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Last Updated February 4, 2023
'Are you worried that you may have a bed bug infestation?' Did you notice rashes on your skin after waking up? Or you just want to sleep peacefully without stressing about bed bugs making themselves at home in your bed? Fret not! We've got you covered. We will cover A to Z of bed bugs, from identifying bed bug infestations to how to get rid of the bed bug and prevention from an infestation in the future.
Adult bed bugs are easy to identify; they are reddish brown in color, oval in shape, and have flat bodies. They are approximately the size of an apple seed, therefore, adult bed bug can easily be seen with the naked eye. However, it may be hard to see newly hatched bed bugs, known as nymphs, because of their translucent, whitish-yellow color. Younger bed bug eggs are even harder to notice because they are the size of a tip-head or 1mm.
The reaction to a bed bug bite varies from person to person. It may vary from small red hives on the skin to large, puffy lesions. Bed bug bites are typically inflamed and have itchy rashes with a darker spot in the middle. Bed bug bites are usually on the exposed skin touching the bed or the pillow, and there are usually a few bites, either lined up or in a zigzag pattern.
There are a few lucky people who do not show any reaction to bed bug bites. Instead, these people can look for signs like dried blood stains on sheets, shed skin from bed bugs, or a musty odor in the room. All these signs point towards an infested room.
Bed bugs like to hang out close to their food source, which is YOU. Therefore, the first place you should check for bed bugs is your mattress and spring box. Bed bugs hide in dark places and can fit into cracks and crevices. Look closely around the mattress seams; look for bugs themselves, their droppings, dried blood, baby bed bugs or nymphs, their eggs, and golden shells left behind.
You can make it a habit to take a quick look at the piping every time you change sheets. And do a thorough inspection, closely checking both sides, top and bottom. This can be done a few times a year while flipping or rotating your mattress.
Bed bugs like to hide in tiny spaces and may be hiding in the seams of your couches and chairs, so make sure to check them from time to time. You may also find bed bugs in other dark creaks and cracks around the room, behind the furniture, around the drawers, etc.
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease but nobody wants to go to bed worrying about some bugs crawling into their mattress or sucking on their blood. And if not taken care of, the bed bug problem will increase, and soon enough, they will make themselves at home. So, it’s best advised to take care of the infestation as soon as you discover it.
Killing bed bug requires a lot of patience; as small as they may be, their resilience is very impressive. These blood suckers can survive in very harsh conditions and can survive for several months without food. Keep on reading to know a few ways to get rid of bed bugs fast.
Getting rid of bed bug infestation can be quite a task, requiring a lot of work. However, there are multiple ways to get rid of them at home all by yourself. Keep reading to learn DIY ways of eliminating bed bugs.
The first thing to do once you notice a bed bug infestation is to isolate the bed. Move it at least a few inches away from the wall. Make sure that the bed frame does not touch walls or furniture like a nightstand, etc. because if the bed frame touches any other surface it may become a passage for the bed bugs.
Next, strip the bed of any linen, and remove bedsheets, pillow covers, and other bedding material. While removing the linen, put it directly into a plastic bag; this will reduce the chances of them spreading to other places in the house.
One of the best ways to remove bed bugs from the mattress is to suck them up with a vacuum cleaner. Even though vacuuming will not get rid of all the bugs, vacuuming the entire mattress twice will remove the majority of bugs from the mattress. Make sure to clean other areas of the room as well to contain the bed bug as much as possible. After vacuuming, empty the contents of vacuum bag in a plastic bag, seal it and dispose it off in plastic bins.
After the vacuuming is done, it is best advised to put the mattress in a bed bug proof covers. These covers are made of special zippered sheets, which prevents any bed bugs and other bugs from getting in the cover or out of the cover. This will trap the bed bugs inside the mattress. The mattress should be left in the case for at least a year because bed bug can survive a surprisingly long time without being fed.
Along with the mattress, the box springs should also be encased in a cover. This will ensure if any bed bugs are in the box spring, they will get trapped inside the box spring and die in a few months.
Cluttered rooms can give bed bugs many places to hide and lay their eggs, thus increasing the infestation. Therefore, if your room is messy and cluttered, you may want to clean the place and organize everything properly, especially your wardrobe. This will not only reduce the place for bed bugs to hide but you will also be able to identify an infestation more quickly if you have a clean space.
Bed bug interceptors are small devices that can help you get rid of bed bugs. All you need to do is place all four bed legs in the interceptors and let them do their job. These devices are built on the principle that bed bugs can’t climb slippery surfaces. So these are coated with oil or other slippery material. Sometimes, these can also be coated with talcum powder to increase the efficiency of the device.
You can also make a trap of your own. Just take a piece of cardboard or paper and apply some glue or sticky material on it. Make 4 of these and place one under each leg of your bed. Any bed bugs trying to crawl to the bed will get stuck on it. It can be a little messy but works to catch the bed bugs, and it can also be used after the extermination to keep a check if they reappear.
Any and every clothing item that had been in contact with the bed or any other infested area needs to be adequately cleaned. Put all the exposed clothes in sealed plastic bags. All the exposed clothes, bedding linen, curtains, etc., should be put in plastic bags and sealed before carrying them to the washing machine to prevent the spread of the bed bugs to other places.
