Find out ways to quickly remove bed bugs in you home, in mattresses and permanently.
Having bed bugs in your home puts you in a very embarrassing situation. When lacking the required knowledge, patience and perseverance, bedbugs treatment might not be very successful and time and again they keep on coming back. Chances are that you fear the health effects of these bugs but you may have to deal with more negative social effects such as embarrassments if you do not take the problem seriously and seek out a pest management company.
For instance, your colleagues at the office may spot some bed bug bite marks on your skin and say something within earshot of other people. These are the kind of moments that you wish you can disappear in to thin air. Another case would be offering your guest a bed which has stayed for long without being used only to find her with bed bug bites in the morning. Your hospitality efforts would be badly effected and you would be left forever scared of having sleepovers at your place. What would you feel if for instance you took your baby to the clinic and the pediatrician noticed some red marks on your baby’s skin? She / he would judge you as a bad parent for letting such an innocent soul lie in an infested bed and bed frame.
It is for such reasons and others that you and I really wish that these bed bugs would become extinct. Unfortunately, their population is doubling all over world. Even if these bugs are eradicated, they somehow find a way to spread and infest even the cleanest of cities maybe through possessions and clothing of travelers. Their high chances of survival can possibly be attributed to the fact that a bed bug can spend even a year without eating and still survive. They are also be able to hide in far to reach areas.
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What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny little blood sucking insects that creep round in beddings and mattresses. They are the most disturbing little parasites, like many other things such as dust mites, you can have in your house. Due to their flattened bodies, a bed bug can easily squeeze to the smallest of the spaces. Bed bugs are easily transported via clothing, bedding, luggage and furniture. They are very active at night. They crawl out of hiding to find a blood meal at night because they are attracted by our body warmth and the carbon dioxide we exhale at night.
Bed bugs are very tiny making it hard to spot them. However, there are some signs that hint towards bed bug infestation. Rust colored spots or blood smears on the bed sheets are some of the signs of bed bug infestation. Even though bedbugs are not transmitters of any diseases, their bite is enough to cause itchy skin. A person can develop a mild allergic reaction to bed bugs bites. Happily, you can do your own bed bug extermination in five simple steps.
1. Finding Bed bugs
First you need to be sure you are dealing with bedbugs and not any other strange insects such as beetles. To identify whether you have them in your rooms, you must take a hard look at your beddings and any clothes near your bed. This includes any material you have added to your bed such as pillowcases, sheets, comforters, bed frame, mattress and any other material attached to your bed.
The best way to inspect bugs in your bed is to use a high powered flash light. Examine slowly every single inch of your bed. Begin at the top and strip all beddings off as you look over. After stripping it, place them in a plastic bag. Some people may be living with bed bugs but they do not know what they look like. They are tiny, and adult bed bugs are brown in color but with some black stripes. They are oval shaped and look a bit like your average beetle only that they are flatter. Lengthwise, a bed bug is about 4 millimeters long. These size features allow the bedbugs to hide easily inside floorboard cracks, furniture or tight corners among other areas without being noticed.
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What does a dead beg bug look like?
When you look at the box spring and the mattress, you are likely to come across some signs of bed bugs. This can be tiny blood specks from them biting you or from you crushing them in your sleep. You may also find remains of dead bed bugs or live bugs wandering around because you have disturbed them with the flash light.
Check other common places such as edge of the carpet behind beds and other furniture in the bedroom, cracks and celling to wall joins. A bed bug will will usually live in hidden areas, but it very common to find few or some eggs scattered everywhere.
Bed bugs are warm-blooded animals’ parasites. They will therefore suck your blood and even that of your beloved pets such as cats and dogs. They usually attack when a person is sleeping and use a mechanism that ensures that you do not feel the attack. “Which mechanism is this?” most people might wonder. The pests inject a tube into your skin, pumping in their saliva. The saliva then anesthetizes you to make sure that you remain asleep and makes your blood thin. They then inject another one of their tubes into your blood, sucking it out into their bodies. A bed bug can remain stuck for about quarter of an hour and swell to triple their original size.
[see photos to get an idea of what they look like]
Bed bug bites are dangerous to your health in the following ways: children may have secondary impetigo and small babies may become anaemic when severely attacked. Your body can develop allergic reactions from the chemical they inject into it especially if the attacks are for a long period of time. The itching is very irritating and so are the red welts. The doctor reliefs you from the bad effects by giving you drugs such as cortosteroid, oral antibiotic or even antihistamine.
When you notice that your skin feels itchy and has red welts especially around the waist, it is time to begin your search for these naughty insects. Please note that, not every person reacts to bed bug bites so you should be concerned if by any chance you see darkened blood spots on pillow cases, sheets, mattresses or duvets.
