A lot of DIY bed bug recommendations involving household items stem from the desire to solve your bed bug problem without spending money or resorting to chemicals. Unfortunately, these recommendations don’t always pan out. Bloggers and forum posters usually aren’t professionals (this blog author being one of the exceptions). They haven’t done the same research, and they tend not to have much experience getting rid of bed bugs themselves.
With practice and a flashlight, nonprofessionals can become proficient in finding and destroying bed bugs. The process is made easier by reducing clutter, especially in bedrooms and sleeping areas. Bugs that are spotted can be removed with a vacuum (see previous discussion), or killed with over-the-counter insecticides labeled for such use. Most bed bug sprays intended for householders have little remaining effect after the spray has dried. Therefore it’s important to initially contact as many of the insects as possible with the spray droplets. Insecticide labels should be read carefully as some bed bug products should not be used on mattresses and seating areas. Some insecticides applied as powders or dusts (e.g., diatomaceous earth) will kill bed bugs although boric acid powder will not. However powders can be messy and difficult to apply, especially by nonprofessionals. Total release foggers (otherwise known as ‘bug bombs’) are ineffective against bed bugs and potentially dangerous when used incorrectly (see University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet Limitations of Home Insect Foggers).
Inspection requires knowledge, dedication and time. At minimum an inspection should involve a detailed examination of mattresses, box springs and bed frames, as well as likely hiding places for bed bugs within 20 feet of beds and other places where residents may sleep or rest, e.g., on couches). Clutter-free space will be needed to allow furnishings to be moved and manipulated for inspection. In general, rooms with more furnishings will take more time to inspect.
For more information about bed bugs, including their biology and how to recognize them, see other factsheets on the Citybugs bed bug page. The State of Michigan has also recently published a very detailed guide to Do-it-yourself bed bug control. Also, if you decide you need professional help, check out our advice onHow to Select a Bed Bug Control Professional, ENTO-033
You can also try spraying an insecticide yourself. Just make sure the product you use is intended to kill bedbugs and is made for the type of space you are using it in (some are intended only for outdoor or garage use, rather than for indoor use in areas where you may be sleeping, cooking, and eating, among other things). And know that insecticides available to professionals are usually stronger and more effective than those that are available to consumers. (6)
Because bed bugs have become so prevalent in the past few years, many fear they’ll be their next victim. They became so anxious and paranoid of the possible bed bug presence. If you eliminate the pests though, you could have a certain sense of peace knowing that you would not be bothered or bitten them. However, you wouldn’t be able to sleep well for long if you would not kill bed bugs right and continuously do the bed bug preventive steps.
You are correct about using alcohol. I used straight alcohol in a spray bottle. You can’t just spray and expect it to work. The alcohol has to be sprayed ON THE BUGS in order to kill them. It must be repeated periodically in order to kill them with any affect on the population. Also they hide in cracks and crevices in your walls, and places like wallsockets, baseboards, gaps in wooden furniture like headboards. Basically anywhere they can fit. Their eggs look like little TINY clear crystals. If you are not sure if the bugs are bed bugs… squash one. They smell like black walnuts (to me anyway). I’ve read they only lay 1 egg at a time, but can lay up to 5 a day… that’s 40 in a week. So if you have them, spray OFTEN, but do not smoke or use any open flames (candles, etc…) at the same time. Alcohol is very flammable!!!
Other types of bed bug traps include those that do not rely on humans as bait, but instead use CO2and/or other attractants. CO2 is thus far the most powerful lure for bed bugs, as it is the primary cue they follow to locate hosts. Traps that issue CO2 for a period of time are more expensive than Climbup™ traps, but can effectively trap bed bugs when no host is present, such as in common areas, vacant homes or units, offices, schools, and theaters. Thus they can help confirm infestation and eradication.
To treat an allergic reaction, the doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine injection. If the area is infected, he or she might prescribe an antibiotic or recommend an over-the-counter antiseptic. Finally, if it’s severe itchiness that you’re dealing with, applying corticosteroid or taking an antihistamine in pill or liquid form may be able to help.
So wear a face mask and just… bleach the crap out of your bed frame. Cover the mattress, repeatedly super heat your bedding and such, and bleach bleach bleach. MAKE SURE TO CHECK YOUR MATTRESS COVER. I did kill a few trying to hide in the zipper area. I picked out the crawlies with gloves and killed them, then repeatedly did a bleach scrub in case of any eggs. I do recommend the sticky traps a lot because if you keep your bed away from any walls or furniture, then the sticky traps will let you know if the bed bugs are coming from elsewhere.
