Do’s and Don’ts for Bed Bug Control

Dr. Harold Harlan © Armed Forces Pest Management Board (with permission)


Get a bed bug inspection as soon as you suspect a problem. Catching bed bugs early allows for simpler and less expensive treatments.
Save any bugs you find. Several bugs are commonly mistaken for bed bugs including young cockroaches, ticks and carpet beetles. Your pest control professional or county extension office can idenfity the bugs.
Contact your landlord or property manager if you live in an apartment building and advise them the problem.
Use caution when buying or acquiring used furniture, TVs, electronics, clothing, boxes, etc. These items may be infested with bed bugs. If you must take them, inspect items for signs of infestation carefully. Wash or heat treat clothing, bedding, linens, stuffed animals, etc. before storing them with your personal belongings.

Take precautions when traveling (see Travel Tips) to avoid bringing bed bugs home.
Select a knowledgable pest control company and follow their instructions carefully when preparing your home or business for treatment.
Eliminate clutter, especially in the bedrooms. Piles of laundry, newspapers, magazines, junk, shoes and toys give bed bugs millions of hiding spots and make treatment impossible. Seal discarded items in plastic bags before removing them from the infested area and dispose of them immediately in the outdoor trash.
Tightly seal any items that you are moving out of the infested area in plastic garbage bags. Before you take anything out of the infested area (to the trash or to be laundered or otherwise treated), make sure it is tightly sealed in plastic to avoid dropping bed bugs and eggs and spreading the infestation.
Wash, dry and store clothing, bedding, linens and other items and keep them out of the infested area until all treatments are completed.
Educate yourself about bedbugs and the things you can do recognize, prevent and minimize infestations. Read Prevention Tips for more information.


Don’t throw away your bed, furniture clothes and other personal belongings unless instructed to by your pest control professional. These items can often be treated, saving you a great deal of money.

Bringing new furniture into an infested location won’t solve the problem, it will only guarantee that your new furnishings will become infested.
Don’t move out of the infested room. Many pest control professionals recommend against moving out of an infested bedroom to sleep in another area because you can spread the infestation throughout the home.
If you absolutely cannot stay in the room, don’t bring anything to the new area (pillows, blankets, pajamas, or even a stuffed animal ) without disinfesting it first. Follow these guidelines for washing, drying, heat treating and freezing personal belongings.
Don’t move because of bed bugs. If your home is infested, so are your belongings, you will just carry the problem to a new location.
Don’t pick up beds, furniture or other items put out for trash collection. These items may have been discarded because of a bed bug infestation.
Don’t attempt to treat bed bugs on your own. The National Pest Management Agency (NPMA) states, “This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.” The NPMA also declared the bed bug the most difficult indoor pest to control, even for professional pest managers.
Don’t bargain shop for a pest control company. Look for a company with the knowledge and experience to effectively solve your problem. Beware of promises of low prices and quick treatments.
Don’t use outdoor pesticides indoors to try to treat bedbugs. These pesticides can cause serious health problems and even death when not used in accordance with their labels.
Do not use rubbing alcohol, lawn and garden chemicals and other flammable materials to treat bed bugs. These products are being implicated in house fires around the country.
Do not use foggers or bug bombs to treat bed bugs. They don’t work and they chase bed bugs into other areas of the structure, making treatment more difficult and expensive.