Bedbugs (2023)

Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.

Check if it's bedbugs

Bedbugs (1)


Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Signs of bedbugs include:

(Video) Doctor explains BED BUGS - including SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION ( +PHOTOS!)

  • bites – often on skin exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
  • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
  • small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)
Bedbugs (2)


Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo

On white skin, bedbug bites usually look red. On black or brown skin, they may look purple and may be harder to see.

Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.

A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is also possible but rare.

How you can treat bedbug bites

Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.

(Video) Bed Bugs | National Geographic

Things you can do include:

  • putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
  • keeping the affected area clean
  • not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection

A pharmacist can help with bedbug bites

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
  • antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you're unable to sleep

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • bedbug bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
  • the pain or swelling around the bites is spreading

You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.

(Video) K9 Bed Bug Investigations / Town and Country Solutions major bed bug infestation!

Howto get rid of bedbugs

If you think you have bedbugs, you should contact your local council or pest control service.

It's very difficult to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be hard to find and may be resistant to some insecticides.

There are some things you can try yourself, but these are unlikely to get rid of bedbugs completely.



  • do not keep clutter around your bed

  • do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first

  • do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs


Find your local council

You can find your local council on GOV.UK.

(Video) BED BUGS EXPLAINED IN UNDER 60 SECONDS #shorts #medical #doctor #bedbugs

Page last reviewed: 02 August 2022
Next review due: 02 August 2025


What kills bed bugs immediately? ›

Bed bugs ex- posed to 113°F will die if they receive constant exposure to that temperature for 90 minutes or more. However, they will die within 20 minutes if exposed to 118°F. Interestingly, bed bug eggs must be exposed to 118°F for 90 minutes to reach 100% mortality.

What kills bed bugs instantly baking soda? ›

Myth. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that baking soda is a successful home remedy for bed bugs. Baking soda actually breaks down when it comes into contact with water, so the idea that it can absorb the thick fluids found on a bed bug shell is quite questionable.

What is the most effective bed bug treatment? ›

One of the most effective professional treatment methods is heat. If you want to be sure that the bed bugs are gone once and for all, this is proven to be the safest route to take. When done correctly, only one professional heat treatment should be enough to clear out the problem.

What scent keeps bed bugs away? ›

There are many smells that bed bugs don't like. If you're spraying your luggage, clothing, or bedding, use a scent that you like. Lavender, peppermint, or lemon can do the trick. There are many essential oils to choose from.

What brings bed bugs out overnight? ›

One scent that bed bugs find appealing is dirty laundry or dirty bedding because of how it smells once it's come in contact with humans. Research has shown that bed bugs prefer previously worn clothing and used bedding, which is why you shouldn't leave these items on the floor close to your bed.

What does rubbing alcohol do to bedbugs? ›

Alcohol works two ways to kill bedbugs. First, it acts as a solvent, which means it eats away the bug's outer shell. The dissolving action might be enough to kill some bedbugs, but alcohol delivers a one-two punch. It also acts as a desiccant, a substance that induces drying out.

What is a homemade bed bug killer? ›

Two simple ingredients and bedbugs be gone! What is this? Mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol and spray all the areas the nasty little critters are hiding and have made their new home. This will stop them from spreading and laying eggs.

How do you get rid of bed bugs in one day naturally? ›

Baking soda. Another example of home remedies to get rid of bed bugs is baking soda, which dehydrates the bugs by removing moisture. You can sprinkle a light layer of baking soda on areas you think these critters are staying in. Let the powder sit for a week before using your vacuum cleaner to suck up everything.

What is the number one bed bug killer? ›

Harris Pyrethroid-Resistant Bed Bug Aerosol Spray is the most effective at slaying bed bugs of all types and their eggs. There are small pockets of pyrethroid resistant strains of bed bugs in located in some cities in the US.

What disinfectant kills bed bugs? ›

Sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in bleach, works by denaturing the protein membrane of bed bugs. This renders the bugs' immune system defenseless and gives them a reaction similar to a human fever, eventually killing them.

How do I know bed bugs are gone? ›

You can either manually inspect the same areas each day, or some clients find it helpful to put a sticky adhesive trap around the bed legs which would pick up bed bugs that are on the move. If no bed bugs show up in the trap after several days, that's one indication that they have been completely eradicated.

Is Febreze good for bed bugs? ›

The answer is NO- or at least very, very unlikely. There is 0 evidence to support that it has any effect After speaking about this subject in a group full of bed bug experts, we all came to the conclusion that it probably doesn't even repel bed bugs.

