How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On A Tight Budget In 2022

This is a life-saving guide for you if you’ve got bed bugs and you can’t afford a bed bug exterminator.

This guide has resources, tips, methods that pros use, and information on how to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget, without hiring a professional pest control company.

Plus, you’ll also find out the methods that you should never use when you’re getting rid of bed bugs naturally. Those methods make the infestation worse.

And a lot more. Keep reading to end the bed bug problem.

Why Is Bed Bug Treatment So Expensive?

Bed bug treatment is the most expensive pest control treatment that you can ever pay for. 

Termite fumigation comes a close second. But given the nature of bed bug infestation, bed bug control can create a big hole in your pocket. 

So, what makes bed bug treatment so costly? 

There are three reasons for it –

  1. Inspection costs
  2. Treatment costs
  3. Follow-up costs

All these costs add up to make bed bug treatment an expensive affair. 

It all begins with a home inspection. The exterminator comes to your home and determines the severity of the infestation. 

The pest management professional finds out where the bed bugs are hiding and estimates how many bed bugs are in your home per square foot. 

Bed bugs are experts at hiding in the thinnest of gaps and cracks in your bed, wall, floor, and furniture.

And they can even sneak inside the gaps around the electrical sockets.

Places like dresser drawers, cars, carpets, and couches can also have bed bugs.

And surprisingly, your baby’s car seat can also have bed bugs.

The professional can also bring in dogs to sniff out the bed bugs. This type of inspection is known as canine inspection. 

So, determining where bed bugs are hiding and how intense the infestation is needs expert and experienced personnel. 

Then comes the treatment costs. 

Bed bug treatments demand the usage of specific machinery like heat propagators and specialized pesticides that only licensed professionals can use.

Bed bugs have developed immunity to standard sprays and insecticide dust that you’d typically use to get rid of them. 

Those are ineffective, especially when the infestation is severe. 

And depending on the severity of the infestation, your home might need both pesticide and heat treatment. 

This type of combo treatment is known as IPM or integrated pest management in the pest control world.

Also, the treatment costs depend on the size of your home. 

The bigger your house or apartment is, the higher the cost.

And finally, there are follow-up visits. 

Exterminators will revisit your home multiple times after the treatment to check how successful the treatment was.

Bed bug treatment isn’t like you do it once, and it’s over. Bed bugs take time to die.

And they can show up days or weeks after the treatment

And if the follow-up visits haven’t been thorough, the bed bug infestations can resurface. 

So, given the complexity of bed bug infestation, can you get rid of bed bugs on your own?

Yes, you can. But there’s a catch. 

The infestation must be at the early or intermediate stages. 

If the bed bug infestation is severe, then DIY or natural ways of getting rid of bed bugs will fail. 

Also, you’ll need to make informed choices in choosing the right pesticide sprays for eliminating bed bugs in your home. 

Below are average costs of bed bug treatment that well known companies charge. The prices range from treatment costs of one room to an entire two-three bedroom house or apartment.

Company NameAverage Bed Bug Removal CostsGuarantee Period
Orkin$400 – $300030-day
Terminix$500 – $350030 days – 90 days
Ehrlich$650 – $300030 days
Arrow$500 – $400030 days
ThermaPureMinimum $2000At least 180 days
Average Bed Bug Treatment Cost

There are cheap local bed bug exterminators that you can find near you that are a bit cheaper than these established pest control companies.

Before hiring them, you’ll need to ask the relevant questions to vet the local bed bug exterminators.

But you can get rid of bed bugs cheaply by yourself by spending not more than $550. Below is the run down of things that you’ll need to get rid of bed bugs from your home.

Things That You’ll Need To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs If You Can’t Afford An Exterminator

  1. Steam cleaner ($150)
  2. Diatomaceous earth ($10)
  3. Crossfire bed bug killer concentrate ($40)
  4. Bed bug-proof mattress encasement ($55)
  5. Bed bug interceptors ($28)
  6. Silicone-based sealants ($7)
  7. Vacuum cleaner
  8. Plastic bags
  9. Sprayer – 1 Gallon ($15)
  10. Bed bug heater ($220)

The prices in the bracket aren’t exact. They’re ball park figures to give you a rough idea on how much you’ll need to spend.

So, on average, you’ll need to spend $525 to eliminate bed bugs in your home by yourself if your finances are tight. 

Suppose you’ve got a steam cleaner in your home. Then you don’t need to buy one.

Also, the size of your home will determine how much bed bug killer concentrate you’ll need. 

A 13-ounce bed bug killer concentrate is good enough for a two-bedroom home when you mix it with a gallon of water. However, if your home is big, you’ll need to buy more. 

