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Bed bugs were once a common public health pest worldwide, which declined in incidence through the mid 20th century. Recently however, bed bugs have undergone a dramatic resurgence and worldwide there are reports of increasing numbers of infestations. Bed bugs are one of the great travelers of the world and are readily transported via luggage, clothing, bedding and furniture. As such, they have a worldwide distribution.

  • Bed bugs are often difficult to find because they hide well

  • Bed bugs are similar to an apple seed in size and appearance

  • Bed bugs do not jump

  • Bed bugs spend most of their time hiding & are usually active at night

bedbug on fabric

Pesticide applications alone will not kill all stages of bed bugs. An Integrated Pest Management approach to bed bug control is required; involving vacuuming and steaming, laundering clothes & bedding, and sealing areas where bed bugs could hide.

Understanding and controlling bed bugs » How to prepare your home prior to treatment »

Some Basic Facts:

  • Bed bugs are persistent. Eradicating, exterminating or just killing an entire infestation requires persistence.
  • Bed bugs can hide in extremely small cracks and crevices making it difficult to locate breeding sites.
  • Bedbugs are rarely seen in daylight. They emerge from their hiding spots at night.
  • Bed bugs can live a year or longer without food (blood) and thus stay in their hiding places.
  • Bed bugs can travel long distances and survive in suitcases, clothing, vehicles, aircraft, cruise ships and other modes of transportation.
  • Bed bug females lay about 300 eggs.
  • Bed bugs hatch from eggs in 10 days.

Bed Bug Bites

  • Bed bugs feed by piercing skin with an elongated beak.
  • Saliva is injected, containing an anesthetic to reduce pain, and an anticoagulant to keep blood flowing.
  • The reaction to bed bug bites varies among individuals, from no reaction to sever skin inflammation and irritation.

Symptoms of a Bed Bug Infestation

Most bug bug problems are not detected until someone has been bitten. The bite is painless. The salivary fluid injected by bed bugs typically causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed, although individuals can differ in their sensitivity. A small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite. This is accompanied by severe itching that lasts for several hours to days.

A bed bug infestation can be recognized by blood stains from crushed bugs or by rusty (sometimes dark) spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls. Fecal spots, eggshells, and shed skins may be found in the vicinity of their hiding places. An offensive, sweet, musty odor from their scent glands may be detected when bed bug infestations are severe.

Treatment & Control; Just spraying pesticides is not the solution

Control of bed bugs is best achieved by following an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that involves multiple tactics, such as preventive measures, sanitation, and chemicals, steam or heat applied to targeted sites. Bed bugs are challenging pests to control. They hide in many tiny places, so inspections and treatments must be thorough. In most cases, it will be prudent to enlist the services of a professional pest control firm. Pestroy knows where to look for bed bugs, and we have an assortment of management tools at our disposal. Owners and occupants will need to assist the professional in important ways. Affording access for inspection and treatment is essential, and excess clutter should be removed. In some cases, infested mattresses and box springs will need to be discarded. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it may also be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments.

Bed bugs were treated years ago by wholesale spraying of pesticides. This practice is no longer permitted. Thoroughness is still important, but treatments today are generally more targeted and judicious. Follow-up visits are often required.

Infested bedding and garments will need to be bagged and laundered (120°F minimum), or discarded since these items cannot be treated with insecticides. Smaller items that cannot be laundered can sometimes be de-infested by heating. Individual items, for example, can be wrapped in black plastic bags and placed in a hot, sunny location for at least a few days (the 120°F minimum target temperature should be monitored in the centermost location with a thermometer). Bedbugs also succumb to cold temperatures below freezing, but the chilling period must be maintained for at least two weeks. Attempts to rid an entire home or apartment of bed bugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be entirely unsuccessful. Vacuuming can be very useful for removing bugs and eggs from mattresses, carpet, walls, and other surfaces. Pay particular attention to seams, tufts and edges of mattresses and box springs, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Afterward, dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag. Steam cleaning of carpets is also helpful for killing bugs and eggs that vacuuming may have missed. Repair cracks in plaster and glue down loosened wallpaper to eliminate bed bug harborage sites. Remove and destroy wild animal roosts and bird nests when possible.

While the former measures are helpful, insecticides are important for bed bug elimination. Pest control professionals treat using a variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosols. (Baits designed to control ants and cockroaches are ineffective). Application entails treating all cracks and crevices where the bugs are discovered, or tend to hide. Eliminating bed bugs from mattresses and box springs is challenging. If there are holes or tears in the fabric, the bugs and eggs may be inside, as well as outside. There also are restrictions on how beds can be treated with pesticides. For these reasons, pest control firms sometimes recommend that infested beds be discarded. If disposal isn't an option, encasing the mattress and box spring will be helpful if bugs are still present. (Pestroy sells zippered matress and box spring encasements, please call for pricing details). Vacuuming and brushing will further help to remove bugs and eggs from mattresses and box springs that cannot be discarded.

Insecticides; Just spraying pesticides is not the solution!

Residual insecticides (usually pyrethroids) are applied as spot treatments to cracks and crevices where bed bugs are hiding. Increased penetration of the insecticide into cracks and crevices can be achieved if accumulated dirt and debris are first removed using a vacuum cleaner. Many readily available aerosol pesticide sprays will cause bed bugs to scatter making eradication more difficult. Dust formulations may be used to treat wall voids and attics. Repeat insecticide applications if bed bugs are present two weeks after the initial treatment since it is difficult to find all hiding places and hidden eggs may have hatched.
Insecticides should not be used on bedding or linens. These items should be dry cleaned or laundered in hot water and dried using the "hot" setting.


