Bed bugs are a scourge that many struggle to deal with. For starters they’re nocturnal, so they don’t make their presence known until you wake up with the telltale bites that alert you to the problem. For many this is already too late and the thought of bugs crawling on them while they sleep is too much to handle.
11 Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
It’s best to view this list as a series of steps you can do to rid your home of bed bugs, rather than thinking there’s a magic bullet answer that will make them go away. Using these methods in conjunction with each other as part of a strategic and all-encompassing strategy will yield the best results.
#1 Think Like a Bed Bug
When you treat your home for bed bugs, you’ll want to treat the entire home and consider all angles. This involves “thinking like a bed bug”. Where would you hide if you were them? They don’t like light so anyplace that can provide a dark abode they can burrow into is a candidate. Couches, chairs, pillows, clothing, linen, and not just in your bedroom, just about any place that might be harboring them.
The reason this is listed first is because taking a narrow focus and only treating your bed and surrounding area could lead to a re-infestation later, making it necessary to go through everything again, including the bites.
#2 Use All Natural Solutions
You don’t want a Pyrrhic victory when vanquishing these bed bugs, sacrificing your health and wellbeing in order to get rid of them. There are plenty of all-natural methods to getting rid of them, and these would be your first line of attack since they don’t leave you exposed to potentially harmful chemicals, and still do the job.
Some all natural things to try: Doing a thorough sweep of your bedroom and house and rounding up all of the bedding and fabric covered items. Wash them in the hottest water you can, and while doing that use a vacuum on all of the areas you suspect bed bugs to be hiding, with a strong focus on the mattress and boxsprings, cracks and crevices.
#3 Use Food-Grade Dichotomous Earth
Our helpful readers have related much success using food-grade Dichotomous Earth. The nice part is that it’s non-toxic, effective, and cheap at a little over $1 a pound. When you first see this strange sounding name in print, and are told that it works to keep bugs away, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that it’s a chemical and therefore should be treated as such. But after researching the matter it appears that it can be consumed and has reported health benefits to it.
Even though some people drink this to get more silica into their bodies, you’ll want to be careful when applying it around the home. It can irritate the lungs the same way that baby powder can if you accidentally inhale a cloud of it while sprinkling it around. It’s a very fine powder.
#4 Encase Your Mattress
This serves multiple purposes, as it not only prevents new bed bugs from establishing their residence inside your mattress, it traps the ones inside from getting out and getting at you. So while this won’t necessarily get rid of your bed bug problem, it will reduce the likelihood of getting bitten in your sleep, as new bugs will realize there’s no good place to hide.
When looking for a mattress encasement you’ll want to find one that specifically says it’s effective at preventing bed bugs. There are many different types of mattress covers and encasements, some that are made for allergens and others just to keep the mattress clean and protected so you have to find ones that are secure enough to block out/in bed bugs. Here is a highly-rated waterproof and bedbug proof mattress encasement that comes in many different bed sizes.
#5 Use Insecticides
If you’ve tried some natural ways to get rid of bed bugs to no avail, it might be time to bring out the heavy artillery. Insecticides are pretty effective, that’s how they got the name, but you’ll want to use caution, especially when using them in homes with little children, the elderly, pets, and in rooms that don’t have good ventilation.
The reason this isn’t usually a very effective way to go is because you’re treating areas where you sleep and rest your head. Also, in order to do the job thoroughly you need to get all of them, or else they can multiply and cause problems in the following weeks. Insecticides aren’t the ideal solution, but if other methods aren’t working they may be worth trying.
#6 Use All Stop Dead Bed Bugs
When dealing with bed bugs it’s good to take a long and short term approach. You definitely want to kill the ones you see on the spot, and this All Stop spray says that’s what it does. Although it can be considered an insecticide because it kills insects, it’s made with non-toxic ingredients so it’s a good compromise between using homemade or natural solutions, and having something that is proven to work on contact.
It would be good to have a bottle of this on hand to take care of any bed bugs you happen to spot as you try to find their different locations. Remember, you’re not only killing those bed bugs, but whichever eggs they were going to lay, and the future generations that would have resulted.
#7 Avoid What Doesn’t Work
Part of the process of the successful removal of bed bugs from the home is not wasting time on things that don’t work. Since so many people have tried to get rid of bed bugs and failed, there are plenty of ways that have been found not to work. There are also some methods that work, but have too many side effects to be considered a success.
