What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly: Effective Solutions You Need Now

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Bed bugs are a nuisance and getting rid of them can be quite a challenge. You might be wondering what kills bed bugs instantly to stop the annoyance and itchy bites.

While it’s unlikely that any single method will provide immediate results, there are some approaches that can help speed up the process.

First, let’s consider professional-grade solutions. Pesticides approved for bed bug control, used in combination with other treatment methods, can be an effective way to eliminate these pests.

The US EPA recommends an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, which combines non-chemical and chemical methods. This ensures a more efficient and thorough extermination process.

When tackling bed bugs, remember that patience and persistence are essential. While instant results may be difficult to achieve, a combination of treatment methods can help you effectively eliminate them from your living spaces.

What Are Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on human blood. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale, making bedrooms a prime location for them. Bed bugs can cause itchy red bites, disrupt sleep, and be difficult to eliminate.

One of the first things you should do when facing a bed bug problem is to encase your mattress and box spring with a bedbug-proof cover.

This will help to trap bugs inside and prevent new ones from infesting your bed. Additionally, you should:

  • Wash and dry all bedding, clothing, and curtains at high heat to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Vacuum any rugs, floors, furniture, and bed frames to remove bugs and eggs. Dispose of the vacuum bag to keep the bugs from escaping.

Unfortunately, bug bombs are not very effective at eliminating bed bugs. Instead, you may need to use EPA-approved pesticides to treat infested areas, making sure to follow safety guidelines and warnings on the label.

As a tenant, it is important to inform your landlord about the bed bug issue. In many cases, the landlord is responsible for addressing and paying for bed bug treatments.

Cooperation between tenants and landlords is key to successfully eliminating bed bugs from the entire building.

To summarize:

  • Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood and are attracted to carbon dioxide.
  • Encase mattresses and box springs with bedbug-proof covers, wash bedding at high heat, and vacuum thoroughly.
  • Bug bombs are not very effective, use EPA-approved pesticides instead.
  • Notify your landlord of infestations, as they may be responsible for treatment costs.

Common Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bugs can be a nuisance, and detecting their presence early is crucial. Here are some common signs that might indicate a bed bug infestation in your home:

Bites on your skin: One of the most noticeable signs of bed bugs is the itchy bites they leave on your skin while you sleep. These bites often appear in small clusters or zigzag lines.

Blood spots on your bedding: Bed bugs feed on blood, and they often leave tiny blood spots on your sheets or pillowcases. Keep an eye out for reddish stains.

Rashes and red spots: Besides bites, bed bug infestations can also cause rashes and red spots on your skin. These can resemble other insect bites, making them difficult to identify without other signs.

Egg shells and shed skins: Bed bugs go through several life stages, and they shed their skin and leave egg shells behind. Check for tiny pale-yellow skins or shells in your bedding or furniture.

Small black specks: Bed bug droppings look like tiny black specks or ink spots. You might find these on your mattress, bed frame, or nearby furniture.

By staying alert to these signs, you can detect bed bug infestations early and take action to eliminate them from your home.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bed bugs are sneaky creatures that find various hiding places to avoid detection. In your home, they usually target areas close to where you sleep. Let’s explore some of the common hiding spots.

One of the most common places for bed bugs is on your mattress. They tend to hide near the piping, seams, and tags of the mattress and box spring. Make sure to check these areas when inspecting your bed for these pests.

Not only do they like mattresses, but also your furniture. Bed bugs can be found in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, and even in the folds of curtains. It’s important to examine all of these areas when looking for bed bugs.

Cracks and crevices in walls also provide bed bugs with hiding spots. For a thorough inspection, use a flashlight to check any gaps or openings in your walls.

Another factor that contributes to bed bugs finding hiding spots is clutter. Having a cluttered home makes it easier for bed bugs to find a place to hide.

By keeping your space clean and organized, you can reduce the chances of bed bugs finding a hiding spot.

Lastly, it’s important to vacuum your living spaces regularly. A thorough vacuuming can help get rid of some bed bugs hiding in rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, under beds, and around bed legs.

Remember to change the vacuum bag after each use to ensure trapped bed bugs don’t escape.

By familiarizing yourself with these common hiding spots, you can reduce the risk of bed bug infestations and take action to eliminate them from your home.

Inspecting Your Home for Bed Bugs

To begin your inspection, grab a flashlight and systematically go through each room in your home. Start by checking your mattress, as bed bugs often reside in seams and tufts.

Use your flashlight to closely examine the fabric for any signs of bed bugs, such as small reddish-brown insects, eggs, or dark fecal stains.

