How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs, Prevention Tips And More
Bugs are the leading cause of sleepless nights, swollen arms and feet, itchy and scratchy skin if not taken care of. These often infest one’s beds, mattresses, couches, and the likes and are said to be smart, strong and reproduce quickly. They know how to hide and can live for months after a meal.
It is said that a healthy female bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. No wonder, these tiny creatures are nothing but a menace.
Bed infestation often leads to red swollen patches over your body. And to save the trouble of applying ointments on your skin and timely visits to the doctor, it is best that you take the situation in your hand and get rid of
Before we begin, follow these three thumb rules for better results. The same shall be discussed at length further in this article.
- Declutter your home from all unnecessary furnishings.
- Don’t let dust settles onto your furnishings.
- Do not store items under your beds or furniture that have a floor opening to it.
- Glue lose wallpapers, nail back open electrical sockets and vacuum your carpet on a timely basis.
- If you travel often, you may end up bringing bugs home in your luggage (so make sure you check your backpack while unpacking).
Let’s get started. Follow the steps mentioned on how to get rid of bed bugs you are good to go.
Step 1: Identify Infested Areas In Home
If you have bed bugs at home, it is crucial that you find them before they start reproducing. It’s simpler and cost-effective to get rid of minor infestations than a larger one. (This is where you may have to call a professional exterminator to do the job).
Bedbugs tend to stay hidden in narrow corners, crevices of the walls, curtain folds, and insides of a bedding. They are often found in the seams of the couch or mattresses. Other places where you can find bedbugs can be:
- In baseboards, bed-bases, storage units
- Furniture joints, couch openings, shelves, wooden items
- The seams where the ceiling and wallpapers meet, couch covers and more
- Underneath paintings, posters or frames hung on the wall
- Inside electrical outlets, power sockets.
- Between couch / sofa / bedding cushions
7. Since these bugs are small in size and hard to find, you can use a torch
(flashlight), magnifying glass and other such tools too.
How to identify a bed bug
- The insects are ¼ inch long and reddish brown in color.
- You may come across tiny dark spots everywhere – these are bed bug droppings.
- Look out for reddish spots and stains on your mattresses from the bugs that were accidentally crushed.
- Small, pale yellow eggs or eggshells that are shed by young bedbugs.
Once you identify your bed bugs and have found them, you can seal them in a jar along with a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between bugs that look identical to a bedbug. In this case, you can call a professional exterminator or seek help from an entomologist to identify.
Step 2: Containment Of The Infestation
Vacuum cleaners are considered to help significantly in clearing out bed bugs. All you need to do is run the vacuum over any hiding spots, including your bed, the dresser, floor carpets, electric boards, seams, crevices,
mattresses, beddings, cushions and so on. Once done, seal the vacuumed contents into a plastic bag and discard it. Ensure that you thoroughly clean out the vacuum to avoid future hassles
Next, using a plastic bag seal all your affected clothes, linens and apparels – until you can wash them. While washing, try keeping the highest possible temperature sitting in the washer and dryer. If a certain item cannot
be washed, you can put it in the dryer at the highest possible temperature setting, too.
If a specific item cannot be washed, dried or otherwise treated; you can seal them in a plastic bag and leave them untouched for a few months to ensure that all the bugs die. If you can’t clean the furniture, trash it away or simply call an exterminator to help you do the job. Ensure that you put a sign or spray paint the words bedbugs’ on them so that no other person takes it home.
Step 3: Preparing For Bedbug Treatment At Home
Before you start with the treatment, it is advised that you do a little prep work to maximize visible results. Begin by religiously following step 1 and 2. Next, try to minimize bedbug hiding locations. For instance, glue a loose end of the wallpaper, pick up papers, books, clothes – anything and everything that’s lying on the floor and/or under your bed. Throw away furnishings of items
Remember: Do not move items from an infested room into a clean one. This may be a loophole to spread the bugs onto other rooms as well. As mentioned, seal up any open areas where bedbugs can easily infest. Cracks in furniture, baseboard, electric boards, outlets. If you bed touches the way move it at least 6 to 8 inches away so that the bugs don’t climb onto the walls and infest any other areas.
Step 4: Killing The Bedbugs
Some of the non-chemical treatment and home cleaning methods are mentioned below, you can consider these to get rid of bed bugs and minor infestations. One of the procedures in step 3 talks about washing and drying items at high heat. Bugs are easier to kill with high heat (46 C) or an intensified cold condition (0 C)
How to do it?
Wash your clothes, beddings, linens, and line in hot water for approximately half an hour, then tumble them in a dryer for another half an hour. Steam your beddings, seating arrangement, accent chairs, sofas, couches, and other cushioned furnishings
If you are unable to clean them or clear out items that can’t be otherwise washed, dried or treated using the aforementioned methods then you can seal them up in a plastic bag and leave them outside in hot temperature.
Pack up infested items in black bags and leave them outside on a hot day (95 degrees) or in a closed car. It may take two to five months to kill sealed-up bugs in cooler temperatures. Smaller bags that contain bedbugs can be stored in the freezer at 0 F – using thermometer to check the temperature. Then, leave the bags in the freezer for at least 4 to 5 days.
