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.
Bed bugs are a growing problem in schools and daycares. Typically they are introduced by students or staff living with an infestation at home. Pinpointing where the bugs exist can be challenging in such environments since there are no beds or sleeping areas for the insects to congregate. (Similar challenges occur when bed bugs are found in offices, libraries and retail stores.) Usually only small numbers of bed bugs are spotted, often on a student’s clothing, backpack, chair or desk. While this does not necessarily confirm that the child’s residence also has bed bugs, the parents should be notified that the home should be inspected, preferably by a professional. Teachers, nurses, and staff should be educated about the bugs and what they look like. Bed bugs should also be considered if a student frequently has reddened itchy welts --but keep in mind such reactions can be for reasons other than bed bugs.
Pesticides should always be used with caution, and especially when used indoors. Never use a pesticide for bed bugs that does not bear clear directions stating that it can be used indoors. Never spray yourself, children or pets with a pesticide. And follow the label safety directions carefully. Pesticide labels contain directionsfor use that are not merely suggestions. Failure to follow directions exactly is illegal and can result in poor control and possible harm to yourself and family. For more information, see the EPA Consumer Alert on pesticides and bed bugs.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
A common concern with bed bugs is whether or not they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is most commonly attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can substantially reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals.
It’s not likely that you’ll kill all the bed bugs with a bed bug spray. That’s where a residual powder insecticide comes into play. It kills any bugs that wander through the powder. Some powders can kill bugs for many years if left undisturbed. Skip the open areas and spray the powder in those places where you think they’ll be traveling to and from, like near bed legs and under baseboard trim.
Monitor Bed Bug movement with Traps. Bed Bug traps don't work to control bed bugs - they only monitor bed bug movement. Try using Catchmaster 288i Professional Bug Traps by placing them against walls, behind furniture, sticking them under bedframes (yes they work upside down), and anywhere you think bed bugs could be crawling to get back to the bed. Inspect these traps every few days. If you capture bed bugs, then you may have to retreat and do this entire procedure over again. If the traps are empty, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done, but don't think that bed bugs are gone forever. They could be walking around the trap or just waiting for the comforter to hit floor before they climb back into bed!
While vacuuming may seem like an obvious remedy, it is fairly unconventional in the sense that it does not usually prove effective against the majority of the bed bugs in a contained area. Due to its low level of effectiveness, it is generally not recommended as a sole treatment. Vacuuming can, however, increase the effectiveness of other treatments.
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 are now ready to inspect other items and put these into the clean zone. As you continue to move things into the clean zone, more of the room will open and you can expand this clean zone. Using this method means you will not have to move furniture and items more than twice. This will allow you to concentrate on searching for bed bugs, rather than moving furniture.
First up are the contact sprays, like STERI-FAB and JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs. These will kill quickly, but evaporate shortly after, leaving no long-lasting protection. Spray along baseboards, below drawers and on drawer slides, behind cabinets, and behind night stands. Follow up with a residual spray, such as Bedlam Plus and JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs Plus. Residual sprays will offer long-lasting protection against bed bugs and hatchlings. Bedlam Plus is ideal for cracks and crevices throughout the room, while JT Eaton Plus can be used below the cushions and bases of sofas, chairs, edges of carpets and other fabric items.
It is also recommended to put infested items, such as a mattress, in a sauna that reaches temperatures of upwards of 170° Fahrenheit. Similarly, they also perish in extremely cold temperatures so mattresses and other items can be cleansed of these bugs with the use of plastic wrap and dry ice. Cover the items with large plastic tarps and carefully insert dry ice, and then secure. The extreme temperature will naturally fumigate the pests.
Occasionally, you might find other bugs which resemble the common bed bug including the bat bug and swallow bug. Both of these species superficially resemble the common bed bug. However, their primary hosts are bats and birds and there are small but diagnostic morphological differences. Problem infestations with these bugs may occur in attics or unused chimneys. Typically, when one host is gone these bugs seek an alternative host blood meal. This is when humans are bitten. It is important to differentiate between the common bed bug and other bugs that feed on bats and birds because control efforts can be targeted at the wrong sites and infestations can continue.
Dust the wall voids. Bed bugs can often travel from room to room, especially in apartments, hotels and condo's. They travel along electrical wiring and plumbing lines. Specifically treat wall voids with a hand duster either by removing wall switch plate covers and/or drill access holes discreetly between studs. Cimexa Dust or Delta Dust are excellent choices for void applications. It kills populations in walls and voids and creates a repellent, hostile environment which reduces the likelihood of bed bugs traveling through voids to other areas. Use a small hand type duster to "puff" insecticidal dusts into these areas. A light coating is all that is needed. To much dust and the bed bugs will just crawl around it.
Prior to the widespread use of synthetic insecticides, this small, brown blood-sucking bug was perhaps the most unwanted pest in America. The insidious bed bug was loathed even more than the cockroach. Although the bug’s impact was greatly reduced by insecticides during the 1940s and 1950s, it remained an occasional invader of homes, hotels and shelters. Pest management professionals now agree that bed bugs have become the most difficult pest to control.
Itchy swollen bites may be the first sign of a bed bug problem. However, these itchy bites can take as long as 14 days to develop in some people, so it's important to look for other clues if you are concerned about an infestation. Bed bugs typically infest mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and couches. You may be able to find them hiding within the cracks and crevices of beds, furniture, floors, and walls. Bed bugs often leave evidence of small dark stains (fecal droppings) and rusty red spots (bloodstains) on bedding sheets, mattresses, and other areas they hide in or travel along. Heavy bed bug infestations can cause a sweet, musty smell.