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How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Efficiently Without Calling A Pro Company?

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Written by Alex Petrović

Sleep Consultant

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10 November 2023 11 min read

Bed bugs are very small insects, but they can have a big impact on our health. They can cause a variety of problems including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. So how to get rid of bed bugs?

Although bed bug is very small insect, usually 5 to 7 mm, it is still visible to the naked eye. The fact that they are not microscopically small makes them easier to identify. However, they are small enough and surprisingly smart so it will take you months to realise that you have problems with bed bugs.

Problems they can cause are not at all in proportion to their size, on the contrary, they can cause major health problems. Also, they reproduce very quickly, each female lays about 500 eggs during lifetime. We will tell you how to get rid of bed bugs efficiently without calling a pro company, but also when it is time to call in professional bed bugs exterminators.

Where do bed bugs hide?

If you are wondering how bed bugs got into your home, and you care so much about hygiene, know that it is not your fault. Although they cannot fly, bed bugs find various ways to enter your home and stay well hidden for a long time. They can crawl into your suitcase, bag or clothes while you are traveling and thus enter your home. Another way is to buy used furniture in which they have been hidden for a long time. Also, since they can walk and climb, they can come to your apartment from another apartment.

an image of a mattress pad

When they arrive at your home, they will be able to hide in furniture and clothes. They have small, flattened bodies so they can hide very successfully, and they also do not make nests like other insects, which makes detection even more difficult. It is wrong to think that they are hiding exclusively in the bed where you sleep. They can walk a few meters to you every night, which means they can hide elsewhere. So you have to search the whole house.

When do bed bugs bite?

Bed bug is insect active at night. They feed on blood while you sleep. They have an elongated beak they use to pierce the skin and then drink the blood. It takes them a few minutes to finish their feast, usually up to 10 minutes and then they leave.

Their bite doesn't hurt, at least not right away, so they'll probably never wake you up when they bite you. Also, there is no specific part of the body they target, but bed bugs attack the part of the skin that is exposed at the moment. When you notice itching and welts, you will probably blame the mosquitoes, but you should not forget that bed bugs can cause the same symptoms, although delayed. If you have a pet, then fleas are the third potential insect that can cause such problems, but fleas mostly attack the area around the ankles.

3 main signs of bed bug infestation

You can find bed bugs in a 5-star hotel and in the dirtiest house, because they feed on blood, so the level of cleanliness has nothing to do with the appearance of bed bugs. The following 3 are the main signs of bed bug infestation and if you notice any of them, you must react immediately.

Blood on sheets

If you notice blood stains on sheets, and the other day you cut yourself, for example, then probably the wound reopened. Or blood stains can be a consequence of menstruation. But if you notice small and dark stains, which usually have a round shape, then those blood stains indicate the existence of bed bugs.

Many people mistakenly believe that blood stains on the sheets are created by your blood dripping from the place where the bed bug bit you. But the bed bug bite is very small and will not cause that type of bleeding. Blood stains on the sheets remain when you accidentally while sleeping crush the bed bug and then the blood it sucked leaks out. It is very possible that you will find the remain of the bug somewhere near the stain, which will then unequivocally indicate that you have bed bugs.

Bedbug eggs & shells

In the process of reaching full maturity, bed bugs have to shed skin five times so shed skin can also point you to bed bug infestation. As we said, females lay up to 500 eggs during their lifetime, so you may even find eggs.

Although this is less likely, because unlike the adult bed bug which is 5 to 7mm in size and visible to the naked eye, the eggs are about 1mm, sometimes smaller, which is very difficult to notice with the naked eye. Rather, you will notice yellow stains on fabric that remain after the bed bugs hatch from the egg.

Musty odour

Many do not know that odour is another very common sign of bed bugs infestation, especially when there are a large number of them. If you notice that your bedroom smells very unpleasant, as if there is something moldy in it, and you cannot determine the cause, it is very likely that bed bugs are to blame for this smell.

Odour is actually caused by pheromones bed bugs release, and when there are a lot of them, then that odour gets stronger. At first, while there are only a few bed bugs around, you probably won't smell a distinctive odour, but after a few weeks or months, you will.

How to get rid of bed bugs in 7 steps?

It is certainly possible to get rid of bed bugs yourself, without the help of professionals. You need to know that it takes effort and time and that you will not eradicate them overnight. But if you follow the next 7 steps, you have a good chance to get rid of these annoying insects.

Identify bed bugs infestation

Of course, the first thing you need to do is realise that you have bed bugs in your home. The problem is that it is very difficult to detect a small infestation which is easy to treat. But it is not only important to detect infestation.

You also need to detect every area the bed bugs have inhabited. If you find them in only one place, then you have done nothing. You will destroy them there, but they will keep reproduce elsewhere. So check every part of your home in detail with flashlight and magnifying glass, such as mattress, bed frame, closet and so on. Mark all places where you find living or dead bed bugs, as well as eggs, shells, skin and yellow stains so that you don't forget all the places later.

Scrub the mattress with a brush before vacuuming

To get rid of all the bed bugs that are hidden inside the mattress, scrub the mattress with a brush before vacuuming. This is a very useful method, and then throw away the brush as it can happen that the remains of the eggs stick to the brush. Since eggs are very sticky.

