Bugs Can Go One Year Without Eating

Follow-Up Treatments Essential

Bed Bug(46807)Credit: Illinois Department of Public HealthPart 2 of this series covered bed bug prevention. But if you already have bedbugs in your home, there are several things you can do to eliminate the pests from your home.

Since bed bugs can go up to a year without feeding, you shouldn’t try to wait them out by going on vacation. Instead, the United States Centers for Disease Control advocates a system of Integrated Pest Management. Integrated Pest Management practices involve preventing new bugs from entering your home, recording sightings, eliminating bug habitats, eliminating the bug and continuing to watch the home and treat future outbreaks.

You should vacuum the floor of your home on a regular schedule. You should also change the bed linens often. Wash them in hot water and dry them on a hot setting.

Whenever you change the linens you should also vacuum the mattres. Pay close attention to the mattress seams where bed bugs like to hide. Scrub them with a stiff brush to dislodge any eggs. Once you finish vacuuming your mattress, discard the vacuüm cleaner bag by putting it into a plastic bag that you can close. Seal the plastic bag and discard it in an outdoor container to prevent the bugs from escaping in your home.

After you have cleaned your mattress, put it into a zippered mattress cover to trap any more bugs inside. Leave this cover on your mattress for longer than a year to effectively trap and kill the bugs. You may use residual insecticides in attics and other locations to kill the bugs. According to the EPA, there are over 300 registered pesticide products that are safe to use in the home against bedbugs. Many of these are available commercially to consumers. Under no circumstances should a residual pesticide be used in your bed linens or on the mattress.

As an extra step, clean your room to reduce clutter that bedbugs can hide in. This includes taking papers off end tables and removing clothing from the floor around the bed.

Once bed bug infestations have been brought under control, you should continue to apply follow-up treatments to prevent future infestations.

If you are not successful in ridding your home of the pests, you can consult a pest management professional. Pest Management Officials may inspect the home, take furniture apart and treat the home with a combination of heat, vacuums and pesticides.