Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

The Bed Bug Survival Guide.

“What do you call a bed bug job that is 99.99 percent effective? A failure.” So says Jeff Eisenberg, author of “The Bed Bug Survival Guide” (Grand Central Publishing), a comprehensive guide for preventing and dealing with bed bugs, covering everything from prevention and detection to exterminators and treatment.

While there is no bed bug-killing silver bullet that can eradicate these pests, “The Bed Bug Survival Guide” is an educational tour de force, imparting all the latest and greatest knowledge concerning bed bugs. Following are six bits of information you need to know:

How do you know if you have bed bugs?

You develop bites (actually bed bugs don’t bite, they suck); you find bloodstains on your sheets or mattress; you find their fecal matter (which looks like pepper) on your mattress, box spring, or headboard.

Materials bed bugs love

Cotton, wool, and wood, all of which allow for a good grip. 

Materials bed bugs hate

Nylon, plastic, iron, glass, polished metal, and stone.

Before you reserve a hotel room search Bed Bug Registry

Created in 2006, Bed Bug Registry is a free, user-driven database of places in the United States and United Kingdom where bed bugs have been spotted. “You can search for a particular hotel by name, or put in a city and state and check to see what properties have been listed,” notes Eisenberg. is also worth checking, as users often include information on bed bugs in their reviews.

How to find the right bed bug exterminator

Don’t choose “the guy who gives you the best price, the guy who’ll get there quickest, or the guy who does all your other exterminating,” advises Eisenberg. The book includes a list of specific questions you must ask any exterminator before you give them your bed bug business, including: “Do you treat bed bug problems regularly?”

Must-have products for preventing bed bugs

Eisenberg recommends purchasing a Mattress Safe® (or Protect-a-Bed®) mattress encasement, box spring encasement, and pillow covers. Other helpful products include STERI-FAB® disinfectant insecticide spray, which kills bed bugs on contact (though not their eggs); and a PackTite™ portable heating unit that functions as a portable de-bed-bugging station. ($320).