Start Here

by nobugsonme on January 18, 2007 · 33 comments

If you’re new to Bedbugger, please start by looking at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and find out how to get rid of bed bugs or how to avoid them.

Look at the photos of bed bugs and signs of bed bugs so you know what to look for, or compare your skin problem to the photos of bed bug bites.

See items on the useful stuff page which you might use in your fight against bed bugs.

If you want to tell your story about a bed bug problem you have right now, or you want to ask questions about dealing with bed bugs, register, go to the forums, and post there.

You can also email me at nobugsonme at yahoo dot com: make sure you let me know if it’s okay to post your question on the blog, and what nickname to use for you (I won’t include your email address). I regret that I cannot always give a personal reply to emails, due to the volume of email received.

If you fought bed bugs and won, please share your success story, to inspire others. You can see the latest Success Stories post, and add your comments, here.

Before you comment or post, please make sure you understand the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.


{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ellie Engler February 5, 2007 at 8:53 am

The United Federation of Teachers represents more than 100,000 staff working in more than 1400 buildings where there are more than 1.2 million students in school We have received many reports of bedbugs and follow the NYC Health Department Protocol, the bedbug is bagged (not easy to find them), sent to the health department for confirmation and then the Board of Education will address the problem.

This process takes time and our staff and parents are very upset. We believe that the Board of Education believes that this is not a school problem because the bugs come from home.

Any advice?

2 nobugsonme February 5, 2007 at 10:00 pm

Ellie, I moved your question to a new post, since most people who aren’t newcomers don’t read the FAQs.
Click here to be redirected.

3 Joe Cascone February 19, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Please contact me regarding bed bugs xxxxxxx. I am in the Chicago area. I would prefer to talk to someone over email. Thanks Joe

4 nobugsonme February 19, 2007 at 1:38 pm

I’m sorry, for a number of reasons, not knowing you, I can’t allow your phone number to be listed. (It might, for example, be someone else’s phone number.)
Also, I run this site in my free time. Nobody here is being paid, and in fact, running the site costs me something. So I can’t email everyone who has a question. I hope you understand.
If you have questions, please post them to the comments on the message that appears at the top here. Lots of us would be glad to help, and you do not have to give personal information.

5 frank morell February 21, 2007 at 3:49 pm

I’m a professional exterminator, fully license and very experience in BED BUGS, I’ve done 100’s of bed bug services in apt buidings,Hotels.This is such a time consuming and detailed work that I came to a conclusion that an exterminator has to dedicate his entire day or time to get the problem under control, Alot of companies cannot compromise thier entire day if needed towards the problem specifically due to thier overwhelming scheduale, but yes It can be done, A thorough inspection is an absolute I use pesticides but I also use mechanical removal as well such High pressure steamers, vacuums, not only I killed the beggurs I sanitize the areas where bugs were found, with multiple followups if needed. I no longer work for a company but started my own specifically dealing only in Bed Bugs, this is the only way of erradicating these bugs.I’m looking for challenges any questions feel free to contact me

6 Bugalina February 21, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Frank..What city do you treat in? There are differing opinons about the use of steam. Do you steam the bedding and floors? On average, honestly please I beg of you, How many treatments does it usually take to get rid of them. People need hope, but they also need truth and reality. Some exterminators say one treatment and I think that’s just not being honest….I appreciate your response…Deb

7 bag lady March 6, 2007 at 12:01 pm

i’m concerned about my dog…more like i’m concerned about my dog being food for the bugs so even if i isolate my bed, wash and bag everything i own, spray pesticides, they will survive by feeding on him, and eventually me again. do i have to get rid of him?

8 nobugsonme March 6, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Hi bag lady,
please repost your question (or any others) according to these directions–you’ll get more advice in our other thread than here on the FAQs.
My short answer is no–don’t get rid of your dog. You should have a PCO doing some major treatment. Some people don’t isolate the bed for this very reason, it is not mandatory.

9 nobugsonme March 21, 2007 at 6:07 am

Some comments were lost in the site migration. Here they are:

APilot // Mar 20th 2007 at 6:12 pm wrote:

This is from a letter I’m writing for my union publication. Any feed back.

“What do wheals and papules have to do with my career in Aviation? “Nothing,” I thought until I came for from a trip with an overnight in my “home away from home”–a layover hotel in Orlando with three strange red spots on my body. The next day I went to the doctor. My computer savvy husband headed off to the Internet.

