While hiring the right professionals is the easiest way to get rid of bed bugs, it may not be right for you: maybe it’s too expensive, maybe you don’t react to bed bug bites (so immediate elimination isn’t a big deal), maybe you are worried about bed bug re-introduction after the treatment, or maybe you just want to conquer them on your own, learn a bit, and help others. Doing it yourself may make a ton of sense. And if you are going to do it, we are here to help.
Just know, it may take awhile.
Fortunately, you can be bite free during the process! But you have to take the right precautions, which always boil down to these steps: Exterminate, Sanitize, Contain, Control, and Maintain.
You can read about the theory behind the steps below (which we recommend), or you can jump to applications of these steps in an example house, with varying degrees of intensity:
A simple application
A more involved application
A completely paranoid but fool-proof application
The theory behind the steps:
Exterminate: If you can see any bed bugs, kill them – WHEREVER you see them. Check out ways to exterminate visible bed bugs.
Sanitize: Because you almost certainly missed some bugs in the extermination phase, you need to sanitize everything you can. What you can’t sanitize you will contain in the next step. There are lots of ways to sanitize against bed bugs.
Contain: You can’t sanitize literally everything in your home very easily – mattresses, bed frames, couches, etc. So, our next step is to take those things we can’t easily sanitize and wrap them up in something, so we have contained whatever bugs may be left. Mattress encasements are an example of a containment strategy, but there are many more you can try out. See our list of containment ideas here.
Control: Sadly, even containment isn’t enough. You can’t wrap up your walls and carpet in plastic bags! That’s where control comes in. If you can control how bed bugs can access you or where they can go, you are one major step to winning the fight. However, control only works if you have first exterminated, sanitized, and contained everything else, because without these first three steps, you have no control. The key to control is eliminating the possible places where bed bugs could be, one step at a time. Then once we have dramatically limited where they can be, we control their access to feeding on us, which slowly starves them out. See our list of control strategies for more help.
Maintain: Once you have regained control of your home, it is simply a matter of maintaining that control until the bed bugs die off. If you have 100% control – if no bed bugs are able to eat at all, ever – this should take no more than a few weeks. More likely, you will still get bites every once in awhile from desperate bugs in your couches or on the floor and this will help them survive a bit longer. Fortunately, because you have exterminated, sanitized, contained, and controlled your bed bug population, you should be able to sleep bite-free every night during this process, so maintenance isn’t a tremendous burden. See our maintenance strategies to win the battle!