Best Management Practices for Bed
- Introduction and Purpose
- Business Practices
- Service Agreements
- Technician and Sales Staff Training
- Client Education
- Disposal of Beds, Furniture, Possesions
- Client Cooperation and Treatment Preparations
- Bed Bug Detection
- Bed Bug Scent Detection Canine Teams
- Integrated Pest Management and Methods of Control
- Surrounding Areas
- Post-Treatment Evaluation
- Health and Safety of Technicians
- Health and Safety of Customers
1. Introduction and Purpose
The resurgence of bed bugs has created significant concern in
the pest management industry and in society overall. Controlling,
let alone eradicating, this pest is extremely difficult. To help
industry professionals control bed bugs effectively, responsibly
and safely, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has
created Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs, guidelines
developed by industry professionals, regulators, academics, and
entomologists. The following information has been excerpted from
that document to help consumers understand what they should expect
in working with trained pest management professionals for problems
associated with bed bugs. For a complete copy of the NPMA's Best
Management Practices for Bed Bugs, visit www.npmapestworld.org. Bed bugs CAN be treated
but proper management will involve an effective partnership with
the pest professional and the customer.
2. Business Practices
- 2.1. When providing bed bug service, pest management firms
- 2.1.1. Practice fairness and honesty in all advertising and
transactions with customers and the general public.
- 2.1.2. Maintain a high level of moral responsibility,
character, and business integrity.
- 2.2. Pest management firms shall provide bed bug services
safely and efficiently in keeping with NPMA's best management
- 2.3. Pest management firms shall strive to remain current on
the rapidly evolving technology of managing bed bugs.
- 2.4. Pest management firms should only initiate treatment when
evidence of bed bug infestation has been confirmed, unless in the
opinion of a trained and qualified pest management professional,
treatment is warranted due to circumstances such as proximity to an
infested room, complaints about bites, or other customer
- 2.5. Pest management firms should confirm the location and
extent of the infestation and provide the following information to
the client before beginning service:
- 2.5.1. The cost of service, including fees for additional
services if necessary.
- 2.5.2. The kind of service to expect (number of visits, length
of time until successful control).
- 2.5.3. Details of the service, including information about
tools, methods and tactics to be used.
- 2.5.4. The preparation required by the client or tenant.
- 2.5.5. Realistic expectations, including obstacles to success
such as lack of client cooperation, the potential for bed bug
reintroduction following treatment, etc.
3. Service Agreements
- 3.1. A pest management firm should use a service agreement
designed specifically for bed bugs, or attach an addendum to a
standard service agreement that addresses specific bed bug
- 3.2. In addition to the typical wording found in standard
service agreements, the bed bug service agreement should include
the following information:
- 3.2.1. A proposed schedule for completion of services.
- 3.2.2. A description of the service that will be provided and
the specific areas to be serviced.
- 3.2.3. A description of the customer's responsibilities,
including preparations for service and obligations to keep the site
in a condition that does not promote future bed bug
- 3.2.4. Limitations of liability (except for gross negligence)
for damages from bed bug bites, disease, injuries, contamination,
property damage, loss of income, etc.
- 3.2.5. Exclusions for damages for replacement of mattresses,
furniture, bedding, clothing, and other infested items.
- 3.2.6. Exclusions for damages expenses for bed bug bites and
other health-related issues
- 3.3. Many service agreement issues are unique to bed bug
service (difficult pest to control, probability of reinfestation,
need for cooperation, etc.).
- 3.3.1. All service agreement wording related to bed bugs should
be prepared or reviewed by an attorney familiar with the critical
factors associated with bed bug service.
- 3.3.2. All documents should be consistent with best management
practices and in compliance with any state and local laws and
regulations specific to structural pest control and bed bugs.
- 4.1. A pest management firm providing bed bug service needs to
maintain good records. (A full list of guidance on recordkeeping
can be found in the full version of these Best Management
5. Technician and Sales Staff Training
- 5.1. All pest management firm representatives who may encounter
bed bugs or be asked about bed bugs need basic training or advanced
training, depending on the work done with the company.
(Recommendations for the type of training necessary can be found in
the full version of these Best Management Practices.)
