How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs From Someone Who Has

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs From Someone Who Has


Last year, in March, I took what was supposed to be a frugal trip to London, England. I found a flight for about $427, stayed at my friend’s flat, and did not do too many tourist activities.

Then I came home and unpacked.

Brown spots on pillowcase is a sign of bed bugs - read more to get rid of bed bugs
Look for dark brown/red/black spots that look like a cross. These are definite signs. Don’t worry, it is possible to get rid of bed bugs!

Physical Signs of Bed Bugs

A few weeks later, I noticed my hand/fingers were itchy, red and blotchy. At first I thought it was a rash. I dismissed thoughts of them being bites as it was March in New Jersey; too cold for mosquitoes. I changed soaps, detergents, and went on a cleaning rampage. The red marks continued. In my search, I found some mention of bed bugs so I checked my pillows and mattress for the marks and, unfortunately, found signs of them.

Visible Signs of Bed Bugs

There were small black/brown dots on my pillow case that had points extending out at the sides (sort of like a 4 pointed star). There were also brown streaks and these dots on the bottom of my mattress. It was not all that noticeable at first, so be sure to look carefully.

Service Estimates

I looked up termination services online and in the phone book and called every single one for an estimate. For our three bedroom, two level townhouse where signs of the bed bugs were only in one room we were quoted as high as $800 & $743 for a whole house bombing to get rid of bed bugs.

House Bombing Treatment (doesn’t work)

We ended up going with a company that charged us $433 for the entire house. We put all of our belongings in garbage bags and left our clothes in them for two weeks. We washed all of our clothing in hot water and dried on the hottest temperature. We put all of our counter kitchen items in plastic bags. Vacuumed every day for the two weeks. Took down all wall decor.

Two weeks after the entire fiasco had ended and we moved everything back into our room, the bed bugs returned! Do not use a whole house bombing treatment to get rid of bed bugs.

Spot Treatment (works)

This time, we called a local apartment complex for termination service reference. We were quoted $158 for a spot treatment of the three bedrooms. We still had to garbage bag our clothing but could put them back in our room a day or two after the treatment. We did not have to pack anything up in the kitchen. I have not seen a bed bug since!

Spot treatments work to get rid of bed bugs!

Use spot treatments on affected areas to get rid of bed bugs.
Use spot treatments on affected areas to get rid of bed bugs.

Important Things To Remember When Dealing With Bed Bugs

  • The treatment does not kill bed bugs on impact! Instead, pest control sprays where bed bugs are at night so they ingest the poison and then die.
  • Bed bugs do not live in mattresses, they live in wood! You might notice the black dots near wall outlets and baseboards. This is where they sleep, also if you have a wooden bed frame. Then they crawl on your mattress and up to bite you in your sleep at night for your yummy blood.
  • You must sleep in your bed after the treatment as you are basically bait for them to come out and eat/walk through the treatment.
  • I also recommend sleeping in your bed before the treatment even though it sucks; this way they will not spread to other rooms. The more contained they are, the easier it is to treat.
  • Buy a new bed and mattress! We did not do this after the first treatment. We did after the second. Also, do not have your bed right next to the wall.
  • After your new bed and mattress are treated, immediately buy a mattress cover. No, you do not need the ridiculous $100 ones that Bed Bath and Beyond sell. The $15 ones at Target/Walmart work perfectly fine! Look for anything that says “allergen-reducing”.
  • Purchase “allergen-reducing” pillow covers at Walmart/Target for ~$10.
  • Alternatives to washing/drying your laundry on hot, expose your clothing to extreme temperatures. Leave the garbage bags full of clothes in your hot car in the summer; or in your freezing car on an especially cold day. Technically, you can even put an article of clothing in the freezer. Bed bugs die in extreme weather.

The Cost of Being Frugal

While many of us love finding good deals on thrift store clothing and craig’s list/freecycle furniture, that deal is definitely not worth the stress, hassle and cost of dealing with bed bugs.

Hope I haven’t creeped anyone out, just writing about this makes me itchy!


10 Replies to “How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs From Someone Who Has”

  1. That’s a crappy deal. This is why I don’t get used stuff. I’m way too paranoid about being infected with something. The funny thing is that I’m working on a bed bug blog right now called, okay the name is not too creative, It’s not done yet but maybe it will come in handy for someone else.

  2. You are making me itch with that story.

    I wouldn’t buy used beds or other things like that, but clothes? Yes. I’d hot wash them and wear them without a problem.

    I hear NYC is having a problem with them right now and it’s becoming an epidemic.

  3. Ick. Bed bugs are rampant, and even “nice” hotels can have them these days. This makes me squirmy!

    I’m glad you had success in getting rid of them!

  4. I had them a year and a half ago from a couch we bought from a friend. It was AWFUL but the treatments you recommend do work. I hope you got reimbursed by your landlord if you’re a renter- bed bugs are considered an environmental hazard.

    1. Since we were the only unit with the problem, our landlord did not cover the expenses because we brought the bed bugs in. I was too stressed out by the entire situation to fight it. I also felt terrible for putting my roomates through the ordeal as well.

  5. I had a 6 month nightmare experience with bed bugs last year, because someone in an adjacent apartment like to hoard used furniture. She had mental health problems, and it took months to evict her – before they could get into the apartment to treat it for the bugs. By then, they had spread to multiple floors in the building.

    It took another 3-4 months after than before I stopped vacuuming daily, and started getting consistent, restful sleep. The financial burden of replacing mattresses and other furniture items was hard, but the mental distress was worse, and lasted longer.

  6. I have begun a site on bed bugs lately and I have to say that your post helped me have a more practical view on bed bugs. Did you see bed bugs? I know that you mentioned signs of them on your pillow case and mattress.

    1. Do you have personal experience with the little nocturnal pests? I did see one or two if I woke up in the middle of the night and turned the light on. But that was after two months of all the signs of them.

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