Next, move on to inspecting your furniture, particularly upholstered items and wooden pieces. Bed bugs can hide in crevices, corners, and joints, so be thorough as you check.

As you go through this process, keep in mind that bed bugs are often mistaken for fleas, so be sure to familiarize yourself with their appearance to avoid confusion.

  • Key inspection areas include:
    • Mattress seams and corners
    • Box springs and bed frames
    • Furniture joints and crevices
    • Baseboards and carpet edges

Remember, early detection can save you time and effort in dealing with a full-blown infestation.

If you discover any signs of bed bugs during your inspection, it’s crucial to act quickly. Consult a professional exterminator or follow EPA guidelines on DIY bed bug control to prevent the problem from escalating.

Bed Bug Treatment Methods: What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly?

Choosing the right method to eliminate bed bugs is essential for a successful treatment. The US EPA recommends using an integrated pest management approach.

This includes a combination of both chemical and non-chemical techniques. Here are some common bed bug treatment options:

Heat Treatment

Heat treatments use high heat to kill bed bugs instantly. This method usually involves:

  • Raising room temperatures to around 118°F (48°C)
  • Maintaining the high heat for at least 90 minutes

Heat treatments can be effective, but they may not suitable for all items. Examples of heat-sensitive belongings include electronics and certain fabrics. Consider the following when using heat treatment:


  • Kills bed bugs at all life stages
  • Chemical-free


  • May damage heat-sensitive items
  • May not reach all hiding places

Steam Treatment

Using a steam cleaner is another non-chemical way to eliminate bed bugs. Steam can kill bed bugs on contact at temperatures above 160°F (71°C). Keep in mind:


  • Effective for treating furniture and mattresses
  • Chemical-free


  • May not reach all hiding places
  • Time-consuming

Freeze Treatment

Placing infested items in a freezer can also kill bed bugs. However, this method requires:

  • Freezing at 0°F (-18°C) for at least four days
  • Making sure all items are in sealed bags

Take note of the following when using freeze treatment:


  • Suitable for small items and clothing
  • Chemical-free


  • Not practical for larger items or whole rooms
  • Requires a suitable freezer

Pesticides and Insecticides

Several EPA-approved pesticides are available for bed bug control. These chemical treatments are usually best when combined with non-chemical methods. Consider:


  • Can be applied to specific areas
  • Potentially good for severe infestations


  • Some bed bugs may be resistant to certain chemicals
  • Repeated applications may be necessary

Professional Exterminator

Pest control companies offer both heat and chemical treatments to eliminate bed bugs. Hiring a professional can be beneficial because:


  • Experienced in finding and treating infestations
  • Access to specialized equipment


  • Can be expensive
  • May require multiple visits

In conclusion, when dealing with bed bugs, consider your options carefully. Use a combination of these methods to increase the likelihood of success and always follow the EPA guidelines to ensure your safety.

Bed Bug Prevention Techniques

Keeping your home bed bug-free is essential for your comfort and safety. Here are some useful prevention techniques to help protect your living space:

  • Regularly vacuuming your home can significantly reduce the risk of bed bug infestations. Make sure to focus on rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, and all cracks and crevices around the room. EPA recommends changing the vacuum bag after each use to ensure bed bugs can’t escape.

  • Using encasements for your mattress and box spring can help prevent bed bugs from hiding and breeding. These protective covers make it difficult for bed bugs to access the seams and folds of your bedding.

  • Interceptors are another effective prevention tool. These small devices can be placed under the legs of your bed, making it harder for bed bugs to climb onto your bed.

  • Washing your sheets and other bedding in hot water (at least 120°F) can kill any existing bed bugs and their eggs. Be sure to dry your bedding on the highest heat setting as well.

When traveling, you should take extra precautions to avoid bringing bed bugs back to your home:

  • Keep your luggage off the floor and away from beds in hotels. Use luggage racks or hard surfaces whenever possible.

  • Inspect your hotel room thoroughly for signs of bed bugs, paying special attention to the bed frame, mattress, and any upholstered furniture.

By implementing these prevention techniques, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of a bed bug infestation in your home. A well-thought-out plan and consistent efforts will help protect your living space from these unwelcome pests.

What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly

Professional Help and When to Seek It

Sometimes, bed bug infestations can be tough to handle on your own. In such cases, it’s wise to seek professional help from a pest control company or an extension agent.