Keep the infested space contained

The first step after you discover an infestation is to contain and control bed bugs. The best way to contain an infestation is to vacuum all the places where traces of bed bugs have been found. While this will clearly not exterminate them, you will significantly reduce their numbers. As a result, less females will lay fewer eggs and that way you will slow the growth of bed bugs. This will give you time to take the next steps. After you have vacuumed all the places, replace the bag immediately, and throw the bag as far away from your home as possible.

an image of a professional isolated space due to contamination

Don't leave a bag around, because they can get out of there. Wash all clothes where you found them in the washing machine and dry them on a high heat setting. If you cannot wash or dry at a high temperature, you must throw away those clothes. Or keep it sealed in a plastic bag for a long time until the bed bugs die.

Replace & clean sheets regularly

Our advice is to buy new sheets and throw away old ones. If you do not want to buy new sheets because you have recently bought current sheets, then wash and dry them at 90 degrees Celsius. You can do this if they are made of cotton, but not if they are made of polyester. Also, change the sheets as often as possible to kill bugs that may remain.

Vacuum bed and surroundings

After you scrub the mattress with a brush, vacuum the mattress. It doesn't matter if you have already vacuumed it, repeat the whole procedure, which includes replacing the bag when you finish vacuuming. We know all this is tedious, but it's the only way to get rid of them once and for all.

a mattress maintenance

Get a mattress cover

Mattress covers are generally popular because many of them are waterproof and also reduce wear and tear on the mattress cover. But they have another very useful feature, and that is to protect you from bed bugs.

However, you should know that not all mattress covers are suitable for fighting bed bugs. These must be special impermeable mattress encasements, some of which are manufactured for bed bugs, and there are some mattress covers that can be used for this purpose, among other things. Adequate mattress cover will prevent the bed bugs inside the mattress from coming out and thus leave them without food until they die. It will also prevent new bed bugs from entering. It is important that the covers have a zip so that bed bugs cannot find their way out. A similar type of encasements also exists for pillows. This will benefit all those who have new mattresses and pillows and do not want to change them just because of bed bugs.

Get rid of any clutter inside your bedroom

Clutter inside your bedroom or in another room is ideal hiding space for bed bugs, because you cannot vacuum or treat with insecticides clutter made of newspapers and various other similar things. So throw away the clutter and thus get rid of the bed bugs that are hiding there. Put all the things you throw in the sealed bag.

What methods are effective against bed bugs?

Now when you have done all these steps to contain bed bugs, it remains to apply one or more of the effective methods for killing bed bugs so that none of them remain in your home. If you do not have the means to perform any of these treatments, professionals can help you.

Heat treatment

Bed bugs are very sensitive to high temperatures and this is one of the easiest ways to eliminate bed bugs fast. We have already mentioned that washing clothes at a high temperature and drying them at a high heat setting will destroy them. Ironing is an equally effective method.

A man deep cleaning and removing dust mites from a mattress topper

To eliminate bed bugs from other parts of the house, the internal room temperature is raised to a level that bed bugs cannot survive. It is a very effective method because it destroys hidden bed bugs in all hard-to-reach places, and it is completely safe and non-toxic for humans and animals. The temperature needs to be around 50 degrees Celsius.

Cold treatment

Just as they can't survive high temperatures, bed bugs can't survive low temperatures neither. Any temperature below freezing is deadly to these insects.

Although it is not possible to lower the temperature in the house to such a low level, it can be an effective method for clothing. Put affected clothes in sealed bags and then in the freezer. It is absolutely certain that when you take your clothes out of the freezer, all the bed bugs will be dead.

Steam cleaners

Since you can't freeze or wash hard surfaces, mattresses or upholstery at high temperatures, you should use a steam cleaner for such things. The high temperature that a steam cleaner can produce is more than enough to eradicate bed bugs.

an image of a professional worker steam cleaning the furniture

When is time to call in professional bed bugs exterminators?

If you do not have the necessary equipment for heat, cold or steam treatment, that is the first reason to call a professional. Also, if you can't locate where bed bugs are hiding, but you notice signs that they are present in your home, professionals have their own effective methods to locate them.

an image of a professional exterminator disinfecting the interior of a house

Another reason to seek help is if there are so many bed bugs in so many different places that despite all the measures you have taken, you are not sure if you have exterminated them all. Do not use toxic chemicals, this should also be left to professionals because they know which chemicals will do the least harm to people. And in case you need to be out of your home for a few days due to chemical treatment, they will warn you about it. Professionals can also tell you if, in addition to bed bugs, some other insects live in your home, such as fleas, and if complete disinsection is needed.

FAQs about how to get rid of bed bugs

Find answers to some of the frequently asked questions about bed bugs in the last section of our guide.

What does kill bed bugs instantly?

High temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius as well as low temperatures below 0 kill bed bugs instantly.

Why do bed bugs show up in the first place?

Bed bugs are in constant search of food, and their only food is blood, so they are always trying to find a new home where they will have access to people and pets. That has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the home.

Can I bring bed bugs from the outside?

Yes, you can and that is how most bed bug infestations start.

How long do bed bugs live?

They usually live from 4 to 6 months and during that time females lay numerous eggs, often around 500.

What are some of the places where bed bugs live?

They live in mattresses, clothes, old newspapers, and even walls.

Do bed bugs live in pillows?

Many bed bugs decide to live in pillows and that is way you can find pillow encasement on the UK market.

Do bed bugs stay in blankets?

Blankets, especially ones that you don’t use at the moment, are favorite places of every bed bug.

What happens if you ignore bed bugs?

Over time, they will reproduce so much until you can’t ignore them anymore.

Will throwing the mattress out help you to get rid of bed bugs?

Probably not, since they usually occupy more than just one place in the home.

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