How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Once a pest that created havoc worldwide, the incidence of bed bugs has declined dramatically since the middle of the 20th century. But these days, the nasty bugs seem to be back with a vengeance and news of bed bug infestations have been increasing. Bed bugs easily get their way around the world as they hitch rides on beddings, clothes, furniture and luggage. While it might seem that getting rid of these little travelers is a hopeless endeavor, it is possible. Here are some suggestions on how you can eradicate bed bugs from your home.
How to Control Bed Bugs
- Come up with a plan to manage pests that uses different methods. This means various tactics, like applying chemicals to specific areas, installing preventive measures and improving sanitation are all utilized.
- Remember that rubbing alcohol is a good friend in the fight against bed bugs. Use it to spray on the nasty creatures. Rubbing alcohol instantly kills them and their eggs. But you should still call a reliable exterminator.
- Place bug infested items inside a bag and wash at a minimum heat of 120°F. For small items that can’t be washed, you can still use heat to get rid of bed bugs. Wrap each item in plastic and place where the sunshine can hit it for several days. Conversely, you can also get rid of bedbugs through cold. But the temperature has to be below freezing and you have to chill the infested items for a minimum of two weeks. Bear in mind though that playing with the thermostat and changing room temperatures from hot to cold won’t get rid of these pests.
- Steam is also a good way to get rid of bedbugs. Look for any device that can directly point the steam on affected items. Or you can attach a tube to an electric kettle and voila! You have an instant steam contraption. Spray the steam on every corner and seam to kill both bedbugs and their eggs.
- Make vacuuming a habit. Vacuuming is one good way to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs from carpets, mattresses, sofas and walls. Vacuum around the seams or mattress edges as well as the edges of carpets, especially if you have wall-to-wall carpeting. Throw away the contents of the vacuum in tightly sealed trash bags.
- Plaster in cracks in the wall or floor and immediately glue in loose wallpaper before bed bugs use these places to hide. You should also get rid of bird nests and other roosts along the perimeter of your home.
- Try out different insecticides. Some insecticides, especially pyrethroids, are effective in the fight against bedbugs. These insecticides are applied to cracks and holes where bed bugs might be hiding. Dirt and other debris should be removed first from these cracks to make it easier for the insecticides to work. Avoid using aerosol sprays since it will cause the bugs to scatter and make killing them harder. It will take several applications of the insecticide before you’ll see results since it’s difficult to find all their hiding places or kill all the eggs.
- Hire a company that specializes in pest control. These companies have the experience, know-how and tools that will make getting rid of bed bugs easier and more thorough. Homeowners or the occupants of the house should remember that their cooperation is vital too. They would have to show the pest control companies the affected areas and remove clutter to make the procedure go smoothly.
- Throw away items with bed bugs. Sometimes there’s no other option left but to throw away the mattresses, carpets or curtains with bedbugs. Adjacent rooms or apartments should also be checked for bedbugs since these pests can scatter quickly.
- Use silica gel to kill bed bugs. This dessicant sticks to bugs easily and can’t be shaken off, giving the silica gel time to suck out all the moisture out of the insect and leaving it dehydrated and dead. If using a silica gel, steam the whole bed, including the frame, boards and mattress and let dry. Crush the crystallized silica gel and spread it in the bedroom, including the mattress and along the wall and around furniture. However, bear in mind that utmost care should be taken when using this substance since it’s very toxic. One safer option would be to use natural substances like Diatomaceous Earth which gives the same result but is safer to use and won’t be a danger even if children and pets are exposed to it. But make sure you get the "Food Grade" alternative. Homeowners with cats should remember to change the litter every 5 days or so for 5 weeks. The litter contains crystal silica gel and changing it will ensure that newly hatched eggs will also be contained.