6. Client Education
- 6.1. A pest management firm providing bed bug service should
educate their clients and prospects to ensure that expectations are
- 6.2. A pest management firm providing bed bug service should
educate its customers and prospects on the following issues:
- 6.2.1. Basic identification, biology and habits of bed
- 6.2.2. Why bed bug infestations are difficult to detect and to
- 6.2.3. Techniques for bed bug prevention
- 6.2.4. Specific actions that might be required from the
customer or resident such as:
- 22.214.171.124. Providing access and authorization for service
- 126.96.36.199. Reducing clutter, laundering clothing, making repairs,
- 6.3. Education should start during the initial contact with a
customer about bed bugs, and should continue throughout the process
using tools such as:
- 6.3.1. Verbal communications
- 6.3.2. Handouts, including videos
- 6.3.3. Website information
- 6.3.4. Meetings
- 6.3.5. Staff training sessions
- 6.3.6. Status reports on services performed and next steps
- 6.4. For commercial establishments, PMPs should recommend that
- 6.4.1. Inform occupants of the surrounding units that a
neighboring unit has bed bugs.
- 6.4.2. Educate the occupants about bed bugs including
recognition and prevention.
- 6.4.3. Install mattress and box spring encasements.
- 6.4.4. Allow follow-up inspections of surrounding units until
bed bugs have been eliminated.
7. Disposal of Beds, Furniture, Possesions
- 7.1. Disposal of beds, furniture, clothing, and other items
because they are infested with bed bugs should generally be
discouraged in residential situations and should be evaluated on a
- 7.1.1. Disposal of infested items does not guarantee bed bug
- 7.1.2. Disposal of these items can result in a serious
financial burden for residents, particularly in lower income
- 7.1.3. Replacement items may become infested if brought into a
room prior to control of the infestation.
- 7.1.4. Disposal may result in spread of bed bugs to new
- 7.2. Mattress, box spring, and furniture encasements can be a
cost-effective alternative to disposal.
- 7.3. Some customers will prefer to dispose of infested items
even after assurance that they can be successfully treated.
- 7.4 Hotels and other sensitive sites may prefer to dispose of
all bed bug-infested furniture to avoid negative public
- 7.4. When disposal of infested materials is necessary, steps
should be taken to minimize the likelihood of spreading bed bugs in
accordance with applicable laws or ordinances for discarding bed
- 7.4.1. Items that are badly damaged and deteriorated may not
justify the effort and expense to treat them and should be
- 7.4.2. Visible or readily accessible bed bugs should be
eliminated by vacuuming, steaming, freezing, insecticide treatment
or other methods.
- 7.4.3. Prior to removal from the infested area, mattresses, box
springs, and furniture should be sealed in plastic to trap bed bugs
- 7.4.4. If left for pick-up, furniture should be labeled as
bed-bug infested, and then damaged to render it unsalvageable.
- 7.4.5. Disposal should be coordinated with trash pick-up, or
items should be taken directly to a disposal site.
8. Client Cooperation and Treatment Preparations
- 8.1. Cooperation from residents and their guests - and in
commercial facilities - staff and management is critical for
success when controlling bed bugs. When agreeing to provide a bed
bug service, a pest management firm should clearly delineate the
preparations that the customer must make and the preparations that
the pest management firm will perform.
- 8.1.1. Typical failures of cooperation include lack of
preparation or lack of access to infested and adjacent rooms, or
failure to follow IPM recommendations to eliminate conditions
conducive to infestation.
- 8.1.2. Preparation recommendations vary based on company
protocol and treatment type or methods.
- 188.8.131.52. Some pest management firms require the client or
resident to prepare infested rooms by performing tasks such as:
stripping the bed, emptying closets, dressers and nightstands,
bagging and cleaning clothes and linens, vacuuming and reducing
clutter. The client should be educated about how to avoid
translocating bed bugs during the preparation process.
- 184.108.40.206. Some pest management firms have determined that their
technicians should do some or all of the preparation to minimize
the risk of translocating bed bugs or disturbing populations prior
- 220.127.116.11. Whole-room heat and fumigation treatments require all
belongings and furnishings to be left in place, however additional
treatment-specific preparation is required.
- 8.2. Any treatment preparations should be appropriate to the
type of site being treated (single family home, multi-family
housing, hotel/motel, etc.).
- 8.3. Treatment preparation instructions should be communicated,
before the technician arrives to perform the service.
- 8.4. Involvement from property owners, hotel managers, office
managers, and other responsible parties is essential and includes:
- 8.4.1. Communicating with tenants, clients, employees,
- 8.4.2. Allowing inspection and treatment (as needed) of
- 8.4.3. Permitting adequate follow-up services.
- 8.4.4. Correcting structural deficiencies that may contribute
to bed bug problems such as loose molding, peeling wallpaper,
- 8.4.5. Instituting housekeeping practices to prevent or reduce
the spread of bed bugs.