Some of these methods include leaving your house until the bed bugs starve to death, freezing or heating your bedding, mixtures of household ingredients like vinegar, As Seen on TV traps and sprays, and throwing your mattress out and getting a new one.
#8 Use Bed Bug Patrol
Here’s another tool to have in your arsenal, Bed Bug Patrol. It’s another spray that kills the pests on contact, without using harsh chemicals and also being eco-friendly. That’s another consideration to make when trying to stay natural, the chemicals you’d typically use to kill bugs aren’t very good for the environment, and have to go somewhere.
This would be a good spray to use if you have pets in the home. They say it also kills the eggs so you’re effectively wiping out the next generation and potentially putting a stop to the problem, if you’re able to get all of them, which you’re probably not.
#9 Last Resort: Call in the Pros
If you’ve tried several different all-natural remedies, and brought out the big guns with insecticides, but still can’t vanquish your foe, it’s time to bring out the nukes and call in a professional. They’ll size up the situation and go to work dismantling the bed bug operation and returning your home to its former bedbug-free status.
It might not be the cheapest way to go, and they’ll likely end up using chemicals and insecticides, but at least you’ll have peace of mind and can get a good night’s sleep. Go with a company that guarantees their results so you can bring them back out if they don’t get it right the first time.
#10 Take Precautions While Traveling
You don’t want to spend the rest of your life constantly wondering if a bed bug is hitchhiking its way back into your home, but it is possible to be aware of certain items while traveling. But bed bugs didn’t originate in your home, you brought them in, so it’s vital that you don’t let that happen.
There are bed bug detectors that you can buy if you’re spending the night in a hotel or hostel, but we were unable to find any that were well-reviewed. A visual inspection for signs of bed bugs, living or dead, is definitely a good idea. But even a staunch stance against bed bugs will not prevent the problem 100% of the time, so it’s good that you now know how to get rid of them should they re-enter your home.
#11: Prevent a Re-Infestation
Once you successfully treat your bed bug problem, you’ll need to take preventive measures to ensure that they don’t make a comeback. They’ll definitely try, so it’s up to you to thwart their attempts, and remove the possibility altogether. Killing visible bed bugs on contact is one way to stop them in their tracks and taking precaution while away from your home should minimize your chances of a recurrence.
Throughout the ordeal, try not to panic, and remain confident that you’ll persist until you succeed. The bed bugs can only win if you quit trying, so it’s just a matter of outlasting them until you achieve victory.
Identifying Bed Bug Symptoms
Bed bugs leave a distinct bite mark, but the tricky part is that it might not show up for several days, and by that time you might have already been bitten again. Some people have a stronger reaction to the bite than others. It’s a good idea to check for bed bugs even if you only suspect that you might have them. It’s better to check and not have them than not check and have them.
Know How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
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10 Customer Reviews on “11 Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs”
Im wondering if those devices that use an electrical frequency might work to combat bed bugs? When plugged into an outlet in a room they put off a sound that is supposed to keep spiders, ants, roaches, etc.. away but I haven’t heard whether or not they work for bed bugs?
When trying to eradicate them, check window trim, curtains, wall trim and even behind the little plastic piece that use hang your blinds with. Also check between the edge of your carpet and the wall. Alcohol and DE work wonders!!
First encase your mattress,box springs, and clean all bed coverings.
