Bed bugs are one of the greatest travelers in the world. They can literally be everywhere. They can be transported in someone’s luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. Do you think you can kill and get rid of bed bugs once they enter your humble abode?
As early as now, we would like to inform you that bed bugs are not the easiest pest to eradicate. They can hide really well and reproduce very quickly. Not only that, their eggs may be resistant to pesticides.
Bed bugs have evolved over the years and became resistant to earlier kinds of pesticides. An easy and effective way to destroy them quickly is by hiring a pest control company. However, that can be really expensive. The great news is we can share with you amazing tips and steps on how to get rid of bed bugs.
- How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Know Your Enemy
- How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast
- How to get rid of Bed Bugs: The Inspection
- Know how to use Insecticides Safely
- Alternative Methods to get rid of bed bugs in an infested mattress
- Treating your Furniture for Bed Bugs
- Best Bed Bug Killers Reviewed
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Know Your Enemy
Before you start getting rid of the bed bugs, it is important to know them. Having the right knowledge of their appearance, diet, life cycle, and habits will help you successfully get rid of them.
Bed Bug Appearance
Bed bugs are tiny but they are still definitely visible to the naked eye. Bed bugs, especially the adult ones, are brown or reddish-brown in color. Their bodies are flat and oval in shape and they can grow from ¼ to 5/8 inch long. Since they are flat, they can practically hide everywhere: from tiny cracks, holes, and crevices.
It is very important to get rid of these pests because if not, they are going to suck the blood out of your body and leave you that familiar swollen itchy bite marks the next morning. There are other types of bed bugs that can also feed on humans: bat bed bugs and bird bed bugs.
Diet of a Bed Bug
Their diet is primarily blood-based. Each time they are done sucking blood from their victims; their tiny bodies become more elongated and swollen.
Of course, their favorite hosts are humans but they can still drink blood from animals like dogs, cats, chickens, mice, birds, and more. Bed bugs feed every 10 days and they can even survive without food for many months.
Life Cycle of a Bed Bug
The bed bug’s life cycle has three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The primary reason why they are called bed bugs is that they prefer to stay in beds, mattresses, bed frames, and box springs to have instant access to their food source. Female bed bugs can lay up to 200 eggs in its lifetime which can be 3-4 eggs in a day.
Female bed bugs usually lay its eggs after drinking blood from its host. Their eggs are typically found in close proximity to their food source. You may find them on the mattress’ edges and buttons. They can also be found sticking to rough surfaces, cracks, crevices, and other isolated dark locations.
It only takes 1-2 weeks for the eggs to hatch into nymphs, which can be a nightmare for you since they will feed on you as soon as they come out. These nymphs will reach adulthood in about 14-30 days. During the nymph stage, they would typically shed skin for up to 5 times. When they reach adulthood, all of them will mate and produce more eggs. Talk about fast reproduction. They can produce and produce more of their kind in 4-9 weeks. Bed bugs may live from 6 to 12 months.
Habits of a Bed Bug
When it comes to the habits of these blood-suckers, they can practically be compared with vampires. They stay in their dark hiding place in the morning and come out at night to feed on their hosts here and there until they are full.
They do not lay their eggs in the host’s body but the eggs can typically be found somewhere around the host’s sleeping area. These bed bugs always choose to hide in dark, protected, and isolated locations. At first, they may stay in one location but eventually when they are able to reproduce; they will start to go all over the place, not just your room but also the closer adjourning rooms so make sure to also inspect the other rooms nearby.
They will also stay behind picture frames and wallpapers. They can also inhabit under your door or your window casing and your baseboards and carpets. They can also hide in your furniture: chairs, sofas, cabinets, tables
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast
Before inspecting the infested area, there are a few important preparation steps you need to do to get rid of bed bugs.
Remove Clutter in the House
The first thing you need to do is to clean the area surrounding the infested item. As much as possible, get rid of any clutter on or around the bed for easier inspections. This would also help you see everything clearer.
When removing anything from the infested bed, you also have to make sure that the items are free of the bugs. This will help you avoid spreading bed bugs all over the place.
Try Monitoring Devices
There are available products on the market that can help you monitor the room where bed bugs are residing. Monitoring devices can help you to find out where most of the bed bugs stay.