Once you have followed the steps mentioned above, make your current furnishing inhospitable for newer bedbugs. Cover your mattresses with bedbug-proof covers and box springs. Zip these covers to trap the ones already in and restrict the others from getting in.
If the aforementioned solutions do not wipe out your bugs, then you may have to consider trying out insecticides. Insecticides can effectively help you get rid of bedbugs. However, it is advisable to use products that are specifically labeled for bedbugs’ and are EPA-registered.
Following is a list of common chemicals used and a guide on how to get rid of bed bugs
Pyrethrins and pyrethroids: These are some of the most commonly used chemicals to help treat bedbugs. However, some bedbugs have managed to become resistant (immune) to them. Pyrroles like chlorfenapyrdisrupts
the cells and kills the bugs easily.Products made of plant-oil: Bed Bug Patrol or an EcoRaider are less toxic compared to insect repellents available in the market.
Other products like Neonicotinoids, Desiccants, Foggers and bug bombs effectively help clear out bugs from home. These products, however, may take a longer period of time to kill all the bedbugs.
These products may take a few months to ward off or kill all the bedbugs.
Step 5: Monitoring Bed-Bug Infested/Affected Areas
As mentioned previously, bedbugs take a while (a few months) to wipe out completely. Before you assume or trust that your procedure has completely worked on the affected area, it is advised that you check the infested areas once every seven days to detect signs of activity.
You can make this process easier by placing bedbug interceptors underneath all the bed legs. An interceptor will trap the bedbug before they can even climb onto your bed. However, this is a long process and you may have to keep a tab on your device over a span of one year for the same.
Step 6: Retreating The Affected Area After Activity Detection
Even though it seems that most of the bugs have wiped out, chances are that they may still be nestling in your home. Retreat the infested area time and again or simply seek professional help from an exterminator.
Step 7: Professional Exterminators And The Pros Of Hiring One
Pest control companies and services have the advantage of introducing your infested areas with chemicals and insecticides that are otherwise not available largely in the market. They have a variety of dosages that can kill bedbugs that not just are visible but ones that stay hidden in the hiding spots. Pest control services also come with full room heating treatments. They are equipped with special instruments, tools, and equipment that heat up the room to a temperature of 135 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit – this temperature is enough to kill the bedbugs.
Prior to the pest control’s visit, you are provided a set of instructions that are to be duly followed. Ensure that you religiously take charge of any and all the mentioned rules to have the best chance of getting rid your bedbugs completely.
Professional exterminators take about 3 to 4 visits to start working. After every treatment, you are supposed to stay out the treated rooms for a couple hours, at least, until the insecticides have dried out (to avoid any toxic effects)
Following these procedures will help you clear out your bedbugs. To prevent future infestation, ensure that you follow these quick tip list on how to get rid of bed bug
- De-clutter your home and pick up any papers, magazines, clothes, furnishing or items that touch the floor.
- Use plastic bags to seal up your mattresses and furniture – Zip it upwith bed bug proof covers to restrict the entrance of exit of these bedbugs.
- Vacuum your entire home, wash the beddings, curtains, linens, and carpets often.
- Seal off any loose ends, openings, baseboards, outlets, wall cracks, light sockets that you come across.
- When traveling, look out for bedbugs to avoid bringing them home when your return.
Keep this checklist handy as a recap to remember this how to get rid of bed bugs guide:
- Identify the bed bugs.
- Containing the infestation.
- Prepare for bedbug treatments.
- Wiping out the bedbugs – killing the bedbugs.
- Monitor infested area that was recently treated to detect signs ofactivity.
- Retreatment of the infested areas after detecting activity.
- Seeking Professional Helps from Pest Control Services.
- Carefully regularizing prevention tips to avoid future issues.
If you effectively follow all the steps mentioned above, including the prevention guide and carefully, do the job, you can get rid of bedbugs 100% in a matter of few weeks or a couple months, at large. This is a cost-effective way of treating bedbugs in contrast to hiring an exterminator
Are There Chances Of Any Health Hazards From Bedbugs?
There are no instances of diseases being spread due to bedbugs. However, they can be annoying and their bites may cause itching that subsides over a few days apart from lack of sleep. However, the itching can lead to excessive scratching, resulting in some minor skin infection. It is best advised to apply an ointment, clean the bitten area and keep it away from any and all kinds of external touch. Sometimes, their bites can be a cause of an allergic reaction, as well.
Also, if your irritation persists with reddish patches and no reduction in swelling, it is best advised to consult a doctor and get properly medicated for your bites. In some cases, reactions take a week or two, while in others there are no signs of any reactions at all.
Apart from physical health, the research found out that bedbugs impact one’s mental health. Homes infested with bedbugs often have people living with systemic reactions, insomnia and varied levels of anxiety.
While it is a matter of relief knowing that bedbugs do not transmit diseases as they feed, it surely isn’t a sight for sore eyes to know that you are their host and they depend on you for their food supply.