Living in Florida, bed bugs are too regular an occurrence. A visit to a bed bug-friendly environment - such as a hotel, dorm room - or from someone who has them in their home can easily translate to you having these nighttime, blood-sucking visitors.

Have tried the dryer sheets placed on the mattress and between mattress and boxspring. Have tried sprays, powders, even the commercial-grade pump/spray. Have replaced mattress and boxspring and have waterproof/bed bug-proof boxspring and mattress covers on new mattress/boxspring ... AND STILL, I am the snack d'noir for these pesky critters!

Does anyone have a true solution that actually (and continually) works?

  • In addition to your sources, public transportation busses with fabric seat covers has been identified as a means of bed bug contamination.
    – Stan
    Jun 24, 2016 at 22:25
  • 1
    Burn everything in sight. Dec 22, 2016 at 3:37

5 Answers 5


Vigilance and Permethrin

Permethrin is an insecticide which kills insects nearly instantly and lasts for up to a month on surfaces. This means you can spray it on the seams of your mattress and the frame, your furniture, carpet, baseboards, and even your luggage and clothes to stop an outbreak and prevent picking up bed bugs from traveling.

The one downside to Permethrin is it will kill your cats, but if you don't have any cats, then you can use it throughout your house (also may be useful against unwanted cats).

I originally tried diatomaceous earth (prehistoric seashells) but ran into a few problems. One, diatomaceous earth gets everywhere, and your living space will be super dusty. Two, diatomaceous earth will dry out your skin on contact, so if you have it along your bed or on furniture, you'll see the affects. Three, it is a slow killer. I timed that it took anywhere from twelve to twenty four hours to kill a bed bug after being exposed. While a slow death might be preferable to a sadist, in a bed bug invasion you want to kill them as quickly as possible.

Permethrin is available on Amazon or other places. Diatomaceous earth can typically be found at a Walmart or anyplace with a garden area. It has the advantage of being all natural and super cheap.


In order to eliminate bed bugs from your actual bed, move you bed away from the walls so no part of it (or blankets and sheets) touches the ground or the walls. Examine the bed thoroughly and remove any bed bugs and spray seams with Permethrin (or use Lysol wipe to one-time kill eggs or bed bugs).

Place your bed posts in bowls or plastic containers. Apply baby powder from the bed post bottoms to a few inches up the legs (this will prevent bed bugs from being able to climb your posts). Place an agent of death in the plastic bowls (either diatomaceous earth or Permethrin). Now when bed bugs come crawling in the night they will enter the bowls, be unable to climb the bed posts, and die the death they so richly deserve.

You may do similar things to couches, chairs, or anywhere with fabric that you sit or lie down.

I had bed bugs coming from an adjacent apartment (through the walls), and I ultimately sprayed all the baseboards, cracks, and socket / light switch plate areas with Permethrin.

I found a couple of bed bugs in some of my folded clothing, so I washed and dried all my clothing (using a dryer) which killed any bed bugs hiding in them. I then stored my clothing in large 10 gallon ZipLock bags while I was waging my war. This prevented my clothing from becoming recontaminated (Bed bugs are attracted to heat and CO2, so freshly dried still warm clothing sitting in the house may attract them).

Finally, I made a pact with the Devil and sold my soul, after that the infestation disappeared.

In summation:

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Related bed bug comics: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

  • 1
    This is - BY FAR - the best, most comprehensive, and most hilarious response I've received! THANK YOU!! Consider this questions put to BED (pun intended)! :-D
    – Ceylon_17
    Mar 7, 2018 at 14:57

Heat and diatomaceous earth.

One key to getting rid of the little suckers is to raise the temperature of infested materials above 140°F.

They will nest in tiny places such as inside the grooves of the screw-heads used to hold your bed frame together ! ! !

Books and similar porous items can be put into an oven and brought up to temperature.

After you have a clean bed, Set the bed posts of your bed into pans or containers filled with an inch or two of diatomaceous earth to prevent re-contamination.

Diatomaceous earth gets stuck to the skin of the bed bugs and because it is made of silica, it dehydrates the bugs through microscopic "cuts" it makes when the bed bugs attempt to get rid of the particles from their skin. Nasty stuff.

Bed bugs will travel on clothing and luggage, but not on people. Before you leave a hotel, sort your clothing into laundry piles and place in plastic bags. When you get home, empty them directly into a washing machine and wash in hot water. 

After you wash your clothes, you can try to put them into black garbage bags and laying them in the sun to heat up beyond what they can survive. Turn the bags over to make sure they're hot enough through and through. A remote-reading thermometer inside the middle of one of the bags will help you get up to the desired temperature. You might have to leave them this way for a few days.

Anything that is placed where bed bugs are and that is capable of carrying them can be a source of infestation. Even a guitar and/or its case can make a handy temporary home. 

Bedbugs usually prefer warm furniture where they can reach humans or animals. However, bedbugs have occasionally been found in houseplants. If you want to play it safe with something like a Christmas tree, keep the gifts in a bug-free room (not under the tree), and decorate the tree with homemade or cheap decorations that you don't mind throwing out after the holidays. 

Bedbugs will bite cats and dogs, but they will only stay on the animal for a few minutes. If you see insects in the animal's fur, they are usually fleas or some other pest. 

Isolate the things you can’t wash, such as furniture, and vacuum thoroughly, ideally using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Purchase the type of diatomaceous earth sold as insecticide and sprinkle over the furniture. Lavender or tea-tree oil usually only helps a little. There's some evidence for cottonseed or linseed oil, but they can stain fabric. 

