Killing Bed Bugs
Many people have lived most of their lives without seeing once of these nasty little creatures. But in recent years there has been a resurgence of these pesky little bugs that is almost akin to an epidemic.
Bed bug infestations are showing are turning up in homes, condos, apartments, hotels, motels and dormitories. It is generally agreed that while their bite is a nuisance, it is not a health hazard since they do not carry diseases.
This is why the Public Health Departments are slow in reacting to the bed bug epidemic. Of the larger cities only Boston and San Francisco have declared them a public nuisance and enacted regulations for dealing with infestations.
Part of the problem with dealing with the bed bug is that many pest control professionals don’t know how to treat for them. Most will treat an infestation the same way that they would a cockroach problem and that just doesn’t work. The other part problem that the bed bug is highly resistant to many chemicals that are used to kill other pests.
What Is A Bed Bug?
The actual bug is small, usually the adult is only ¼ of an inch or less. They are also flat so they can hide in cracks and crevices during the day. They survive by feeding on the blood of warm blooded hosts. This is why bed bugs will usually be found near the sleeping areas though sometimes they are also found in chairs or sofas.
They hide during the day to avoid light and will generally come out only at night when they bite and suck blood out of their victims.
You can sometimes smell the waft of a foul odor if there is a large infestation. Pull up the bed sheets from a corner and check along the mattress seams. If the area is infested, you will see dark spots from their waste or blood from crushed bugs. You might even see an actual bed bug.
How Do You Kill Them?
It is because they are so shy of the light and expert hiders that it is so hard to get rid of bed bugs. You must use a multi-pronged approach. Read more at the cockroaches.
First you need to catch one of the crawling bugs to confirm that it is indeed a bed bug. This won’t be an easy task since they are extremely adverse to light and only come out during the night. The best way to find one is to search in the normal hiding areas until you find one alive and crawling. Look under furniture close to the bed, along the seams of the mattresses and on the bed frame itself. Bag the bug or put it in a small vial so that you can compare it to pictures on the Internet.
Once you’ve confirmed that the bug is indeed a bed bug you need to de-clutter the area where they were found. Any thing that sets on the floor is an area for them to hide. You need to take away their hiding places.
Take bed sheets and any infected clothes in plastic bags to the washer. Use as hot of water as possible then dry them extra long in high heat.
Use a brush along any areas on the floors, walls or bed that are near the infestation to loosen eggs that they lay. Vacuum everything. Use a steam carpet cleaner if you can or vacuum thoroughly, especially along the edges of the floor next to the walls.
Consider buying mattress and pillow enclosures that are BED BUG PROOF! Make sure that you buy the kinds that completely encase and seal the mattress/box spring and pillows.
There are different products that you can use to treat the bed frame, carpet edges and other access points for bed bugs. Choose the ones that are best for you considering your health and whether you have pets or not. You need to make sure that you not only treat the initial problem but also for the eggs that can take up to two weeks to hatch.
Once you have encased the bed, cleaned the sheets and pad, decluttered your room, thoroughly cleaned the area and treated potential infestation areas you can put the room back together.
To avoid re-infestation, retreat all areas in two weeks to get any hatching eggs. If you are in an apartment, bed bugs can travel in the electrical and plumbing void spaces between apartments. It is best to make sure that you get all areas around you treated as well but that’s not always possible.
You might consider moving your bed away from the wall, setting the legs on plates or cups and avoid having bedding hanging to the floor. This will make it much harder for them to re-infesting your bed.
Just remember that having bed bugs is not usually a statement about the cleanliness of your home. They are just an opportunistic invader that you can kill if you use the right methods.