How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Permanently

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Permanently + How To Prevent Bed Bugs!

Knowing How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Permanently is a job most homeowners hope they never need to learn. However, if you have already discovered Bed bugs, you know bed bugs may be one of the worst infestations in your home or RV. 

What Is a Bed Bug?

Bed bugs are highly invasive, tiny insects that can be highly detrimental to any human environment. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are identified as flat, small, reddish-brown, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans.

Bed bugs are highly prolific (they make babies often) – An adult female can lay 5-10 eggs daily and live up to 6 months without a “blood meal.” Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases but have been known to cause allergic skin reactions in some people.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Permanently:

  • Step 1 – Confirm You Have Bed Bugs In Your Home

  • Step 2 – Know How to get rid of Bed Bugs In 5 Steps (See Below)

Once they have established themselves, removing bed bugs can become a very challenging and involved process. Fortunately, if you take the proper steps early, you can quickly head off the problem and eliminate an infestation.

1)  Confirm Bed Bugs In Your Home:

To properly treat it, It’s essential first to recognize that you have a bed bug infestation and where to look.

So, what do bed bugs look like? Bed bugs are wingless, reddish-brown in color, and very small – which gives them their best defense – they are hard to find.

How To Look For Bed Bugs:

See below; this is a photo of a Bed Bug (magnified 100 times)

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs | Best Home Gear
Photo of Adult Bed Bug

Adult bed bugs are only the size of an apple seed or about the length and thickness of a quarter – very tiny and hard to spot.

Bed bugs also change shape as they feed, as illustrated below, so they may look slightly different when you’re discovering them:

bed bug feeding cycle | Best Home Gear

Where To Look For Bed Bugs:

The most prevalent place to find Bed Bugs is along the seam of your mattress or box spring.  Bed Bugs like to hide in both creases, along headboards (If made of Fabric), or nearby drapes and carpeting. 

The image below shows how bed bugs appear in a mattress seam:  I Know – Gross!

bed bugs in mattress - Best Home Gear

How Long Do Bed Bugs Survive?

Here’s where it gets pretty disgusting: Bed bugs survive by feeding on the blood of humans or animals. So, no, this isn’t an insect you would ever want to share your bed with.

Also, an adult female lays between 5 and 10 eggs daily and up to 500 or more in her lifetime. Bed bugs can live up to 400 days without food and have a lifecycle of up to 6 months.

As you can see, the bed bug is a resilient and quickly reproducing insect.

What Do Bed Bug “Bites” Look Like?

Another way to identify a bed bug infestation in your home is by the bites left on your skin. Bed bug bites look like red blemishes, often with raised bumps where the bite occurred.

In cases of severe infestation, these red lesions can cover large sections of the body due to multiple edges on the same night.

Photo of Bed Bug Bites | Best Home Gear
Bed Bug Bites On Leg
Bed Bug Bites on Torso | Best Home Gear
Bed bug Bites On Torso

Video:  Seven Things You Should Know About Bed Bugs

2)   How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Five Steps

Getting rid of bed bugs isn’t a simple one-step process. It will involve thorough cleaning and chemical treatment to ensure the pests don’t return.

Here are the Five Basic Steps to kill bed bugs to assist you with that process: You can solve the problem without hiring a professional exterminator.

Step 1: Kill Bed Bugs “In The Bed”

The first step to getting rid of bed bugs is to kill the bed bugs that are already living in your bed.

  • Start by completely removing the bed of all linens and washing them in hot water, at least 120 degrees, to kill all bugs and their eggs.
  • Bag and dispose of your pillows (which are a concealed haven). Pack your clothes and other personal possessions to be removed for thorough cleaning and disposal.
  • Vacuum your mattress and box spring thoroughly—every square inch. Then, follow that step with a high-pressure steamer to penetrate the fabric and kill any bed bugs just below the top layer of your mattress. 
  • Please pay particular attention to tufts, seams, and creases where they hide.  These two steps should eliminate the adult bed bugs in your bedding.
  • As an additional precaution, and in the case of a major bed bug infestation, you may wish to skip this step and bag and dispose of your mattress and box spring altogether. This is a worst-case scenario, and professional treatment may cost less than completely replacing your mattress and box spring.
  • While the mattress and box spring are drying (24-hour minimum), Use a practical and safe bed bug spray – and chemical treatment, and spray all hard surfaces, including the bed frame, headboard, and the feet of the bed, to kill any remaining bed bugs on those materials.

*Note: Chemical sprays are not for use on mattresses, fabrics, or any other materials that may come in contact with your skin.

Mattress treatment is critical, as even a handful of remaining bed bugs can lay new eggs and briefly reemerge as a full-fledged infestation.