Bed Bug EggsWith such signs, you need to be assured that you are dealing with a genuine bed bug infestation and not fleas. Get one at night by use of flash light and trap it for confirmation purposes. Identify the infested areas. Check your bed linens, mattress and box spring, bed frames, drawers, carpets, bedposts, picture frames and furniture among others. Every nook and cranny is a possible habitat for bugs.
As you search for the bed bugs, bear in mind that they are mostly found in the bedroom hence the name “bed bug” but may invade other areas of your home depending on where you live most. They tend to be near their host for maximum benefit. However, you may also find them in laundry rooms, bathrooms and living rooms.
After repeated bed bug bites, your skin may have itchy red spots. It is good not to scratch them. Talk to your doctor. He or she may prescribe antiseptic cream or antibiotics for preventing infections and to treat the allergic reactions.
Once you are sure you have them, you can progress with bed bugs treatments. Follow the link to our other post which shows more pictures of what they look like.
2. Best ways to get bed bugs out of your house
Having confirmed you have them and your beddings are in plastic bags, this is the time to kill the bugs. If you live in a hot environment, take the bag out and set the beddings in direct sunlight. Make sure that it is very hot. Leave them out all day. Take the bedding in at night and dump all of them into your washer then set the dryer for a little longer than you usually do. They cannot handle heat and they will all die. There are other forms of heat treatments available, but you are probably better leaving that to the professionals.
However, if you do not live in a hot area or it is not a sunny day, take your beddings straight to the dryer. Wash and dry the stuff. Remember to dispose of the plastic bag immediately.
The mattress and the box spring are also infected. Take them outside if it is sunny. If it is a cold day, you will have to use sprays and chemicals. Make sure to put any infected sheets or pillows into plastics bags and then take them out of the house immediately to dispose of them. Ensure the sprays and the chemicals you use are safe for human use. Spray or apply the chemicals on cracks and crevices where bugs are hiding. Don’t forget about easy hiding spots such as behind picture frames, walls and even toys and other items common around homes. Since it is hard to find all hiding areas for bed bugs, you can spray again after two weeks for good bed bug control.
Reduce possible hiding places in items and furniture
Do away with possible hiding areas by reducing clutter in your home. Having unnecessary things cluttering all over the floor in your rooms increases living environments for a bed bug. Only keep out those things which are necessary and that you use regularly.
As already discussed, the bugs hide in cracks some of which are found on the floor. It therefore makes sense to clean your floor and other surfaces using a stiff brush and a high-powered vacuum cleaner for a thorough job. The exercise effectively dislodges all the eggs.
Read here about lavender oil and bed bugs
Beds are among the most obvious hiding holes for bed bugs. In order to successfully exterminate these bugs, you therefore need to dismantle beds and other woodwork that is likely to hide them. Please bear in mind that, you are not dismantling to throw away your property but to clean them. However, throwing them away can be a better solution if the infestation is too high with many tears, cracks, holes and crevices.
Wash linen and clothes
Wash any infested bed linen or clothes in hot water. The high temperatures are highly effective in killing bed bugs. They help to maintain the bug-free environment by dry cleaning your bed linen to reduce chances of future occurrences. For carpets, mattresses, walls, furniture and other items that may be hard to water-clean, use of pesticides is advisable. Buy a quality product from a renowned manufacturer, a product that has history of producing results. Remember to read and follow the product label instructions because if mishandled and ingested, pesticides are highly poisonous. Verify whether the specific product brand indicates post-application vacuuming as a requirement. Just remember to put the vacuum bag outside afterwards. It’s worth checking out this mattress protector to prevent further bedbug infestation.
Check out my other post on this site on the question, Does alcohol kill bed bugs?
It is important to know that, as much as extreme temperatures can be used to stop bedbug multiplication, extreme cold cannot be effective especially if the infested area is exposed to temperatures under freezing point for less than 14 days. For this method to work, the area or item has to be kept in an environment that is under freezing point for a minimum of 14 days to kill them.
This means that you can also kill bed bugs by exposing the non-washable items to direct sunlight. The hot sun or ultraviolet rays kill the bed bugs and their eggs. Some people also swear by use of hair dryer. The dryer is turned on to the highest possible temperature level and directed to blow suspected areas. In case of a not-so-badly infested mattress, you can blow dry it using up and down movements. You can also iron it with hot iron box, focusing more on crevices or cracks.
Check out my other post – How quickly do bed bugs spread from room to room? – 6 ways it can happen
It also goes without saying that washing the bed linen and sealing up any holes on box springs and mattresses using a tape goes a long way in closing exits for the bugs. You can also use a mattress cover and preferably a plastic one to ensure that any bug left inside the mattress dies after one year. In case you decide to throw away your beddings or furniture, do not under any circumstances throw them away on the streets. This is because this would spread the bugs and make a bad situation worse.
