Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Tips for Prevention and Eradication

| 4/27/2011 11:00:48 AM

Tags: bed bugs, bedbugs, pests, non-toxic pest control, pesticides, eradication, Miriam Landman,

“Bed bugs” are small nocturnal insects that feed on blood. (Cimex  lectularius is the most common species of bed bug.) Some people who are bitten by them get itchy welts on their skin. However, the bugs have not been found to transit any diseases to humans.

Bed bugs are typically found on mattresses, box springs and bed frames, bedding, clothing, and in any dark cracks, seams, or crevices in beds, furniture, walls, or floors. They can travel through water pipes, wall voids, and ducts, and can spread from room to room.

Adult bed bugs are about 1/4-inch long and 1/8-inch wide; younger ones are smaller (often about 3/16 of an inch long or the size of a pinhead). They have flat, grayish-brown or reddish-brown bodies with six legs, and after feeding, they become round and red. They give off a sweet, musty odor. Their eggs are white and very small, and their excrement appears as tiny brown or black spots, which can look like small blood stains if smeared.

Bed bug  

Here are some rules for prevention, as well as tips for getting rid of bed bugs if they do appear.

Keeping Bed Bugs Out 

tara tompson
9/29/2014 3:19:25 PM

The last apartment I was in got bed bugs. I don't think I brought them with me but I want to make sure I didn't. My room wasn't infected but the one down the hall was and we share a washer. Thanks for all the great information!

6/16/2014 10:42:08 AM

I have heard of using essential oils especially cedar to get rid of them. I have my Sister-in-law using this method to keep them out of her home as she is in a area where they seem to be every where, does this truly work?

tara tompson
5/20/2014 2:14:24 PM

We just got our apartment sprayed for bed bugs. I want to make sure those bugs never come back! It was gross enough that the neighbors had them! Tara |

3/20/2014 1:49:49 AM

Some notes about using Diatomaceous Earth (DE): DE does work if left on surfaces and textiles (carpets, sheets, mattresses, blankets, couches, etc.) but it must be left down for days or weeks. DE works by cutting small cuts into the bed bugs as they crawl over a surface that has DE on it. It also gets int the bed bug's joints and openings. DE is simply sharp, broken calcium shells of ancient creatures that were very very small. Google "Diatomaceous Earth" and look at the microscopic images. DE has the consistency of flour or fine dust. The cost is about $10 for a 10lb bag from any Garden supply/hardware store. There is nothing toxic about DE, but you would want to wear a respirator, goggles, and long-sleeved clothes(shirt, pants) and take a shower after applying or disturbing (vacuuming) DE as it can be potentially irritating though I have not suffered any effects. It works, just keep it down for a few weeks...or spread it evenly on affected surfaces and vacuum it up in 36-48 hours, then do it again. A friend's wife complained that guests might come over and notice a white powder on the carpet and some furniture...I simply asked how she would feel if her guests blamed her for exposing them to bedbugs. Diatomaceous Earth, if applied effectively, will take care of bed bugs and other household insects (fleas, ticks, spiders, roaches, etc.) so long as it is left to work. I read a comment on another site where the DE was vacuumed up immediately after application. Needless to say that did not work. Further, DE is very useful in the garden for everything from worms, maggots, beetles, aphids, and other insect pests. DE is safe for pets and babies as long as they don't snort it...just like you would worry if they snorted flour or sugar. WoodBurner23

3/18/2014 4:59:25 PM

An excellent way to kill bedbugs AND their eggs is to buy a cheap steamer from Wal-mart (about $60). You can then steam your mattress, clothes, or any other items that bedbugs can live in. The steamer also works for cracks, crevices, and is 100% non toxic!

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