The mobile nature of bed bugs limits their prevention. Avoidance is especially challenging in hotels, motels, and apartments because occupants and their belongings are constantly changing. This affords many opportunities for the bugs to be introduced. Householders should be wary of acquiring secondhand beds, bedding, and furniture. At a minimum, such items should be examined closely before being brought into the home. When traveling in countries where bed bugs are prevalent, it might be prudent to examine the bed and headboard area for signs of the bugs, and elevate luggage off the floor. Warehouses, storage facilities, trucks and railroad cars may be infested so common bed bugs can infest homes by stowing away on new furniture stored or shipped from these places. Familiarity may help to avoid infestation, or at least prompt earlier intervention by a professional.

Bed Bug Treatment Preparations

Before the treatment begins, all occupants, including pets must leave the unit and not enter for a minimum of 3- 4 hours after the treatment. Aquariums may remain in place as long as the filtration and aeration systems are turned off and the tank adequately covered. Filtration and aeration equipment should be turned back on 6 hours after treatment. Anyone who is pregnant or has allergies or asthma should take the necessary precautions. (We recommend you vacate the unit for 6 hours)

Download Treatment Preparation PDF

Before treatment

  • All clutter should be removed from the unit.
  • Steam clean, wet vacuum or shampoo any carpeting and furnishings.
  • Vacuum the mattress thoroughly including crevices, handles and buttons.
  • Vacuum bed frame, baseboards and objects/flooring close to the bed.
  • Discard the vacuum bag (placed in tightly sealed garbage bag before disposal).
  • Remove all clothing from dressers and place in clean plastic bags.
  • Bookshelves, nightstands or other furniture in the immediate area must be emptied so that the technician can spray the undersides of the furniture.
  • Remove plates from electrical outlets and light switches.
  • Place all items in tightly sealed garbage bags and leave them in the room to be treated.


All clothing items should be placed in garbage bags, sealed and emptied directly into the washing machine. When the laundering cycles are complete, the clean laundry should be placed in new clear garbage bags and sealed during the treatment process. The garbage bags used for transporting clothing to the laundry room should be discarded outside the premise as they may contain bed bugs. For severe infestations, water soluble bags should be used if possible to collect sheets and clothing and put directly into the wash. It is important to launder items using hot water as cold water will not kill bed bugs or their eggs. All clean clothes should be put in the dryer on high for a minimum of 20 minutes. Some clothes may require dry cleaning.

All bedding must be removed before the technician arrives. Soiled bedding should be washed in hot water (separate from all other laundry) or dry cleaned before or soon after the treatment to avoid resurgence of bed bugs. Pillows should also be placed in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 20 minutes. After treatment, bed skirts should be avoided; bedding trucked in tightly; and bed kept a few inches away from the wall. We strongly recommend the installation of mattress and box spring covers to help prevent further infestations. Contact our office (514-336-6110) for pricing information.

Baby cribs

All linen should be laundered. All toys should be washed in soapy hot water and stuffed toys should be placed in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes. Store clean toys away from treated areas.

Dressers and night tables

All contents of dressers should be put in garbage bags for transport to the dryer. Place contents in the dryer on hot for a minimum of 20 minutes. All articles on top of the dresser are to be removed and placed in plastic bags or plastic totes. Bookshelves, nightstands or other furniture in the immediate area must be emptied so that the technician can spray the undersides of the furniture. Furniture and items should be moved at least 30 cm ( 12 inches) away from the wall to facilitate spraying of the baseboards. Shelving and drawers should be clean.


All closets including linen closets are to be emptied. Clean articles should be placed in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 20 minutes. All soiled articles need to be washed in hot water and then dried in high heat. Laundromat dryers may have lower heat settings and may not heat up to 60 °C so the full cycle should be used.


All chair covers, throws and pillows must be laundered prior to treatment.

Disposal of furniture

Discarding beds, bedding, and furniture is not a sound approach to bed bug control as they can be easily re-infested. Furniture that is infested with bed bugs that cannot be salvaged needs to be disposed of in a manner that will prevent the further spread of bed bugs. In the process of removing a piece of furniture, bed bugs can escape into hallways and make their way into new apartments spreading the problem to new areas.

If you decide to throw out bed bug infested furniture:

  • Take apart, deface or damage the piece of furniture to ensure it cannot be reused.
  • Mattresses should be slashed or otherwise damaged to make them unusable.
  • Wrap the furniture/mattress in plastic so bed bugs cannot escape – this should be done in the unit before the items are removed. We have these bags for sale – call 514-336-6110 for information.
  • Put in trash shortly before pick-up, so it doesn’t sit for a long time.

Check list

  • Put all clutter in sealed plastic bags and remove from unit.
  • Move all furniture away from the walls (about 12-18 in.)
  • Steam clean, wet vacuum or shampoo any carpeting and furnishings.
  • Vacuum the mattress thoroughly including crevices, handles and buttons.
  • Vacuum bed frame, baseboards and objects/flooring close to bed.
  • Discard the vacuum bag (placed in tightly sealed garbage bag before disposal).
  • Remove all clothing from dressers and place in clean plastic bags and launder.
  • Ensure bookshelves, nightstands or other furniture in the immediate area are emptied.
  • Place all items in tightly sealed plastic bags and leave them in the room to be treated.
  • Remove plates from electrical outlets and light switches.
  • All bedding must be removed. Soiled bedding should be washed in hot water or dry cleaned.
  • Pillows must be placed in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 20 minutes.
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