How to Get Rid of Bedbugs

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Annihilation of pesky, bothersome bedbugs is dependent upon timing, cleaning and help from pest control professionals. Bedbugs, which are small, rusty-red colored insects, suck up small amounts of blood from humans, and cause itchy welts that are similar to mosquito bites. Although they are not known to spread disease, anxiety from bedbug bites can negatively affect the quality of your life. If you want bedbugs out of your home, you can hire a pest control professional or you can get rid of them by yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight
  • Magnifying glass
  • Resealable plastic bags
  • Plastic containers
  • Plastic trash bags
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Waterproof, zippered mattress covers
  • Caulk
  • Sealant gun

Hire a Pest Control Professional to Remove Bedbugs

  1. Search around the areas that you sleep and sit for bedbugs, blood stains and tiny, white eggs. Look for bugs that are tan or rusty-red colored, and the size of an apple seed or a poppy seed. Inspect mattress seams, sheets, pillowcases, cracks in furniture, baseboards of walls and upholstered furniture with a flashlight and magnifying glass.

  2. Write down all the places where you find evidence of bedbugs. Alert any case manager, care providers, landlords and property managers about the bedbug infestation. Show them your written records of bedbug locations.

  3. Find a licensed pest control professional through professional associations, directories and referrals.

  4. Ask potential pest control professionals about their training and approach to controlling bedbugs. Reputable pest control professionals will educate you on how to prevent bedbugs, inspect your property before giving you a price quote, give you written inspection reports, have a business license, provide plan actions and be well-trained. Non-chemical and low-toxic pesticides are preferred methods of controlling bedbugs.

  5. Choose a pest control professional, and agree on a service plan after he inspects your property. Ask the pest control professional to use the least-toxic pesticide and tell you when it is safe to re-enter your home.

  6. Open windows and doors, and run overhead, window or whole-house fans after the pest control professional tells you it is safe to re-enter your home.

Removal and Cleaning Without Help from a Pest Control Professional

  1. Remove all clutter from your home. Seal the clutter in resealable plastic bags and containers. Put the resealable plastic bags and containers in a freezer for at least 60 days to kill bedbug eggs.

  2. Put all curtains, bedding, rugs, clothing and stuffed animals in plastic trash bags. Wash all items in hot water (above 140 degrees). Dry them above 175 degrees in a clothes dryer.

  3. Take non-washable items to the dry cleaner. Inform the dry cleaner that the items are infested with bedbugs.

  4. Put all clean items in a plastic trash bags until you remove the bedbugs from your home.

  5. Vacuum the bed frames, furniture, floor, carpet, open cracks and spaces. Put 1/4 cup of cornstarch in the bag or canister of the vacuum cleaner, seal the contents and burn or freeze them.

  6. Soak the HEPA filter in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes before letting it air-dry. Sterilize the vacuum cleaner hoses in hot water. Seal the vacuum in a plastic resealable bag when not in use, and unseal the vacuum when you need to use it.

  7. Put waterproof, zippered covers that are labeled "bedbug proof" on mattresses and box springs for least one year. Pull your bed away from all walls and furniture.

  8. Repair loose wallpaper and tighten light switch covers. Use a hair dryer on cracks and crevices for at least 30 seconds.

Preventing Bedbug Infestation

  1. Do not bring upholstered furniture, mattresses, box springs or bed frames found on the street into your home. Check used furniture for bedbugs.

  2. Wash clothing above 140 degrees if you have been around bedbugs. Dry clothing above 175 degrees.

  3. Seal all cracks in your home with caulk.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you throw away any items, label the trash bags with "infested with bedbugs."
  • Never donate or re-sell infested furniture.
  • Cut holes in discarded furniture so no one will want to use them.
  • Pest control professionals usually will make two treatment visits and a follow-up visit to confirm the bedbugs are gone.
  • Do not use brush attachments to vacuum; eggs and bedbugs will attach to the bristles.

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  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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