil War soldiers suffered from this pest. They didn't have the benefits of special protective covers for their mattresses or other control methods now available. | Source

Look Through the Microscope at a Bedbug's Head

Truly Terrifying

I certainly wouldn't want this creature sucking my blood. Talk about a creepy critter.

Ugh... Read on for more solutions.

Frightful Creature

Close-up of a bed bugs head.
Close-up of a bed bugs head. | Source

Scanning Electron Microscope Bedbug Image Postcard by markomundo (available on a postcard at Zazzle)

Methods You Can Use

After Treatment, Keep Them from Returning to the Bed

This trap goes under the leg of the bed and traps the bedbugs who try to climb up. To be effective, you need to pull the bed away from the wall, as they can climb that too.

Do not let your bedding trail down onto the floor or they use it to access the bed.

Bed Leg Traps for Bed Bugs

Bed Bug ClimbUp Interceptors (pack of 12) passive traps for bed legs
Bed Bug ClimbUp Interceptors (pack of 12) passive traps for bed legs

As the professional treatments go to work, this simple product keeps the bugs from reaching you in your bed. Be sure to follow the instructions above that the professional pest control person told my friend.


Diatomaceous Earth for Follow-Up Treatment

This can be sprinkled on carpets and left for a short time to kill the bedbugs, then vacuum it up. Wear a face mask, as you don't want to get any of this into your lungs. You also sprinkle this into the traps that you put under the legs of the bed.

Have You Tried Any of These Methods?

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© 2014 Virginia Allain

Good Night, Sleep Tight - and don't let the bedbugs bite!

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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Fortunately I have never seen a bedbug, although my grandmother used to terrify us with horror stories about them. Great advice but I hope I never have to use it!

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Virgina Allain, I manage homes and buildings. Haven't gotten bedbugs yet but have recently gotten roaches. Aren't they similar to bedbugs. I us usually have an exterminator to BOMB them out for good. This was very interesting! I've seen everything on HP now. Thanks for sharing!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I hope to never have to experience this but from my understanding one can get them just about anywhere...good seats, etc. We have gone to very few movies ever since I read that! Will share this on HP and also give it a tweet, G+ and pin.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      4 years ago

      A friend had bed bugs and they totally freaked him out. Now, albeit, he's a weenie anyway but they changed the way he lives his life. Sad.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 

      4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Good Lord! I had no idea what was involved in treating bedbugs!


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