Bed bugs are a homeowner’s nightmare, but they’re also a harsh reality. You’d be lucky if your home never gets bedbugs, though this is unlikely. Bed bugs know a lot about hiding and avoiding detection; plus they’re tiny enough to be ignored unless you’re actively looking for them.
These annoying and problematic bugs can even go for months without a meal, while each female can lay up to five hundred eggs in a lifetime! This means that we need to know how to get rid of bed bugs as soon as they become apparent.
What happens if we ignore bed bugs or don’t catch them in time? Well, the results could be horrendous, to say the least. Not only could they spread from one item of furniture to the other, but they’d also leave red and itchy welts on your skin.
Getting rid of those pesky bedbugs is possible, but it will require some patience, effort, and time from your end. Here are some of the best tips from experienced homeowners:
Remove the Clutter
If you have a lot of clutter in your home, it’s time to downscale a bit. Too much stuff taking up space in your home will make it harder to get rid of bedbugs. Hoarding a lot of things from your travels or shopping trips might also be the reason you got bed bugs in the first place.
Identify the Affected Areas
Before starting any treatment, identify the bed bugs’ locations in your home. It’s ideal if you get to this task quickly, as we don’t want to give them time to reproduce. If you can start treating a small infestation, you can get results much more cheaply and effectively.
Of course, smaller infestations are also harder to locate. This is why it’s best to conduct a thorough inspection of your home every month or so. If your neighbors have bed bugs or you just visited a place with such infestation, you might want to call in a professional to conduct an inspection. Some of the companies providing these services have trained dogs for hunting down and locating bed bugs.
Here are a few places where you might locate bed bugs on your own:
- Curtain folds
- The seams of a couch or mattress
- In the box springs or tags of mattresses
- Cracks in the headboard of a bed
- Inside furniture joints
- Under wallpaper (any loose parts)
- Between sofa or couch cushions
Containing the Bed Bugs
Once you’ve found and identified any bed bugs, try your best to keep the infestation contained. This will help you get rid of these pests as quickly as possible. You can trap the bugs by running a vacuum over the potential hiding places. Once this is done, seal the vacuum bag and throw it out. Clean the vacuum thoroughly.
If you find bed bugs on your bed, take all the affected linens and clothes in some plastic bags. When you get the chance, wash them in your machine and dryer at the highest temperature setting.
In case the bugs have infested an item that can’t be washed, set it in the dryer at a high heat setting and let it be for half an hour.
If something can’t be either washed or dried, seal it up and leave it alone for some months. This might be inconvenient, but it will make sure that the bug dies off due to the lack of oxygen.
Prep Your Home
Before you treat the whole home for bed bugs, prep the place in order to avoid any slip-ups. This includes the step we’ve discussed above.
The next step is to seal any openings such as loose wallpaper, cracks in the furniture, and open electric outlets. You can caulk the cracks and tape up the outlets. Move all beds at least half a foot away from the walls.
Killing the Bugs
Try to do away with the bedbugs without any synthetic chemicals first. You can use high heat or intense cold to start with.
We’ve already talked about washing the clothes on the highest heat setting. For mattresses, sofas, and similar places, use a steamer to kill any bugs. You can also leave the sealed items outside in high temperatures. A closed car may also do the trick.
Alternatively, you can try putting the bag of possible infected items in a deep freezer. Four days should do the killing job for you.
Make the Place Inhospitable
After clearing away any bedbugs in sight, make the location impossible to live for the hidden ones. There are bed bug-proof mattress covers that zip up for maximum protection. Any bed bugs trapped inside will die, while others won’t be able to get in.
If these methods don’t work, it’s time to reach for the sprays. You may want to use an insecticide that’s specially manufactured for getting rid of bed bugs.
The most common chemicals for killing bed bugs are pyrethroids andpyrethrins. However, bed bugs keep mutating and might be immune to them now. Neonicotinoids act like nicotine and destroy the nervous system of the bugs. Pyrroles kill them through cell discretion, while desiccants destroy their outer coating.
Bug bombs and foggers are other options, but they might be toxic for humans. These are also ineffective at times, as they won’t get into each crevice and crack. Finally, there are certain plant oil-based options that might provide a safer experience.
Even after the bedbugs are apparently no more, some of their offspring might linger on. In order to make sure you’ve killed every last one, check the previously infested locations at least once a week.
To be on the safe side, get some bed bug interceptors and place them under each of your bed’s legs. These will trap the bugs before they can cause much damage. Check the interceptors regularly for at least a year.
There are several ways for getting rid of bedbugs, each with their pros and cons. You may prefer a gentler, more natural way of treating the affected areas in your home. However, a more serious infestation will require the use chemicals and even help from a professional service. Don’t give up hope, though, trying a few methods at once will hopefully get rid of this problem.