How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, flightless insects that like to live where animals--including humans-- nest. Bed bugs are blood suckers and like nesting areas because this is where animals tend to sleep, making them easy targets for a midnight feeding. When you suspect your bedroom is infested with bed bugs you need to take immediate action to control and eradicate the infestation.

Signs of an Infestation

It can be difficult to determine if your bedroom is infested with bed bugs, especially when the infestation is new. However, common signs of a bed bug infestation include insect bites that occur while you are asleep, insect casings found around the creases of the bed and along the baseboards and an odor that smells like coriander. If the infestation is really bad, you may even see actual bugs scurrying for cover as you search your bedding and your room.

Identifying Bed Bugs

One of the first steps you need to take to get rid of a bed bug problem is to recognize that what you have is actually a bed bug infestation. There are many insects that look alike and that can cause similar problems. In order to find the right strategy to get rid of your bug problem you need to make sure your strategy is appropriate for the kind of bug you have.

Bed bugs range in size from about ¼ inch down to the size of a poppy seed. Bed bugs don’t have wings but they have an oval shape and a relatively flat profile. They can be white, tan, brown or orange.

Containing the Problem

The first thing that you want to do when you suspect you have bed bugs is to contain the problem. This can be done by thoroughly cleaning your bedroom. You need to decontaminate your laundry, curtains and bed, as well as make the environment less accessible for new bed bugs.

To start with, you will want to de-clutter your room. This will include picking up laundry and other items that are on the floor and reducing places where bed bugs hide. Next, you will want to bed-bug proof your bed. This will include pulling your bed away from the wall, setting the legs of your bed in containers of mineral oil and covering your mattress in a plastic coverlet. Finally, you need to vacuum and wipe down all of the surfaces of your room--including curtains, baseboards, window sills and the floor.

Exterminating Bed Bugs

Exterminate the bed bugs that are still in your room after the cleaning in a variety of ways. Consider using a powder insecticide that is designed for bed bugs. This type of insecticide will kill the bed bugs after they come into contact with the powder. A second option is to use a bed bug fogger. If you select this option you need to make sure you follow the directions exactly and, if you rent, get permission from your landlord.