How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The mere thought of having bed bugs in your home may make your skin crawl. These tiny insects, about as big as an apple seed (between 4-5 mm long), feed on animal and human blood. Although they’re not typically known for spreading diseases to humans, their bites can cause itching, irritation and allergic shock. So, where do bed bugs come from? You may bring them home if you’ve returned from travels, you’ve brought used furniture indoors, such as mattresses and carpets, or you may be faced with a bed bug problem even by simply staying somewhere with an infestation.
If you think bed bugs are a challenge to get rid of, you’re completely right. They can live without food for over a year and may lay hundreds of eggs quite quickly. So, if you want to learn how to get rid of bed bugs successfully and be done with them once and for all, you’ve come to the right place.
How to get rid of bed bugs at home
No matter how clean and tidy you keep your home, bed bugs can be brought in from the outside. Luckily, there are ways to address the problem yourself. Before starting out, though, keep in mind that while these tiny pests are visible to the naked eye, they do like to sneak into crevices, nooks and crannies. Thus, they can go unnoticed for a long time. Getting rid of the bed bugs becomes harder with time passing, as they reproduce quickly and in the hundreds.
Bed bugs hide where people spend most of their time. Although it’s a popular premise that bed bugs are limited to beds and mattresses, it’s important to note that they can also be found in living and dining rooms, as well. What attracts them is blood. They can also sense carbon dioxide emitted by their potential source of food.
To get rid of bed bugs permanently, it’s crucial to act as soon as you suspect you have a problem. Here’s what you should do:
- Inspect the area.
To begin with, you need to inspect every possible place in the affected area. Bed bugs are typically brown in colour, but they turn reddish after feeding. You should be able to spot adult bed bugs easily with the naked eye. However, if you can’t find any, that doesn’t mean there’s no infestation, you just have to look for other signs of bed bugs infestation. This includes old, discarded, and dry shells, which have a yellow colouring; tiny blood stains where the insects may have been squashed while you were sleeping; or bed bug excretions. If you aren’t sure about whether you have bed bugs after doing such an inspection, consider reaching out to your pest control specialist to help you do this.
- Wash your bedding and clothes.
Next, remove the bedding from your mattress and place it in sealed plastic bags. Do the same with your clothing. The reason for this is to prevent their spread throughout your home. You want to keep the infestation localised to a particular area and avoid its spread. Then, place the sealed clothes and linen in your washing machine and wash and dry them at a high temperature so that the bed bugs don’t have a chance to live.
- Vacuum thoroughly.
This should include your floor and carpets, upholstered furniture, curtains, the entire mattress (including its seams and underside), behind the bed, skirting boards, electric sockets and all crevices that you can think of. When finished with the vacuuming, you need to dispose of the vacuum cleaner dirt container effectively. If it’s a bag, you should take it outside and dispose of its contents in a sealed plastic bag before placing it in the dustbin. If it’s a canister type of vessel that collects dirt, you need to empty it out outside in your bin and clean it thoroughly before bringing it back indoors to prevent you from bringing the bed bugs back into your home.
- Treat with chemicals.
You may think that once you’ve washed your linen and clothes and thoroughly vacuumed the affected room, that your job is done. However, this is only half the story. The next part of the bed bug eradication includes chemical treatment to ensure that the infestation is under control. Doing this on your own is dangerous and not advisable. We strongly recommend that you use professional pest control services to treat your home. Pest controllers know how to handle even large-scale infestations, which areas to treat, and can give you tips on how to prevent problems in the future. Finally, it’s important for the pest control team to do a follow-up treatment to eliminate any new bed bugs’ eggs that might have hatched.
- Prevent a new infestation.
Bed bugs mainly end up in your home as a result of travelling. It doesn’t matter whether you or someone in your household has been to a five-star hotel or a cheap hostel; bed bugs are prevalent in many accommodation places in Australia and on all continents except Antarctica. If you want to prevent a future bed bug infestation, especially after or during your travels, make sure to follow the steps below.
How to get rid of bed bugs while travelling
Travelling is an inevitable part of our lives. However, no one wants to be stuck dealing with a bed bug infestation during their travels. As sometimes the culprit behind a bed bug infestation is travelling, here are some ways of how to get rid of bed bugs while travelling:
- Notify the management. Much like the first step in the process above, you first need to inspect your room for a bed bug infestation. Look at the sheets and mattress and avoid placing your clothes on the floor or on the beds. Rather, at the outset, keep your luggage in the bathroom and even place it in a bathtub (if one is present). The next step is to notify the management of the infestation and request another room that’s free of these bugs.
- Wash your clothes at a high temperature. You also need to consider washing and drying your clothes at the highest temperature possible to kill off the bed bugs and ensure that you don’t carry them along with you to the next location.
- Treat your luggage. A simple way of treating your luggage is to first empty its contents out completely, and then to vacuum it thoroughly. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner at hand, use a hairdryer on a heat setting and use it to blast the bed bugs out of your luggage.
- Use sealed plastic bags. Use sealed plastic bags, in which to pack your clothes when travelling so that you don’t spread the infestation or bring it home with you. When sealed, bed bugs don’t have a chance to spread anywhere else, and if you place your clothes in a washing machine on a hot cycle, they’ll be killed off. The same is true if you place the sealed plastic bags in temperatures below zero degrees Celsius such as in your freezer. Repeat the washing or freezing treatment as soon as you get home.
- Get in touch with the professionals. If you’re unsure about whether you’ve brought back bed bugs with you after your travels, you should consider contacting a professional pest control company to help you with your bed bug treatment and prevention efforts.
- Make sure you accurately identify that the problem at hand is bed bugs;
- Inspect all your belongings and furniture for signs of an infestation;
- Look into nooks and crannies in the living areas;
- Wash your clothes and bedding at a high temperature;
- Seal your clothes in zippable plastic bags and store away safely;
- Thoroughly vacuum every possible place in the affected room where bed bugs could be hiding;
- Call in specialist pest controllers to treat your home with chemicals, to stop the infestation from spreading;
- A secondary visit is crucial, as new eggs might have hatched.