You can rent steamers and HEPA vacuums from tool rental services (check the yellow pages), or buy them from hardware stores. If you need to choose a pesticide, check the EPA's online bedbug pesticide database and look for it at a home improvement store. Read all warning labels on pesticides to avoid injury to people and pets. 

After you use your washer and dryer, run an empty cycle with hot water and bleach, then run a completely empty cycle. Clean your dryer using bleach wipes, then rinse it off with water.

Once thy bite, try Benedryl in pill or topical form, or use a topical 1% hydrocortisone anti-itch ointment (or cream) to alleviate the itching from bites. If you apply this topical ointment and refrain from scratching, the bite will usually subside within the day.

If the critters have gotten into the whole house, you may need professional intervention.

Here's more information from the US EPA

  • diatomaceous earth?
    – Ceylon_17
    Jun 28, 2016 at 10:16

Safe and works: baking soda. Follow these steps in the morning if you're going to be out of the home for the day:

  1. Steam clean your furniture, mattress, bed and box spring deep, take an hour, use a very good steamer, nothing flimsy. Throw your bedding and clothing in the washer and dryer, on high heat if you won't damage them. ALL of your clothes and linens. Curtains and all. Even the things that are put away. Pillows too. Handwash your delicates and line dry.

  2. Move your furniture away from the walls. Nothing should touch them. And steam your empty dressers, drawers, closets, walls and baseboards.

  3. Place double sided tape around the bottom of your furniture legs, if metal. If wooden, just, lay duct tape under the legs, sticky-side up, making sure the square of tape is big enough to be visible on all 4 sides. This will catch bugs before they try to climb up onto your furniture.

  4. Vacuum good and thorough. If your floors are wooden or tile, perfect. Clean all floors. Take the vacuum or mop outside to dump it/wring it out, clean them outside so no eggs or bugs are left on these things... Using bleach and a water hose is great.

  5. Sprinkle the baking soda onto your floor, concentrating on the edges by your walls, in the doorway, near your bed base and the base of your furniture. Leave this for the day. The baking soda splits the bugs' bellies open when they crawl over it.

  6. When you get home, vacuum and/or mop again. Wipe down the baseboards. Wipe out your dresser drawers. Fold your clothes and put them away. Restock your closet. Yes this is all a lot of work. But the alternative is itching from bites every night and losing sleep.

  7. Enjoy a bedbug-free home. You haven't endangered your kids or pets with harsh chemicals and you can finally sleep peacefully again!


I've researched this quite a bit over the years, and the most reliable answer is also the most expensive -- whole-house heating. If you brought the critters home, they will congregate around their meal (i.e., near or on the bed), but they could be anywhere. The advantage of whole-household heating is that, given enough time, everything in the household reaches the kill temperature. You are not at the mercy of having to directly expose every critter and egg to a chemical or steam or an agent for delivering cold. An evolutionary defence mechanism to heat is (presumably!) not likely to develop for a long time.

Caveats: While I'm not entirely sure about the details, I think you still need to prep the contents of the household to some degree to ensure that the hot air piped into the household still causes everything to warm up to the right temperature within a reasonable amount of time. And while heating one household may be an expensive route to go, it becomes more expensive if you are in an attached home or an apartment building. All units surrounding the target units must also be heated, else there is a good chance that the bugs will simply get driven to unheated adjoining units/households. Everybody has to cooperate (and it's not a trivial effort) and of course, there is the question of how the cost gets borne. For this reason, it may be hard to get buy-in from everyone.

Having said that, I know of one colleague who lived in an apartment and was able to rid himself of the problem by taking the measures that are found online, without resorting to household heating. It took a long time, however, requiring disposal of a lot of furniture and taping up all avenues of bug migration from adjoining units, e.g., electrical sockets. I don't know all the details of what he went through, but based on what I've read, you would need an infinite amount of patience and energy reserves to systematically wack the moles to accomplish this.

P.S. I have no doubt that proper precautionary measures after treatment will include use of Diatomaceous earth. I was initially worried about the diversity of information that I found online about its safety, but the Wikipedia entry for it seems to provide a balanced treatment. It's not the most simplified information, but I believe it is the most "peer reviewed" in the sense that the eyes of the world are on it.


Get DDT and silicone powder.DDT can be found at estate sales and garage sells, a friend on the internet from india may help where it's used. I remember being in south america and the ban on ddt, the fruit flies were getting out of hand. You don't use by it's self. They get resistant like mice to poison with ddt. You must hit them from all angles diatomaceous earth and space heaters to dry them out. Oils and diodes are slow acting. It;s advised to remove the food source for a few months abandoning your sleep area. that's done with a black lite to inspect items before migrating. cleaning shoe bottoms with bleach. Doing laundry before migrating. basically a apartment for a few months if you own a home. you must return to clean and put mattress covers. when they get hungry they will eat chicken blood with Erythritol and it kills them. they are attracted to sugar before mating. or blood with high sugar they love untreated diabetes. Diatomaceous earth with a stevia pack will bring the females out to sniff the sugar. they eat tiny amounts before mating not as a fuel source. pay attention to baseboards and use steam to clean with that black light to look for nests. you can not feed them you must starve them. its a strategy. chicken blood with poisons look for the right one experiment. after the food source is gone they get desperate. if your in a multi unit leave that for a single apartment. sleep with family if you can not risk them.

  • 3
    The sale or use of DDT is illegal in every jurisdiction that I know of due to its devastating effect on the environment and on human health. This is an extraordinarily dangerous suggestion.
    – Chenmunka
    Sep 2, 2019 at 14:33

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