6 Ways to Deal with Bed Bugs
Even at their tiny size, bed bugs have the ability to strike fear in many homeowners and travelers. These tiny blood-sucking insects can multiply quickly. Nearly invisible, they can take over homes at an alarming rate.
It’s important to take a comprehensive approach to deal with bed bugs. Pest Control is something that mostly should be dealt with by experts. However, doing what you can to prevent them in the first place is a smart step. If encountered with a problem, acting quickly can save you a lot of frustration!
There are ways you can guard yourself and your home against bed bugs. There are also some common-sense strategies to approach their presence. Check out these ways to deal with these annoying insects.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny brown insects that feed off of the blood of humans and other mammals. They are oval-shaped and are expert hiders, making them tough to detect easily. They are very quick crawlers and tend to feed at night. Their bites can leave rashes and itchy, red bumps.
By reproducing extremely rapidly, a bed bug population can quickly take over a home. A female bed bug can produce hundreds of babies. These eggs are so tiny they are virtually undetectable, helping their expansion fly under the radar.
1. Keeping them Out of Your Home
The best way to avoid a bed bug problem is to make your home an unwelcome habitat in the first place. There are some steps you can take that will eliminate hiding spots for bed bugs. Developing good cleaning and maintenance habits can also go a long way in preventing an infestation.
Bed bugs love an unprotected mattress, hence the name bed bugs. Mattresses give them lots of cracks and crevices to hide in and provides them with a nightly meal from unsuspecting sleepers. Your best defenses are good mattress and box spring covers. Many are designed to be bed bug proof and also protect against dust mites and bacteria.
Do you have stacks of papers and piles of books you can get rid of? You could be inadvertently providing prime hiding places for bed bugs. Make an effort to get any unnecessary clutter out of your home as soon as possible.
Online selling sites make purchasing used furniture convenient and easy. However, it’s important to be careful that the new couch or armchair you just got a great deal on isn’t full of bed bugs. Check it extremely thoroughly for any signs of infestation, including the seams and underneath. Consider steam cleaning or treating furniture with a chemical spray before bringing it into your house, just in case.
2. Be Cautious When Traveling
Everyone has heard the horror stories of bringing home bed bugs from a hotel. The number of people in and out of motels and hotels make them a risky place for travelers to unknowingly pick up tiny hitchhikers. Being extremely cautious when traveling will lower your chances of bringing home more than just your belongings.
The first thing you should do when you arrive in a hotel room, before putting your luggage down, is to inspect your room. Check the likely places that bed bugs hide like mattresses and upholstered furniture. Look for any evidence of their presence like small blood spots. Be sure to check under all of the mattress coverings, including the protector.
Protecting your suitcase is the best way to avoid a bed bug souvenir. Keep your suitcase in the bathtub or shower in your hotel room to limit access. When you arrive home, consider spraying your suitcase or vacuum it to remove any stragglers.
One of the best ways to prevent an infestation of bed bugs, or any insect for that matter, is to vacuum frequently. Empty your canister in a trash can away from your home each time you vacuum. You can also sprinkle baking soda before vacuuming to freshen carpets and further deter any bed bug population.
3. Early Detection
If you do end up with the presence of bed bugs, early detection is vital. It’s important to know the signs of bed bugs and to monitor them. Catching them early can prevent an unmanageable infestation.
Many people find out that they have bed bugs from the bites they leave. They are commonly found on ankles, arms, or anywhere not covered by your pajamas. The red, itchy bites are similar to other insect bites so it’s not always proof of their presence.
Checking your mattress and bedding is essential for finding bed bugs early. Look for any spots that are left by feces or the blood of crushed bed bugs. You can also look closely for their shed casings or even live ones.
Bed bugs feed off all mammals, not just humans. The signs of bed bug bites can hide under your pet’s fur. If you notice an increase in their scratching, carefully check their bedding material and be sure to wash it regularly.
4. Do It Yourself Treatment
It might be tempting to get rid of bed bugs on your own. However, a small presence can develop into an unmanageable infestation very quickly. There are some things you can do to slow the process while you’re waiting for a professional.
Bed bugs don’t do well with heat. You can wash and dry your linens on the highest heat possible to kill them. You can also iron fabrics like curtains on a high setting to kill any bugs hiding in them.
Steam has been shown to kill bed bugs. A commercial-grade carpet cleaner releases hot enough steam to kill them. You can also use a steamer to try to eliminate them from baseboards and furniture.
5. Know When to Bring in a Professional
Your best bet at truly eliminating a bed bug infestation is with a trained professional. Trying to use foggers and chemicals on your own can be dangerous. It’s also likely you won’t be able to thoroughly kill all of the bed bugs.
Look for an exterminator specifically trained for bed bugs. A company with more experience will be able to provide you options. They will help you select the best service for your unique situation.
Bed bugs are extremely challenging to kill. Their life cycle also makes it likely that some eggs can remain after treatment. A bed bug removal expert can make sure the entire population is completely eradicated.
6. Keep a Watchful Eye
After treatment, it’s important to monitor for a resurgence in bed bugs. Make sure you clean thoroughly after your professional leaves. Take their advice to see the best results possible.
You might want to consider laundering all of your bed linens and clothing after treatment. The dead bodies of the bugs can linger until being washed or vacuumed away. It’s important to continue to diligently check for bed bugs after treatment.
You can give yourself a better chance to resist an infestation. Think of ways you can reduce clutter and keep your home free of bed bug hiding places. Be mindful when you travel to avoid picking up bed bugs along the way. Make sure to look out for early signs of bed bugs so you can treat them early.
No one wants to deal with a bed bug infestation. However, the process can be much less overwhelming if you’re armed with knowledge. You’ll know how to eliminate bed bugs and prevent them in the future.