Bed bugs are making a comeback, and bug treatment and removal is starting to be a necessary evil in this century – no matter where you live or how clean you are.
Bed Bugs Treatment Starts with Prevention
The best way to prevent a bed bug infestation is to keep them from getting into your home.
Unfortunately, bed bugs are becoming a global problem, and since these little critters are fast and invasive, it can be tough to keep them out.
When you travel, bring a flashlight. Check the mattress where you’re staying for any small dark stains. Look in the crevices of the mattress, and the seams. Check carefully. It is unlikely that you’ll see a bug, but you may see evidence of them. They will leave dark (blood) stains when they get crushed as the previous person rolled over, or they may simply leave excrement.
Either way, they’re gross.
If you see evidence of bed bugs, leave the room immediately. If you can’t leave, then make sure that your luggage is placed in the bathtub or elevated off the floor. This way the insects can’t climb into your suitcase and hitch a ride to your home.
Don’t leave any clothing or other items on the floor where insects can hitch an easy ride to your house.
Bed Bugs Habits and Bite Evidence
I have a friend who is an exterminator. In talking with him the other day, he said that he had recently attended a symposium for exterminators. He told me, “Bed bugs are bad news. I’d take cockroaches any day over a bed bugs infestation.”
This is because effective insect treatment is not just a simple application of chemical. This is going to take some careful effort on your part to eradicate them.
Bed bugs sleep during the day and come out at night to feed on blood. Humans are a favorite target, although they will also feed on dogs and cats. They are fast little creatures who can hide in a space as small as the thickness of a credit card. These insects at maturity measure about ¼ inch long.
Picture a bug about the length of a single grain of rice.
Evidence of an infestation can include bites on your person. They will typically feed in a small area, injecting an anti-coagulant substance under the skin to allow your blood to flow easily. You will generally see a small localized area of several bites on your skin to indicate the presence of these insects.
Bed Bugs Treatment Step #1
First, remove any clutter. You’ll want easy access to anyplace that bugs can hide.
Bed bugs treatment starts with a vacuum cleaner with a disposable bag. You’re going to vacuum everything! You need a vacuum that has a long hose and a crevice attachment.
Start by vacuuming where you’ve seen evidence of the critters, like the mattress seams and cracks. Pull the mattress off the box springs and vacuum them carefully as well as underneath the bed. Take apart the bed frame to remove any hiding places.
Vacuum the cracks where the carpet meets the wall, and anywhere you can see evidence of bugs. Bed bugs have been found to hide behind loose wallpaper, switch plate covers, and even behind baseboard, so you may want to remove these to vacuum behind them.
Check out furniture too, because these insects can live in sofas and chairs as easily as they can live in mattresses. You won’t see many bugs, but your vacuum cleaner “offense” will suck up any eggs that may be waiting to hatch.
Once you’ve vacuumed every possible hiding place, take the vacuum outside and remove the bag. If you can incinerate the bag, do so. If not, place the bag inside a plastic garbage bag, tie it securely and dispose of immediately.
Bed Bugs Treatment Step #2
Rent or buy a steam cleaning machine.
The steam must get very hot, because bed bugs can withstand temperatures of up to 113 degrees. Try to get the steam at least 120 degrees.
Steam clean everything that you’ve just vacuumed in the previous step. Clean mattresses, box springs, sofa, chairs, furniture, carpet and baseboards. Don’t miss anything!
If even one female (egg-laying) bug is missed, you could find yourself dealing with a whole new bed bug infestation.
Wash all clothing and bedding in HOT water. Warm or cool water is not enough to kill these insects. Wash coats and purses, anything that could even remotely harbor a bug. Wash rugs and blankets. Steam clean your carpet.
Bed Bugs Treatment Step #3
This is the chemical and/or pesticide step.
Chemicals can be caustic and cause health problems, so you’ll want to check with your local exterminator to see what he or she would recommend.
If you have items that cannot be washed, say a computer, cell phone or other appliance, there’s a product called “Nuvan Strips” that can be placed inside a plastic bag along with your item. The bag is sealed and the Nuvan Strips will fumigate the inside of the bag, killing any insects that are hiding inside the computer.
The bag and strips typically take about 3 days to do the job.
One more natural alternative to chemicals is diatomaceous earth, or DE.
Diatomaceous earth is basically the ground-up shells of tiny prehistoric creatures. These shells are very sharp to insects. When a bug walks through DE, the sharp edges will cut them, causing them to bleed to death.
DE can also be used in your garden to combat other garden insects. DE is harmless to humans.
If you choose to use DE, sprinkle it liberally around the room you’ve been cleaning, once the mattress and other items are dry. Make sure to get it into the crevices and cracks of your mattress and other places where you’ve noticed the blood/fecal matter stains.
Bed Bugs Treatment Does Not Mean You’re a Poor Housekeeper.
Someone with a cockroach infestation can sometimes be stigmatized as “dirty,” or a bad housekeeper.
Bed bugs, though, are not discriminating. They will attack the home of someone who is a fanatical housekeeper as quickly as they will someone who tends to be more cluttered or casual about cleaning.
If you’ve been the victim of an infestation, take heart. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t a clean person. It does mean that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, since bed bugs will hitch a ride anywhere looking for a fresh meal.
If you still haven’t been able to eradicate your bug infestation even after this bed bugs treatment, then please check with your local exterminator. For more info or advice goes to GC PEST CONTROL.