Clean All Items Which May Have Been Exposed to Bed Bugs
Items include blankets, pillows, soft toys, stuffed animals, and gadgets like phones, tablets, and laptops. You can start by cleaning each recovered item with a vacuum cleaner.
Then you can place them all inside a huge sealed plastic bag together with Nuvan Strips and let them stay there for a few days.
Even your electronic gadgets can be placed in a sealed plastic back with the Nuvan Strip. They will surely not cause any harm to your precious gadgets since Nuvan Strips are non-residual. Other items that you may recover from infested furniture are garments and bed linen.
Unfortunately, these cannot be treated with insecticides. The best way to clean them is to be laundering them in hot water which is approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Another alternative is washing and heating them. You can place them in a dryer for a couple of minutes to kill the bed bugs.
Dismantle the Infected Furniture
It will be easier for you to check the sides and hidden corners of your furniture when it is taken apart into separate pieces.
If your bed is infested, you can possibly separate the foam from the bed frame. If your bed is made of metal, you can possibly break it down into smaller pieces so you can check the insides of the metal base.
If it is your dresser or desk that is infested, you will need to remove all the drawers from them. You can even turn your furniture over for a closer look. While doing this, an important tip is to take the furniture away from the wall. As much as possible, we do not want the bed bugs to crawl away and use the wall as an escape.
Inspect Box Spring Beds
For beds that have spring inside, you will need to check where the bed bugs are possibly hiding. You may need to get the box spring to stand up so you can use a flashlight to find the bed bugs. If you see some parts of the bed with torn fabric, chances are, the bed bugs are close to those areas.
If you see some bed bugs hiding, you can either treat it with the steps below or you can also use encasements. When beds are encased, it assures you that no bed bug can either get in or get out of the bed.
You may also use mattress liners for box springs and mattresses which will help you kill the bed bugs and prevent them from continuously inhabiting your bed or furniture.
Cover Holes, Cracks, and Crevices Inside and Outside of the Room
You will need to locate holes, cracks, or any point of penetration on the wall to ensure you can minimize the places where the pest can hide. Inside the room, you will need to look for the holes where wires and pipes go through and cover the sides of it with any seal.
On the outside of the room, look for holes or any other opening that may permit access from birds and rodents. They can be an alternate host for the bed bugs.
Clean the Room
When cleaning the room, you will need to scrub the whole room with an extremely stiff brush.
This part of the preparation procedure must be taken seriously. You will need to brush the floor, walls, and even the ceiling with great effort to ensure that even the eggs are destroyed and dislodge.
At this time, all the clutter should already have been removed, the furniture should be dismantled and the entire room has been cleaned.
\The next step you need to do is to vacuum clean not just the furniture but also the other things inside the room.
Ensure that all sides and corners of the furniture are vacuumed: bed stands, headboards, footboards, bed seams, rails, bedding edges, carpet edges, tack strips, and buttons.
Using the vacuum cleaner in cleaning the infested furniture will help the pesticide penetrate the furniture better so it can kill the hiding bed bugs; another important tip is to do the vacuum cleaning for 2-3 times while scraping the bed with the ends of the vacuum.
You also need to avoid using the bristle attachment of the vacuum as it can promote pest transfer since the bed bug can cling to the brush.
How to get rid of Bed Bugs: The Inspection
After the preparation process, the next step is to inspect the infested area to ensure that you locate all the places where bed bugs are hiding. You may have spotted a few bed bugs while doing the necessary preparation procedures but you may not have found all the locations where bed bugs actually reside.
When doing the inspection, it is better to use a magnifying glass because bed bugs may be hard to see due to their tiny size. Of course, you have to be more familiar with the looks, diets, and habits of bed bugs so it would be easier for you to locate them.
When inspecting, you should also check the adjacent rooms to ensure you are able to wipe them all out. Some things that should be a red flag for you when looking for their hiding places are their feces. Since these parasites drink blood, their fecal material looks like rust.
If you are looking at your box sheet, possible indications that they are residing there are bloody dark spots and fabric rips. A good thing to know about them is that bed bugs choose a hiding place that is close to their host. If you have had several bites from bed bugs, you locate them better by basing on the body part where you typically get the bites. If you have them at your back, then probably they are in your mattress. If you are getting those bite marks on the neck, then maybe they are on the headboard.
