How to Kill Bed Bugs – 6 Effective Ways

Nothing like waking up to bug bites on your body and finding unwanted guests, like bed bugs sleeping with you!  Even worse, finding them on your kids.  Once you find bed bugs in your home, all you want to do is get rid of them immediately.  Learning how to kill bed bugs is easy, but killing them isn’t as easy as some may think.  

Bed bugs are very much like roaches because they hide and they multiply quickly.  They are also extremely resilient, making it necessary to often use more than one strategy.  

Below are 6 Effective Ways to get rid of these little unwanted and unwelcome "guests".

Remove Clutter

Make sure to clean up any clutter.  Remember bed bugs love to hide and clutter is the perfect place for them to do this.   The more clutter, and hiding places there are for them, the more difficult it will be to find and kill them.  

TipWhen cleaning out clutter, inspect every item, if it shows signs of bed bugs, immediately throw the item away using a trash bag in the room.

Also, make sure to wash your bed sheets, covers regularly and high heat dry as well as any clothes that touch the floor.

Vacuum the infested area

First, you want to find where the infestation is located.  You can use our detection tips and strategies to do this.

Vacuum any areas that are infested.  We recommend using a bed bug vacuum.

After you vacuum, empty the vacuum into a plastic bag immediately and in the same room.  Not doing so will spreading the bed bugs into other areas of your home.    

Immediately dispose of it in an outside trash can, after it is sealed.  

Furniture requires extra care, and if you cannot get rid of the bed bugs that are in any furniture then remove the furniture.  When removing furniture, rip and remove stuffing and/or spray paint "bed bugs" on it so others don't bring the infested furniture into their homes.

Use Heat

Heat treatment is a proven and effective way to rid your home, apartment or furniture of bed bugs.  Bed bugs cannot tolerate high temperatures for very long at all.  You can do it yourself using a steamer or call in a professional to do it for you.   

With a steamer, you will be bringing the temperature to more than 120 degrees, which immediately kills bed bugs.  If you use a hand held steamer, make sure to get all of the cracks and crevices.  It’s very important to make sure you take your time steaming all the infected areas, or you'll risk missing some.

Steaming and heat treatment is the number one strategy for how to kill bed bugs in your home or business.

>> For our full guide on steamers and how to use them to kill bed bugs, see our Steam Treatment Guide

Freeze them

Freezing has recently been brought over to America from Europe and Australia by a pest control company.   Freeze treatment is considered to be the one of the most effective ways to kill bed bugs.

Using this method kills bed bugs by rapidly freezing them with a spray of CO2 dry ice snow, leaving no wet or gummy residues.  The professionals normally leave the infested place in freezing temperatures for about two weeks.  

This method uses no chemicals that are poisonous.  

You can also place your dry items in plastic bags like clothes, jewelry, books, pictures, toys and any electronics that do not have LCD display in a freezer that gets to zero degrees Fahrenheit (-15C).   

Items should be left in the freezer for a least four days.  Do not use temperatures higher than zero degrees Fahrenheit because eggs and small bugs could survive.  Use a remote thermometer to verify that your freezer is actually zero degrees or lower.

>> Freeze treatment is available from professionals only.  To find certified professional bed bug exterminators in your area, use our Free Local Quote Service.

Bed Bug Sprays

Bed Bug Sprays

Sprays are another common method of killing bed bugs.  Although, over the years bed bugs have become immune to many pesticides, sprays still work.  

Bed bug sprays work best accompanied with heat treatment, and specially steam because sprays cannot reach into the cracks and crevices that the heat can.  

Using sprays incorrectly, can cause the bed bugs to just move into other areas of your home.  This is why you should use sprays along with with other methods when learning how to kill bed bugs.

Diatomaceous Earth

Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is a highly effective and non-toxic way of killing bed bugs.  Diatomaceous Earth is made of a material called silica, which may seem smooth to us but is like a razor to bed bugs.  

Diatomaceous Earth simply cuts them as they walk across it causing them to get dehydrated and die.  This method takes patience because it takes a couple of days and often multiple applications of it.  You should leave Diatomaceous Earth down as long as possible because it more immediately affects the adults and you need to leave it down long enough for any eggs to hatch.  

When cleaning up the Diatomaceous Earth, it is recommended to use a HEPA Shop Vac because it is hard on traditional vacuums.  

Warning: Anyone with lung ailments like Asthma, OPCD or others should not be exposed to Diatomaceous Earth - If you must use it, we highly recommend a mask.

How to kill bed bugs - Wrapping up

The key to how to kill bed bugs is to be patient and take your time when applying any of these methods.  While everyone wants to get rid of these little pests as soon as they can, it can take a couple of days or even weeks to fully get them all out.  This often includes repeating treatment strategies multiple times.

Remember to not only treat the infected area but surrounding areas as well, because bed bugs may move into those areas due to treatment in other areas.

Remember, if all else fails, then it may be time to call a local and professional exterminator.

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