My doctor (in Colorado) identified them a “some kind of insect” bites. Puzzled as to why I was bitten more than once, he subscribed an antibiotic and wished me luck. My husband had a more successful afternoon. He discovered that there is a pandemic of bed bugs in hotels in NY and most Border States. My marks resembled the bites and later two of those became aggravated into very worse form- an infected papule.
A wheal is simply a term for a raised up mark on the sick, a papule is described as “a small inflamed elevation of skin that is nonsuppurative as in chicken pox.” Nonsuppurative means not filled with fluid (i.e. pus). This development occurs to those who are allergic-, allergies that can develop if a person is bitten on a regular basis.

One of the first sets of bites, which were treated with only antibiotics, grew to the size of a half dollar and was about a half an inch thick. The center turned dark black and grew to the size of a match head; finally it oozed a little clear pus before starting to heal. It was three full weeks before the swelling was gone and a large scar remains.

One month later I was back in the Orlando hotel (management had “assured” me the problem was handled and my room was clean). Unfortunately I had not really searched a hotel room thoroughly before. Unsure whither the 12 or so specks of black and brown stuff I picked out of the mattress pad and box spring were normal, I slept there again. This time I wore full pajamas, tucked in at my socks and waist. I was rewarded for my experimentation with a bite just under my armpit that showed up the very next day. (The bugs probably crawled in through the neck hole.)

For those who are squeamish- skip on ahead, because the following paragraph may contain more than you really want to read. Over the next two weeks, ten much smaller bites could be identified. The prominent bite swelled up painfully. In spite of treatment with ice and over the counter pain medicine, it grew to the point were I couldn’t sleep and needed to call off a trip to see the doctor. This time I took with me an Internet recommended treatment- the steroid cream Mizaondoec, which purportedly helps by constricting capillaries and reducing the spreading of the toxins. The cream on the papule caused it to flow about teaspoons of yellow puss, beginning its recovery. However its effect on the lesser bites was to seal off the bites from the surface of the skin. A week later, two of these had swollen to a very painful half dollar size. Ultimately they had to be treated with both antibiotics and lancing. Surgical scissors were needed to break up the congealed areas for drainage. Then they were packed with sterile tape to keep them from closing off before the infection could be healed.

But my nightmare didn’t end there. A ten-day stretch of time off confirmed my worse fears. I was now getting bitten on a regular basis in my own bed. These bites were small and not very numerous but consistent, leading me to suspect may a lone hitch hiking egg had hatched. The eggs of a bed bug are the size of a dust mote, white and sticky, and the female lays about three a night. Although it would be possible to inadvertently trap a beg in some early show predawn packing, it is more likely end up carrying an egg

To get rid of our new houseguest we laundered all the bedding in hot water. We sealed the box spring and mattress in covers. And purchased a new comforter and pillows. We put bed bug powder poison on the frame and around the foot of the bed. This took two tries but finally the nibbling stopped.

During this time my husband never noticed any bites. Although the Internet said that bed bugs are equal opportunity bitters, our personal experience didn’t reflex this. Even if you believe you are not allergic or at risk there are few simple things you can do to protect your family. I now shut my suitcase at night never put any of my things between the hotel walls and the beds. Also I wash my layover clothing separately, and store my flight bag in the laundry when not in use.

On the road I check the bed by lifting up the bottom sheet and any box spring cover. I collect any black specks found on white paper. Thanks to another bed big experience in the Tampa, if there are more than four specks, a new room is requested. The majority of the beds will not have a single speck. Lately, if there are more than two specks I use Off insecticide on my clothes and exposed skin, which seems to be working.


WantMySkinBack // Mar 20th 2007 at 9:10 pm (edit)

Wow. That was quite a post. I wish you luck.

nobugsonme // Mar 20th 2007 at 10:35 pm (edit)

APilot, if you want feedback, I will quote this in a post. You’ll get more feedback there!
Click here.

10 Chris November 8, 2007 at 1:27 am

I would just like to share a Landlords experience with bedbugs. As with everything else, the landlord is often seen as the cause of the problem or the impediment to the solution. I hope i can bring some parity to the discussion.

I first encountered bedbugs almost simultaneously in 2 different buildings 18 months ago. The first was a low income high turnover multi family in a lower class neighborhood. The second was a very nice multi family in a very wealthy neighborhood. In both cases someone trash picked a mattress and then ignored the problem until there was a full infestation of multiple units.

In my experience I am powerless in controlling bedbugs if my tenants do not protect themselves. I give them basic recommendations like mattress covers, vaseline on the bed feet, isolating bed linens if a bite is detected etc… I also start a 4 week program of extermination using several different sprays and dusts. In extreme cases I seal the apartment envelope with caulk and foam glue.

