One pest has continued to socialize over the past several years: bed bugs. The name alone can trigger intense itchiness and shudders down spines. But the most important thing is to know how to get rid of bed bugs.
At least 1 in 5 Americans have had a bed bug problem or know someone who has. And that number continues to grow, with countries such as France now declaring bed bugs a public health problem.
But the good news is that getting rid of bed bugs is possible. And the sooner you take action, the better. So read on for a step-by-step guide for successful bed bug removal.
1. Confirm Signs of Bed Bugs
Signs of bed bugs include blood stains or brown bed bug excrement stains on your sheets or pillowcase. Other signs include eggshells or bed bug skins around the typical areas bed bugs hide, such as mattress seams. You may also notice an unusual musty odor from bed bug scent glands.
You may also notice bites on you or other household members. Bites are usually red and grouped together, such as in a line.
If you notice any signs of bed bugs, it is time to take action. It is easy to excuse signs, such as blaming bites on mosquitos. However, bed bug populations quickly multiple, so the sooner you start bed bug treatment, the better.
2. Find Infestation Areas
Bed bugs can travel 3 to 4 feet per minute on almost all surfaces. So even if you have noticed bed bugs in one room, it is important to check around your home for other potential areas of infestation. Common places to check for bed bugs include:
- Mattress and couch seams
- In the box spring
- Around the bed frame and headboard
- Inside electrical outlets
- Under loose wallpaper, paintings, and posters
- Couch cushions
- Any furniture joint
It is best to use a flashlight to find bedbugs. And if you have a magnifying glass, even better. You might spot live bed bugs or signs of bed bugs.
If you are unsure if it is a bed bug, try to catch it and put it in a jar. You can contact an entomologist or pest exterminator to confirm whether it is bed bugs or not.
3. Prevent the Spread
Once you identify areas of infestation, it is time to contain the bed bugs to make bed bug removal easier. Vacuum any contents in the room, such as your bed and other hiding places. Be sure to throw vacuumed contents into a sealed plastic bag and clean your vacuum.
You should also pack and seal any infected linen, such as your bedsheets. If you have clothes close to infestation, seal them up too. You can then wash the on the highest setting in your washer and dryer, or just your dryer if you cannot wash the item.
You can leave items that cannot be washed in a plastic bag for several months at the least. If furniture cannot be treated, it might be time to throw it away. Be sure to mark it as infested with bed bugs so other people are not tempted to take the furniture home.
4. Prepare Your Home for Treatment
If you do not prepare your home for treatment, the odds of successful bed bug removal will be significantly lower. Remove anything you can from the infested room, such as magazines, books, and clothes. Throw away anything you can, and seal anything else for several months.
You want to remove all bed bug hiding places so that you can reach them all during treatment. Also, remove any clutter furniture away from walls, and seal electrical outlets with tape until you treat them.
5. DIY Bed Bug Removal
If you have a small infestation, you can try home remedies to get rid of bed bugs. However, if you already have a large infestation, it is best to skip this step and contact a professional service. You can either use natural home remedies or chemical remedies.
Natural Bed Bug Treatment
You can try hot and cold treatment in your home. For example, you can wash bedding and clothes in hot water and dry them. You can also use a steamer on couches and in other bed bug hideouts. Or, simply place items in bin bags and leave them outside on a hot day of over 95°F.
You can also try placing bags in the freezer of -17°F for several days. Then seal items with bed bug proof covers on mattresses and other areas, as these protect you from bites and kill any remaining bed bugs.
You can try several treatments, such as insecticides and bug bombs. However, some of these can only be used by professional services. Check for EPA-registered items that are also specifically for bed bugs.
6. Monitor the Situation
If you complete bed bug removal, do not relax your guard so soon. You may need to repeat the treatment several times to be successful.
Check infested areas once or twice a week to ensure the bed bugs have gone. You can also use bed bug interceptors to capture any invaders.
7. Call the Experts
If you notice signs of bed bugs after home treatment or you have a large infestation, it is best to call a reputable pest control service. A professional service has the skills and equipment for treating bed bugs successfully. They also can provide full room treatments.
Be sure to follow pest control advice fully to increase the chance of success. Getting rid of bed bugs in your home may require several professional treatments.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Now you know how to get rid of bed bugs in your home. No one wants to find these uninvited guests, but the sooner you take action, the sooner you can be comfortable in your home once again. It is important to remember any home can be infected with bed bugs, but how you respond is down to you.
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