How to kill bed bugs and 3 tips for prevention

Bed bugs can hitch a ride from one infested home to another, travelling by furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, and clothing.

Gross alert! These little critters feed on blood every five to 10 days but have been known to survive up to a year without feeding. And, a single female can lay a whopping 500 eggs. Eek!

Before you consider burning the house down, try these quick tips by cleaning professionals UrbanYou to banish the bugs and prevent return.

Step 1: Inspect to find the problem area

Bed bugs are usually found close to where you sleep. Hate to say it, but you’re their food source!

Start with your bed by inspecting the pillowcases, the mattress, and around the frame.

Also check nearby furniture, such as the bedside tables or in between the cushions on your sofa. As most activity happens at night, use a flashlight and microscope to help your hunt.

Creepy but true – bed bugs are usually found close to where you sleep. Picture: Getty

What to look for during bed bug removal:

  • Pin-sized rusty coloured stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots like a pen marker – these spots could reveal potential bug excrement.
  • Pale yellow eggs and eggshells, again the size of a pinhead.
  • Live bed bugs.

This is what a bed bug looks like. We know, gross! Picture: Getty

Once a problem area has been identified, immediately plan your bed bug pest control plan of attack. And, if you live in an apartment, make sure to inform the landlord, especially if neighbouring apartments are affected.

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Step 2: Start bed bug removal

There are many harsh chemical treatments and in serious cases, these may be required for successful bed bug removal.

As an alternative, consider one of the DIY options below, but always transfer the infected items in a sealed plastic garbage bag so as not to infect other areas of the home.

Baking soda is a staple in a clean and healthy home. Picture: Getty

Easy ways to kill bed bugs in the home

  • Empty contents into the washing machine and put on a 60+ degree cycle – ideally for a minimum of 45 minutes to kill the bed bugs.
  • Place items into a tumble dryer for at least 30 minutes on the high setting. This will kill any eggs hiding within your linen.
  • Seal the items in a plastic bag and place in the freezer for a minimum of 10 hours. Just make sure the item is suitable for freezing.
  • Pour baking soda in a bowl and with paintbrush dust the powder over hard surfaces and into cracks. Then liberally dust across the mattress, between the springs and around the frame.
  • Leave the baking soda for a week to dry kill the bed bugs and their eggs.

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Step 3: Thoroughly vacuum to remove signs of bed bugs

After treatment, remove your mattress from the box frame and give both a really good vacuum to remove any shells, eggs or droppings. Likewise, vacuum the closely placed furniture and drawers, skirting boards and wall fittings.

Immediately empty your vacuum dust bin into the outside garbage or down the chute. If you have a steamer, this is the best tool to go over all surfaces to kill any remaining bed bugs and eggs.

Step 4: Bug extinction and prevention

Bedroom. Picture: pixabay

Now that you’ve treated your bed and the furniture, you need to cut off the bug’s food supply by making it as difficult as possible to climb up the bed again.

  • Tuck in all linen and remove any bedding that touches the floor
  • Pull the bed away from the wall and separate from bedside tables.
  • Place specialty bed bug exterminator traps (available at most hardware stores) under bed footings. This will help capture any sneaky critters and allows you to monitor the reproductive cycle. The aim is to see less and fewer bed bugs over the next few weeks.

If this is all too overwhelming or you need more help, reach out to your local pest management professionals to take care of the issue. Good luck!

This article is repurposed from How to kill bed bugs and 3 tips for prevention by Elke Keeley. Author at