I have responsible tenants who are living well despite repeated outbreaks because they are taking precautions. And of course I have people who prefer to blame me and scream and yell about my dirty apartments.

In every case where I have emptied a building and treated it for a month and sealed the apartment envelopes I have not had a recurrence of bedbugs until they are reintroduced by another tenant. In one case merely emptying the two effected units and sealing them up while treating them has apparently been effective.

I am trying to gently make the point that a responsible landlord can help you eliminate bedbugs, but it is unfair to place the entire financial burden on the owner. PCO’s typically quote me 1300-1500 per unit per year to guarantee elimination. That is more than the profit on an average unit in a year. Add to this the fact that none of my properties started out with bedbugs, they were introduced by careless or uninformed tenants.

I will continue to do my best, but we now have a dozen buildings where there are confirmed or suspected bedbug outbreaks. I cannot maintain enough employees to cover normal maintenance and weekly exterminations. I cannot afford to pay a PCO to treat 20 units every week or even every month.

It all comes down to personal responsibility. The very first tenant who identified a bed bug is still with me and is living bed bug free in a building which still has a bad infestation. He took the advice to heart and has protected himself. His neighbor has only taken the most rudimentary precautions and only after I paid for mattress covers, and of course he still has adult bugs visible on his mattress during daylight hours….its all my fault because i wont spray his bed. In the last 18 months i have seen dozens of people run away from bedbugs and move out….very likely taking bugs or eggs with them. Its sad, but there is little I can do to stop it.



11 hopelessnomo November 8, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Add to this the fact that none of my properties started out with bedbugs, they were introduced by careless or uninformed tenants.


Although you have seemingly not yet thought through the logic behind your argument, I hope you can grasp that writing a post here bluntly blaming your tenants in an attempt to explain how unfair your situation is and how you are not to blame is a bit of a rhetorical misstep. You should reconsider that approach next time you make your case in a public forum.

I am not unsympathetic to your problems, however.

I suggest you write to your elected officials and the health department of your city or town as they are in a position to actually do something to help you. Landlords will need assistance to battle this epidemic. And such assistance must begin with a public education campaign. You can also organize informational sessions for your tenants. There are PCOs and entomologists who would welcome the opportunity to help you with that.

12 nobugsonme November 8, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Most people who read our website are the kind that will go out of their way to cooperate in getting rid of bed bugs. Some time on the forums would likely convince you of this.

When a fellow tenant brings in an infested mattress, or does not cooperate with prep and treatment, the other tenants are victims of that behavior, just like you. But they’re also at the mercy of what the owner is willing to do to help them.

I agree with hopelessnomo that public education (including on a building- or community-wide basis, until the government actually does something large-scale) is a way to help keep this from happening, and to help make it go away in your buildings. And I also agree that lobbying the government for assistance for homeowners and landlords is crucial (we have said this many times).

Landlords can’t afford to properly treat bed bugs, but that does not mean tenants should have to live with them.

I’d be happy to discuss this at greater length, but the forums might be a more appropriate place.

13 James Buggles November 8, 2007 at 7:44 pm

CG, you’re right — everyone has to live somewhere, which means that lots of jerks rent apartments. When you say “very nice multi family in a very wealthy neighborhood” what does that mean? Why would a person of means trash pick a mattress? What would a one bedroom in that building cost?

14 bob November 21, 2007 at 2:08 am

I have an educational poster to help teach the general public how to inspect for Bedbugs. I designed this poster for Motels and other business that have rooms for rent. You can view this poster on
Thank You

15 Michael Smith November 25, 2007 at 2:03 pm

How long can a bed bug live without feeding? Also, I recently stayed at the Westin in New York at Times Square and now have bed bugs. Has anyone else stayed there and had a similiar problem? Please let me know any answers to my questions, Thanks, Michael

16 nobugsonme November 26, 2007 at 2:05 am

We have heard bed bugs can live as long as 18 months without feeding.

17 Anne, Bldg. Manager November 28, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Also, I am a building mgr. of low-income senior apts. After having bedbugs in several of the 57 units, since Jly, 2007, I am seeing that although we are spending alot of $$ to have the units treated, the tenants are the ones not reporting the bugs ASAP, or trying to not let anyone know!!! I think they fear being outcast by other tenants…
It is really a big problem to educate every tenant, and then also to expect them to do the appropriate work necessary to eliminate the problem. Many do not even own vacuum cleaners, so we are providing them to them. Several residents cannot read, so printed materials are of limited assistance. This is really a major problem.

