While alcohol can kill bed bugs on contact, it’s not going to kill nearly enough of bed bugs to be considered effective. In lab studies, even 99 percent concentrations of alcohol only killed between 40% to 60% of the adults that were sprayed. On top of that, alcohol has no long-lasting residual effect, and doesn’t affect bed bug eggs. 60% sounds good, but a contact killer should be able to kill a lot closer to 100% of the bed bugs you see. Otherwise, a shoe or a blowtorch would be the more reliable tool for the job. (Editor’s note: please don’t use a blowtorch.)
To use heat or not to heat? While not always successful, there are other methods of bed bug control. For example, using heat above 98 F is lethal to bed bugs. This type of treatment should usually be peformed by an experienced company since great damage can be done to walls, furniture, flooring, etc, not to mention that you need the proper equipment to be able to perform it. If you are interested in hiring a company to perform a heat treatment, contact us for recommendations for companies in your area.
Bed bugs tend to live in clusters similar to German cockroaches. Adult bed bugs generally travel 15 to 20 feet, or less, from their harborage sites. Common bed bugs feed on human blood just below the surface of the skin with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Those bitten by a bed bug may develop small, white to red, hard welts at the bite site. These bites itch intensely.
Nightstands and dressers may need to be emptied and examined inside and out, and tipped over to inspect the woodwork underneath. Oftentimes the bugs will be hiding in cracks, corners, and recesses. Other common bed bug hiding places include: along and under the edge of wall-to-wall carpeting, especially behind beds and sofas; cracks in wood molding; ceiling-wall junctures; behind wall-mounted pictures, mirrors, outlets and switch plates; under loose wallpaper; clothing and clutter within closets; and inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Bed bugs tend to live in clusters similar to German cockroaches. Adult bed bugs generally travel 15 to 20 feet, or less, from their harborage sites. Common bed bugs feed on human blood just below the surface of the skin with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Those bitten by a bed bug may develop small, white to red, hard welts at the bite site. These bites itch intensely.
The scientific name for bed bugs is Cimex lectularius. They are small creatures that grow up to 5 mm in size, or about the size of an apple seed. They have a flat oval-shaped body and will become significantly larger if they have fed. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, bed bugs start life as a tiny egg, then grow into a nymph before becoming an adult.1

Mechanical approaches, such as vacuuming up the insects and heat-treating or wrapping mattresses, are effective.[3][6] An hour at a temperature of 45 °C (113 °F) or over, or two hours at less than −17 °C (1 °F) kills them.[6] This may include a domestic clothes drier for fabric or a commercial steamer. Bed bugs and their eggs will die on contact when exposed to surface temperatures above 180 °F (82 °C) and a steamer can reach well above 230 °F (110 °C).[31][15] A study found 100% mortality rates for bed bugs exposed to temperatures greater than 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 2 minutes. The study recommended maintaining temperatures of above 48 °C (118 °F) for more than 20 min to effectively kill all life stages of bed bugs, and because in practice treatment times of 6 to 8 hours are used to account for cracks and indoor clutter.[32] This method is expensive and has caused fires.[6][15] Starving them is not effective as they can survive without eating for 100 to 300 days, depending on temperature.[6] One expert recommends not trying to get rid of bed bugs exclusively on one's own.[29]
It’s perfectly natural to want to eliminate a bed bug infestation without spending a ton of money on professional-grade products or a treatment by a pest control operator. When people discover that they have bed bugs, they often turn to do-it-yourself recommendations from discussions on the Internet. These suggestions might include household items, some of which are recommended more often than others. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular items and how they might be used against bed bugs:
Bedbugs are parasitic arthropods from the family Cimicidae. They are typically less than 1 cm in length and reddish brown in color. Bedbugs can be found in furniture, floorboards, peeling paint, or other small spaces, most commonly in areas of clutter. These insects come out at night in search of prey upon which to feed, with peak feeding times just before dawn. Bedbugs are typically attracted to body heat, carbon dioxide, vibration, sweat, and odor. The image of a Cimex lectularius is shown courtesy of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals. Although the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents. It has done so since ancient times; bed bugs are mentioned in medieval European texts and classical Greek writings back to the time of Aristotle.
Bed bugs were once a common public health pest worldwide, but declined in incidence through the mid 20th century. However, bed bugs have undergone a dramatic, worldwide resurgence since they have now evolved resistance to common insecticides.[1] Bed bugs are one of the great travelers of the world and are readily transported via luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. To get rid of bed bugs, act at the first signs of infestation and use an integrated pest management approach involving prevention, sanitation, and chemical treatment. Bed bugs can be persistent, so you'll need to demonstrate a greater level of persistence if you want to eliminate them.
To kill bed bugs is to save yourself from a lot of problems. However, before you could eliminate them, there are several preparatory steps that you first have to take so you will know how to get rid of bed bugs. With all those problems and pre-elimination work, many think it is better to prevent the pests by using bed bug spray than to let them in and just get rid of them.
Human infestation with bedbugs, lice, and mites are common causes of dermatologic symptoms. Although these organisms thrive in conditions of overcrowding and decreased sanitation, Americans of all socioeconomic backgrounds may be at risk for infestation. Clinicians must maintain high suspicion in the appropriate set of clinical circumstances to identify and treat infestations, as they can cause substantial dermatologic and psychological discomfort for patients. Images courtesy of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Insect bites, including those from the bedbug, have been proposed as a factor contributing to the formation of a cutaneous reaction termed papular urticaria. Patients with papular urticaria have been shown to demonstrate immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibodies to bedbug (C lectularius) antigens. [10] Thus, IgG against C lectularius, Cimex pipiens, and Pulex irritans in patients with papular urticaria may contribute the pathogenesis of this condition.
When professionals need to treat an infestation, they don’t reach for rubbing alcohol or cedar oil or a blow dryer. They use a proven treatment process that involves a combination of proven products to get the job done. It’s not about whether or not a certain item can kill bed bugs, it’s about whether that item is the ideal part of a treatment that will actually get rid of an infestation. After all, your shoe would have a 100% kill rate on any bed bugs you smack with it – that doesn’t mean you can expect to be bed bug free after a diligent afternoon of shoe-wielding.

"By every metric that we use, it's getting worse and worse," says Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Health authorities and pest control operators are regularly flooded with calls, and the epidemic may not have yet peaked. And because bedbugs are indoor pests, there are no high or low seasons throughout the year, he adds, only continual bombardment. "It's just the beginning of the problem in the U.S.," Schal says.
Bed bug infestations are primarily the result of two species of insects from genus Cimex: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus.[3] These insects feed exclusively on blood and may survive a year without eating.[3] Adult Cimex are light brown to reddish-brown, flat, oval, and have no hind wings. The front wings are vestigial and reduced to pad-like structures. Adults grow to 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1.5–3 mm (0.059–0.118 in) wide.
×