Can you rid yourself of those pesky bed bugs on your own? You have probably heard a lot of bed bug references and horror stories, and the scary thing is, most of them are true. So, here is how to get rid of these pests once and for all.
Bed bugs are tiny, brownish insects that depend on the blood of humans and sometimes animals. Once they feed themselves well, they appear reddish, thanks to all the blood inside them.
They do not fly but move quickly over walls, ceilings, and floors. Healthy female bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime, which can mean serious infestation problems.
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How Bed Bugs Travel and Hide
The theory of bed bugs only being in filthy spaces is only a half-truth, as you could have just as well brought them home from your pleasant stay in a clean hotel.
Their small, flattened bodies allow them to fit in tiny spaces. While bed bugs do not have nests, they live within groups in hiding places such as box springs, the creases of mattresses, bed frames, and headboards where they can easily bite you at night while you sleep.
Over time, they can scatter and spread to other rooms of the house. Bed bugs can piggyback on your clothing, in backpacks and purses, and even in your luggage.
Apart from existing caution with travelling, you must know how to get rid of bed bugs, or you may end up with a very uncomfortable experience.
When Bed Bugs Bite
Bed bugs thrive on blood and are mainly active at night while you are sleeping.
They can pierce your skin and suck on some blood from your body until they are litteraly full. After about 10 minutes, they will stop feeding and crawl back into their hiding spots.
Afterwards, you end up with bumps and itching that you may very well associate with mosquitoes, making an infestation challenging to identify.
Signs of Infestation
Other than waking up with itchy areas that were not there before, seeing blood marks and stains on your bedding can tell the story.
Alternatively, signs of insect filth, eggshells, or shed skins on your sheets, walls, and clothes are reliable indicators that a bed bug problem is present and must be addressed. Additionally, you may notice a nasty, musty smell, which could be a definite sign of an infestation. The odour is a result of an alert pheromone that large bed bug groups may emit when threatened.
You need to conduct an inspection by removing all your bedding and using a magnifying glass and a flashlight to carefully inspect every inch of the room for signs of bed bugs.
Do not just check your bed, as not seeing them can lead you to have a false sense of security. Check your clothes, examine the wood frames, telephones, carpets, books, night tables, and electrical outlets.
If you are still unsure, call an exterminator who can tell for sure what the situation is. If you are living in a rental, check with your landlord on how to proceed further.
The best part is that the exterminator can remedy the issue, using different pest control methods and technology like liquid bed bug treatment, dust bed bug treatment, insect growth regulators, heat treatments and others.
DIYs to Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
You can try using these household products to rid yourself of bed bugs. The most effective ones are rubbing alcohol and vinegar. They can kill some of the adult bed bugs, but do not harm the eggs that would’ve been laid.
Since bed bugs dislike extreme conditions, such as cold and heat, you can clean linens, clothing, bedding, and curtains by washing them in hot water of 60 degrees celsius or above. This is actually something that professional exterminators will advise you to do.
For items that cannot be washed, such as shoes, they can go into the dryer on high for 30 minutes.
You can try freezing the bed bugs out as well. Infested items such as cushions and pillows can be placed into the freezer for roughly three to four days at zero degrees or below.
Alternatively, you may try to use a rigid brush to scour your mattress’ seams to get rid of the bed bugs and their eggs, then use a vacuum to round things out. Be ready to throw that entire vacuum bag away, right after you finish.
Thoroughly vacuum your bed and the area around it, frequently paying close attention to seams, pillows, furniture, and cushions.
You can also put your mattress in a tight zipper cover to keep bed bugs from escaping or entering. Since these insects can survive up to a year without feeding, it is best to keep the covering longer than a year to ensure they are all dead.
Get rid of clutter in your bedroom and the house at large. The more items you have, the less adept and effective mitigating bed bug activity is going to be.
Bed Bug Extermination
The methods above can be considered in preparation for bed bug treatment as only with professional assistance can you eradicate bed bugs from your home.
Bed bug treatments work in a couple of ways. Most of the expert exterminators begin by identifying the location and extent of the infestation, says Barry Pitts from Synergy², a US-based pest control company.
Heat treatment, liquid bedbug treatment, dust bedbug treatment, conventional treatment methods, insect growth regulators, or a combination may be used.
The traditional treatments, including spot treatment, mattress encasement, and pesticides, may work for simpler infestations in small homes.
As bedbugs go through various stages, multiple methods are likely going to be needed to get rid of them all, and professionals combine any of the above to get the job done.