How can I protect myself from bed bugs in my sleep? ›

Below are the 5 tips on how to prevent bed bug bites from biting you at night:
  1. Washing bed sheets and other bedding in high temperatures.
  2. Regularly vacuuming your mattress and bed box.
  3. Do not store items under the bed.
  4. Washing and drying the clothes after returning from a trip.
  5. Get professional help to get rid of bed bugs.
Jan 19, 2021

Will rubbing alcohol keep bed bugs from biting? ›

It turns out that rubbing alcohol, bug bombs and other products just don't work that well. And some products, like ultrasonic repellers, are completely ineffective.

What triggers bed bugs? ›

They can come from other infested areas or from used furniture. They can hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces. They can travel between rooms in multi-unit buildings, such as apartment complexes and hotels.

Can you get rid of bed bugs in one day? ›

Bedbug infestations cannot be treated in one day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one should thoroughly inspect the room or home in an effort to pinpoint the nesting site, find evidence if possible and verify that the insect is indeed a bedbug before taking further action.

Where do bed bugs hide in the day time? ›

Bed bugs are shifty pests that typically like to hide no further than a few feet away from their hosts. Therefore, cracks in bed frames, headboards, box springs, mattress seams and even your dresser are all places bed bugs will reside during the day.

What chemical kills bed bugs and their eggs? ›

Pyrethrins and pyrethroids: These are the most commonly used pesticides for bed bug treatment. Pyrethrins are derived from chrysanthemum flowers, and pyrethroids are the synthetic equivalent.

What does baking soda do to bedbugs? ›

Baking soda is said to dehydrate bed bugs. While baking soda may kill off one or two bugs, it's rarely strong enough to get rid of an entire infestation. Still, many people will try to use baking soda to get rid of these parasitic bugs.

Do bed bug traps work? ›

Bed bug traps are effective at doing what they're designed for — bed bugs climb into the trap and can't get out. By checking the traps regularly, you can tell: If you have bed bugs or not. Roughly how severe the infestation is.

Does hydrogen peroxide repel bed bugs? ›

Hydrogen peroxide, like bleach, can kill bed bugs. But this tip has the same problems as using bleach: hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, which means that spraying it will discolor (and ruin) your bedding, carpet, and other items in your home. There are definitely better ways to get rid of bed bugs!

Does bleach get rid of bed bugs? ›

While bleach will kill bed bugs that are directly exposed to it, it will not eliminate bed bugs that are hiding and do not come into contact with the bleach spray.

Does anyone ever get rid of bed bugs? ›

Bed bugs are hard to control, but you can do it! Using insecticides alone to control bed bugs is not the best solution. Cleaning, getting rid of clutter and taking a few other steps are just as important as applying insecticide when you're trying to control bed bugs.

What is the best defense against bed bugs? ›

Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs. Vacuum frequently to remove any successful hitchhikers. Be vigilant when using shared laundry facilities. Transport items to be washed in plastic bags (if you have an active infestation, use a new bag for the journey home).

Can you spray your bed with Lysol? ›

Our Lysol® Disinfectant Spray kills 99.9% of the germs that are hanging around on your homes' soft furnishings. Its unique cap completely covers large areas without over wetting, making it great for soft surfaces such as your decorative cushions, mattress, sofa etc. To use, simply spray and then allow to air dry!

Do bed bugs like Lysol spray? ›

Lysol can kill bed bugs when sprayed directly on the insects. The chemicals within the product would irritate the bed bugs and cause them to suffocate. Lysol can also kill eggs, but they must also be doused in spray for it to work.

Do bed bugs come out every night? ›

However, if there are not too many, then chances are that they will not bite every night. On average bed bugs feed once every 3 to 10 nights and spend the rest of the days resting and digesting their meals.

Can bed bugs live in pillows? ›

Mattresses and pillows make potential habitats for bed bugs. Pillows may also be host to bed bug eggs, making them a potential point of bed bug infestations. A possible sign that bed bugs have infested pillows may be the appearance of bites.

Can you have bed bugs for months and not know it? ›

5 Signs of Early Bed Bug Infestation. You might not immediately know if you have an infestation. Sometimes the signs can take weeks or months to show up.

Does fabric softener stop bed bugs? ›

Fabric softener will repel bed bugs. However, because they do not kill the bed bugs, they will end up moving to another area in the house. Fabric softeners repel bed bugs because they contain an ingredient called linalool. Linalool is naturally found in plants such as lavender, basil, and coriander.