I would hesitate to contact the health dept. as they may insist on bigger $$ treatments, or threaten to shut-down the building. These issues seem to be prevalent in many cases, I am sure. Any further recommendations would be appreciated.

18 nyjammin November 28, 2007 at 7:07 pm

Can you relocate the tenants temporarily and the vikane gas the whole building? It may not be possible in the type of temperatures we are getting. I believe that it has to be 40 degrees and above throughout the treatment. Also, for the people who cannot read. Maybe someone from management can go to each apartment and explain what bbs are, give them papers on what they look like (different stages), bites, bloodstains, etc. and try to educate through talking to them. Tell them they must report it to management if they suspect any bbs and that any reports will be kept at the utmost confidential level. Or….

Have a mandatory meeting that every tenant needs to attend. Hold 2 or 3 meeting if possible to accomodate scheduling conflicts of each tenant and at each meeting educate the tenants describing how to spot bbs, show them photos (rent a projector if you have to), what procedures they need to follow, etc. Follow up by a question and answer session and again, tell them that they must report bbs to management and that confidentiality will be set. Tell them that your management company will answer any questions when and if they ever have them.

19 David November 30, 2007 at 5:41 am

I currently have an infestation in London. Therefore have done a fair bit of research and am concerned that professionals emphasize treatment with toxic chemicals (also expensive) rather than taking preventative measures. Two intresting points are that the more chemicals are used the more the bugs become resistant to them; secondly in order to develope to each of the six stages before becoming adult the bugs have to eat. Also they have to eat to lay eggs. There are numerous sites that discuss ways to protect yourself such as vaseline on bed legs, caulking ALL cracks, double sided tapes to make barriers, diatomaceous earth etc.. If they don’t eat they don’t survive. Therefore protect your bed where they come to eat, get rid of cracks etc where they can nest (nearly always in the bedroom) and they will eventually die. It is as simple as that. Persevere and you will win the battle.

20 hopelessnomo November 30, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Hi David,

Do you mean Frank? There is a link to Frank’s blog on the sidebar. I personally have learned a lot from Frank and always refer people to his site.

I hope you will post again once you have eradicated your bedbugs using this strategy.

There are a couple of problems that I can see, and I’m not speaking to your case specifically since I have insufficient details, but in general:

–in multi-unit dwellings, the infestation may spread, or may already have reached your apartment from adjacent units that need to be inspected and treated. Not inspecting and not treating affected units in a multi-unit building can spell disaster for you and your neighbors. The bugs may return again and again. Self-treating, without advising your landlord or building manager of your problem, can backfire, as well as, of course, be unfair to your neighbors. If you are in a single-family detached dwelling, then you need not worry about your infestation spreading or returning from untreated locations.

–self-treating with exclusion and DE only may not work. A lot depends on the individual skills of those who choose this method and the size of the infestation. Some people have difficulty even isolating their bed successfully, much less doing the rest.

So, for these two reasons, I always recommend professional treatments. True, most PCOs use pesticides exclusively. And those pesticides, at least in the US, do not work well. But, so far, alternative methods are simply not yet available on a wide scale here. Thermal, freezing and ozone strategies cannot be deployed in every type of dwelling. Or are not available in some locations. Even steam treatments are not widely available.

I hope this changes quickly. We need safe alternatives that can be deployed widely and cost-effectively. We need this like yesterday.

Good luck with your own efforts. Again, please come back to tell us if you are successful.

(And there are FAQs here about isolating the bed and using DE.)

21 ohsoitchy December 6, 2007 at 11:18 am

I was wondering if there is a way to keep the infestation at bay and the numbers down without doing a full scale erradication least for a couple months (2 and a half). The reason I ask is that I am going into an exam period which will leave me completely stressed out and exhausted as is and I don’t think I can handle doing everything right now to get rid of them, though I don’t want to get eaten alive.

Also have the same problem as some others here as I am living in a foreign country and don’t have access to many products, and i don’t have a drier either….so can washing on 90*C work for washing sheets and comforters, without the drying? And I have another problem…the reason I got them I am pretty sure…is that I am required to do night shifts at my school’s clinic, and I strongly suspect the beds there are infested…and knowing my school they will not bother to do anything about it, so I will probably just wind up bringing them home again right?

22 nobugsonme December 7, 2007 at 12:14 am


I am sorry for your bed bugs and for their bad timing.

Here’s the deal: they multiply exponentially. We don’t know how many bed bugs you have, and you probably don’t either. They are hard to see so seeing any at all is a bad sign.

