Bed bugs are insects that feed on human blood and typically reside in small crevices, such as between mattresses, box springs, and other parts of the bed. Bed bugs can cause a variety of issues, from skin rashes to allergic reactions. In this article, we’ll help you learn more about the cost of DIY and professional bed bug extermination and provide tips on preventing future bed bug infestations. Keep in mind, a pest control company might be your best line of defense.
Signs and Causes of a Bed Bug Infestation
While most people think bed bugs are isolated to dirty hotel rooms, these pests can easily find their way to other places, including your home. Typically, bed bugs are carried from an infested area to your home by hitching a ride on your luggage, purse, backpack, or other personal item. These pests can also travel from one room to another in multi-unit buildings like apartments or condos.
Similar to ticks, spotting bed bugs is difficult because of their small size and ability to hide in cracks and crevices. The signs of a bed bug infestation are different from the signs of a flea infestation. Here are a few things to look for on your bed if you suspect you have bed bugs:
- Blood stains on sheets and pillowcases
- Black or dark brown spots along mattress seams or bed frame slats
- Small eggshell-colored skins along your mattress
- Pungent odor akin to the smell of rotten raspberries
Another sign of bed bugs is small red bumps across your skin. These bites are usually congregated in exposed areas of the body, such as the neck, hands, shoulders, and legs. While some people don’t develop any symptoms after experiencing a bed bug bite, others can have severe reactions that cause fevers or blisters.
Average Bed Bug Exterminator Cost
Individuals can expect to pay between $300 and $5,000 for bed bug extermination, with the average cost of $1,750. The average price of bed bug extermination is more expensive than other treatments like flea extermination because of how long these pests can live without food.
Bed bugs can live up to 400 days without a food source, which is why it’s important to have regular pest control inspections after an initial bed bug treatment. These inspections cost less than the initial bed bug treatment, between $100 and $150 per inspection. If more bed bugs are detected, your pest control provider may need to apply another round of treatment.
Factors That Affect Bed Bug Extermination Pricing
The cost of bed bug extermination is influenced by multiple factors, including the number of infested rooms, type of treatment, infestation level, and treatment frequency.
|Number of Rooms||Average Cost|
The cost of bed bug extermination fluctuates depending on the number of rooms that are affected. For example, it’s cheaper to exterminate bed bugs in a single room than it is for whole-home treatment.
|Treatment||Cost per Square Foot||Pros||Cons|
|Heat||$1–$3||Heat treatment kills bed bugs at all stages of life without chemical use||Items susceptible to heat damage must be removed before treatment|
|Chemicals||$2–$4.50||Combines a variety of chemicals that reach every part of the room to kill bed bugs||Certain chemicals may be hazardous to pets|
|Steam||$2–$7.50||Chemical-free treatment that penetrates infested surfaces better than other methods||Several treatments may be needed to completely eradicate bed bugs|
|Freeze||$3–$6||Chemical-free treatment that’s safer for surfaces that can’t tolerate heat||Occasionally, bed bugs are blown away instead of killed on contact|
|Fumigation||$4–$8||Kills 99% of bed bugs and pests in an area||Can be harmful to pets and people if applied incorrectly|
There are many ways for a professional to exterminate bed bugs in your home, each ranging in cost and effectiveness. Your exterminator will select the type of method that’s right for your home based on your budget and infestation level. Here are the costs associated with each available treatment method and their pros and cons.
|Level of Infestation||Cost|
The cost of exterminating a bed bug infestation depends on its severity, with the price of removing a few bed bugs being less costly than removing them from a whole home. Below is an estimate of how your bed bug infestation level impacts the overall cost of bed bug treatment.
|Level of Infestation||Cost|
If your home has a severe infestation, your bed bug exterminator may have to schedule a series of inspections and treatments for a few months. Below are cost estimates based on how often a pest control specialist has to come to your home.
DIY Bed Bug Removal vs. Using an Exterminator
There are benefits to both DIY and professional bed bug removal, which you can review below.
DIY Bed Bug Removal
There are a few DIY bed bug removal remedies that can address an infestation. If you think you only have a few bed bugs, you can vacuum your bedding, mattress, and surrounding bed frame. Additionally, you’ll want to vacuum the surrounding areas, getting between every crack and crevice. This removes any live bed bugs and sucks up any eggs or larvae.
In addition to vacuuming, you can try washing and drying your bedding on high heat. This will kill bed bugs living on the material.
While these DIY methods can address an immediate bed bug issue, the larger problem may not be addressed. A pest control company will be able to look at your unique infestation and recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Using an Exterminator
Here are a few things you can expect from a bed bug exterminator:
- Infestation inspection with a recommendation for a detailed treatment plan
- Specific treatments based on your infestation level, budget, and home layout
- Post-treatment bed bug inspections and additional treatment applications, if necessary
- Recommendations on how to avoid a future bed bug problem
Hiring a bed bug specialist will help you address your issue in a timely and effective manner while giving you peace of mind that your problem is under control.
Here are a few things to consider when hiring a bed bug exterminator:
- Are they licensed and insured? It’s important to hire a bed bug exterminator that’s licensed and insured. Each state has its own licensing requirements, which ensure that a professional has the proper knowledge to handle pest control equipment and chemicals. Additionally, insured pest control companies keep you protected should an accident occur in your home.
- Which extermination methods do they use? The professional treatment method an exterminator uses impacts your treatment plan and its overall cost. Understanding your provider’s treatment methods is also important for preparing your home, whether that be by removing furniture or pets.
- Do they offer pet-friendly treatment options? If you have pets and are worried about a potentially harmful bed bug treatment, ask your provider if they offer pet-friendly treatment options. These treatments are usually chemical-free and pose few safety risks.
How to Avoid Future Bed Bug Infestations
Here are a few ways to prevent bed bug infestations:
- Check second-hand furniture, such as used couches or mattresses, for signs of bed bugs before bringing them home.
- Use a protective cover that encases your mattress to prevent bed bugs from reaching hidden folds or corners.
- Vacuum your home frequently to eliminate any lingering bed bugs.
- If you use a shared laundry facility, transport your clothes in a plastic bag to prevent pests from crawling inside. Additionally, remove clothes from the dryer immediately and fold the load at home.
- Inspect your hotel mattress, carpentry, curtains, and surrounding area for signs of bed bugs before unpacking your clothes.
- Wash clothes and luggage immediately after traveling to eliminate any bed bugs that may have come home with you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bed Bug Extermination
How much does a mattress cover cost?
Mattress covers help protect against bed bugs. Most basic mattress covers cost around $20, though a complete set of covers may cost more for your box spring and mattress.
Can I get rid of bed bugs on my own?
While it’s possible to address your bed bug infestation by vacuuming the area and washing your linens, most DIY methods are temporary solutions. To completely address a bed bug issue, it’s best to call a pest control expert.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are wingless and have flat, oval-shaped bodies that are brownish-red in color. They are usually only about a quarter-inch long or about the size of an apple seed.
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