Here are some scenarios when you should consider calling a professional exterminator:

  • You’ve tried DIY methods, but the infestation persists.
  • The infestation has spread to multiple rooms in your house.
  • You’re unsure of the extent of the infestation or how to detect bed bugs.

Selecting the right professional is crucial. Consider these aspects when choosing a pest control company:

  • Check the company’s credentials and experience in treating bed bug infestations.
  • Ensure the company follows Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles for effective and safe treatment.
  • Prepare for multiple visits as very few infestations are controlled with just one treatment.

Here are some benefits of hiring a professional exterminator:

  • They have the expertise to identify and target the specific problem areas.
  • They use specialized equipment and pesticides approved for bed bug control.
  • They can monitor the treatment’s success and make adjustments if necessary.

Don’t forget, dealing with bed bugs can be stressful. But with the right professional help, you can get rid of them effectively and reclaim your peace of mind.

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

Are you looking for home remedies to get rid of bed bugs? You’re in luck! There are several natural solutions that can help eliminate those pesky bugs. Let’s explore some of the most effective options.

Diatomaceous Earth: This natural powder is made from fossilized algae and can be used to kill bed bugs by damaging their exoskeletons. To use it, simply sprinkle it around the infested areas in your home. Over time, you should notice a decrease in the bed bug population.

Rubbing Alcohol: A popular home remedy, rubbing alcohol can be effective at killing bed bugs on contact. Just grab a spray bottle, fill it with rubbing alcohol, and spray it directly on the bugs and their hiding spots. Be cautious when using this method, as alcohol is flammable.

Baking Soda: It is believed that baking soda can help absorb the moisture on bed bugs’ bodies, eventually killing them. To use this remedy, spread a layer of baking soda around the affected areas, and vacuum it up after a few days. Repeat the process as necessary.

Essential Oils: Some essential oils, like tea tree oil and lavender oil, can deter bed bugs due to their strong scents. Mix a few drops of your chosen oil with water in a spray bottle, and apply it to the infested areas. Note that these oils may only repel bugs, not kill them.

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of these natural remedies:

Home RemediesProsCons
Diatomaceous EarthNon-toxic, long-lasting effectTakes time to work
Rubbing AlcoholKills on contactFlammable, toxic fumes
Baking SodaEasy to use, readily availableInconclusive effectiveness
Essential OilsRepels bugs, pleasant scentMay not kill bed bugs

Remember, these home remedies are not guaranteed solutions, but they can be helpful in managing a bed bug infestation. Always exercise caution and consult a professional exterminator if the infestation persists or worsens.

Managing Bed Bugs on Your Skin and Clothes

Dealing with bed bug bites on your skin can be a frustrating experience. To alleviate itchiness and redness, consider applying a hydrocortisone cream to the affected areas.

This can reduce inflammation and provide relief from the symptoms.

To make sure you’re safe, always read and follow the instructions specified on the hydrocortisone packaging. If you’re unsure or have any concerns, reach out to your healthcare professional for advice.

When it comes to your clothes, proper washing and drying techniques can help eliminate bed bugs. It’s as simple as following these steps:

  • Place your clothing items in the washing machine.
  • Use hot water (at least 122°F or 50°C) to kill the bed bugs.
  • After washing, transfer your clothes to the dryer.
  • Run the dryer at high heat (again, at least 122°F or 50°C) for about 30 minutes.

By following this method, you can keep your clothes bed bug-free and reduce the chances of experiencing pesky rashes and skin irritations.

Don’t forget to frequently check your bed and surrounding areas for any signs of bed bug infestations, so you can take appropriate action when needed.


In summary, while there’s no instant silver bullet for bed bugs, a combination of professional-grade solutions and diligent home care can effectively manage and eventually eradicate these pests.

Key strategies include using bed bug-proof covers, high-heat washing, vacuuming, and EPA-approved pesticides. Remember, early detection and integrated pest management are crucial.

Some home pests like cockroaches, spiders and ants also eat bed bugs.

While some home remedies may offer temporary relief, professional extermination often provides the most comprehensive solution for severe infestations

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about bed bugs. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Bed Bug in Chicago

Is this a bed bug?
Location: Chicago north side
July 7, 2011 10:36 pm
People at work have reported an infestation but the company has not publicly addressed it. I found this bug tonight at work and I’m freaking out. I didn’t believe it at first but now I’m scared.
Signature: Thank you, jp

Bed Bug

Dear jp,
We hope you don’t work in a mattress factory or hotel.  Generally, when we get frantic requests from folks wondering if they have found a Bed Bug, it is a false alarm.  You, on the other hand, have correctly identified a Bed Bug.  We would strongly urge you to have your company deal with the matter, and until the infestation has been resolved, use extreme caution transporting things from work to home.  You might want to consider not bringing belongings like purses or jackets to work as Bed Bugs are notorious stowaways.  Good luck with this problem.