- 8.4.6. Educating staff on prevention and control of bed
9. Bed Bug Detection
- 9.1. Before providing bed bug control service, a pest
professional will determine whether treatment is necessary based on
a careful inspection and the needs and concerns of the client.
- 9.2. When a live bed bug or viable eggs cannot be located
during an inspection, the technician should make further effort to
confirm the infestation through a more aggressive inspection or
other methods that have proven effective for bed bug detection.
- 9.2.1. Live bed bugs are evidence of an infestation, but
sometimes are difficult to observe in low-level infestations.
- 9.2.2. Intact, unhatched bed bug eggs are evidence of an active
bed bug infestation.
- 9.2.3. Bed bug cast skins, bed bug fecal staining on sheets,
and fecal staining near typical harborage sites may be considered
evidence of an active infestation if the area has not been
- 9.2.4. Some clients may elect to have an area treated based on
reports of bites or the proximity of other infested areas, even if
visual evidence of infestation cannot be confirmed.
- 9.3. The presence of bites or assurances by residents that bed
bugs are present should be considered carefully.
- 9.3.1. It is not possible to tell from an apparent bite if it
was caused by a bed bug. Bite reactions vary, and bites from other
insects may have similar appearance to those of bed bugs.
- 9.3.2. Skin infections and conditions can also look like insect
- 9.3.3. Technicians must confirm that the pest is the bed bug,
Cimex lectularius, and not any of the closely related bugs that
infest bats and birds, which require different control
- 9.4. In addition to visual inspection, supplemental information
may be useful including:
- 9.4.1. Reviewing pest control records for a building to track
previous bed bug complaints, confirmed infestations and prior bed
bug treatments or services.
- 9.4.2. Speaking with building owners, occupants, and staff
about the history of bed bug problems at the site.
- 9.4.3. In residential accounts, determining where people sleep
and rest outside of the bedrooms.
- 9.4.4. In large buildings, mapping infested rooms to identify
trends and determine the extent of the infestation.
- 9.5. A powerful flashlight is an important inspection tool.
Other inspection tools may be useful to allow the pest management
professional to access hidden or partially inaccessible critical
areas. Optional tools may include:
- 9.5.1. Screwdrivers, pliers, pry bar, multi-tool, crescent
wrench, staple gun
- 9.5.2. Hand lens or other magnifier
- 9.5.3. An inspection (mechanic's) mirror
- 9.5.4. Gloves and knee pads
- 9.5.5. Forceps, 70% alcohol and containers or vials for
- 9.6. Bed bug inspections will vary in complexity depending on:
- 9.6.1. The site (private home, apartment unit, hotel, office,
- 9.6.2. The purpose of the inspection:
- 18.104.22.168. Confirming an infestation
- 22.214.171.124. Identifying all infested areas to determine treatment
- 126.96.36.199. Verifying that an infestation has been eliminated
- 9.6.3. The extent of the infestation (low-level infestations
are typically more difficult and time consuming to inspect than are
widespread, heavy infestations).
- 9.7. An initial bed bug inspection should include at a minimum:
- 9.7.1. Carefully inspecting sheets, pillowcases, and other bed
linens, mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards by
checking all seams, piping, straps, and other hiding places for
live bed bugs, cast skins, fecal staining, and eggs.
- 9.7.2. Looking for evidence of bed bugs in cracks, crevices,
and other typical bed bug hiding places near the beds, and areas
where people have reported seeing bed bugs or being bitten.
- 9.8. In addition to the tasks above, inspections may include,
depending on the site, and if necessary such things as:
- 9.8.1. Inspecting inside and underneath furniture, including
the removal of drawers from dressers and other items.
- 9.8.2. Inspecting behind pictures, wall hangings, and
- 9.8.3. Lifting the edge of carpeting and inspecting behind
baseboards in suspected areas.
- 9.8.4. Inspecting for bed bugs on, under, and inside
- 9.8.5. Further investigation of any site where bed bug fecal
material is observed.
- 9.9. Bed bug inspection should include areas outside of
bedrooms where people spend time resting.
- 9.9.1. In commercial settings, depending on the extent of the
infestation, inspections may be expanded to other areas which may
- 188.8.131.52. Laundry carts, laundry rooms, janitorial closets, and
- 184.108.40.206. Common areas such as recreation rooms, break rooms,
social centers, lounges, and waiting rooms where people
- 9.9.2. Obtain authorization to inspect rooms or apartment units
next door, above, and below, the infested room(s).
- 9.9.3. In residential settings:
- 220.127.116.11. Inspect hallways, closets, storage boxes, pet
beds/cages, desks, and other areas that may harbor bed bugs.