Waking up with bites might be the first indicator that you have a bed bug problem. Their bites are often arranged in lines or clusters on the face, neck, arms or hands. Where there are bed bugs in large numbers, you might smell a sweet, musty odor (from the bugs’ scent glands) or see rust-colored spots on your bedding or mattress caused by bed bug blood or excrement. If you look closely, you might see adult bed bugs themselves, usually in mattress folds or seams or on the wall behind the headboard. Bed bugs prefer to stay close to their food source and are typically found hiding out within 1 to 5 ft of infested beds or furniture.
Use of Organic-Based Bed Bug Spray – thanks to growing going green trend, there are now bed bug products made with natural ingredients. With them, you could now get rid of the crawlies safely, easily and inexpensively. However, you should take note that this method only works if you have the best-selling bed bug spray that kills on contact and is without harsh chemical ingredients.
Flat surfaces can be wiped with alcohol or sprayed with a bed bug—killing contact pesticide, but all items that have a small nook or cranny where bed bugs could hide (which is most stuff) need to be treated with penetrating fumes. Build yourself a kill chamber out of a large storage bin. Tape a pesticide strip to the side or lid of the bin, and seal your stuff inside for a couple days or however long the manufacturer recommends. Seal the lid of the bin with duct tape.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
The first goal in a bed bug treatment is to stop bed bugs from biting you while you sleep. If bed bugs can’t feed, they can’t breed. If they can’t breed, then they can’t reproduce, and the infestation won’t be able to grow any further. This means that as soon as you remove their food source (your blood), you set a timer for the infestation to starve off.
Mix an insecticide labeled for use on bed bugs, such as Temprid FX, with water in a pump sprayer using the ratio found on the product label to create a bed bug spray. Spray onto baseboards, in corners, around door and window frames, around bed frames, and under furniture. Do not broadcast spray an entire carpet or floor. Allow the spray to dry before moving on to the next step.
Isolating your bed from the rest of the house. If you don’t use a bed, purchase a frame that gets your mattress off the floor and install bed bug interceptors under all feet of the bed frame to keep bed bugs off your bed while you are sleeping. Interceptors are special platforms or cups that are purchased to prevent bed bugs from climbing on to your bed. An interceptor can be as simple as a sticky card placed under a bed post (sticky and messy). Better are one of the commercial pitfall traps made specifically for this purpose. The Climbup™ Bed bug Interceptor and BlackOut BedBug Detector (Google them) are two such products sold online. Relatively inexpensive, these cups trap bed bugs attempting to climb (or exit) the bed. If you have encased your bedding, treated your bed frame thoroughly and installed interceptors, you will be instantly protected against bed bugs. Don’t take out your clean bedding or put it back on the bed until the bed has been treated (and dried) and encasements installed. And note that for this method to be effective, beds and bedding must not touch the floor, furniture or walls. This would provide bed bugs other ways to climb onto the bed and foil your defenses.
Individual responses to bites vary, ranging from no visible effect (in about 20–70%), to small macular spots, to prominent wheals and bullae formations along with intense itching that may last several days. The bites often occur in a line. A central spot of bleeding may also occur due to the release of anticoagulants in the bug's saliva.
Some oils like tea tree and neem oil can't kill bedbugs, but they work well to repel them. Tea tree oil is an extract from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant—it can cause various health problems with pet birds, cats, and small dogs. If there are pets in the house, look for other safer choices. If you use the oil, apply it in small quantities to the skin to repel bed bugs. Since bed bugs are active at night, apply it before bedtime.
Skin reactions from bed bug bites vary from person to person. Bites may go unnoticed or may be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other skin conditions. The most common skin reaction to bed bug bites are itchy red bite marks that appear clustered or in a straight line, often along the edge of clothing or where sheets were pulled up to a person's skin. Small swollen red bumps are also common. In rare cases, people may develop large, often itchy, red welts. A single bed bug bite is similar to a flea bite, except that a red area does not occur in the center. Flea bites tend to be found around the ankles while bed bugs tend to bite any exposed area of the body while a person is sleeping, such as the face, neck, arms, hands, or legs.
Bed bugs were mentioned in ancient Greece as early as 400 BC, and were later mentioned by Aristotle. Pliny's Natural History, first published circa AD 77 in Rome, claimed bed bugs had medicinal value in treating ailments such as snake bites and ear infections. (Belief in the medicinal use of bed bugs persisted until at least the 18th century, when Guettard recommended their use in the treatment of hysteria.)