Step 2:   Vacuum and Steam Clean Your Room

The process of how to get rid of bedbugs doesn’t stop with your mattress and bedding. You’ll need to thoroughly clean your entire room, paying particular attention to the carpet.

Vacuum and steam clean every surface you can reach to collect or kill any eggs that may be left.

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not confined only to carpets and mattresses. Bed bugs can hide behind electrical plates, in the crannies of base molding and framing, and even in your car’s interior.

Step 3:  Treat Room With Bed Bug Spray

It would be best if you built a defense. First step: If you’ve discovered bed bugs, Use a top-brand chemical bed bug spray on your room, trim, baseboards, furniture, and carpeting.

Again, we recommend using all-natural bed bug spray such as EcoRaider to spray the room’s hard surfaces.

Remember to spray all the cracks and crevices along the walls—areas that will not come in direct contact with your skin.

After thoroughly cleaning the room, you can also take extra safety precautions, such as using a bed bug “fogger” to fog an entire room with products like this one from Hot Shot.

Step 4:   Powder the Entire Room

Next, you’ll want to apply an insecticide powder to the entire room, including the mattress.

Consider using diatomaceous earth, an organic mineral powder, to treat your mattress for bed bugs. This mineral powder provides supplemental protection that isn’t chemically harsh.

This powder will eventually kill the bed bugs and their eggs, preventing any of them from escaping and reproducing.

Step 5:  Wrap the Mattress and Box Spring with Protective Covers.

To stop bed bugs’ feeding and reproduction cycle, you must prevent them from reaching your skin. If they cannot feed, they will eventually die.

Once you have completed step 1 and thoroughly dry your mattress and box spring, install mattress and box spring encasement covers.

Encasement covers prevent bed bugs not killed by the treatments above from reaching you or your loved ones.

Are Bed Bug Infestations Growing in the U.S.?

Bed bugs have been mostly absent from the United States for the last 50+ years. However, they have made a strong comeback in recent years due to increases in foreign travel and immigration and, most significantly, a ban on using effective insecticides, such as DDT.

As reported by The University of Minnesota and based on public outcry in 1972 over its potentially harmful effects, the insecticide DDT was banned for agricultural use in the United States.

With that ban came a significant increase in the insect population and bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs are transferred from previously infested locations (hotels, tents, cabins, RVs) by hitching rides on your luggage, clothing, and personal pillows used at hotels.

Bed bugs can also be introduced into a home by purchasing used clothing or furniture and introducing it without laundering or treating it first.

Once they arrive at your home, bed bugs seek a hiding location close to their food source—people or pets, with people being their first choice.


How To Avoid Bed Bugs in Your Home

Make Your Bed – “Bed Bug Proof”

Move the bed away from the wall and any adjacent furniture, such as nightstands, to prevent bed bugs from climbing up and reaching your mattress.

Remove and discard or significantly “shorten” – bed skirts that touch the floor.

Install climb-up Bed bug Interceptors on the feet of your bed. These ingenious inventions capture the bed bugs before they can climb onto your mattress.

How to “Prevent” Bed Bugs

In addition to how to get rid of bed bugs on your own, you should also know a little about preventing them in the first place.

To prevent bed bugs from getting into your house, Here are the necessary steps you can take:

  • First and foremost, you should spray the cracks, crevices, and joints around your home regularly with a bed bug-repellent spray.
  • Bed bug spray creates a barrier that bed bugs are unlikely to cross. Most bed bug sprays are effective for up to 6 months, but refer to the recommended dosages on the product.
  • Next, avoid bringing bed bugs into your house. Always clean your luggage thoroughly when you stay in a hotel, and avoid bringing home used furniture or other used cloth products before they have been thoroughly cleaned.
  • If you travel, it’s strongly advised that you treat your luggage with bed bug spray in the garage before entering the house.
  • If you buy used clothing or bedding, bring it directly to the washer and dryer and run both on the “hottest setting” available.
  • Finally, you can prevent bed bug infestations with regular cleaning. Bed bugs need to be able to lay eggs to multiply. If you wash your bedding, carpet, and clothing regularly, the eggs will be less likely to survive.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug “Bites” (On Your Skin)

The worst part of a bed bug infestation is the painful biting while you sleep. Bed bug bites appear as red, inflamed spots around where the insect has punctured the skin.

To treat these bites, use soothing calamine lotion and a non-prescription pain reliever like ibuprofen to relieve soreness and itching.

You may also consider using an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce itching and swelling in the affected areas.  See your pharmacist.

These methods will relieve you, and the sores should heal quickly once new bites have ceased.

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs “Home Remedy”:

Bed bugs are challenging to eliminate without chemical sprays, but a few home remedies may work if your infestation is still minor.