- 18.104.22.168. Inspect the living room, family room, and other
- 9.10. The goals of a comprehensive bed bug inspection should
- 9.10.1. To determine if treatment is necessary or
- 9.10.2. To identify special considerations such as the presence
of ill residents, pets, or young children.
- 9.10.3. To determine the best methods of control and estimate
the amount of labor that will be needed.
- 9.11. The use of bed bug monitoring devices may not be
practical in all situations.
- 9.11.1. Monitoring tools detect bed bug activity over time
(days or weeks).
- 9.11.2. Monitoring tools may be useful for confirming that a
site has bed bugs, but the failure to trap a bed bug does not mean
that there is not an infestation.
- 9.11.3. The type of site, room or configuration of bed frames
and other furniture may limit the usefulness of monitoring
- 9.12. Monitoring devices may include passive, active or moat
- 9.12.1. Moat-style traps intercept bed bugs between their
harborage areas and their host. Moat-style traps are typically
placed under the legs of beds and other furniture to capture bed
bugs moving up or down the legs and can also be placed adjacent to
furniture where infestations are suspected.
- 22.214.171.124. Because moat traps only capture bed bugs traveling in
their immediate area, a lack of bed bugs in these devices should
not be construed to mean that there is not an infestation.
- 126.96.36.199. Effectiveness of moat-style traps may be limited by
the architecture of the furniture or other factors.
- 9.12.2. Active monitoring devices typically use heat, carbon
dioxide, or chemical attractants to lure and capture bed bugs.
- 188.8.131.52. Use of most of these devices is limited by their cost
and service requirements, and is typically restricted to high-risk
- 9.12.3. Passive traps catch insects that accidentally encounter
the trap and include traditional sticky traps as well as other
traps specifically designed for bed bug monitoring
- 184.108.40.206. Sticky traps have a low level of effectiveness but
may catch bed bugs if placed in enough locations.
- 220.127.116.11. Because of their low efficiency, a lack of bed bugs
in sticky traps should not be construed to mean that there is not
- 9.13. Monitoring devices should be inspected periodically to
evaluate bed bug populations.
10. Bed Bug Scent Detection Canine Teams
- 10.1. Bed bug infestations can be detected by specially trained
bed bug scent detection canine teams. Because of their abilities,
bed bug detection canine teams can be particularly useful in the
- 10.1.1. When bed bugs are suspected but no live bugs or viable
eggs can be found through visual inspection.
- 10.1.2. For building-wide comprehensive inspections to locate
all infested rooms.
- 10.1.3. In non-bedroom sites such as offices, theaters,
schools, public transportation and other unconventional areas.
- 10.1.4. As an additional method to confirm that bed bugs have
been successfully controlled or are not present.
- 10.2. At a minimum, bed bug detection canine teams must be able
to detect live bed bugs and viable eggs.
- 10.3. Canine detection teams should be certified.
- 10.3.1. Certification demonstrates the canine team's competence
by an independent, third-party.
- 10.3.2. Certification confirms the ability of the team to
locate live bed bugs and viable eggs in real world
- 10.3.3. Certification confirms the canine team's ability to
differentiate live bed bugs and eggs from other odors in
- 10.4. Canine handlers should inform the client of the canine
team's certification status.
- 10.5. Canine handlers should be trained in bed bug biology,
behavior, inspection methods and identification.
- 10.6. Effective bed bug detection canine teams must be well
trained and their training must be kept up-to-date.
- 10.7. Distractors should be employed as part of the canine
teams' ongoing training program.
- 10.8. Prior to making a treatment, the canine handler or a pest
management professional should attempt to confirm the canine alert
- 10.8.1. Visually inspecting the area to confirm the presence of
an active infestation, or
- 10.8.2. Utilizing a second canine team, or,
- 10.8.3. In some situations, the client may elect to have the
room(s) treated without secondary confirmation.
- 10.9. When a scent detection canine team is used for bed bug
detection, it shall be performed by a canine team that holds a
current, independent, third party certification in accordance with
the guidelines outlined in the Minimum Standards for Canine Bed Bug
Detection Team Certification. The Minimum Standards for Canine Bed
Bug Detection Team Certification is contained in Appendix A of
these best practices.
11. Integrated Pest Management and Methods of Control
- 11.1. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as it relates to bed
bugs includes all or most of the following:
- 11.1.1. Educating and communicating with all affected parties
on the biology and habits of bed bugs, their prevention and
- 11.1.2. Making recommendations to residents about reducing
clutter, laundering of clothing and bed linens, and other
- 11.1.3. Making recommendations to property managers about
sealing cracks and crevices, correcting structural deficiencies,
making mechanical alterations or modifying architecture to prevent
or reduce the likelihood of infestation.
