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Bed Bug Pest Control Management

Bed Bug Pest Control Management



EPA has developed a Bed Bug Product Search tool to help you find a product that meets your needs.

You can search for a product by its:
* Name * Company * EPA-registration number * Where you can use the pesticide * Pesticide type

When Treatments Don't Work

If the goal is to eliminate bed bugs, the job has to be done correctly. Bed bugs are so small that they can live in a crack the width of a credit card, increasing the control challenge. Using pesticides as part of a control strategy must be done properly for the treatment to work. When a pesticide treatment does not completely control the bed bugs, there may be many reasons for this failure, including:

Resistance is only one of many possible causes of a treatment failure.  Because of the potential for resistance, it is always important for homeowners and others trying to control bed bug infestations to use pesticides appropriately and according to the label. 

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. This information, in combination with available pest control methods like pesticides, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

IPM methods for bed bugs include:

Non-chemical treatments

Chemical treatments

Pesticides are one component of a comprehensive strategy for controlling bed bugs. Currently, there are over 300 products registered by EPA for use against bed bugs – the vast majority of which can be used by consumers. Several classes of chemicals are utilized in these products -- each class share a similar mode of action, or way in which the chemical affects the biological functions of a bed bug.

If you find that a particular chemical treatment seems to be ineffective, please read When Treatments Don't Work before reapplying or trying a different product. You may want to consult a pest management professional to inspect your residence and, if needed, apply approved pesticides to treat any infestation. For assistance with choosing a pesticide registered for consumer use, you may also check with the Cooperative Extension Service office in your area.

Preventing Bed Bug Infestations

Bed bugs are very successful hitchhikers, moving from an infested site to furniture, bedding, baggage, boxes, and clothing. Although they typically feed on blood every five to ten days, bed bugs can be quite resilient; they are capable of surviving over a year without feeding.

A few simple precautions can help prevent bed bug infestation in your home:

Top Ten Bed Bugs Tips

  1. Make sure you really have bed bugs, not fleas or ticks or other insects

    You can verify your insect on our bed bug web page or check with your local extension agent.

  2. Don't panic

    Eliminating bed bugs is difficult, but it is not impossible. Don't throw out all of your belongings; most of them can be treated and saved. Throwing out belongings is costly, may spread the infestation, and could be unnecessarily stressful.

  3. Think through your treatment options -- Don't immediately reach for the spray can

    Be comprehensive in your approach. Integrated pest management techniques may reduce bed bug populations and limit pesticide exposure to you and your family. If pesticide treatment is needed, it is best to bring in a professional. There is help available to learn about integrated treatment options.

  4. Reduce the number of hiding places -- Clean up the clutter

    A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide and makes locating and treating for them more difficult. If bed bugs are in your mattress, using a mattress/box spring encasements makes it more difficult them to get to you while you sleep. To be effective they must be left in place for a year. Be sure to buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for the full year without tearing.

  5. Frequently wash and heat-dry your bed linens

    Wash bed spreads, and clothing that touches the floor to reduce bed bug populations. Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers so clean them when you do the laundry.

  6. Do-it-yourself freezing is not usually reliable for bed bug control

    While freezing can effectively kill bed bugs, temperatures must remain extremely low for an extended period of time. Home freezers typically are not cold enough to kill bed bugs. Freezing temperatures outside may be used to kill bed bugs, but can take several days (at 0oF) to almost a week (at 20oF).

  7. High temperatures can kill bed bugs

    Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won't do the job, though. Space heaters must always be used with care, as they have the potential to cause fires and serious burns. Specialized equipment and very high temperatures are required to successfully heat treat a structure. Black plastic bags in the sun might work to kill bed bugs in luggage or small items, provided the contents become hot enough (approximately 110oF for at least 3 hours).

  8. Don't pass your bed bugs on to others

    Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. If you throw out a piece of furniture that is harboring bed bugs, take steps to destroy the item so that no one else adopts it (along with the bugs!).

  9. Reduce populations to reduce bites

    Thorough vacuuming reduces populations. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, under beds, around bed legs, bed frames, and all cracks and crevices around the room. Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. Change the bag after each use so the bed bugs can't escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin.

  10. Turn to the professionals, if needed

    Hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase the likelihood and the speed of success in eliminating bed bugs from your home. If you hire an expert, ensure it is company with a reputable history and ask them to use an IPM approach. (53 pp, 42mb, About PDF) Contact your State pesticide Agency for guidance about hiring professional pest control companies.



Bed Bug Pest Control Management


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