Vacuum cleaners and plastic bags are everyday household items. So, their prices are not present in the cost calculation. 

Let’s move on to the first step to eliminate bed bugs, which is to find where bed bugs are hiding.

Finding Places Where Bed Bugs Hide

Places Where Bed Bugs Hide

When you get bed bug bites while asleep, it’s evident that bed bugs hide in your bed. 

But there are other hiding places where bed bugs hide during the day.

These places include any thin gaps and cracks on walls, floors, ceilings, headboards, baseboards, and electrical outlets. 

Soft furnishings like the bed mattress, pillow cover, carpet, rug, couch, and cushions of accent chairs are also hiding places where bed bugs hide. 

So, you’ll need to inspect these places and look for signs of bed bugs. 

Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation

Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bug infestation takes time to manifest. But an active bed bug infestation has signs that become visible over time.

In your bed mattress and bedsheets, you’ll notice live bed bugs and bed bug poop in the form of tiny red spots on the bed linen.

In the cracks and gaps, there will be bed bug shells, baby bed bugs, live bed bugs, bed bug eggs, and even dead bed bugs

However, the most prominent sign of bed bugs you can never miss is bed bug bites.

Bed bug bites can appear on any part of your body. They’ll bite you on the exposed skin while you’re asleep. 

Some of these signs can be hard to spot. So, you might need a torch light and a magnifying glass while looking for them.

Also, you’ll need a thin piece of paper or card to insert in the gaps.

Pull out the card from the crevices.

You’ll notice things like bed bug shells, dead bed bugs, and bed bug eggs stuck with the card. 

How To Prepare Your Room For Bed Bugs

How to prepare your room for bed bugs

Before starting bed bug treatment, you must prepare your room for bed bugs. 

Preparing your room ensures that you zero in on the bed bugs’ hiding places and don’t allow the bed bugs to spread.

Prepare your bedroom for bed bugs by taking out small things like toys, copies, vases, etc., and putting them in a plastic bag. 

Remove curtains and drapes. It’ll be best to put them in plastic bags and seal the bags

Keep the sealed plastic bags outside of your bedroom. 

Empty the dresser drawers and other clothing storage like a wardrobe. Keep them aside for washing. 

Also, remove the bedsheets, pillow covers, and other bed linen. Put them in the bed bug heater box and turn it on.

The heat from the bed bug heater box will kill any bed bugs, baby bed bugs, and bed bug eggs present in the infested items. 

Please read the instructions on the heater box to find out how long you need to keep it on to kill bed bugs in the fabric. 

Clean your bedroom carpet, rug, and furniture. You do it to remove any bed bugs in them.

However, you’ll need to treat them more before you bring them back to your bedroom.

After cleaning, keep them outside your home to deal with later. 

Take off the bed mattress of your bed. And use the vacuum cleaner to clean your bed mattress, floor, baseboards, and headboard. 

Ensure that you thoroughly clean the mattress seams, the felt cloths, and the mattress tags. These are the places where bed bugs in all life stages hide. 

Now that your bedroom is empty and you have done a preliminary cleaning, it’s time to move on to getting rid of bed bugs. 

Note: If bed bugs are in your living room, you’ll have to remove the fabric from the couch and empty the living room the same way you did for your bedroom. 

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs If You Can’t Afford Bed Bug Treatment

How to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget

After making your bedroom ready, it’s time to move into the offensive.

You’ll need to strategically use bed bug killer spray and heat treatment on the hiding places of bed bugs. 

Ultimately, you’ll use diatomaceous earth to make the removal process more lethal for bed bugs.

Let’s get into it. 

Prepare Bed Bug Spray

Take the Crossfire bed bug killer concentrate and mix it with one gallon of water. 

Please ensure that you read the safety instructions on the concentrate bottle and follow them for your safety. 

Mix the concentrate and the water. And pour the concentrate into a sprayer

Spray Bed Bug Killer In Your Room

This is a very critical step. You’ll need to spray strategically to ensure that the spray has maximum effect. 

So, you’ll need to target where you’ve noticed bed bugs and their signs.

Remember, bed bugs will hide into the cracks after picking up the scents of the pesticide. 

But your job is to kill most of them. 

Spray the bed bug killer on the cracks and crevices on the baseboards, headboards, floor cracks, and wall voids where you’ve noticed bed bugs. 

Use the spray on the bed mattress. Focus on spraying along the mattress seams, the felt clothes, and the tags on the mattress. 

Finally, use the spray on the bed frame and on the box spring. Bed bugs hide in the cracks on the bed frames and also sneak below the mattress to hide in the box springs.

The thin gaps around the screw bolts and the bed legs are also where bed bugs hide. 