- 11.1.4. Emphasizing inspection as part of the management
- 18.104.22.168. The use of nonchemical tools, strategies and
technologies as well as insecticides to kill bed bugs where they
hide and travel.
- 11.2. A bed bug management program should-
- 11.2.1. Physically remove or kill visible and accessible bed
bugs and their eggs, either immediately or though residual
- 11.2.2. Continue the service plan until the infestation is
- 11.3. Multiple methods of control are available to the pest
management professional, multiple methods may be combined to
achieve control including:
- 11.3.1 Vacuuming
- 22.214.171.124. Physical removal of a large numbers of bed bugs can
quickly reduce population in heavy infestations.
- 126.96.36.199. Vacuuming will cause the area to appear less infested
when bed bug debris has been removed and it will be easier to
identify new activity.
- 188.8.131.52. Vacuum recommendations:
- 184.108.40.206.1. Consider using a high-powered vacuum designed for
pest control, outfitted with a HEPA filter.
- 220.127.116.11.2. Use a crevice tool for corners, edges, seams,
cracks, and crevices.
- 18.104.22.168.3. Scrape the tool along the surface to dislodge bed
bugs and eggs.
- 22.214.171.124.4. Vacuum upholstered furniture, the floor under and
around the bed and furniture, along the baseboards, and anywhere
fecal material is observed.
- 126.96.36.199. Be careful not to accidentally spread bugs to other
sites or locations via the vacuum.
- 188.8.131.52.1 Discard vacuum bags inside a sealed plastic
- 184.108.40.206.2 Check brushes and filters for live bugs or
- 220.127.116.11. Vacuums alone will not eliminate every bed bug.
- 18.104.22.168.1 . Bed bugs will be located in inaccessible
- 22.214.171.124.2. Bed bugs can hold tight to rough surfaces and
- 126.96.36.199.3. Vacuuming provides no residual effect.
- 11.3.2. Steam treatment
- 188.8.131.52. Steam can kill all stages of bed bugs when
temperatures reach critical levels as outlined in Appendix B
- 184.108.40.206. The use of a commercial-grade "dry steam" unit can be
a useful tool for bed bug control.
- 220.127.116.11. When steaming, follow these procedures:
- 18.104.22.168.1. Place the steamer head in direct contact with the
- 22.214.171.124.2. Move the head slowly across the surface (about 1
foot every 10-15 seconds).
- 126.96.36.199.3. Apply steam treatments to areas where live bed bugs
or eggs have been observed and critical areas where bed bugs are
- 188.8.131.52.4. Pull out furniture drawers and steam inside, then
turn over and steam underneath.
- 184.108.40.206.5. Steam potential harborage sites where you see bed
bug fecal material.
- 220.127.116.11. When in doubt about the risk of heat or moisture
damage, first steam an inconspicuous area and then check for
damage. Avoid steaming heat-sensitive items such as:
- 18.104.22.168.1. Leather, acrylic, vinyl, linen
- 22.214.171.124.2. Painted surfaces
- 126.96.36.199.3. Finished wood, laminated wood, or simulated wood
- 188.8.131.52.4. Plastic
- 184.108.40.206.5. Wallpaper and other glued surfaces
- 220.127.116.11.6. Electronics
- 18.104.22.168. Instruct the customer to allow mattresses and
furniture to completely dry before covering with linens or
- 11.3.3. Heat Treatments
- 22.214.171.124. Heat treatment can be used to treat and control bed
- 126.96.36.199.1. A whole structure.
- 188.8.131.52.2. An apartment unit, a room, or a portion of a
- 184.108.40.206.3. A compartment containing furniture and
- 220.127.116.11. Heat treatments typically provide more flexibility
for use in cluttered environments than traditional pesticide
- 18.104.22.168. Research and understand applicable fire codes, and
local ordinances regarding the use of portable heaters, fire
suppression systems and other heat treatment related concerns.
- 22.214.171.124. Only equipment designed and tested for use as an
insect control device should be used for whole room bed bug
- 126.96.36.199. Heat equipment should be carefully inspected before
use to ensure that it is in proper working order and no foreseeable
fire hazards exist.
- 188.8.131.52. When conducting whole room heat treatment ensure that
the equipment has the capacity to raise and hold the temperature in
the treated area to a level lethal to bed bugs.
- 184.108.40.206.1. Ensure, through the use of heat sensors, that bed
bug harborage areas are raised to a lethal temperature and held for
a sufficient period of time to kill all bed bugs and eggs.