Letter 2 – Bed Bug

Subject: Bed bug or beetle?
Location: Cleveland, OH
November 21, 2016 6:29 am
Found this bug at work and wanted to identify without causing much panic. We are located in Cleveland, OH and it is cold outside but heated in the factory. Your help identifying is greatly appreciated.
Signature: Concerned in Cleveland

Bed Bug
Bed Bug

Dear Concerned in Cleveland,
We are sorry to have to inform you that this is a Bed Bug in the family Cimicidae, but we are not certain it is the Human Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius.  We would not rule out the possibility that it might be a related Swallow Bug or Bat Bug in the same family.  All members of the family are blood-suckers, but only the Human Bed Bug regularly feeds from humans.

Letter 3 – Bed Bug

Subject: Reddish brown insect
Location: South GA
January 15, 2017 6:02 pm
This bug was crawling on my friend in the house. I smacked it & then took several photos. I pray it’s not a bed bug.
Signature: G Mix

Bed Bug

Dear G Mix,
We are sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is indeed a Bed Bug.

Letter 4 – Bed Bug

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Kentucky
February 2, 2017 12:27 am
Found it crawling on my couch, looked it over and didn’t see anything else. Just want to know what it is as soon as possible.
Signature: Thank you.

Bed Bug

This looks like a Bed Bug to us.  You should be able to find considerable information online about the control of Bed Bugs.

Letter 5 – Bed Bug

Subject: Bedbug?
Location: Tacoma, WA
February 1, 2017 5:03 pm
Found crawling on the sweater I was wearing. Very flat. I live a little south of Seattle, WA.
Signature: Kerri

Bed Bug

Dear Kerri,
We regret to inform you that we agree that this is a Bed Bug.  Hopefully, you found it while you were out and not at home.  While we don’t want to make our readership paranoid to go out in public, we are hearing more and more that Bed Bugs are being found on furniture in libraries and on public transportation, services often used by folks with questionable grooming habits or who live transient lifestyles and subsequently transport their possessions everywhere they go.

Thank you. I did not find it in my home but am glad I know what to look for now!

Letter 6 – Bed Bug

Subject: what is it. bedbug
Location: Waterford MI
February 2, 2017 8:31 pm
we found this walking on our couch. no others, no one has bites, no blood on sheets or pets. Resembled a stage 2 female bed bug to me.
Signature: chris davis

Bed Bug

Dear Chris,
We are sorry to say that it certainly is a Bed Bug.

We have not been able to find more, and this one was flat so it had not fed.  with it being juvenile, is it possible it had not layed eggs?  Whats the best course of action to remove them?

Unfortunately we do not provide extermination advice.

Letter 7 – Bed Bug

Subject: Mystery bug on my pillow
Location: Brooklyn NY
April 3, 2017 12:59 pm
Hello Mr.Bugman.
So this morning i woke up to a bug on my pillow. This caused some paranoia in me. Im hoping you can identify this bug for me. I live in Brooklyn and i just moved into a new house. My husband says its a roach but im 99% sure its not. I’m hoping this was just a one time thing and not start of infestation. Thank you for taking time to read. You may have to zoom into picture to see better.
Signature: Sylvanna Cienfuegos

Bed Bug

Dear Sylvanna,
We are sorry to inform you that this is a blood-sucking Bed Bug.  It appears to be an immature specimen, and we suspect if you found one, there are probably more.

Bed Bug

Oh my gosh! Thank you so much!!! You are a life saver!!!

Letter 8 – Bed Bug

Subject: PLEASE tell me This I said not a bedbug
Location: Florida
June 29, 2017 2:39 pm
I found this bug in my living room and shined a light on it and it didn’t move. I’m hoping it was a dead cockroach. My apartment has an exterminator that sprays for cockroachs but not bed bugs.
Signature: Sleepless girl

Bed Bug

Dear Sleepless Girl,
We are sorry but we cannot allay your fears as this is a Bed Bug.

Letter 9 – Bed Bug

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: West Chester, OH
August 1, 2017 8:58 pm
Haven’t seen this before but it was crawling around an electrical outlet but worth almost no urgency. Can you please identify it?
Signature: Need to Know

Bed Bug

This is a Bed Bug.  If you found one, chances are there are more.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Bed Bug

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