Preparing for Treatment Using Integrated Pest Management (insecticides)

Once you confirm that you do indeed have a bed bug problem, it is important to have a licensed exterminator treat your home as this is the most effective means for eradicating bed bugs; however, treatment is only as good as the preparation taken before the exterminator arrives. Every room being treated for bed bugs will need to be prepared in advance, which can be done by following these steps.

  1. Remove all clothing, linens, curtains, towels, etc. from the infected room(s) and wash them in HOT WATER. This includes items found in dressers and closets. Next, dry them using the hottest setting on your dryer for at least 30 minutes. If something cannot be washed in hot water, it should be dry cleaned. Place those items in a sealed bag before taking them to the dry cleaner.
  2. Once your clothing and linens have been washed and dried, seal them in tightly tied clean plastic bags or put them in plastic containers with tight fitting lids.
  3. Put shoes, purses and other personal items in tightly closed plastic containers or in a tightly tied plastic bag.
  4. If you already have zippered mattress bags on your mattress and springs, please leave them on.
  5. Remove dresser drawers from the dresser cabinets and move the dresser(s) away from the walls if you are able to do so.
  6. Take the mattress and springs off of the bed frame and put them upright against the wall if you are able to move them. Please note that the exterminator will have to cut the dust cover, which is the thin fabric underneath the box springs and on upholstered furniture. Unfortunately, the dust cover will be damaged as a result and will not be replaced. It will need to be thrown away.
  7. Move all furniture and stored items at least three feet from the walls if you are able to do so. The exterminator will need to access all of the baseboards in the infected rooms.
  8. Unplug lamps, televisions and other electronic devices.
  9. Vacuum the floor. Sprinkle about ¼ to ½ cup of talcum powder or cornstarch on the last section of floor to be vacuumed. This step will help to suffocate bed bugs that are vacuumed. When you are finished, place the bag or contents of the dust cup in a tightly sealed plastic garbage bag for disposal. Next, put the vacuum in a plastic bag. (Bed bugs can live in the vacuum).
  10. The exterminator will need to remove all light switch and electric outlet covers to inject insecticide dust into these voids. These small places are among the favorite hiding places for bed bugs.
  11. After treatment, place mattress(es) and box spring(s) in zippered bed bug proof encasements.Some brands of bed bug proof encasements include: ***
    1. AllerZip® (http://www.protectabed.com/health and hygiene/bed bug treatment.aspx)
    2. Mattress Safe® (http://www.mattresssafe.com/v/vspfiles/bed bug protection.html)
    3. KleenCover® (http://www.bedbugcover.com/)
    4. Luna Mattress Protectors® (http://www.bedbugsupply.com/Mattress Encasements _c_1.html)
    5. Sleep Defender® (http://www.comforthouse.com/bedbug1.html)

*** The Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force does not endorse any specific products or services. However, occasionally the task force will provide examples of brand name items that meet guidelines and/or standards for their stated purpose. It is the full responsibility of the consumer to research these products/services. The task force and the steering committee are not to be held responsible. ***

Special Notes:

  • Before treatment, remove birds, fish and other pets, from the rooms that are going to be treated. If the fish cannot be removed, disconnect the air pumps and cover the tanks with plastic sheeting and secured tight.
  • After initial treatment only, all persons and pets must stay off the floors and upholstered furniture for at least four hours to make sure treated surfaces are dry.
  • The materials (pesticides) used are all EPA registered. When they are applied according to the label directions and are completed by a licensed exterminator, the materials will not be hazardous when they dry after a treatment.
  • The treatment will not harm houseplants.
  • If you are not going to be home on the treatment date, please make arrangements for the exterminator to have access to your home.
UPDATE 6/21/2012: When suspecting items have bed bugs and eggs, it is now recommended items be washed in hot water and dried at the highest dryer setting for AN ADDITIONAL 30 minutes AFTER THE ITEM IS DRY to kill bed bugs.
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