Bedbugs can cause itchy bites on people and pets. Unlike most public-health pests, however, bedbugs are not known to transmit or spread diseases.

Safe Use of Pesticides

Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bedbugs can make the applicator, residents, or their pets sick. It can also make the home unsafe to live in – and may not solve the bedbug problem.  

Because bedbug infestations are so difficult to control, there have been situations where pesticides that are not intended for indoor residential applications have been improperly. We want to remind pest control operators and other pesticide users to follow label directions when using pesticides for bedbug control.

Pesticide users should never:

  • apply a pesticide indoors that is intended for outdoor use.
  • applied a pesticide at greater rates than the label allows

If you need to use pesticides

Follow these tips to ensure your safety and that the product works:

  • Before using any pesticide product, read the label first, then follow the directions for use.
  • Check the product label to make sure it is identified for use on bedbugs. If bedbugs are not listed on the label, the pesticide has not been tested for bedbugs and it may not be effective.
  • Any pesticide product label without an EPA registration number has not been reviewed by EPA to determine how well the product works.
  • Make sure that the pesticide has been approved for indoor use.

Non-chemical Control Methods

Pesticides are only one tool to use in getting rid of bedbugs. A comprehensive approach that includes prevention and non-chemical treatment of infestations is the best way to avoid or eliminate a bedbug problem. A few examples of non-chemical methods of control include:

  • Removing clutter where bedbugs can hide 
  • Using mattress covers designed to contain bedbugs 
  • Sealing cracks and crevices 
  • Vacuuming rugs, and upholstered furniture thoroughly and frequently, as well as vacuuming under beds (take the vacuum bag outside immediately and dispose in a sealed trash bag) 
  • Washing and drying clothing and bed sheets at high temperatures (heat can kill bedbugs) 
  • Placing clean clothes in sealable plastic bags when possible 
  • Being alert and monitoring for bedbugs so they can be treated before a major infestation occurs 

More Information

EPA Bed Bug Information

Multnomah County Bed Bug Information
503-988-BUGS (2847)