- 220.127.116.11.2. Because some areas are insulated, or slower to
heat, sensors should be placed in areas that ensure that the core
temperature of the treated item reaches lethal levels for a
sufficient period of time.
- 18.104.22.168.3. Ambient air temperature should be monitored to
avoid damage to heat sensitive items.
- 22.214.171.124.4. Recommended temperature and exposure periods are
provided in Appendix B.
- 126.96.36.199. Heat treatment can be limited by these factors:
- 188.8.131.52.1. Insulated areas where it is difficult to raise the
temperature to levels sufficient to achieve complete kill.
- 184.108.40.206.2. Poor air flow in a room or container resulting in
- 220.127.116.11.3. Poorly insulated rooms or containers during cold
- 18.104.22.168.4. Construction features that may contribute to heat
loss or insulated cold spots.
- 22.214.171.124.5. The possible ability of bed bugs to move out of
heated areas in whole room treatments.
- 126.96.36.199.6. Potential heat damage to certain materials,
including the risk of activating automatic fire suppression systems
(sprinklers). Care should be taken to safeguard these materials and
- 188.8.131.52. For whole room heat treatment, the preventive use of
insecticide in walls and under carpet edges, prior to treatment,
may complement treatment by killing bugs attempting to move away
from the heat.
- 184.108.40.206. Containerized heat treatment can be used to
supplement traditional bed bug service by killing bed bugs and eggs
in items that are difficult to treat by using other methods.
- 220.127.116.11.1. Typical items to be heat treated include beds,
furniture, personal possessions, clothing, shoes, and
- 18.104.22.168.2. Various enclosures can be used including trucks,
trailers, shipping containers, storage pods, specially designed
self-contained heating units, or tarps.
- 11.3.4. Mattress and Box Spring Encasements
- 22.214.171.124. Mattress and box spring encasements can be a useful
tool for bed bug control.
- 126.96.36.199. Encasements create a barrier to bed bug movement in
and out of the mattress, box spring, and pillows, by trapping and
starving bed bugs inside.
- 188.8.131.52. Encasements make subsequent inspection easier because
bed bugs are more visible on the encasement by eliminating
harborage areas in the box spring and mattress.
- 184.108.40.206. Not all encasements protect against bed bugs; only
use those demonstrated as being "bed bug-proof," "bite-proof," and
- 220.127.116.11. Encasements allow residents to salvage an infested
bed rather than dispose of it.
- 18.104.22.168. Before encasements are installed, a pest control
professional should vacuum, steam or treat the mattress and box
spring to remove and kill as many bugs as possible.
- 11.3.5. Cold "Freeze" Treatments
- 22.214.171.124. Freeze treatments use extreme low temperatures to
kill bed bugs and eggs on contact.
- 126.96.36.199. Freeze treatments can be applied to most surfaces and
so may be beneficial in treating bed bug-infested items that
otherwise are difficult to treat including toys, plastics, books,
and other items.
- 188.8.131.52. This technology leaves no residual and is used
primarily for killing bed bugs and eggs on contact.
- 11.3.6. Fumigation
- 184.108.40.206. Both whole structure and chamber fumigation are
effective methods of controlling all bed bug life stages.
- 220.127.116.11. Fumigation is a specialized treatment method, not all
pest management firms perform fumigation services.
- 12.1. Technicians shall always read and follow all label
instructions when applying insecticides and follow all instructions
on the label including:
- 12.1.1. Special instructions related to bed bugs, including
whether and how the product can be applied to beds and furniture
and in living areas.
- 12.1.2. Specific instructions as to how much time must pass
before reapplication, keeping in mind that alternative products may
be used, if necessary, in the interim.
- 12.2. Choose products that have been shown to be effective in
published research, as discussed in pest control meetings, from
your own experiences and that of other pest management
- 12.3. Choose products labeled for the target site.
- 12.4. If acceptable results are not obtained, consider using
alternative products, formulations, or non-chemical methods.
- 12.5. Apply insecticides to places where bed bugs hide, travel
and deposit eggs, carefully adhering to all label
- 12.6. Typical treatment sites are places where bed bugs hide,
or are suspected including, but not limited to the following:
- 12.6.1. Bed frames, particularly cracks, crevices, holes, and
wherever two surfaces join together.
- 12.6.2. Mattresses and box springs.
- 18.104.22.168. Some pest management firms have policies that
prohibit the treatment of mattresses and/or box springs
- 12.6.3. Other furniture
- 22.214.171.124. Treat cracks, crevices, voids, drawer slides, and the
undersides of horizontal surfaces.
