Household Hazardous Waste Household Disposal Locations Wastemobile Business Hazardous Waste Hazardous Waste Directory Industrial Materials Exchange (IMEX) Financial Help Report a Violator
Hazardous & Toxic Chemicals Natural Landscaping & Pesticides Floods EnviroStars Policy Young Children & Families Choose Safer Household Products Resources for Schools
Library Publications
About Us Jobs Governance and Program Structure Funding and Fees FAQs on Business/Multi-Family Rate Structure
Spanish Vietnamese Russian Somali Chinese Korean Ukrainian Other Languages

Bed Bugs

Home >> Health >> Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs - Do I have them? How do I get rid of them?

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

Bed Bugs
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

You may have bed bugs if you have:

  • bites on your body
  • blood spots on your bed sheets
  • something that looks like cracked black pepper (this is poop or frass)
  • dead bed bugs or the bed bug skin

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

Getting rid of bed bugs may require multiple steps.

How Do I Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]
  • Wipe up visible bed bugs with a wet rag and dispose of rag in sealed plastic bag.
  • Use a steamer at low pressure to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Use a vacuum with a hose, crevice tool or brush to clean all around the mattress, box spring and furniture. Empty vacuum outside after each use.
  • Pesticides you can buy yourself (sprays, powders and bug bombs) do not work to kill bed bugs … Using these ineffective pesticides is an unnecessary exposure to hazardous chemicals for you, your family and pets.
  • Your last option is to hire a professional pest control company that uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and environmentally appropriate practices. Their treatment procedures may require several visits.

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed Bugs on Mattress
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

Bed bugs can hide anywhere in your home, but they are usually close to where people sleep. They are often in:

  • bed mattress seams and inside box springs.
  • behind, under or in joints of head & foot boards, bed frames, nightstands and dressers.

They can also be found in:

  • upholstered furniture, sofas, and recliners.
  • behind pictures and wall hangings.
  • behind baseboards and wood trim moldings.
  • inside electrical outlets and light switches.
  • in cluttered areas. 

How do I prevent infestations?

Cluttered Room
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]
  • Remove clutter and seal cracks in walls, baseboards and electrical outlets.
  • Isolate your bed and upholstered furniture with barriers and move them away from the wall. Also don't let blankets, sheets, and other items touch the floor or wall.
  • Vacuum regularly, especially carpets, upholstered furniture, bed mattress and drapes.
  • Wash pillow cases, sheets, clothing, throw rugs in hot water, and dry them in a hot dryer.
  • Instead of using cardboard boxes for storage, use smooth plastic storage bins with a lid.

How can I keep bed bugs out of my home?

You can bring bed bugs home when they get on your clothes, on your suitcase or other items you bring home. Following these tips reduces the chances of this happening.

  • Never bring home used mattresses, box springs or upholstered furniture.
  • Before bringing home second hand items like, clothing, jackets, backpacks, and soft-stuffed toys, place them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.
  • Immediately after a trip:
    • inspect and clean your luggage before setting it down.
    • remove all clothing, and wash and hot dry them.
    • store luggage in a sealed plastic bag until you need it again.

How do I protect myself from bed bugs while traveling?

Suitcase
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]
  • Stay in hotels that advertise having a bed bug prevention program.
  • Place your luggage in the bathtub or on a table before starting your inspection of the room.
  • Carefully inspect the bedspread, sheets, mattress seams, headboard, and furniture around the bed.
  • If bed bugs or signs of bed bugs are found, immediately report this to the registration desk and ask for a different room.

More information