Management of Bedbug Infestations

by Michael_Koger

Management of bedbug infestations requires a comprehensive knowledge of extermination methods and biological characteristics of the insects.

An important element of control is professional extermination. This may be effective when the worker raises the room temperature of the home to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. These arthropods do not tolerate high temperatures. In fact, a 90-minute heat treatment is sufficient to kill them [1, 2, 3].

The use of special plastic to seal mattresses and furniture is also beneficial. Moreover, adhesives and traps will alleviate the problem, and those tools which utilize heat and carbon dioxide emission will attract the insects and capture them [1, 2, 3].

Ivermectin is a useful pesticide to address the matter. This is true despite issues of resistance to these chemicals. In fact, pediatricians find that drug effective for the control of lice which also attach themselves to humans [1, 2].

In any event, there must be adequate inspection of the home, and follow up examination of the residence is necessary to determine whether the situation has resolved [1, 2].

Clinical Manifestations of Infestation

     Naturally, one must also be certain that bedbugs are the problem, and there are clinical signs and symptoms that will help to answer this question.  For example, bites from these arthropods will lead to pink skin lesions which are non-raised and which subsequently progress to raised or papular [1, 2, 3].

     There may be itching as well as vasculitis and the appearance of bullae and necrotic plaques.  The patient will have a generally poor feeling, and fever may occur.  The physician has to consider other well-known dermatologic possibilities such as allergic reaction to food or medication.  In addition, scabies, chicken pox, and dermatitis herpetiformis will be on the list of differential diagnoses [1, 2].

     Clinicians have also observed that skin lesions from bedbug bites sometimes occur in groups of three, and the name for this is “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” sign.

     Though scabies and bedbugs may respond to similar pesticides, there are variations in the skin of these two infestations.  For example, scabies leaves burrows in the person’s skin.  Bedbugs, on the other hand, tend to leave marks on parts of the human body where clothing does not cover the skin.  They may also bite the eyelid of the individual as well as the armpit or waist

[1, 2, 3].

     Another clue to identify bedbugs is the presence of reddish-brown specks of heme or feces on bed linens.  Of course, one can also observe the insects crawling around the house, but the best way to confirm the diagnosis is through capture of the arthropods and delivery to a health care facility.  The laboratory staff will be able to examine them and identify what they really are

[1, 2, 3].

     Life-threatening anaphylaxis is not common with these situations; however, it is still a consideration.  Attacks from bedbugs can also lead to anemia and exacerbation of mental illness.  Should an allergic reaction take place in these clients, the use of topical corticosteroids and antihistamines is beneficial [1]. 

     In the rare instances of anaphylaxis, one must execute aggressive management with injectable epinephrine and antihistamines as well as corticosteroids via parenteral administration.  They will also require oxygen supplementation and bronchodilators as well as any other emergency measures necessary.


The occurrence of bedbug infestation has long been a problem across the globe; however, current progress in its management will enable people to solve it.


  1. Ibrahim, O., Syed, U., and Tomecki, K.  (2017).  Bedbugs:  Helping your patient through an infestation.  Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 84, 207-211.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2016).  Parasites—Bedbugs.  Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  (2017).  Bedbugs:  Get them out and keep them out.  Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  4. The photo shows male and female bedbugs.  Reprinted with permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  5. Copyright 2017 Michael Koger Sr., All Rights Reserved. 


The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and one should not use it for diagnosis or treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.


Updated: 07/12/2017, Michael_Koger
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