The use of Aerosols can also make the inspection easier. If you want to use Aerosol, try the ones with active Pyrethrins. Pyrethrins can flush out bed bugs from their hiding places. Aerosols can kill the pest on contact. Since we just want to use it to find out if there are bed bugs in an area, crevice, or crack, you may just place the tip of the aerosol in the prospective hiding place.
Suggested Locations to Inspect
- Bed: Cracks and crevices in headboard, footboards, side railing and support
- Mattress: top, sides, bottom, seams, rips, and buttons
- Wall: electrical switch plates, pictures on walls, wall posters, cracks in plaster, seams in wallpaper, tack strips, wall-to-wall carpeting, and baseboards
- Appliances and Furniture: phones, tablets, televisions, radio, etc.
Know how to use Insecticides Safely
When applying insecticides to your furniture, it is important to do it 3 times every 10 days. This will ensure that bed bugs get more exposed to the applied insecticides. They would surely wander around the treated furniture when they feel the need to feed.
As we mentioned above, bed bugs feed every 10 days. In addition to that, please do not use a fogger with the treatment. If you just spread a fog of pesticide into the room, chances are that the bed bugs will scatter even worse in the room.
After you have applied any of the insecticides below in the infected furniture, you may also consider using Gentro IGR. This insecticide is proven to stop any more infestations in the long run since they can halt the bed bug’s life cycle by preventing nymphs to mature.
1. Liquid Insecticides
Below our preferred products in case you’ve tried, cleaned and checked your house and rooms, and you still believe you have bed bugs, these are the best liquid insecticides to get rid of bed bugs as a last resort.
This type of liquid insecticide can be used on mattresses, box springs, bed springs, bed frames, headboards, carpet, closets, shelves, curtains, furniture, picture frames cracks, crevices, joints, baseboards, and moldings.
You can also spray it on seams, tufts, folds, and edges of upholstered furniture until they are damp.
Please do avoid applying this insecticide to bed linens. It is a more powerful insecticide that can kill all types of bed bugs, even the ones that are resistant to pyrethroid insecticides. It is important to know how to use and apply insecticides to minimize errors and waste.
To use the Temprid SC insecticide, you can combine a third of an ounce or 8ml of Temprid SC with a gallon of water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and ensure that each spray is mist-like. You should be able to adjust the nozzle of the spraying bottle. This mixture should be used within 24 hours after you initially mix it.
It is not advisable to use this insecticide on mattresses and box springs.
This type of liquid insecticide can be used on bedsprings, bed frames, loose plasters, baseboards, and crevices. It can also be applied beneath beds, furniture, floor covering, carpets and behind bed frames, headboards, closet, shelf, curtains, and picture frames.
- Effective Against: ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, silverfish, spiders, stink bugs, darkling beetles, ticks, flies, fleas, scorpions, bed bugs.
- Active Ingredients: 9.7% Lambda-Cyhalothrin
If you are using this insecticide, you will need a gallon of water and a third of an ounce of Optimate CS. Same as Temprid, you should use the mixture within 24 hours and you should ensure that each spray is mist-like too.
Aerosols can be used on box springs, bed frames, carpet edges, closets, cracks, crevices, curtain rods, dressers, wall moldings, and wallpaper edges. Best aerosol options are Alpine PT, Bedlam Plus, and Temprid Ready Spray.
They are quite easy to use and they require lesser labor since you will not need to do any measuring and mixing.
Insecticides also come in powdered or dust form. Dust insecticides can last longer than aerosols. Dust insecticides are ideal for infected locations that cannot be exposed to liquid and gas like electrical outlets, switch plates, paintings, and picture displays.
You can use a duster to spread the powdered insecticides to these locations. You can also still use this insecticide for your mattress’ seams and buttons. Please do not use the dust insecticide in collaboration with a liquid insecticide. You can try Cimexa Dust.
Alternative Methods to get rid of bed bugs in an infested mattress
Before you treat your mattress, you have to decide first if it needs treatment, an alternative solution, or a replacement. It depends on how extreme the infestation really is. If you want to treat the mattress, just choose from the choices of insecticides above and follow the application tips.
If you feel like it is going to take a lot of time and effort to treat the mattress every 10 days, you can go with two simple and easy alternative options: Active Guard Liners and Mattress Safe Encasements. These options are the best option for prevention and worst cases of mattress infestations.
