How to Disinfect for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, brownish insects that are sometimes mistaken for ticks or cockroaches. Bed bugs are not generally thought to be a risk for disease transmission, though they do cause itching and inflammation from bites and can contribute to problems sleeping. According to Michael F. Potter, an entomologist with the University of Kentucky, disinfecting for bed bugs with commercially available products should be used in conjunction with other bed bug elimination strategies, or with the help of a pest control professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Bed bug insecticide
  • Dryer
  • Plastic tarp
  • Thermometer
  • Tape
  • Vacuum


    • 1

      Inspect the bed, mattress, the bed frame and the area around the bed for bed bugs. Be thorough in your search. Remove any bed bugs found with a vacuum. Spray bed bug insecticide in any cracks and crevices where bed bugs are found and any additional areas that the label of your insecticide deems safe for application.

    • 2

      Put anything that can be laundered, such as the bed sheets, into a dryer, on high heat for 20 minutes. The high heat will kill the bed bugs.

    • 3

      Wrap anything that cannot be laundered or sprayed with insecticide in plastic, seal it with tape and place it somewhere in the direct sun, in a car or on a deck, for example. Monitor the internal temperature of the enclosure with a thermometer. A minimum temperature of 120 degrees F must be reached and maintained for several hours for the bed bugs to be killed.

    • 4

      Monitor your bed and the surrounding area after these measures have been taken. Bed bug infestations are difficult to eliminate, and you might need to repeat the removal procedure several times to completely destroy the infestation.

    • 5

      Contact a pest control professional if you are unable to successfully eliminate a bed bug infestation. Pest control professionals have access to industrial disinfectants and heavy equipment that will aid in the removal of a bed bug infestation.

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