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Information about bed bug infestation.

Bed Bug InfestationGeneral Infestation Information

Bed bugs do NOT live on their host but near their host. In the beginning of an infestation bed bugs are found around the seams and tufts of the mattress. Later as they multiply, they spread to cracks in the bed frame and then to gaps behind baseboards, pictures, windows and doors.

Finding Where They Hide

All you need to do a bed bug inspection is a flash light and good vision. Once you know what you're looking for, the next step is to begin the search.

Bed Bug Hiding PlacesPossible Hiding Places

  • In and along seams of mattress
  • Between mattress and box spring
  • In cracks or joints of the bed frame
  • Underneath chairs, couches and other furniture
  • Pet bedding
  • Between cushions of upholstered furniture
  • Underneath area rugs and edges of carpets
  • Between the folds of drapery or curtains
  • In the drawers of night stands, dressers, etc.
  • Behind baseboards
  • Around the door and window casings
  • Behind electrical switch plates
  • Under loose wallpaper, paintings posters etc
  • In cracks in the plaster
  • In telephones, radios, clocks, smoke detectors and similar places

Bed bugs infest only a small proportion of residences, but they should be suspected if residents complain of bites that occurred while sleeping. The bedroom and other sleeping areas should be carefully examined for bed bugs and signs of bed bug activity. Folds and creases in the bed linens, and seams and tufts of mattresses and box springs, in particular, may harbor bed bugs or their eggs. They may also be found within pleats of curtains, beneath loose areas of wallpaper near the bed, in corners of desks and dressers, within spaces of wicker furniture, behind cove molding, and in laundry or other items on the floor or around the room. Sometimes, characteristic dark brown or reddish fecal spots of bed bugs are apparent on the bed linens, mattress or walls near the bed. A peculiar coriander-like odor may be detected in some heavily infested residences. Adhesive-based traps used for sampling insects or rodents are not particularly effective for trapping bed bugs.

Preventing Infestations

  • Be a savvy traveler.
  • Inspect secondhand items for bed bugs before bringing it into your home.
  • Avoid curbside or discarded items.
  • Conduct preventative inspections.

First Steps for Bed Bug Control

Remove Clutter to Eliminate Their Shelter

Get rid of anything that bed bugs could hide behind or underneath that you don't need like old newspapers, cardboard boxes, pictures, posters, area rugs, old clothes, old purses and luggage, furniture etc. . .


Can't throw it out but can move? Then temporarily remove them from your home. However, before you bring them back you will have to either carefully and thoroughly vacuum or scrub every surface to remove bed bugs and their eggs. (Also, you may want to wait a few weeks before bring these items back until you are sure you're gotten rid of them or you will have to clean them all over again.) If it can't be removed even temporarily then carefully and thoroughly vacuum or scrub every surface to remove bed bugs and their eggs.


  • Wash your sheets, pillowcases, bed shirt and blankets in hot (140º) water and/or dryer first.
  • Wash all clothing and cloth articles that might be a hiding place for bed bugs. (Start with things stored near the bed and work your way until you've gotten rid of all the bed bugs.)
  • Seal all washed and dried clothing in plastic bags to prevent re-infestation until extermination is complete.
  • Too Delicate? If you can NOT get your water or dryer hot enough or if the article will be ruined at high temperatures, try using a dry cleaners or use a very cold or hot place suggested below.

Make Your Bed an Island

  • Move your bed away from the wall.
  • Make sure nothing from your bed touches the floor.
  • If possible purchase plastic covers for your mattress and box spring.

Elimination/Extermination Methods

Because of the difficulty in fully exterminating a bed bug infestation, it is recommended that you consult with a professional pest control company to ensure correct and effective treatment for bed bugs.  These professionals are trained to select appropriate pesticide products and apply them in a way that will effectively treat the infestation while minimizing your exposure to the pesticide.  A reputable company will work with you to create an integrated management plan that will eliminate the infestation and work to prevent re-infestation in the future.


  • Pick a pesticide that is specifically for bed bugs
  • Try to pick the least toxic product
  • Follow ALL dilution and application instructions recommended by the manufacturer


  • Steam cleaning can be effective but care needs to be taken because mattresses can quickly absorb the heat and moisture and not harm the bugs. Therefore, it is important to monitor carefully to make sure it worked and you may want check for new bugs in a week or two.Also, remember to concentrate on the areas they hide such as the seams, under labels and handles and everywhere on the bed frame.

Extreme Temperatures

  • Bed bugs are very sensitive to heat. So you may want to try putting things in tightly sealed plastic bags in a VERY cold place (freezer, outside or outdoor storage area when temperatures are below freezing)
  • Hot place (dryer, closed up vehicle that sitting in the hot sun) for several days to kill any adult bugs and their eggs.

Remember: Because they are sensitive to heat even in a hot car they will search for the coolest places, so it is important make sure you limit how much you put in a plastic bag. The cold or the heat must reach the middle or core of the articles being treated or it may not work.

Eliminate Hiding Places and Access Points

  • Seal Crevices
  • Repair peeling wallpaper
  • Tighten loose light switches
  • Close up gaps around pipes and wires especially those that go to adjoining apartments or homes.

Don’t Give-Up Too Soon!

It takes time to determine if what you've done works because bed bugs live a long time without food. Also it can be extremely difficult and tiresome to make sure you've gotten all their hiding places. If after two week you start seeing more bed bugs, you may need to re-evaluate your plan and start your plan again.

Useful Links

Treatment of Room Furniture

Treatment of Mattress and Bed

Public Service Announcement

National Pest Management Association Inc.

EPA's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety

National Pesticide Information Center.