- 126.96.36.199. Treat under cushions, behind skirting, in seams,
underneath and inside voids in upholstered furniture.
- 12.6.4. Cracks and crevices near infested areas along
baseboards, crown moldings, window and door frames, as well as nail
holes, damaged walls, chipped paint, etc.
- 12.6.5. Under carpet edges, tack strips of wall-to-wall
carpeting, cracks and seams in hardwood floors, etc. near infested
- 12.6.6. Inside receptacles and switch plates, light fixtures,
wire runs and pipe runs near infested areas.
- 12.6.7. In severe infestations, treatment sites may include
inside wall voids of infested rooms, drapes, ceiling/wall
intersections, drop ceilings over beds, and many sites too numerous
- 12.6.8. In hotels, treatment sites often include service carts,
laundry carts, and luggage racks.
- 12.7. Access to treatment sites may require removing carpets,
molding, baseboards, wallpaper, and other major actions.
13. Surrounding Areas
- 13.1. Bed bugs commonly spread from infested areas into new
locations by moving from room to room, through pipe runs and wall
voids, along electrical wires, and through other connections
- 13.2. In apartments, condominiums, hotels, and other multi-unit
buildings, when a unit is discovered to have bed bugs, the
surrounding units should be included in the service or inspection
- 13.2.1. One or more of these surrounding units-
- 188.8.131.52. May have been infested by bed bugs that have traveled
from the unit with a confirmed bed bug infestation.
- 184.108.40.206. May be the originating source of the bed bugs.
- 13.2.2. Surrounding units include adjacent units beside and
directly above and below.
- 13.2.3. Failure to inspect surrounding units, and to service
any surrounding units found to have bed bugs, increases the risk
- 220.127.116.11. Reinfestation of the original unit.
- 18.104.22.168. The bed bug infestation spreading further through the
14. Post-Treatment Evaluation
- 14.1. Multiple service visits may be required to eliminate bed
bug infestations. The reasons include, but are not limited to:
- 14.1.1. Some bed bug harborage areas may be missed during
- 14.1.2. Any eggs not destroyed may hatch and subsequent nymphs
may not be controlled by residual material.
- 14.1.3. Bed bugs may escape treatment inside protected
- 14.1.4. Insecticide resistance.
- 14.1.5. Insecticides with poor residual effects.
- 14.2. Success in bed bug service is generally declared when no
new evidence of bed bugs can be found and verified.
- 14.3. Because of the cryptic nature of bed bugs, it is
difficult to be 100% sure that all bed bugs and eggs have been
- 14.4. PMPs should base their schedule of follow-up inspections
on the treatment process they use. Follow-up services may include:
- 14.4.1. Interviewing occupants and staff to see if there has
been any recent activity (bites, new bed bug fecal stains on
sheets, visual sightings, etc.).
- 14.4.2. Inspection of treated rooms and adjacent areas
- 14.5. The appearance of new evidence of bed bugs after a series
of service visits does not necessarily indicate a service failure:
the new bed bugs might be re-introductions from other infested
- 14.6. Document all actions to demonstrate that the pest
management firm has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the bed
bugs have been eliminated, and highlight any problems encountered
(lack of cooperation, structural problems, conducive conditions
that have not been corrected).
15. Health and Safety of Technicians
- 15.1. Technicians should be trained in recognizing the health
and safety concerns associated with inspecting and treating for bed
bugs. (A full list of guidance on the Health and Safety of
Technicians can be found in the full version of these Best
16. Health and Safety of Customers
- 16.1. Bed bug service often involves the use of insecticides.
Before any insecticide application, speak to the occupants to
determine if anyone might have health concerns that would be cause
for concern if pesticides were used.
- 16.1.1. If the client has specific health concerns with regard
to insecticide treatment, recommend that they consult with a
physician prior to treatment. In these cases, it is advised that
treatments be made in accordance with a physician's
- 16.2. Reduce all occupants' risk of insecticide exposure by
advising them which areas have been treated and by informing them
when they can re-enter the treated room and what special
precautions should be followed.
- 16.3. Technicians should reduce the risk of insecticide
exposure to pets by advising occupants to keep pets out of
treatment areas as directed by pesticide label directions.
Appendix A- Minimum Standards for Canine Bed Bug Scent Detection Team Certification
- 1.1. Alert - A characteristic change in canine behavior in
response to an odor, as interpreted by the handler.
- 1.2. Canine Team - A human and working canine that train and
work together as an operational unit.
- 1.3. Distractor- Non-target odor sources placed within a search
- 1.4. Extract - odor extracted from an actual insect.