Wash bedding and all the laundry in hot water for at least 30 minutes; however, keep in mind the manufacturer’s instructions while washing. After washing, make sure to dry them at a high temperature for another 30 minutes; this will ensure that all the bed bugs or their eggs are killed. If some of the exposed laundry is already clean, you may heat dry them.
Also, make sure to dispose of the bags you used to carry the laundry and put the heat-treated laundry in separate plastic bags until you get rid of all the bed bugs to prevent them from getting in contact with an infestation again.
Intense heat and cold are among the handiest ways to kill bed bugs. They can not survive extreme temperatures. Therefore, any infested item that can be washed should be washed in hot water of temperature around 45 C or 113 F for about 30 minutes.
Anything that cannot be washed should be put into sealable plastic bags and in the freezer at 17 C or 0 F for at least 3-4 days because bugs can not survive cold temperatures.
Heat treatment for other things like couches, furniture, etc., that can not be washed, a steam cleaner can be an effective way. We know that bed bugs die in high temperature, and steam forms from water at its boiling point, which is 100 C. Therefore, steams works very effectively in killing these suckers. Steam all the infested items and infested areas properly, take a few hours to steam the entire infested space, so that bugs are properly killed.
Another thing that can be used is a heat chamber, it can be kept in a room, tuned on, and it will do the work of heating your room. However, a heat chamber as large and powerful as required for a whole house might not be cost-effective.
Chemical treatments are an effective way to deal with the bedbug infestation. Insecticides like pyrethrin and pyrethroids can be used to kill bugs if other methods don’t work. They are less toxic; however, if you or anyone in your family has any allergy, you can rely on other methods or evacuate the house for treatment. However, since it has low toxicity, some bugs can also be resistant to it.
Desiccants are also an effective way to kill bed bugs, but they can be messy and take longer. The two most common desiccants are silica aerogel and diatomaceous earth. Desiccants work by destroying the protective coating of the bugs; without the coating, these bugs dry out and die. It may take a few months to kill the bed bugs, though.
You can also use rubbing alcohol to clean all the infested furniture, dresser drawers, bed frames, etc. Alcohol works as a disinfectant and moreover, bugs do not like the smell of alcohol which keep them away. Spraying alcohol in their hiding places will also make them come out and then you can kill using high heat or other chemicals.
Bug bombs or total release foggers can also be used to control bed bugs and kill live bed bugs present on surface. However, these foggers can be harmful to your health, so it is suggested you either vacate the room while they are at work or you use other extermination methods.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a tool that can be used to search for suitable products to get rid of bed bugs.
If doing everything on your own seems tiring to you or you tried and still could not get rid of bed bugs infestation, then you may want to hand over the matter to the pest control specialist. Hiring pest control professionals to take care of the infestation is the most effective way for bed bug control.
Pest control companies will make the job easy for you; however, you will still have to do loads of work. They will do everything from identifying infestation to creating a personalized plan for you and from killing the bugs to doing follow-up sessions to ensure that the infestation has completely been eliminated.
Even though the pest control process kills and get rid of bed bugs fast, it may not necessarily kill the eggs. Therefore, pest control specialist will be required to have at least 2 follow-up sessions to check if bed bug populations have reappeared. As said earlier, it is a long process and requires a lot of patience.
Once you are done dealing with the infestation, you must be thinking about what attracts these bugs and what you can do to keep them out, don’t worry, we got you. There are a few minor things that you can take care of to reduce the chances of another infestation.
It may not look likely, but bugs can hide in any little creaks or cracks. They can even hide in the little hole left behind after a nail is removed. So make sure to fill these holes up to eliminate any hiding spots for them. You can seal cracks using silicon-based sealant to seal the openings.
Bed bugs can come from outside too, you may unintentionally carry these bugs into your own house. Therefore, you need to take precautions while traveling. For example, when staying in a hotel room, make sure to keep your suitcase on a suitcase stand instead of the floor, and always check the mattress for infestation; if you find that the room is infested, ask for another room.
Do not keep your clothing in the hotel cupboards or drawers; if you have to keep clothes inside, then inspect the drawers using a flashlight first. Keep all your dirty laundry in a sealable plastic bag and wash them after coming home. You can also use a plastic cover for your suitcase to keep it away from any bugs. After returning home, clean the suitcase with a disinfectant before taking it into your room.
There is a very high possibility that any second-hand or thrifted things you purchase may be infected with bed bugs. So make it a habit to closely inspect the product before buying. Especially for items like furniture, couches, etc., carelessness while purchasing these products can bring infestation to your house.
Since the problem of bugs is easier to eliminate if noticed in the earlier stages, it is best if you keep a regular check for these bloodsuckers. Make it a habit to look around the mattress piping every time you change sheets, look in any nooks and crannies while cleaning the house, and keep your home well-organized and clutter-free. These little things won’t take much time and can save you a lot of trouble later on.
Guests can also bring bed bugs to your house, so if you like to invite guests over for house parties or other things, you may also want to make it a habit to take a quick check after the guests leave.
Following this guide will help you keep the bed bugs at bay and get your sleep without stressing out about some bugs crawling into your mattress.
Sleep Tight! Don’t Let the Bugs Bite!
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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.