If you find bed bugs or signs of bed bugs in your home and Google, for example, what to do, you will probably come across many articles telling you about ‘surefire’ methods of bed bug control. You’ll find bed bug sprays, traps, steamers and heaters for sale that dealers claim will get rid of your bed bug infestation.

We have heard some pretty crazy stories about what people have gone through to get rid of bed bugs. In our experience and honest opinion, no, DIY treatments do not work. Rather, the remaining bed bugs have hidden deeper in your home. Bed bugs can retreat into your walls and not eat for months. Eventually, after three to five months, they reappear, and the problems start all over again. As nice as it would be to be able to eliminate bed bugs with these DIY treatments, unfortunately, effective DIY treatments are another example of misinformation about bed bugs because they simply don’t exist.

Home remedies that could help and prevent

That’s not to say that some DIY treatments don’t seem to eliminate your bed bug problem. There are treatments that will kill some of the bed bugs in your home. You may even find that you no longer notice any activity or signs of bed bugs after treatment. However, this is probably not due to the fact that you have eliminated all bed bugs in your home.

vacuuming for bed bugs

Can bed bugs be eliminated by thorough vacuuming?

Thorough vacuuming can only reduce the number of bed bugs. In fact, vacuuming is a key element in bed bug control. However, complementary measures such as steam treatment are required for complete elimination. In addition, the type of vacuuming and the type of equipment are also important for success and, to prevent the infestation from spreading.

Anti-bedbugs mattress covers

Anti-bedbug covers over mattresses are washable and prevent insects from settling in the mattress. However, they do not prevent bed bug infestations as they can still hide nearby (headboard, bed frame, etc.). Mattress covers protect the mattress well, so you don’t have to remove them in case of a bed bug infestation.

heat treatment against bed bugs

Bed bugs are susceptible to high temperatures. All stages of bed bug development (eggs, nymphs and adults) will die if exposed to contact temperatures between 118°F and 122°C. This method of bed bug control is fast, precise and effective. Anticlimax uses this treatment almost exclusively to control bed bugs in businesses or homes.

Washing clothes, bedding and other textiles against bed bugs

Washing textiles at high temperatures is a very efficient method of eliminating bed bugs. It is recommended to wash clothes at 131°-140° and then dry them in the dryer for 30 minutes.

It is best to take clothes that you cannot wash at home to a dry cleaner or laundromat. They are the best informed about the situation. Of course, this will not permanently get rid of bed bugs, because they hide in many different places.

Tips for avoidance and prevention

Bed bugs can infect homes or hotels in several ways. Therefore, bed bug prevention measures are based on avoiding their entry points:

  • Check the hotel mattress and its surroundings for live bed bugs and small dark blood stains.
  • Do not place your travel bag on the hotel bed or on a carpeted floor but on alternative storage surfaces.
  • Check suitcases and personal belongings when you return home from a trip to make sure bed bugs have not been accidentally introduced.

These remedies for bed bugs have little or no effect

  • Diatomaceous earth against bed bugs

DE is a fine powder made from fossilized algae remains. It is often recommended as a natural remedy to kill bed bugs. While it can be effective against other crawling insects, its effectiveness against bed bugs is limited. It can help reduce their numbers but cannot completely eliminate an infestation.

  • Extreme cold against bed bugs

Extreme cold can kill bed bugs. Keeping infested items in a freezer at or below 0 °F (-18 °C) for several days can kill the pests. However, this may not be practical for large or bulky items such as bed frames or mattresses.

  • Essential oils against bed bugs

While some essential oils such as tea tree oil and lavender oil are known for their insect repellent properties, there is limited scientific evidence of their effectiveness in eradicating bed bugs. There are also claims that applying petroleum jelly to the bed frame may restrict movement. However, this has proven ineffective as bed bugs may already be hiding in your mattress or crawling on the ceiling and falling into your bed.

  • Throw away mattresses and furniture immediately

It may sound strange, but some people are so traumatized by bed bugs and trying to get rid of them that they throw away their furniture. But bed bugs don’t just live in furniture. They can live in electronic devices, electrical outlets, wall voids, behind baseboards, under carpet edges and much more.

Does bed bug spray or disinfectant help against bed bugs?

No, bed bug sprays or disinfectants do not help effectively control bed bugs. These unique insects are “hyper-resistant”. You may be able to kill some adults with these bed bug sprays but unfortunately the sprays are not enough for all the crevices and cracks where young bed bugs and their eggs are hidden. Disinfectants only help disinfect the bed bug infested area, but do not kill the bed bugs.