Try using an alcohol spray in affected rooms
Mix one part of water with one part of isopropyl alcohol and make a spray. Use it on infested areas, items and furniture and let them dry. Check that the apartment has good ventilation to hasten the drying process.
Getting bed bugs out of your property yourself requires a lot of patience because you might need to repeatedly do the above things to be completely sure that all the bugs and their eggs are destroyed. There is another alternative remedy though. If bugs are causing a nuisance, contact your landlord or the concerned property agent. If you happen to own your home, you can consider hiring a certified exterminator. This is a handy way to deal with a bed bug problem especially if you are scared of these creepy parasites and you have the money to spend.
3. Preventing bed bugs for entering
Now you have a bed bug free home. Fine, you need to keep it that way. To ensure it remains that way, you need some proven preventative measures. Use bed bug traps and any natural repellent product. You can even combine them to ensure you wipe out bed bugs completely. Use both of them for at least two weeks to keep them away and remove any that might be hanging around.
You can also vacuum the house to remove any bed bug left after treatment. You should also repair cracks to ensure you eliminate their harborage sites. Destroy and remove any bird nest and animal roots around your house.
There are also electronic pest repellents that have been shown to keep away bed bugs and may help prevent them from entering your property.
4. Enlist the services of a professional
Even after wiping bed bugs out, it is good to consult a professional to give greater assurance that the job is done correctly. An experienced company knows more about bed bugs and what are the best ways to prevent them. It is not that you did not do it the right way but a professional hand will help set a routine to repel bed bugs should they come back. At times, at-home approach can only chase the insects next door and they can feel like coming back. you suspect that you have them on your floor, prevent them from moving up your bed and into your body by placing the legs of your bed in mineral oil containers. A double sided tape placed on each bedpost is equally effective. You can also move your bed from a wall to guarantee that the blood suckers do not end up in your bed from the wall cracks where they are likely to inhabit. This is because these bugs are wingless and cannot fly to your bed.
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Call in the experts
The extermination experts have the required resources to eliminate and kill bed bugs. They use effective processes to clean out pests such as cockroaches, ants and bed bugs in this case. As you hire, remember to tell them to give you MSDS sheets which contain information about the insecticides they utilize. You will also learn what to take into consideration in case of unwanted occurrence or emergency.
The bug management professionals normally treat bed bug infestations using a residual chemical insecticide. The chemical is found in form of dust spray or liquid. They give you clear instructions to make sure that the biting bugs do not revisit your home. To have a bed bug free home, it is recommended that you schedule a follow up treatment or inspection preferably after 2 to 3 weeks after the initial treatment.
If you choose to go the pest solutions professional way, be sure to hire the best company in your locality. In order to do so, do a background check of your potential companies. Visit their website, read customer reviews and ask them to provide a contact of one of their clients so that you can investigate their level of customer satisfaction. Remember to also ask for recommendations from friends and family.
Go for a company that offers eco-friendly options. Use of toxic substances is dangerous and should be avoided if possible. In case the use of poisonous substance is inevitable, the company should send qualified technicians to handle the job in the safest way possible. Do not be tempted to choose the cheapest company because the quality of service might not be as per your standards. On the other hand, expensive companies do not always offer quality. Compare quotes and quality of services and opt for a company that gives you value for your money.
There are safe, non-poisonous powders used to deal with bed bugs naturally. Natural products such as boric acid can be used for door frames. Black walnut and black pine are two natural products that kills them. They are easily available in many natural parks. As a precautionary measure, do not use pesticides or insecticides designed to get bed bugs off clothes or beddings as they may pose significant danger to your health. They are only safe for use on items which do not come into direct contact with your skin.
Be careful while buying online and that the online purchase is accompanied by instructions and guarantee of safety. Whether you buy bed bug treatment spray or powder; whatever your choice is, make sure the product meets your requirements.
An experienced hand will help with your bed bug problem and ensure they don’t come back.
5. Learn from your mistakes
Now you have dealt with bed bugs in your home. You are now an expert and more informed after consulting a professional. We all know prevention is better than cure. Understanding ways to prevent to bed bugs by not dragging used items into your house without proper inspection is easier than waiting for the them to infect so that you can treat them. Bed bugs can survive for months without food. This means they can travel long distances in clothing, suitcases, aircraft and other modes of transport. It is therefore important be careful even when you travel.
Remember, usually these insects are not killed on the first attempt. You will need repeated clean ups to control the bed bugs completely.
Check out my other related posts –
Carpet beetles vs bed bugs – what’s the difference?