When you have an infestation of bed bugs (Figure 1), bleach should not be used as a control method. Bleach can be harmful to people if not used carefully, and it will not work effectively to completely eradicate bed bugs from your home. Other common household products, such as boric acid dust or alcohol, are also not solutions to a bed bug problem. Control without a pest management specialist can be difficult to handle because bed bugs live on your bed, within wall outlets, around baseboards, and between dresser drawers; however, there are a few approaches you can try yourself.
Figure 1. An adult bed bug, Cimex lectularius, feeding. Photograph by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida.
The best approach to a bed bug infestation is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which combines various control methods. There are many non-chemical treatment options. Vacuuming carpets and furniture physically removes bed bugs. Washing bedding, drapery, and clothing and drying at a high temperature will help reduce the bed bug population. Bed bug-proof cases for your pillows, mattress, and box spring will act as a deterrent.
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This guest post co-authored by Shari Linn, a member of the UF/IFAS Gillett-Kaufman Lab.