IQ-tips: Bed Bugs


The New York Times had a long, interesting story on the resurgence of bed bugs in NYC earlier this week. Having suffered through my own ordeal with them some years ago, I know what a horrendous nuisance they can be, and my sympthathies are with those dealing now.

The bed bug doesn't care if you pay $500 a month for a small studio in Queens or $5000 a month for a two-bedroom on the Upper West Side. All are susceptible. And though the Times did an excellent job covering the story, aside from recommending you find a professional exterminator (which you should), they didn't offer much by way of tips for damage control and management on your own.

So, after the jump, you'll find some handy IQ-tips, courtesy of the good folk over at (see, even Canadians aren't immune...) -- also check out this great, humorous blog on the subject, bedbugger and stay far, far away from youth hostels...

Infested bedding and garments will need to be bagged and laundered (120°F minimum), or discarded since these items cannot be treated with insecticides. Smaller items that cannot be laundered can sometimes be de-infested by heating. Individual items, for example, can be wrapped in plastic and placed in a hot, sunny location for at least a few days (the 120°F minimum target temperature should be monitored in the centermost location with a thermometer). Bedbugs also succumb to cold temperatures below freezing, but the chilling period must be maintained for at least two weeks. Attempts to rid an entire home or apartment of bed bugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be entirely unsuccessful. Vacuuming can be very useful for removing bugs and eggs from mattresses, carpet, walls, and other surfaces. Pay particular attention to seams, tufts and edges of mattresses and box springs, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Afterward, dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag. Steam cleaning of carpets is also helpful for killing bugs and eggs that vacuuming may have missed. Repair cracks in plaster and glue down loosened wallpaper to eliminate bed bug harborage sites. Remove and destroy wild animal roosts and bird nests when possible. When dealing with an infestation, Mr. Cooper, the pest-control technical director, recommends that washable fabrics be laundered in a home machine on the hot cycle, in 140-degree water. Other clothes and linens can be dry-cleaned.