Basic Bed Bug DOs and DON'Ts

If you think you have bed bugs, read these basic DOs and DON’Ts and the specific bedbug control DOs and DON’Ts before you do anything else.  There are lots of things that seem like logical actions to take, but will make your situation worse.

Don’t assume you have bed bugs.

Bed bug bites are not that different from many other insect bites and just because you think you are getting bug bites in bed, that doesn't mean its bed bugs.  Many don’t react to bites right away. So waking up itchy may be symptom of bed bugs, but is certainly not proof. Bites alone are never enough to diagnose a bed bug infestation.

Do inspect for signs of bedbugs.

Familiarize yourself with the common signs of a bed bug infestation, and then get busy inspecting the places where bed bugs hide most often. If you can’t find visual evidence, try some of these methods of detecting bed bugs. Need help making a positive ID? Check out the bed bug picture gallery.

Don’t ignore the problem.

If you have bed bugs, the problem is simply not going to go away on its own. Left untreated, a bedbug infestation can get pretty serious, very fast.  The longer you live in denial or try to ignore them, the more difficult it will be to get rid of them.

Do keep examples of bugs that you find.

Some people can tell from pictures like these whether or not what they are dealing with is bedbugs. Some people need a little more help. Keep examples of the bugs you find and have them properly identified by a professional if necessary.  Read more about how to collect bed bug samples and where you can send them for a positive ID here. They will also come in handy for making a bed bug report to hotel managers and/or landlords.

Don’t Panic!

Bed bugs are annoying but not dangerous.  Anyone can get them at any time, so they are not a reflection of you or your standard of living.  They are difficult to get rid of but it can be done.  The key is to take your time to learn the right approach. Don’t jump the gun and make mistakes that will just prolong your suffering.  

Do get educated – then make a battle plan.

For starters, read all the way through this list and the specific bed bug control DOs and DON’Ts. Then, make sure you understand the different treatment options and the IPM approach to getting rid of bed bugs. Make a plan before you start. You can learn more about bed bug pest control strategies here. Always do your homework and follow directions. Read the label before using a product and make sure you understand what it can and cannot do as well as the safety risks and how to use it properly. 

Don’t isolate.

 Reach out and connect with others that are going through the same thing.  You may not feel comfortable telling your neighbors and friends what’s happening, but you still need a safe place to unload your fears and frustrations, as well as find hope and support. I recommend the forums at

Do post your infestation on the bed bug registry.

Okay, this one is more of “I really encourage you to” than a “must do”.  I recognize this is an intensely personal choice.  Some people choose not to report bed bugs for reasons of personal privacy and because of the stigma that still exists.  If it makes you feel any better, as of this writing, around 20,000 other people have reported bed bug infestations at the Bed Bug Registry.  Regardless of whether or not you choose to post your issue, this website is a tremendously valuable resource, especially if you are planning to travel.

Definitely Read the Specific Bed Bug Control DOs and DON'Ts

Don't be one of those people that makes their situation worse by taking action without learning the facts first. You'll find the two things you absolutely MUST NOT DO in special call-out boxes on the bed bug control DOs and DON'Ts page.  Seriously, take a moment to read it.  You'll thank me later...

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