Diatomaceous earth and borax have been known to kill bed bugs, and diluted rubbing alcohol may be helpful in neutralizing eggs.

However, it’s generally a good idea to stick to commercial insecticides, as these have the highest “proven” success rate.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Quickest Way to Kill Bed Bugs?

Some lethal bed bug sprays kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs and are resistant to typical pyrethroid insecticides.  Bed Bug Spray, such as Harris’ Bed Bug Killer, is considered toxic and lethal to bed bugs.

Products such as this can be sprayed on any hard surface but should be limited to the seams only on a mattress (not the whole mattress). Note: Always read the manufacturer’s instructions/warnings before use.

How Can I Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally?

These are the best methods to get rid of bed bugs naturally:

  • A Strong Vacuum
  • Steam Cleaning (With steamer or iron)
  • Washing all bedding material
  • Using Diluted Alcohol (Spray Bottle)
  • Using Baking Soda (Be sure to vacuum after application)
  • Scented Dryer Sheets will be placed under the bed and between the mattress/box springs.

Note:  Natural methods to kill bed bugs are a “gentler approach” – and may not achieve the same results as harsher chemical methods do, and as described in our article

How Can I Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress?

The most efficient way to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress is to first vacuum all visible bed bugs, which typically hide on the seams or edges of the mattress and box spring. 

Next, use a chemical treatment, such as this one from EcoRaider on Amazon. It’s a best seller and is super fast at killing bed bugs permanently. 

If you are not confident you’ve gotten them all, you should replace your mattress immediately.

How Should You Treat Bed Bug Bites?

You can treat bed bug bites with calamine lotion or an antihistamine like Benadryl or a non-prescription painkiller such as ibuprofen to alleviate itching or pain from bed bug bites.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs are tiny oval-shaped, reddish-brown bugs that feed on the blood of humans and animals; their existence in your home depends on the “opportunities” they can find for food sources—namely, you or your family.

Bed bugs are wingless and cannot fly but quickly move across floors and furniture.  They typically arrive inside homes from travel (luggage, backpacks, clothing), firewood, or other materials brought indoors.

How Do I Know I Have Bed Bugs?

If you wake up from sleep and immediately discover multiple itchy bites, you may have bed bugs. Look for tiny dark brown or red bloodstains on sheets or pillowcases.

How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

Using our methods described above, permanently eliminating bed bugs takes 2-3 days. If you want to know how to get rid of bed bugs quickly, it’s important to use chemical sprays since these will quickly and effectively kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs.

What Is Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs?

If the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach doesn’t work, you must call a professional exterminator for heat treatment. Heat treatments involve raising the temperature of a room to 118-122 degrees Fahrenheit, which will kill bed bugs and ultimately end your infestation.

Can I Eliminate Bed Bugs Myself?

Yes. Just follow our five steps noted above, and you should be able to eliminate a mild to moderate infestation of bed bugs. If your infestation has become more severe, professional help may be required.

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?

According to webmd.com, bugs prefer to hide in mattresses, linens, carpets, clothing, and other soft materials. Besides that, they can work their way under baseboards, behind electrical plates, and into other hard-to-reach crevices.

How Can I Kill Bed Bugs Fast?

The fastest way to kill bed bugs is with professional heat treatment. Professionally applied Heat kills bed bugs in 1- 2 hours.

Professional pest control companies like Orkin will set up their equipment and provide “heat treatment” – per room to kill bed bugs. The bed bugs will die in 90 minutes at a temperature of 118 degrees, and bed bugs will die immediately at 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat treatment is also the most costly approach. DIY chemical treatments are the least expensive but still effective way to kill bed bugs; although this will require more work as a DIY method, most homeowners can quickly achieve it.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to get rid of bed bugs and keep them out of your house, you should be equipped to tackle whatever infestation you get, like getting rid of ants or getting rid of gnats.

Remember that bed bugs aren’t the easiest pests to get rid of. The apparent fact is that an entire industry (pest control) is built around treating insects such as bed bugs.

So when you take on this job as a homeowner, be very thorough and take all necessary steps to kill bed bugs yourself.

Know when to say “when.” If your infestation has gotten out of hand, don’t be afraid to call a professional exterminator; most will offer a free estimate to fix the problem.

In the end, getting rid of weeds is much easier than getting rid of bed bugs in your home, but You’ll be happy you Did. 

We hope you’ve learned the necessary tools to get rid of bed bugs permanently – so you can replace your worry – with Sleep!

Please comment below, as we would be glad to assist with any additional questions you may have.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our “How-To” guides for homeowners @ BestHomeGear.Com

Photos: Lead photo courtesy of webmd.com

References and Additional Resources:

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carrollhttps://www.besthomegear.com
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.

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Image of Kevin Carroll, author and publisher @ Besthomegear.com
Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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