Frequently Asked Questions about Bed Bug Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions about Bed Bug Treatment

In part 3 of our FAQs blog series, we are addressing frequently asked questions about bed bug treatments. There are a variety of ideas about the best way to kill bed bugs and eliminate a bed bug infestation. After you find bed bugs in your hotel, apartment, dorm room, firehouse, or home, you may start searching the internet desperately trying to figure out what to do. Should you pay a pest control professional to do a chemical or heat treatment? Should you attempt to get rid of the pesky bugs with supplies from a retail store? Should you DIY it and purchase your own bed bug heater? Each person chooses to handle bed bug problems differently. In this article, we answer some of the most common questions about bed bug treatments.

What is the first thing I need to do when I find a bed bug in my house?

The very first thing to do if you think you have found a bed bug in your home is identify it correctly. There are a variety of tools that can be used for identification. If you have an Android phone, your camera has a Google Lens that will capture an image of a photo and search Google for a matching image. The same tool can be used on an iPhone by opening the google app. If identification is still an issue, you may want to capture the bug and speak with a pest control professional regarding proper identification.

Once you have properly identified the bed bug, you will want to investigate the mattresses in each bedroom and the couch. Typically, bed bugs congregate near where you sleep because they are attracted to carbon dioxide, warmth, and blood. Knowing how far the infestation has spread will help in deciding how to proceed with treatment and how extensive the treatment will need to be. 

Is it possible to get rid of bed bugs myself without hiring someone?

Yes, it is possible to get rid of bed bugs without hiring a professional. The only effective DIY method for eliminating bed bugs is heat. You can purchase a bed bug heater to treat any rooms infested with bed bugs. It is important to carefully follow the treatment instructions provided by the company that sold you the heater. If you do not follow the instructions, you may end up with cold spots in your room where bed bugs can hide and wait for the temperature to lower. All of the cracks and crevices in the room need to reach the thermal death point of bed bugs, the temperature at which they can no longer survive. Although bed bug eggs die at 117 degrees and adult bed bugs die at 111 degrees, we recommend raising the temperature of the cracks to 121 degrees. 

We do not recommend using sprays or bed bug bombs that are available at retail stores. These products are considered knockdown products and are deemed insufficient to control an infestation. Bed bugs will just hide and reemerge later. If using a chemical treatment, a professional would need to be hired as the chemicals that will kill bed bugs are not available without a pest control license. 

Is a special bed bug killing spray needed to kill bed bugs?

You should not rely on any spray available in the retail market to completely take care of a bed bug infestation. Many sprays that claim to kill bed bugs are not effective. Lights Out Bed Bug Spray is an effective bed bug killing spray that we recommend using on your luggage when you travel and as a residual effective for 30 days after application. That means any bed bug that comes in contact with a surface treated with Lights Out will be killed for up to 30 days. It is an excellent preventative measure to keep from bringing bed bugs home.

Do I need to remove the headboards prior to a bed bug heat treatment?

The headboard can be left in place. It is not necessary to remove it.

Do I need to remove the mattress encasements prior to a heat treatment?

Yes, mattress encasements should be removed prior to heat treatment to allow proper air flow to the interior of the mattress. Bed bugs often hide in the seams of the mattress and in the cracks between the framing of the mattress and box spring. If it is a bed bug mattress encasement, it has a membrane that should not be heated or placed in a dryer. Machine wash and hang dry according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Do I need to close the curtains during the treatment?

Yes, it is a good idea to close the curtains or at least spread them out during the treatment. This will offer better air flow to prevent any possible cold spots.

How do I set up the room for heat treatment?

Our pre-project checklist, available for download on our site, details the preparations that should be taken prior to the setup of the heater in the room and gives a list of items that should be removed from the room. For Bed Bug Heat Doctor/Prevsol heaters, detailed heater setup instructions are available to download on each electric bed bug heater page on and included in the package when you purchase a heater.

For any heat treatment, the first very important step is to cover your sprinkler heads if you have them. If the sprinkler heads are not kept cooler than the rest of the room, they may go off and cause significant damage to your property or weaken the head of the sprinkler making it easier for it to break in the future. Next, strip the beds including mattress encasements. Wash and dry all the bedding but do not dry the encasement as it can damage the membrane. Put the mattress and box spring in an A-frame and place the heater in the center of the room with the airflow blowing toward the headboard wall. Finally, cover all the vents in the room and use painters tape to create a seal across the bottom of the door. 

Once I put the mattress and box springs into an A-frame, how do I keep them from falling down during a heat treatment?

To keep the mattresses in an A-frame during treatment without damaging the mattress or box spring, tape around the top of both with painters tape.  Using painters tape will not leave a residue on the mattress or box spring.

How will I know when my room gets to the correct temperature? 

If you have purchased a Bed Bug Heat Doctor/Prevsol heater package, an infrared temperature gun was included in your package. Use this non-contact temperature gun to check that the cracks and crevices are reaching 121 degrees Fahrenheit, and that the ambient air temperature has reached 135 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you purchased a heater from another company, you can purchase one of these temperature guns on our website or at a variety of other stores.

How long do I need to keep the heater running after the room gets to temperature?

Once the room reaches the required temperature, run the heater for an additional 3-4 hours ensuring that all the cracks and crevices get hot enough to kill all of the bed bugs and their eggs. 

Should I follow up my heat treatment with a spray?

It is not necessary to follow up a heat treatment with any type of spray, but it will not cause any problems if you choose to do so.  We suggest Lights Out All-Natural Bed Bug Spray as it is safe for use around people and pets.

Will bed bugs come back after treatment? 

If a heat treatment was done, no, they will not come back as long as the treatment was done correctly, and the problem was addressed in any room that was infested with bed bugs. For rooms that have frequent guests, bed bugs can be reintroduced by the guests and therefore should be regularly inspected. Be sure that anyone cleaning a room that has regular change over of occupants knows how to check for bed bugs.

If a chemical treatment was done, retreatments may be necessary. Research has shown that some bed bugs have become resistant to certain types of chemicals. To be sure that all the bed bugs are eliminated with a chemical treatment, more than one type of chemical should be used. This will prevent any problems with chemical resistant bed bugs surviving the treatment and reproducing more bed bugs. DO NOT mix chemicals unless you are a licensed pest control professional.

When is it safe to enter the room after a treatment?

When the room has cooled to a comfortable temperature after treatment, it is safe to re-enter the room and begin the process of cleaning up the dead bugs. 

I found a live bed bug in the room after the treatment. Does that mean the treatment was not successful?

Not necessarily, but it is definitely a reason to continue pursing eradicating the bed bugs completely. One live, female bug left unchecked has the potential to produce 200 bed bug eggs in her lifetime laying eggs every day when she has an available male. It is easy to see how not dealing with even one live bed bug can lead to reinfestation. 

We hope this information is helpful to you while deciding how to treat bed bugs in your home, hotel, or any other place you have found them. If you have any specific treatment questions for us, livechat with us now or give us a call at 844-364-3281 and speak to a trained professional. 

In our next FAQs blog, we will answer your questions about Bed Bug Heat Doctor Heaters and more.