Fast Ways to Solve the Bed Bug Dilemma
- Create your own traps. An easy do-it-yourself project is to make a bed bug trap using just cloth and double-sided sticky tape. Make sure you use a tape that’s sticky enough to catch the bugs. Check if your sticky tape is good enough to use by dropping an ant onto it. To make the trap, tape one sticky tape on each side of the fabric and place it on the left and right boards of the bed, at the foot and at the head board. Make sure to leave at least an inch of space between the headboard and the mattress, and another inch between the headboard and the wall.
- Stick the fabric trap to the ceiling and headboard. This would ensure that no bed bugs can crawl from the headboard or from the ceiling to the bed.
- Use your laundry dryer to heat bed sheets, blankets and pillows to minimize bites from bed bugs.
- Heat your clothes in a dryer and store in plastic bags that are tightly sealed. You can also put them in the closet but place a tape at both ends of the closet bar for protection against bed bugs. You can also put an open glass jar in the closet. You can catch around ten bed bugs easy with this method. Room temperatures keep bugs active and it probably takes around 3 months for them to starve. Once they’re all dead, then your bed bug dilemma is over. However, bear in mind that bed bugs become dormant in low temperatures and can survive for a year without food.
- Homeowners should invest in a sofa cover or wrap to protect the sofa. Another way to safeguard a sofa against bed bugs is to not sit on it for about 3 months.
- Applying sticky tape to the legs of chairs and tables can also prevent bed bugs from burrowing or reaching the furniture. It takes extra effort but applying sticky tape to the low edge of shoes that you only wear at home can also help catch those tricky bugs. Liberally using sticky tape might be a pain at first but it will pay off in the end. And the bed bugs will actually help you with this. Since these bugs are attracted to the scent of people, the bugs will be one to go to people, making it easier to catch them with the sticky obstacles.
- You can start seeing results within 24 hours of building and using the sticky barriers. A positive sign is if you don’t get bitten in those 24 hours, you’ll probably not get bitten anymore in the succeeding weeks since the bed bug population is high in those first 24 hours. However, if you’re using a chemical spray to get rid of bed bugs, you have to wait for several weeks to know if your bug problem has been solved since eggs might have been laid.
How to Find Those Bed Bugs
- Take apart the bed and closely examine each component for bed bugs or the nymph’s light-brown, molted skins. Another indication that you have bed bugs is dried bed bug excrement that is often seen along the seams of the mattress seams or other places where the bugs might live. It’s crucial that you also check the fabric under the box spring; if you need to, remove it so you can inspect the area and treat for bed bugs. Bed bugs like wood and cloth so if you have a wooden bed frame, make sure you check every crack carefully. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to treat a bed’s box springs or mattress so some parts might ultimately have to be replaced or thrown away. Bed bugs might also hide among the boxes or articles you have stored under your bed so check there as well.
- Turn out drawers, dressers and nightstands. Tip them over and examine every inch of the woodwork. Pay special attention to the corners and any cracks you might see.
- Check upholstered furniture like chairs and sofas. Like beds, pay extra attention to crevices, seams, skirts and tufts, and don’t forget to check under cushions. It might come as a surprise for some but sofas can develop a major bug infestation, especially is someone sleeps on it.
- Other places that have to be checked for bed bugs are the edges of carpets, especially if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, the junction between the ceiling and the wall and the cracks in the wood moldings. While bedbugs do tend to converge, you’ll still find an egg or a bed bug scattered about.
- Use a flashlight or torch when searching for bugs so you can see thru cracks. Some bug inspectors put a flushing agent into cracks to flush out bugs from where they’re hiding.
How to Stop Bed Bugs from Getting into Your Home
- Be cautious when buying or using secondhand furniture, beds or bedding. Try to avoid buying used furniture. Or at the very least, make sure you examine every second-hand item before buying and bringing it home.
- You should also be mindful of bed bugs when traveling. Raise your luggage off the floor and check the bed and headboard for evidence of bed bugs.
- Being alert and observant can go a long way in preventing a bed bug infestation from happening in your home. There are literally dozens of places where a bed bug can originate before landing in your home. For example, furniture or boxes that have been stored in warehouses or other storage facilities might have bed bugs and these in turn are transferred into your home.