Dealing with bed bugs in the home can be an unsettling experience. The good news is that bed bugs are a manageable pest! Control will require time, patience, and a well thought out plan.

picture of a house with a yardThe first step in managing a pest infestation is to have the pest properly identified. This is critical for bed bugs! There are many other insects that can be mistaken for bed bugs. Having the pest identified by a trained professional maximizes the chances of successfully getting rid of the pest.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) recommends consulting with a pest control professional if you are concerned that you have bed bugs in your home. A professional can conduct a thorough inspection of your home and discuss which treatment option is most appropriate.

Pest control services for bed bugs can be very expensive. While there are some “DIY” steps that can be taken to address the problem on your own, it is important to realize that these steps may not take care of the bed bug problem entirely. However, these steps can reduce the number of bugs in the home in a short amount of time. “DIY” steps to consider include:

  1. Clean and Declutter: Unnecessary clutter such as boxes and knick-knacks can be excellent hiding places for bed bugs, so eliminate these items as much as possible.
    • Bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty home! Anyone can get bed bugs. Cleaning and decluttering regularly will make it easier to spot areas where bed bugs are hiding.
  2. Vacuum: Manually removing bed bugs and the eggs with a vacuum is a good way to get a large number of bugs out quickly. It may seem like an inefficient approach, but every bed bug you can pick up with the vacuum is one less bug that can reproduce in your home!
  3. Laundry: For clothing, bedding, and other items that can be laundered, wash and then dry on high heat for 20-30 minutes. Once dry, pack away in sealed plastic bags or containers with lids to keep bed bugs out!
  4. Encasements: You can purchase bed bug encasements for your mattresses and box springs. The mattress and box spring must be encased separately. Encasements can be used to prevent an infestation of your mattress or box spring, or they can be used as a way to salvage your items after they have become infested.
    • Read the label! Make sure to purchase an encasement that is specifically labeled for bed bugs. These are made of special material that bed bugs cannot bite through.
    • Ensure that encasements do not become ripped or torn. Openings in the encasement can allow bed bugs to get in or out of the encasement.
  5. Monitoring: Bed bug monitors can be used to help you identify areas of concern. There are a variety of monitor types available, but the most common is the interceptor style. For more information about bed bug monitors, refer to the following:

If you are a tenant:
Notify your landlord of your bed bug concerns right away. Bed bug treatment may be up to the tenant or the landlord. More information may be available in the terms of your lease agreement. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has developed a booklet about landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities. This booklet can be viewed by visiting:

For more information about handling bed bugs in your home, please refer to the following resources: