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How to Kill Bedbugs for Good

Updated on February 22, 2015

Bed Bug Epidemic

There is a nationwide epidemic of bed bugs, like no time since they were first eradicated 60 years ago. Bed bugs are showing up in hotels, bedrooms, college dorms, stores and even movie theaters.

New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago are the hardest hit right now. They have showed up in hotels, homes, office and stores.

No place and no one is safe from bringing one of these little opportunists home with you. Bed bugs are now making their way across America. Terminex has reported a 90% increase in service calls for bed bugs alone.

I remember when I was a little girl, while mother put us to bed at night, she would chime, “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Today, that has become a truism!

What is a Bed Bug?

Before you can determine if you have bed bugs, you have to be able to identify them. Bed bugs are a tiny parasites about the side of the top of a pin head.

They are oval and reddish brown in their color. They feed on warm-blooded beings. However, bed bugs prefer human blood to animal blood; perhaps because humans have no fur and are more easily accessible.

Bed bugs got their name because of their preference to inhabit beds and common sleeping areas. They hide in tiny holes, cracks, crevices and stitching of a mattresses and bedding.

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites

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Feeding Habits

Bed bugs are nocturnal and will lay low until the night when their host are asleep before they feed. They are attracted by body warmth and carbon dioxide expelled when we exhale.

Once the host is bitten, blood is sucked up with two feeding tubes. Bed bugs eat every 5 day, but can actually live without eating for a year.

Bed Bug Waste
Bed Bug Waste

Signs of Bed Bugs

How to know if you have bed bugs?   Bed bugs are filthy and leave a trail of dead skin eggs and waste behind on bedding, mattresses and box springs and wherever they hide. You will also know if you have bed bugs, if you awake with red, bites on your body.

If you suspect you have bed bugs, you can schedule your clock to wake you up during the night and take a flashlight to catch them in the act.

You can also place double sided tape on the edges of your bed. If they are there they will get stuck to the tape when trying to get to you.

Natural Enemies

Does the bed bug have any enemies?  There are other insects that are natural enemies of the bed bug. Oddly enough cockroaches are one of them; but who wants a house filled with roaches in order to get rid of bed bugs.

Other enemies are ants, centipedes and spiders; but are none are a practical method of extermination.

Bed Bug Nymph
Bed Bug Nymph

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

As bed bugs are opportunists and will hitch a ride on anything, it is important to bring your own sheets when traveling and staying in hotels.

Also, before laying sitting on a bed or laying your suitcase on a hotel bed, examine the mattress the bed frame for bed bugs.

For those who like to pick up discarded furniture, it is best not to do so. To those who like to purchase second hand furniture, examine everything very carefully or treat the piece when you get it home.

After traveling, especially in the  areas of the U.S. where infestation is worst, check your baggage and clothing for any signs of bed bugs. To prevent bed bugs from infesting your bed, use zippered bed covers on your mattress and pillows.

Tea leaf oil is a natural repellent for bed bug. Apply some on the bed frames and your mattress edges.

Bed Bug Bites
Bed Bug Bites


There is not one specific way of getting rid of bed bugs. Bombs and bug foggers will not work. There are other successful methods you can use.

1.Vacuum rugs, bedding and bed frames thoroughly and once done, remove bag and replace vacuum bag and repeat. It the infestation is very bad, you may want to consider discarding the mattress all together.

2. Remove all bedding, drapes or curtains and wash on the hottest temperature and dry in dryer. During hot day, you can put bedding in a plastic bag and leave out for a few days. Bed bug dry up in temperatures of 120F degrees.

3 .There is a process called thermacure, that will rid your home of bed bugs. You must hire a profession company who specialized in the treatment. The home is threaded with ducts and extremely hot air is pumped into your home, about 112 F, which will kill the insects.

4. Steam clean anything and everywhere parasites tend to hide. This will kill both adult bugs and their eggs.

5. Sprinkle diatomaceous dirt in areas where bug tend to hide. This will kill bugs with its microscopically sharp edges as they walk across.

6. Sprays, there are a lot of bed bug spays on the market, such as PureClean, Sleep Tight, Bug Patrol. Find a product that is the most effective and the safest to use.

Treating Bedbugs with Sprays

Some product in sprays contain pyrethrum, which attack the nervous system of the insect and kill it. Other products to choose from, contain oil of clove or winter green others alcohol and some enzymes. Enzymes kill on contact, are non-toxic to humans and pets and does not irritate when it come in contact with skin.

Where to Spray

What ever you decide to use, remember to treat the head board, bed frames, the base boards around the bed and any furniture in the room . Concentrate under tables and cracks and at leg joints. Constantly monitor for bugs re-treating areas as necessary.

When to Hire a Professional

Many people try to get rid of bed bugs themselves as it is very expensive. One can expect to pay as professional exterminator, from $250 to $900 a room, depending on the size. If you have a major infestation, you may have not other choice but to hired a professional exterminator.

When seeking an exterminator, make sure they are licensed and experienced in the treatment of bed bugs.


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    • profile image

      Serge 5 months ago

      Dmitri landlord of 1742 deslaurentides vimont laval up the vimont pizzeria is infected with bed bugs and roaches and the city are not doing anything even if many complaint have been done in around the last decade landlord d mitry use illegal way to go over any law from regie du logement or turn that against you and evict those ho complaint to much but does say when you rent than no bugs as been reported in this place so eventually you will lose everything and at the end move from this horrible nightmare law should give big fine instead of doing nothing these landlord are real ashame ...

    • profile image

      Cheyenne 15 months ago

      This is some much needed info to me I love in a apartment and wouldn't you know there bad here and it's much easier for the them to travel here

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      It is hard to believe this is a problem in this day and time.

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 5 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi 2besure,

      Very needed information for the times we're in. And well written article. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Article in the Sacramento Bee 6 years ago

      Saw a story on the front page of the Sacramento Bee today about the same subject. Apparently it IS both epidemic AND endemic. It doesn't seem to matter the quality of mattress or environment the concern is always there.

      Thanks for the information.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Yep they are back. It is always better to be safe than sorry and take precautions whenever away from home.

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 6 years ago

      Recently tracelled to see family and stayed with my brother, who told me that his house was better than a four-star hotel, if for no other reason than this bed bug epidemic...

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      I previously thought that in today's world, "sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite," was an anachronism. How devastating to learn that it is actually an epidemic in certain areas today.

    • joaniemb profile image

      joaniemb 6 years ago from New York

      Very informative hub. Bed bugs are certainly on the rise, so it is great to know that this is a treatment for exterminating this little pests.

    • profile image

      Ben 6 years ago

      Very well done and informative hub.

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