The alcohol 91% Wal-Mart does work I have sprayed all of my clothes and enclosed them in plastic bags. I bought small bags at the Dollar Tree,, sprayed front and back and sealed them in the bags turned inside out so I know I can wear those clothes without bites. I have discovered something about bedbugs that I have to share. The reason that we can not kill them easily is because they live in lint. I was de-linting a pink sweater when for convenience, I put the lint in baby oil that I was using to show my Manager of the complex that I had bugs. To my surprise each piece of lint soaked up the oil and was black. When I inspected the lint pieces I realized that each piece was actually a bug. I bought an ugh bug (Only 10 dollar and worth every penny) for detection purposes and realized that each piece of clothing I owned that collected lint also collected bugs so I got rid of a lot of clothes if the ugh bug showed a lot of lint, out it went. Then I bought Bed Defence 5.00 trial they do not give you 30 days They charge your card and when it is a totally useless product they tell you for 20 dollars they will refund you 38.74, but charge you a restocking fee of the 20. This is how they operate and cheat people DO NOT BUY! Then I bought one of those ZapBug heaters to the tune of 200 dollars but that absolutely did not work either and there is no refund at all. I have used Spectricide Bugstop cheap fairly effective. I bought Rid, Hot Shot, Raid, nothing and the fumes are bad and scary. I bought Ecoraider on line and it was good for a few days but not totally effective. Then I bought Fabriclear sprayed my furniture, bed sheets pillow cases etc it has been 5 days and no bites unless I wear socks and do not check for lint in them. So I am hopeful that my room anyway is safe; now I have to work on the family room. I think Fabriclear is working for me and I am so happy. I also used the professional from the apartment complex so that is not the answer either for me. He is going to come back and spray again, to try to eradicate. So after trying everything I could, I have to say Fabriclear works for me. I am using it every week until I am sure they are gone and I am free! I plan to spray a few of my clothes with it and see if there are any bites. If there is none, I will spray the rest of my clothes my apartment closets etc and order some more. Please believe me when I tell you they live in lint try the baby oil test for yourself any color lint will turn black when dipped in baby oil. Start de-linting any sweater jacket coat slacks etc and share your experience
While living in Albuquerque for a few years i learned what a bedbug was heard the don’t let the bedbug bite story but being from Arkansas i thought it was a myth. The first bedbug i saw came from a wall socket in my sons bedroom i was told it was a bedbug and to surrond our beds with bowels filled with tap water that slowed them down but did not rid us of them until i saw fabriclear on a infomercial i was desperate to not continue getting bites from theses things so i brought the stuff and used 1 1/2 bottles we stayed in that apartment for two more years after that with no more problems. Now that we are back in Arkansas and in a new place i have the same problem but the diffrence is now i know what to do (Once again fabriclear) hope it work it magic for us one more time. Try it just might help your family cause it helped mine
Dianne – Yes 91% Isopropyl alcohol does work when sprayed directly onto the bugs. It does not keep them from coming into an area after its been sprayed though. You can spray it into areas you believe the bugs are hiding or directly onto the ones you see and be confident the bugs the spray hits are dead. However I am not sure what its affect are on the eggs.
Will the 91% Isopropyl alcohol really work? I have a problem with these creatures. It’s just that when I start I want to hit it hard and once. If I have to come back in a month that’s fine. I want have as many because I would have killed the original colony.
Bed bugs can live up to two years without having to feed! They also are becoming more and more immune to different ways of getting rid of them…..
Bad news: bedbugs are travelers – if you spend anytime in congested public areas like elevators, buses or even busy streets your going wind up with a hitchhiker.
Good news: that hitchhiker will be a loner, not a colonizer. Unlike many other bugs, it isn’t that easy to get infested by bedbugs.
As Rob says, 91% Isopropyl alcohol kills on contact and is the best way to deal with the occasional visitor. Bedbugs, like many insects, breath through vents in their bodies and alcohol clogs those vents.
Good news: if you do wind up with a colony, that colony will be localized; a pillow, a mattress (they love loose-weave pillows and mattresses). A simple was to deal with loose-weave infestations is to replace pillows and bedding with high thread count items: this is a form of encasement.. As for mattresses, try steam cleaning them, making sure you’re really using high pressure steam and not just warmed-up mist.
Laundering bedding and then drying at high heat for at least 20 minutes will kill eggs.
If your infestation is in your carpeting, steam cleaning is the best non-chemical treatment but, again, you need to get the steam to the problem before it cools-off. Some carpeting is just too thick for this to work, the steam cools off before reaching the mat and then you’re stuck with the last resort: chemicals. I’d recommend JT Eaton’s Bedbugs II.
Bad news: visitors or colonies, bedbugs are going to be a recurring problem; even if you put on a hazmat suit before going out, you’re going to pick visitors and once infested you’re likely to get re-colonized, no idea why except that, perhaps, some traces of a welcome remain after wiping out the original colony.
91% Isopropyl Alcohol in a spray bottle. Kills them instantly on contact and it’s cheap!
I tried pretty much everything I could to get rid of the bed bugs, I even hired professionals but they came back within a week, which means they weren’t completely eradicated. I think what I’ll do is bomb the house with insecticide and leave it unoccupied for about a month. I’ll stay at my sisters while they starve to death and that may be the only way to rid of them forever. I’m going to check into a hotel, get my head shaved, throw out all my clothes and change into brand new ones before I even step a foot into my sister’s place. Wish me luck everyone!