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How To Handle A Bed Bug Infestation

September 17, 2016

bed bug on bed sheet

Recently, a doctorate student at the University of South Florida (USF) reached out to ABC Action News to help her spread awareness for the bed bug infestation that she has been dealing with for weeks.  This poor girl’s living situation has gotten so bad that she cannot sleep in her own apartment.  The exterminator hired by the management at Ascott Place (AP) Apartment Homes has treated her unit twice and both attempts were unsuccessful.  At this point she is sleeping in her car because her room is uninhabitable and she has asked to be allowed to break her lease; unfortunately, the original housing contract requires an unrealistic fee to break the lease.  According to ABC Action News, the AP management will not make any exceptions to the housing contract, even though they have failed to provide proper pest control.  This situation at USF has brought our attention to the larger issue that is the rampant spread of bed bug infestations.  Bed bug infestations can happen to anyone and have all of us worried.  These worries have raised a few questions that need answering: What can you do to get rid of a bed bug infestation?  What are the different kinds of bed bug treatments that pest control companies offer? Which treatment is most effective to get rid of bed bugs for good?

What can you do to get rid of a bed bug infestation?

Preventing an infestation is much easier than removing one, so do your best to prevent bed bugs from spreading into your house now so you can avoid a full-blown infestation later on.  Bed bugs are known hitchhikers, but they will only hitch rides on your things, such as clothing and luggage, rather than on your actual body.  After traveling, simply place all suspect items into plastic bags until you are able to launder or wash them.  Also, upon your return, you should immediately wipe down any areas of the floor that may have been exposed with a disinfectant spray. 

If it is too late for prevention, the next thing you must do is confirm that you indeed have a bed bug infestation by looking for dark brown or black spots on your mattress or around your bed, these are stains left from their feces.  Once the infestation has been officially confirmed, be careful when moving things around.  Preventing further spreading within your home is important so be cautious when moving furniture or vacuuming.  To be safe you should empty your vacuum into an outdoor trash bin after every use.

The next step is to remove and disinfect anything that is in or around the infected areas by first placing it into a sealed plastic bag.  You are able to disinfect anything that can be laundered, such as clothing and bedding, by washing it in hot water and drying it at a high temperature.  A helpful tip is that bed bugs cannot survive in extreme heat, so the dryer is one of your best weapons.  If an item cannot be laundered then you could try to treat it with heat by tossing it in the dryer or by leaving it in a sealed black plastic bag in the sun. 

Unfortunately, bed bugs are very difficult to exterminate on your own so if you already have an infestation, the best thing you can do is to call a pest control company, preferably one that specializes in treating bed bugs. 

What are the different kinds of bed bug treatments that pest control companies offer?

The two main treatments offered by pest control professionals are the heat treatment and the insecticide treatment.  These treatments require professional training and should not be attempted on your own.

As we know, extreme heat is your safest and most effective weapon against bed bugs.  Some pest control companies offer heat treatment during which they use specialized equipment to gradually and safely raise the temperature in your home to an extremely high degree, sometimes up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, for an extended period of time depending on the condition of the infestation, usually about six to eight hours.  As a result, they are able to kill off all of the bed bugs in one fell swoop. 

Most pest control companies use an insecticide treatment in which they must use at least three different types of insecticides to effectively eliminate bed bugs.  They will use a contact insecticide for surfaces, a residual insecticide for inside furniture and underneath cushions, and a dust insecticide for crevices in the floorboards and around the outlets.  In addition, a thorough insecticide treatment will require multiple visits across an extended period of time in order to ensure that the infestation has been completely eradicated.

Which treatment is most effective to get rid of bed bugs for good?

Here at Nozzle Nolen, we recommend using the heat treatment as the safest and most effective method for treating a bed bug infestation.  First, heat treatment is safer for your family as well as for your valuables.  Although most insecticides are safe when used as directed, during a heat treatment insecticides are not used at all so there are no safety concerns about exposing your family or pets to chemicals.  Furthermore, the pest control company will work with you to make sure that any valuables that could be damaged by the heat are removed and taken care of separately.  Second, there is less hassle with heat treatments because only one visit is necessary to effectively eradicate the infestation; bed bugs can’t hide from the heat.  Lastly, mistakes are less likely to occur during a heat treatment because there is no need to seek out each nest and dust each crevice, the heat is naturally able to obliterate all traces of bed bugs without harming anything else in your home. 

If you are a student living in a bed bug infested apartment complex, feel free to contact us and we will do whatever we can to help you improve you living situation.  Nozzle Nolen does offer heat treatment, so if you are suffering from a bed bug infestation and are interested in our unique pest control services, please leave a comment below or call one of our Nozzle Nolen representatives at (888) 685-0376. 

If you want to know more are bed bugs, check out my article “Bed Bug Fun Facts” at


"Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control." EPA. US Environmental Protection Agency, 23 Dec. 2015. Web.

"How to Detect Bedbugs - Bed Bug Detection." Orkin. Orkin, LLC, 2016. Web.

Kells, Stephen, and Jeff Hahn. "Traveler Q & A: Preventing Bed Bugs from Hitchhiking to Your Home." University of Minnesota: Extension. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2016. Web.

Smith, Ryan. "Bed Bug Infestation Keeps USF Student Sleeping in Car, University Classroom." ABC Action News. Scripps TV Station Group, 09 Sept. 2016. Web.

"Understanding Bed Bug Treatments." Lets Beat the Bed Bug. University of Minnesota, 2016. Web.



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