Active Guard Liners
Active Guard Mattress Liners fitted sheets that come in different bed sizes: from single up to king size. They can destroy not only bed bugs but also dust mites. They can kill them within 72 hours. If you have them on your bed, you will definitely not have to suffer from bed bugs.
If you already have an infestation going on, you can still use these and the bugs on your mattress will be gone in no time.
Active Guard Liner for Boxspring
- Box spring cover is independently lab-tested to be 100% bed bug proof
- Stretchable 100% polyester knit fabric makes installation a breeze – includes Installation Kit
- Full/Double size (54” x 75”) fits box spring depths of 9"- 11"
Active Guard Liner for Mattress
- Zippered mattress cover stretches to fit any Full/Double (54” x 75”) standard mattress depth from 12" to 18"
- 100% Waterproof barrier on all six sides of mattress - Lab-tested to be 100% bed bug proof
- Extra-soft polyester knit fabric is cool and comfortable - breathable waterproof membrane won't trap heat
Please do still inspect all over the room to ensure that there are no other bed bugs hiding somewhere.
Mattress Safe Encasements
Encasements are a great option for the worst cases of infestation. If you want to save your mattress from being thrown away, you can place it inside an encasement for a year or more to kill all the bed bugs in it without exerting too much time and effort. Encasements feature a patented hook that will not let a single bedbug escape.
Since the bed bugs can live for up to 12 months, it is better to leave them locked up to die for that duration. It would also be better if you would treat the mattress or box spring with insecticides before placing it inside an encasement.
Treating your Furniture for Bed Bugs
By this time, you pretty much know which insecticide to use and where to spray them. For better results and coverage, you may consider using a combination of the different types of insecticides.
You can combine dust with aerosols or liquid with aerosol, just never liquid with dust. Here are locations you can apply insecticides.
- Loose plasters
- Door frames
Best Bed Bug Killers Reviewed
Below our selection of our most natural and best bed bug killer products.
1. EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer
We choose EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer as our top choice because it has a 100% mortality rate after 10 days based on the study conducted at Rutgers University. In the test that they’ve conducted, they laid out the bugs in such a way that it has an equal opportunity of spraying them. In real life, we know that these bed bugs are very notorious.
They usually hide in small crevices, inside the mattress or other places where it is impossible to spray them. If you are facing a bed bug problem and you have no money then your first choice should be EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer.
- Tested and proven effective by Rutgers University’s study
- Very affordable
- Child and Pet-friendly
- All-natural ingredients
- Only use it when you come in contact with the bed bugs
- Strong and unpleasant smell
2. All Stop Dead Bed Bugs
JT Eaton’s Kills Bedbugs, Ticks and Mosquitoes Water Based Spray is our second recommended product. This spray does not only combats bed bugs but also its eggs so you can guarantee complete protection. One of the main worries of most consumers with regards to bed bug sprays is its toxicity, especially since it will be applied to your mattress.
Well, there’s no need to worry since All Stop does not contain any harmful chemicals. By using this eco-friendly water-based product, you can sleep safely on your bed the same night that you treat it.
- Fresh Peppermint scent
- Easy to use
- Very Affordable
- Only kills what comes in contact with
3. Rest Easy Bed Bug Spray
Rest Easy Bed Bug Travel Spray is our third best choice. This is another quality D.I.Y. option for fighting bed bugs. You can easily store it in your suitcase. It is a fact that bed bugs are a common problem in hotels due to the variety of guests staying in these rooms. If you have encountered bed bugs in your hotel room then you must learn how to get rid of bed bugs. Rest Easy Bed Bug Spray is the best solution.
- With a pleasant smell of cinnamon
- Eco-friendly and safe to use
- Child and Pet-Friendly
- Works only as prevention but not for total extermination
Facilitating how to get rid of bed bugs in your own home is not an easy task but with the right amount of knowledge and determination, you should be able to succeed in exterminating those pests.
Why should you need to pay for an arm and leg for killing bed bugs when you can do it on your own. You may also try mixing organic oils like eucalyptus oil and bergamot oil to make a natural DIY insecticide. Let us all hope for worry-free sleeping time. Stop bed bug infestation quickly and sleep tight at night!
James Haden is one of the owners of the Active Thrills community, together with Nash Gibson – his co-owner. He works as a full-time copywriter for a private company and also a true adventurer. He is an avid reader, writer, traveller, and extreme sports junkie. During his free time, he researches interesting content for their blog and continuously writes for their audience.