While it is seriously inconvenient to deal with them now, you must do it. There are probably some people whose line of work is to spray for pests, and you need to find one. The good news is that many countries have less stringent pesticide laws than the US–your pest control people may have an easier time of it than the rest of us. Ask them about prep. Some PCOs outside North America and parts of Europe may not be into that side of things. But they likely have an approach that works for them.

If a comforter is infested it can be hard to kill bed bugs even with a dryer or with dry cleaning. That might be a loss. But you should be able to wash your clothing as hot as possible and dry it (preferably not in your home). All you can do is what you can do, but there is evidence that the hot wash alone will do a lot for clothing and sheets. Again, pillows, comforters, anything thick may be a problem.

If the clinic beds are infested, this must be dealt with. I cannot imagine a health facility not making a serious effort to get rid of bed bugs.

If the clinic has trouble eliminating them, there are still steps you can take to minimize bringing them home again and again (read the travel faqs–FAQs button in top menu–and come to the forums if you have further questions–Forums button on top right sidebar).

In my opinion, though, doing nothing is not an option.

23 Bistec January 31, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Hello, I have bed bugs for a month now… I live in a house in NYC and I need a good PCO…anyone has any recommendations. Also should I buy sterifab

24 nobugsonme January 31, 2008 at 10:14 pm

HI Bistec,
Please repost your query in the forums:

You can also use the search box there to look for NYC PCO in the forums.
Your login works there too.

25 loubugs February 8, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Hi Bob (November 21st, 2007 at 2:08 am)

I’m sorry I didn’t read posts on this subject earlier and your reference to your poster. It’s a nice poster (from what I can see of the thumbnails), but I would pay more attention to the nymphal stages since these are small, esp. the first instar, and are easily overlooked by the homeowner or custodial staff. Obviously the egg stage is another that is often overlooked. There may be more immature stages than adult stages in an infested area or people may find more immatures but have a search image of a red/brown 1/4 inch long insect and therefore overlook tiny, pale-colored ones. The smallest have to be be differentiated from booklice that could be collected from the suspected apt, room, home or workplace.

26 ladyindistress February 13, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Hi, could anyone recommend a good treatment company in London? Thank you!

27 nobugsonme February 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm


We don’t normally recommend PCOs outright, but in London, I would call David Cain of http:://

If you have further questions, please come to the Bedbugger forums:

28 Dave October 24, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Yes, stayed at the Westin NY Times Square Oct 16, 2008, room 4108 and I’m still suffering from the effects of a severe bed bug episode.

29 very mad November 8, 2008 at 2:15 pm

This is the 3rd week I have been dealing with bed bugs. There are 6 of us and the only one who gets bitten is me. The bugs only bite the left side of my body, and it bites me even during the day, when I’m not home. This f***ing bugs are destroying my life, I can’t go to sleep i feel like they’re crawling on me, during the day the itching is unbearable, therefore i have band-aid on all bites which makes me look like i was beaten up. Because of this bug i don’t want to be close with those i love, they might get infected. Usually i’m really bubbly and energetic but now you just see me scratching myself constantly. I don’t know what to do, and seems like it takes time and money to get rid of them. and i don’t have both of them. I guess i’m just gonna sleep outside in the woods. Please help I’m depressed and mad.

30 nobugsonme November 9, 2008 at 2:31 am

Hi very mad,

Please come to the forums if you want more support or suggestions. Lots of us can understand how you’re feeling. Click here:

31 Beth September 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hello. My niece and I just stayed in a nice 3 star hotel sunday night. I did my usual bed bug check on the sheets, mattress and boxspring and found nothing. However we discovered reddish brown specks, almost like dirt or pencil eraser shavings between two pillows on the cases. It brushed off easily. Against my better judgement we stayed in the room. Could these have been signs of bedbugs? Wud they normally be on pillows like that? I have no visible bites and neither does she but I’m paranoid of bedbugs and have felt itchy off and on. How soon do symptoms appear?

32 nobugsonme September 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

HI Beth,

To answer your question, “reddish brown specks, almost like dirt or pencil eraser shavings” which rub off easily do not sound like signs of bed bugs. See this FAQ for photos of bed bugs and their signs.

We have a FAQ in our Travel FAQs listing steps to take if you think you’ve been exposed to bed bugs. However, keep in mind that just thinking you’ve been around bed bugs can make many of us quite itchy. I get that way reading articles about them.

If you have additional questions, please come to our active user forums.

Leave a Comment

Your name will be displayed. People with bed bugs may wish to use a pseudonym.

{ 1 trackback }