For Tenants

Ways to Fight and Prevent Bed Bug Infestations in Your Home

Compared to pests like cockroaches and termites, bed bugs are a more uncommon problem, but they can quickly become a nightmare for both landlords and tenants.

These pesky insects are notorious for their ability to infest homes, causing discomfort, frustration, and potential financial implications. In this article, we will explore effective strategies to avoid bed bug infestations and how to combat these unwelcome intruders if they do find their way into your home. By implementing preventative measures and taking swift action, you can maintain a bed bug-free environment and get the peaceful rest you need.

How to Spot Bed Bugs

The most common species of bed bugs in Malaysia is the tropical bed bug or Cimex hemipterus. Bed bug cases in Malaysia rarely get out of hand since exterminators get minimal complaints from customers. But you can also chalk this up to a lack of awareness by said customers.

The first step to preventing bed bugs is identifying them.

  • Bed bug shells: Bed bugs molt as they grow and mature, leaving behind their exoskeletons as shells that you can find. This will also clue you in on the size of the infestation and what you need to prepare to handle it.
  • Fecal spots: Black or dark brown stains and smears are signs of the bed bugs’ liquid waste. Fresh droppings in particular can smear blood if you poke it.
  • Live bugs: Bed bugs are 1 to 4.5 mm in size with creases on their abdomen. They’re pale at young and slowly turn rusty brown. Recognising these bugs is important to get rid of them.

Effective Treatment Methods

Once you spot signs of infestation, move and seal infested items in plastic bags to treat them safely. If you’re treating bed bugs without professional help, it’s recommended that you use non-chemicals formulas for safety purposes. Here’s a list of options you can try: 

1) Steam Treatment

Steam treatment is highly effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs. Use a steamer with a narrow nozzle to treat mattress seams, furniture joints, and other potential hiding spots. The high temperature of the steam penetrates deep into the surfaces, killing them off.

2) Freezing Treatment

This works best for smaller infested items, which can be bagged and kept in the freezer. As long as temperatures fall below 0ºC, the bed bugs won’t survive and the items will be safe to take out.

3) Pesticide Application

Consider using EPA-approved insecticides specifically labelled for bed bug control. Ensure you follow the instructions carefully and use them safely. Apply the pesticide to cracks, crevices, and other infested areas, avoiding direct contact with bedding or other items used by humans or pets.


DO NOT use pesticides meant for garden or agricultural use.

DO NOT use products that appear to be “homemade” or “custom formulated” or products purchased from someone without a license.

This is to avoid any misuse of chemicals and for your own personal safety. The most effective way to control bed bugs in your home is through a combination of chemical measures and heat treatments applied by a Pest Management Professional (PMP).

Dealing with Bed Bugs

You can follow this procedure to systematically clean out your unit of bed bugs.

Reduce clutter 

Get rid of anywhere the bed bugs can hide in or under. Blankets, cushions and electronics, as well as anything that doesn’t stay in the room permanently. Items from the infested area can transfer bed bugs elsewhere so keep them in plastic for the time being.

Use the washing machine 

Garments and bedsheets cannot be treated with insecticide. They need to be laundered in hot water (around 50°C). If washing is not available, heating the garments or bedsheets for several minutes in a clothes dryer may work.

Dismantle the bed frames

Having access to these areas during cleaning is important. Stand up the box spring and shine a flashlight through the gauze fabric and look for bed bugs. If the fabric is torn (a possible hiding place), remove fabric to prepare for spraying. All furniture should be pulled away from the walls.

Clean the Area 

Scrub infested surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs. Vacuum the room extensively, in cracks and crevices on furniture, and along baseboards on the walls. A good vacuum job will remove particles to encourage greater insecticide penetration. Bed bugs cling tightly to surfaces, so you can scrape the end of the vacuum attachment over the infested areas to pull them out.

A word of precaution about the vacuums— Don’t use the bristle attachment to brush out the bugs, because you may transfer them to other areas since they cling to the brush. Dispose of vacuum cleaner bags in an outdoor trash can.

Make sure to inspect the unit after treatment to check for any leftover bed bug eggs. 

Preventing Bed Bugs

With all that in mind, here are some steps you can take to avoid this risk in the future.

1) Regular inspections 

Make time to inspect bed-bug prone places and furniture regularly, such as once a month. If you’re recovering from an infestation, put out bed bug traps to make sure they are all gone.

2) Sealing cracks

Caulk and seal all holes where pipes and wires penetrate walls and floor, and fill cracks around baseboards and molding to further reduce nesting areas.

3) Encasing the mattress

Encasing mattresses and box springs with bed bug-proof covers prevents future infestations. These covers create a barrier, trapping any remaining bed bugs inside and preventing them from reaching you or causing further trouble.

4) Keeping clean and tidy

Making cleanliness and clutter reduction a habit can go a long way. More hiding spots for the bed bugs means that you wouldn’t notice the problem sooner and you’ll have a lot more cleaning to do once the problem makes itself obvious.

5) Careful about shared belongings

Be vigilant when using items or spaces that might carry a risk of bed bugs. Public seats that seem a little dirty, secondhand furniture from a shop or someone else’s bedroom can hitch a ride.

If you’re a landlord, you can always screen your tenants and get a picture of their level of responsibility, especially their feelings on keeping their space clean.

Bed bug infestations can be a frustrating and challenging ordeal, but with the right treatment methods, you can successfully eliminate these unwanted guests. Remember to act as soon as you find a possible infestation, be thorough in your cleaning efforts, and consider professional help if needed

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