What does a bed bug exterminator do?

Would you make a good bed bug exterminator? Take our career test and find your match with over 800 careers.

Take the free career test Learn more about the career test

What is a Bed Bug Exterminator?

A bed bug exterminator is a trained professional specialized in identifying, treating, and eradicating bed bug infestations. Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are resilient and, without expertise and proper equipment, notoriously difficult to eliminate once they have infested a home or other living space. Bed bug exterminators, therefore, play a vital role in protecting public health, ensuring the comfort and safety of residents in private homes, and preventing the economic impact of widespread infestations in hotels and other establishments.

What does a Bed Bug Exterminator do?

A bed but exterminator treating a bed bug infestation.

Duties and Responsibilities
Bed bug exterminators perform several essential tasks:

  • Inspection – The exterminator conducts a thorough inspection of the infested area to determine the extent of the bed bug problem, identify where the bed bugs are hiding, and assess the level of infestation.
  • Treatment Planning – Based on the inspection findings, the bed bug exterminator develops a customized treatment plan tailored to the specific situation. This typically involves selecting the appropriate methods and products, such as insecticides, heat treatments, or freezing, to target and eliminate the bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Treatment Application – The exterminator applies the chosen treatment methods to the infested areas, ensuring that all hiding spots are adequately treated to kill the bed bugs and prevent their reproduction.
  • Follow-up Inspections – After the initial treatment, the bed bug exterminator may conduct follow-up inspections to monitor the situation, check for any signs of remaining bed bugs or new infestations, and perform additional treatments if necessary.
  • Prevention Advice – Exterminators often provide advice and recommendations on preventive measures to help homeowners and hotel and hospital operators avoid future bed bug infestations. This may include tips on maintaining cleanliness, sealing cracks and crevices, using bed bug-proof mattress covers, and other preventive strategies.
  • Documentation and Reporting – The bed bug exterminator spends time documenting each day's work, completing treatment reports, and updating client records.
  • Administrative Tasks – Exterminators may also handle administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments, ordering supplies, responding to client inquiries, and maintaining equipment.

Overall, a day in the life of a bed bug exterminator is dynamic and demanding, requiring a combination of technical expertise, problem-solving skills, customer service abilities, and attention to detail to effectively and safely eliminate bed bug infestations and ensure client satisfaction.

Types of Bed Bug Exterminators
While all bed bug exterminators specialize in treating and eliminating bed bug infestations, there are different types of exterminators based on their approach, methods, and specialization:

  • Traditional Exterminators – These exterminators typically use chemical insecticides to treat bed bug infestations. They may employ various methods such as spraying, dusting, or fumigating infested areas to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Heat Treatment Specialists – Heat treatment exterminators use specialized equipment to raise the temperature in infested areas to levels that are lethal to bed bugs. This method is chemical-free and can effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs throughout the treated space.
  • Steam Treatment Exterminators – Steam treatment exterminators use high-temperature steam to directly kill bed bugs and their eggs on surfaces, cracks, and crevices. This method is environmentally friendly and can be effective for treating localized infestations.
  • Biological Control Specialists – These exterminators use natural predators or parasites of bed bugs, such as certain types of fungi or insect predators, to control and reduce bed bug populations. Biological control methods are eco-friendly but may be less commonly used and less predictable in their effectiveness compared to chemical or heat treatments.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialists – IPM specialists employ a comprehensive and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management, combining multiple strategies and techniques, including sanitation, habitat modification, and targeted use of chemical or non-chemical treatments, to effectively control and prevent bed bug infestations.
  • K-9 Detection Teams – Some exterminators work with trained bed bug detection dogs to quickly and accurately identify bed bug infestations.

Bed bug exterminators have distinct personalities. Think you might match up? Take the free career test to find out if bed bug exterminator is one of your top career matches. Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Bed Bug Exterminator like?

Bed bug exterminators can work for a variety of organizations and individuals who require their services to manage bed bug infestations. These are among their most common employers:

  • Pest Control Companies – Many bed bug exterminators work for professional pest control companies that offer a range of pest management services, including bed bug treatment and eradication. These companies may employ exterminators on a full-time or part-time basis and provide them with training, equipment, and support to perform their jobs effectively.
  • Hotels and Hospitality Industry – Hotels, motels, restaurants, and other establishments in the hospitality industry often employ bed bug exterminators to treat and prevent bed bug infestations in guest rooms, common areas, and other facilities. Regular inspections and treatments by exterminators are essential to maintain a bed bug-free environment and ensure guest satisfaction.
  • Property Management Companies – Property management companies that oversee rental properties, apartment complexes, condominiums, and other residential or commercial buildings may hire bed bug exterminators to address bed bug infestations reported by tenants and prevent the spread of bed bugs to other units.
  • Government Agencies – Some government agencies, such as health departments and housing authorities, may employ bed bug exterminators to conduct inspections, treatments, and educational outreach programs to address bed bug infestations in public housing, shelters, and other government-owned or subsidized properties.
  • Educational Institutions – Schools, colleges, and universities may employ bed bug exterminators to treat and prevent bed bug infestations in dormitories, classrooms, and other campus facilities to protect students, faculty, and staff from the negative impacts of bed bugs and maintain a healthy learning environment.
  • Commercial Buildings and Businesses – Bed bug exterminators may work in commercial buildings, offices, retail stores, hospitals, and other businesses to treat and eliminate bed bug infestations and prevent their spread to customers, employees, and visitors.
  • Individual Homeowners and Renters – Individuals who discover bed bug infestations in their homes, apartments, or rental properties may hire bed bug exterminators independently to address the problem and prevent further infestations.

The work of a bed bug exterminator can be physically demanding, involving bending, kneeling, and crawling, sometimes in confined spaces, and lifting heavy equipment and supplies. Exterminators may encounter various challenges and hazards, such as exposure to chemicals, heat, steam, and potentially infested and cluttered environments, requiring them to adhere to safety protocols and use personal protective equipment to ensure their safety and the effectiveness of the treatments. In some cases, they may need to work outdoors to treat bed bug infestations in outdoor furniture, sheds, garages, and other outdoor areas where bed bugs may be present.

Bed Bug Exterminators are also known as:
Bed Bug Specialist