Bedbug Battle: How To Keep The Pests Away

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Bedbugs have been invading New York City, popping up at public establishments in Times Square, SoHo, and Brooklyn recently. Now, many residents are wondering what they can do to stave off the bugs.

People are the mass transit for bedbugs, as the creepy crawlers hitch a ride on your clothes and end up in your home.

There’s no need to worry though, as CBS 2’s Kirstin Cole learned about the latest weapons in the bedbug battle from the experts.

The pest management conference at Rutgers University is where the big guys go to check out the latest in battling bedbugs.

“They’re the hardest to get rid of – once you get them, they require a lot of labor and a lot of work, and there’s the creep factor,” urban etymologist Paul Bello said.

Bello specializes in fighting large-scale bedbug infestations, and his commitment runs deep.

“I have bedbugs at home that I to feed. See those little red dots?” Bello said.

He lets bed bugs feed on him every eight weeks as part of his research.

The pest control industry is embracing everything bedbug. It turns out consumers will pay hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to get rid of the pests.

Chemicals and traps were everywhere at the conference, as were mattress wraps to protect your bed from the bugs. Pest Heat will send a boiler-hot blast into your home to rid it of pests, or Bed Bugs and Beyond will take a whole-home approach to fumigation.

If the bugs finally force you out of your home, you can fumigate your entire moving truck for $1,500.

Experts say people are the carriers. Bedbugs are exploding in retail, as seen when our canine expert, Ellie, found them at four out of six locations on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue during a CBS 2 undercover investigation. The bugs hitchhike in on returned merchandise, and with employees’ and shoppers personal belongings.

For that reason, anything bought at a store should get 20 minutes in the dryer when it comes home. The heat of the dryer will kill the bugs and their eggs.

Dr. Steven Kells trains and lectures for hotels and stores, and warns that being proactive is vital to keeping the pests away.

“What you want to avoid is the mobile population of bedbugs, the bedbugs that are going to get onto your dirty laundry, are going to get into your suitcase, and are going to be carried home with you,” Dr. Kells said.

When you’re staying at a hotel, it’s a good idea to check out your room immediately. Pull back sheets and inspect ticking at all four corners of the mattress. Then look behind the headboard and inspect the luggage valet rack.

Stay bug-free by storing your luggage in the bathtub, which bedbugs can’t climb, and keep all toiletries zipped up in bags – it’ll keep you from bringing home unwanted souvenirs.

Another tip: when you’ve been in any public place you suspect could have bedbugs, go home and immediately change out of your clothes, put them into a closed plastic bag, and get them directly into the dryer for 20 minutes.

Our experts say it’s a trick that has kept them bug-free for years.

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  • Mika

    I neglected to say that you must also knot tightly the 2nd plastic bag before putting it in the garbage, so any critters that may remain in the bag you put inside it cannot escape.

  • Mika

    You put the clothes directly into a plastic bag and close it (by knotting), transport the bag to the dryer, where you will take the clothes out, put them in the dryer, then put the plastic bag inside ANOTHER plastic bag and put it in the garbage (in case any bugs are still in the bag).

  • Sakky

    After the bedbug infestation in our New York City building this past spring, I have acquired a habit of putting newly purchased clothing in the dryer for 30 minutes (without a plastic bag). I also invested in a fogger and use it at least once every month. I am trying desperately to keep them critters away!!!

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  • Dscott

    This article was pretty scary. If you have an issue with bed bugs, I recommend using a an experienced Bed Bug Exterminator and a an experienced cleaning and Bed Bug Preparation service like Great Green Cleaning and Maid Service to get them out of your home.

    Great Green Cleaning will give you a free estimate, and assess your situation before you spend any money. They have a special Bed Bug Training Program and have a staff of 50 experienced professional cleaners that are Bonded and Insured. They will lovingly and carefully clean and pack your precious belongings.

    Having Bed Bugs is a physically debilitating and emotionally stressful nightmare. Call someone experienced who cares enough to protect you and your belongings, and they will help you get your life back in order and Bed Bug free. And they are Green and Earth Friendly!!

    You can go to or phone them at 212-543-1212
    or 718-369-9000 if you have Bed Bugs in Brooklyn.

  • Christina

    How do you put a plastic bag in the dryer for 20 minutes? Exactly what kind of closed plastic bag is big enough and can handle going in the dryer?

    • Paul J. Bello

      Contact me if you have bed bug questions or need advice. Paul B.

    • Paul B.

      Christina, Google my “101 Things to Know ABout Bed Bugs” article and that should help you with additional tips & information. If need be you can contact me at pbelloconsultingatearthlinkdotnet. Yours in pest management, Paul B.

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