I found a bedbug – do I need to treat the entire house or apartment?
A lot of folks have been asking us, “if I find a bedbug in one room, do I have to treat the entire house for bedbugs?” It makes sense, as whole-house treatments where the exterminator uses chemicals or heats the entire living space to upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit can cost thousands of dollars. It doesn’t make sense to shell out that kind of cash if you can get away with just treating one room. But how do you know if that is enough to get rid of the bedbug infestation?
If you can confirm definitely that the infestation has not spread to other rooms, it is fine to treat only the room where you’ve found bedbugs. Unfortunately, this can be a hard thing to be totally certain about – and if you don’t kill all of the bugs, they will breed and come back. So you want to be absolutely positive that the bedbugs are still only in one room.
But how can you be sure? The answer is to use bedpost interceptors to monitor the other rooms in your house. The name is a misnomer – these bedbug traps can be used on other pieces of furniture besides beds. They will tell you if there are bedbugs in another room. We have a full guide to making your own bedbug traps, or you can buy them here.
Keep in mind that bedbug traps are not a good way to stop a bedbug problem. They are just a method of monitoring the infestation, and keeping the bugs out of certain areas (isolating the bed from the floor, for example).
Do I have to treat my whole house if I get bed bugs?
The good news is that while bedbugs are a menace, they do not spread disease. They are more of an annoyance than a health hazard. So the worst-case scenario if you only treat one room is that it just takes an overall longer time to mitigate your bedbug infestation.
That all being said – they are a major bother, and most people would rather be certain that they are eliminating the entire infestation up-front. A bed bug infestation that is not properly taken care of can quickly spread to other areas of your home (or your neighbor’s apartment – at that point, you are also reliant on your neighbors being diligent about treating their infestation, so the bedbugs don’t travel back to your unit later!) If the bedbugs have time to spread, they also have time to find better hiding spots deep within your walls or floorboards. They also have time to breed, meaning the issue is going to get worse and harder to deal with.
To be positive that you are immediately stopping your bedbug problem, you would have to treat the entire house. You can either hire a professional, or read our do-it-yourself guide to getting rid of bedbugs without an exterminator.
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