So, don’t skip using the spray on those places.

The bed bug spray you prepared kills bed bugs instantly. And it also has residual toxicity.

So, wait for one hour before your proceed to the next step.

And remember, don’t get out of the room. 

It’s because bed bugs and their eggs might stick to your clothes. And moving out of the room can cause the bed bugs to spread from one room to another. 

Clean Your Room With A Steam Cleaner

Using a steam cleaner is all about heat treatment for bed bugs. Heat kills bed bugs fast.

Bed bugs can’t withstand severe heat and cold. Also, professionals use a mix of pesticides and heat to control bed bugs.

You’re also following the same method. 

Steam cleaner produces heat above 140 Deg F. That intensity of heat will kill bed bugs in all life stages. 

Take the steam cleaner and use it on the bed mattress. Clean the entire bed mattress with it. 

Don’t skip the mattress seams, the undersides, the mattress felt cloth, and the mattress tags. 

Use the steam cleaner on the bed frame, headboard, floor, baseboards, and other bedroom furniture. 

Steam cleaning the infested room will kill most of the bed bugs, including the ones that escaped the insecticide spray. 

Scatter Diatomaceous Earth 

Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant dust. It has diatoms which are tiny fossils of plankton.

These particles are sharp and penetrate the bed bugs’ exoskeleton. 

Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant. It means that by penetrating the bed bugs’ bodies, it absorbs the bodily fluids of the bed bugs and kills them slowly. 

So, diatomaceous earth helps to kill bed bugs naturally without using any chemicals.

So, scatter diatomaceous earth in the infested room. You can also spread it on your mattress and inside the bedroom furniture. 

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your bed frame, baseboards, upholstered furniture, floors, and wall cracks. 

Wait for an hour for the diatomaceous earth to work.

Vacuum Clean The Room 

Use the vacuum cleaner to remove the diatomaceous earth and the dead bugs. 

Use the same diligence and precision as you used while cleaning the room for the first time. 

Seal The Gaps And Cracks

Use a silicone-based sealant to seal the gaps and cracks on the bed frame, headboard, floor, baseboard, and furniture.

These cracks are the hiding places for bed bugs. And you don’t want bed bugs to return to these places.

Wash Your Bed Linen In Hot Water

Take your bedsheets and other bed linen out of the heater box. And wash them in hot water to kill bed bugs in them.

The heater box might have killed all the bed bugs in them. But you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. 

It’ll be best to wash all your clothing, fabric, and other soft furnishings in hot water before you put them back in your room. 

Washing fabrics in hot water kill bed bugs present in them. 

Clean Your Bedroom Carpets And Rugs

Before you put the bedroom floor furnishings back, clean them with a steam cleaner. 

Thoroughly clean the edges and the undersides of the carpets and rugs. Bed bugs can hide in these places. 

If your carpets and rugs are of expensive fabrics like wool and silk, then it’d be best to give them for dry cleaning before putting them back into your bedroom. 

Use Mattress Encasement To Prevent Bed Bug Bites

Bed Bug Mattress Encasement

Before re-arranging your bed, use bed bug proof mattress encasement to cover the bed mattress. 

Mattress encasements break the contact of the bed bugs in the mattress and your skin.

It significantly reduces the chances of bed bug bites. However, there are other steps that you can take to stop bed bugs from biting you. 

Keep Bed Bug Interceptors Below Each Leg Of The Bed

Bed bug interceptors or monitors are sticky bed bug traps that prevent bed bugs from climbing onto your bed. 

They’re also helpful in determining if the bed bugs from your room are entirely gone. 

Keep the bed bug interceptors underneath each leg of the bed bugs. 

After waking up for a few weeks, you’ll notice bed bugs in the interceptors. 

Repeat The Process Every Week

All the above steps won’t get rid of the bed bug problem.

You’ll have to repeat them at least once a week until you stop seeing bed bugs on the interceptors and bites on your body. 

A few bed bugs will hide deeper into the room to escape the treatment.

And they’ll come out of hiding at night for their bloodmeals because without a blood meal bed bugs can’t survive for long.

Also, bed bugs multiply quickly. And if you don’t repeat the steps, all your efforts for treating bed bugs will come to a naught.

So, repeating the process is vital to treat bed bugs and to remove bed bugs permanently from your home.

Keep track of their numbers by focusing on how many bed bugs are getting trapped in the interceptors. And repeat the process until you stop seeing them the interceptors.

Also, don’t start to sleep in a different room if you’ve got bed bugs in your bedroom. It’ll only make the infestation worse. 