Is there a laundry detergent for bed bugs? ›

Hygea Natural 32 oz. Bed Bug Laundry Treatment. Use to eradicate bed bugs from clothing, linens, drapes and other washable, machine-safe items in early bed bug infestations. Product can also be used to eradicate fleas, dust mites and most other crawling pests.

Is it OK to sleep with bed bugs? ›

Do continue to sleep in your bedroom after identifying a bed bug infestation. If you move rooms or start sleeping on the couch you run the risk of contaminating these other areas of your home.

What is biting me in my bed but I can't see anything? ›

These bites may be from small biting midges, often called “no-see-ums”. They are also known as punkies or sand flies.

Do bed bugs go away naturally? ›

Don't count on bed bugs to go away on their own. In theory, they can. In practice, they don't unless several highly specific circumstances occur. Your best bet is professional bed bugs treatment.

Why should you spray alcohol on your mattress? ›

So, you may use it to disinfect your mattress. It is also highly effective in removing body odors or foul smells. Spraying the alcohol mixture and leaving it for 15 minutes will remove the stink and microorganisms.

How do you get rid of bed bugs in 24 hours? ›

As the temperature throughout the house is slowly cranked up to nearly 120 degrees, the bed bugs don't react – they simply sit by and allow themselves to be killed by the extreme heat. For this reason, a heat treatment is the only truly effective way to get rid of bed bugs – and in just about a day.

How do you get rid of bed bugs in 30 minutes? ›

Temperature is an effective way to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress or other important area. With that in mind, gather affected bedding or clothing and wash it in very hot water for 30 minutes. Once the wash cycle is done, dry the items in your dryer on the highest possible heat setting for at least 30 minutes.

What spray kills bed bugs and their eggs? ›

Harris Egg Kill Bed Bug Killer aerosol is ready to use and Kills Bed Bugs & Their Eggs When Spray Dries. The high pressure aerosol spray helps to treat deep into cracks and crevices where bed bugs are hiding. Treat mattresses, box springs, carpet, bedding, floors, walls and drapes.

How do you secretly get rid of bed bugs? ›

Wash bedding and clothes in hot water for 30 minutes. Then put them in a dryer on the highest heat setting for 30 minutes. Use a steamer on mattresses, couches, and other places where bedbugs hide. Pack up infested items in black bags and leave them outside on a hot day that reaches 95°F (35°C) or in a closed car.

Do bed bugs eventually go away? ›

When it comes to getting rid of bedbugs, one of the most common questions homeowners ask is: “Can bed bugs be completely eliminated?” The short answer is yes. However, it's usually more complicated than that as there are several factors to bear in mind before you're absolutely sure that the bedbugs are gone.

How do you sleep with bed bugs? ›

How can you prevent bedbug bites?
  1. Wash and dry your bedding on high heat. ...
  2. Vacuum and steam clean furniture and floors. ...
  3. Get a mattress and box spring cover. ...
  4. Sleep in long-sleeved clothing. ...
  5. Declutter. ...
  6. Use interceptor traps. ...
  7. Contact a qualified pest control professional.
Nov 18, 2022

What is the main cause of bed bugs? ›

They can come from other infested areas or from used furniture. They can hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces. They can travel between rooms in multi-unit buildings, such as apartment complexes and hotels.

Is it possible to get rid of bed bugs yourself? ›

Vacuuming is one of the best ways to remove the live bed bugs that are hiding in a room. A regular vacuum is fine, but a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high- efficiency) filter will also help reduce the spread of allergens. A crevice tool will help focus the vacuum's suction in small spaces, cracks and crevices.

Does alcohol help with bed bugs? ›

While isopropyl alcohol, known as rubbing alcohol, can kill bedbugs and their eggs, it isn't an effective way to get rid of an infestation. Alcohol has to be directly applied to the bugs, which can be hard to accomplish since bedbugs hide in cracks and crevices.

What natural ingredient kills bed bugs? ›

Diatomaceous earth is a great chemical-free option for getting rid of a number of pests, including bed bugs. This natural powder contains properties that can dehydrate bed bugs, absorbing their fat and oil, and killing them dead as a doornail. Spray or sprinkle in infected areas and allow it to sit for at least a week.

Can you spray raid on bed? ›

Raid Bed Bug Foaming Spray, For Indoor Use, Non-Staining

Can be used on mattresses, upholstered furniture and carpet and will not stain water-safe fabrics and surfaces. Available in 16.5 oz.

Do bed bug foggers work? ›

Foggers are mostly ineffective in controlling bed bugs.

Because bed bugs hide in crevices and voids where aerosols do not penetrate, they are able to avoid contact with these insecticides.


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