Fact Sheet FS1251
Bed bugs, (Cimex lectularius L.), have gradually become a common urban pest in the past decade. People get bed bugs in various ways such as visiting an infested place, bringing in infested furniture, or through the natural dispersal of bed bugs from an infested neighboring unit within a multi-occupancy dwelling such as an apartment building. Many people try to control bed bugs themselves to avoid the expense of hiring a professional service; however, professional services offer the advantage of a technician that is properly trained in pesticide safety and effective bed bug management. It is recommended to use professional pest control services. However, for those who still wish to control bed bugs on their own, this provides a summary of the cost effective versus money-wasting materials and methods. This information will help you combat bed bugs safely and effectively.
The most effective way to achieve bed bug elimination is to follow an integrated pest management (IPM) principle that includes monitoring, using a combination of several treatment methods, follow-up evaluation of the results, and re-treatment until elimination. After treatment, bed bug numbers become small and more difficult to find. To avoid premature termination of treatment, use a combination of visual inspection and bed bug monitors to detect bed bugs and confirm if bed bugs are indeed eliminated. Stop treatment only when you cannot find bed bugs after using the abovementioned methods for a month. When more than a few apartments are infested in a multi-unit dwelling, a buildingwide approach will be necessary and will most likely require the experience of a pest management professional.
Photo credits: Figure 2, Richard Cooper; Figure 6, Karen Vail from University of Tennessee; All other figures, Changlu Wang.
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