DIY Bed Bug Treatment Options That Don’t Work

Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of bed bugs on a tight budget, it’s time to find out what activities you must avoid when you’re taking matters in your hands.

As you can’t afford a bed bug exterminator, you must not waste your time and money on methods that don’t work. 

Below are the DIY treatments that are commonly known as “hacks”. But you shouldn’t use them ever.

Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices against pests, especially bed bugs, are in vogue for quite some time. 

Never buy them, not even for mosquitoes. The University of Kentucky scientifically proved that ultrasonic devices have NO impact on bed bugs. 

Ultrasonic devices are, in a word, useless when it comes to killing bed bugs. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda can help to get rid of other pests but not bed bugs.

Why?

Baking soda dissolves when it comes in contact with a little bit of moisture or water. Given that the exoskeleton of bed bugs has moisture in it, it makes baking soda impotent against bed bugs. 

Mothballs or Naphthalene Balls

Although not a complete myth, but mothballs are not 100% effective. 

Rutgers University’s research has found that mothballs could kill only 44-60% of adult bed bugs. Mothballs didn’t have any effect on nymphs and eggs. 

Talcum Powder

No, talcum powder doesn’t kill bed bugs. Period. 

Talcum powder, like baking soda, can’t penetrate the exoskeleton of bed bugs. Hence, it does not affect bed bugs. 

If there’s any powder that can kill bed bugs, it’s diatomaceous earth powder. 

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets can be bed bug repellent, but dryer sheets do not kill bed bugs. The smell from the dryer sheet can repel bed bugs, but bed bugs will eventually find a way around it to bite you. 

Essential Oils

Bed bugs are challenging pests to kill. And they’ve even developed immunity against many types of insecticides.

That includes pyrethroid sprays that kill many bugs and insects.

Having said that, essential oils are also not bed bug killers. But they’re bed bug repellants.

Bed bugs don’t like the smell of essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus. You can wear them on your skin while sleeping to keep away bed bugs.

But essential oils won’t get rid of bed bugs in your home.

Bed Bugs Like Cold Rooms

This myth is rooted on the experience of many people who get bed bug bites with their ACs on during the summer months.

The temperature that most homeowners put their ACs make the bed bugs active.

But that doesn’t means that bed bugs like cold rooms.

Bed bugs can withstand cold temperature longer than heat.

Bug Bombs

Bug bombs make bed bug infestation worse. How?

A bug bomb have a limited reach and their usage alerts the bed bugs. It makes them either hide elsewhere in your home or bed bugs spread into other rooms.

Using a bug bomb can even make a minor bed bug infestation severe.

Never use bug bombs or foggers to eliminate bugs like bed bugs and fleas which are experts in hiding.

Should You Dispose Of Bed And Couch To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

You shouldn’t unless bed bugs infested them beyond repair. 

A soft furnishing damaged by bed bug infestation will be full of reddish spots, bed bug shells and will even have dead bugs.

It’ll also emit a nasty pungent smell that bed bugs emit when the infestation is bad or severe.

If you don’t notice these signs, you don’t have to throw them away. 

You can also sleep on the bed with bed bugs if you take appropriate safety measures.

Government Assistance For Bed Bugs

Many low-income families ask if there’s any government assistance for bed bugs.

Or does the government provide any financial help to get rid of bed bugs from their homes?

Sadly, the answer is no.

But many local health departments help with information on bed bug extermination and prevention. 

You can visit the websites of the local health department of your state to know more. All states have bed bug laws and regulations to protect your home from bed bugs and expensive bed bug treatment costs. 

What If You Live In A Section 8 Housing? Do You’ve To Pay For Bed Bug Removal?

Pest infestations, especially bed bug infestation, are common in section 8 housing. High turnover of tenants and lack of hygiene make section 8 housings at the risk of infestation.

But the best part is that Section 8 housing comes under federal laws, and it’s not your responsibility as a tenant to do bed bug treatment. 

As per Notice H 2012-5, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to pay for the bed bug treatment, not you. 

If you’re moving into Section 8 housing, then it’d be best if you get a bed bug inspection done by an exterminator

Some pest control companies do it for free, but some charge.

But the cost is significantly less, and it’s always wise to get it done before moving in so that you don’t have to suffer later.

Conclusion

In this guide, you’ve found out how to get rid of bed bugs if you don’t have enough money and cannot afford professional pest control companies.

This guide laid out the steps that a pest control company uses to eliminate bed bugs from homes.

Repetition of the steps are vital if you want to get rid of bed bugs completely from your home.

But keep in mind that the methods you’ve just learned works best when you’ve spotted an active bed bug infestation in it’s early stages.

If the infestation is severe, then you’ll need to hire a pest control company to get rid of bed bugs.