- 1.5. Handler - The trained person who works with the
- 1.6. Hide -A container that allows free movement of air
containing between five (5) and twenty (20) live bed bugs or viable
- 1.7. Pseudo-scent - Man-made compound that mimics the target
2. Purpose of Certification
- 2.1. To demonstrate the canine team's ability to perform an
accurate search for live bed bugs and viable eggs.
- 2.2. To demonstrate the handler's ability to accurately
interpret the canine's changes in behavior and final response
associated with bed bug odor.
3. General Guidelines
- 3.1. Only canine teams are certified under these guidelines,
canines or handlers alone do not qualify for certification.
- 3.2. Canine team certifications are valid for one year, at
which time certification is required again.
- 3.3. Certification does not relieve the canine team from the
obligation to perform and document regular maintenance training and
conduct periodic assessments to maintain high levels of operational
- 3.4. Handler is responsible for describing to the evaluator the
specific kind of passive or active alert that is expected from the
- 3.5. Pseudo-scents and extracts are prohibited for
4. Testing Guidelines
- 4.1. Certification tests should be designed to accurately
evaluate the ability of a canine team to perform as trained.
- 4.2. Testing must take place under field conditions where bed
bugs may be found.
- 4.3. Tests should consist of a minimum of four (4) areas
designed to restrict odors from moving between areas.
- 4.4. Each area described in 4.3 should contain at least one
distractor or hide.
- 4.4.1. Evaluator must place hides in the testing rooms at least
thirty (30) minutes before testing begins.
- 4.4.2. Distractors should represent of the typical odors
encountered (under field conditions) by canine teams in the
region(s) the team operates.
- 4.4.3. When dead bedbugs are used as a distractor, the bugs
must have been dead for at least forty-eight (48) hours.
- 4.5. Time Limit
- 4.5.1. Time limit for completion of test (all rooms) is twenty
(20) minutes of total search time.
- 4.5.2. Time spent between rooms is not counted toward total
- 4.6. Evaluation
- 4.6.1. Certification tests will result in a grade of pass or
- 22.214.171.124. Handler will interpret the canine's response by
identifying the specific location of the hide.
- 126.96.36.199. There are multiple combinations of outcomes that may
result from the certification test. These are described in
|Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs
||Interprets Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs
|Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs
||Does Not Confirm Presence of Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs
|Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs
||Interprets Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs
|Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs
||Does Not Confirm Presence of Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs
||Interprets Odor as Other Odor
||Incorrectly Identifies Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs
||Incorrectly Identifies Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs
||Interprets Odor as Other Odor
- 4.6.3. To achieve a passing grade for certification:
- 188.8.131.52. Test outcome must result in pass (as described in
4.6.2) in all rooms
- 184.108.40.206. One false alert is allowed, however it cannot be on a
- 4.6.4. Mistreatment of canines during the testing process will
result in failing score
- 5.1. A minimum of two (2) people must conduct each
certification test, one of whom shall meet the credentials outlined
in Section 5.2.
- 5.2. Each evaluator will have a minimum of five (5) years
experience (total) in scent canine handling and evaluation in one
or more of the following fields:
- 5.2.1. Law enforcement
- 5.2.2. Government agency
- 5.2.3. Military
- 5.2.4. Other comparable and verifiable experience canine scent
detection training or evaluation.
- 5.3. Evaluators may not be the canine's current or former
- 5.4. Evaluators may not have any conflict of interest with
regard to the canine, handler or handler's business.
6. Certification Organizations
- 6.1 Pest management firms should avoid conflict of interest
when choosing a certification organization.
- 6.2 Certification organizations may have requirements that are
stricter than those outlined in these standards.
Appendix B- Recommended Temperature and Exposure Periods for Bed Bug Control (A)
1. Temperature and Exposure Periods
|Temperature/ Exposure Time
Required to Kill All Bed Bug Stages*
|113 F (45 C)
|118 F (48 C)
|122 F (50 C)
||< 1 minute
*Note:Recommendations refer to temperatures at bed bug
harborage areas, not ambient air temperatures.
For steam treatments surface temperatures should reach 160 -
180º F (71 - 82º C) to ensure that surface temperatures rapidly
exceed 122º F (50º C).B
A Kells, S.A. and M.J.
Goblirsch. 2011. Temperature and Time Requirements for Controlling
Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) under Commercial Heat
Treatment Conditions Insects 2(3): 412-422.
B Reference: 2010. Kells, S.A. Control
of Bed Bugs in Residences: Information for Pest Control
Companies. University of Minnesota Fact Sheet, St. Paul, MN.