Got Bed Bugs? Now What?
Bed Bugs are reemerging at an alarming rate in the United States; there is nearly no place in this country that is not dealing with this epidemic. While there may be many issues that has caused them to reemerge, the bottom line is if you have them, you want them DEAD!
Killing bed bugs in your home is a multi-approach task. Because bed bugs can live up to 18 months without feeding, you must kill bed bugs in all stages of their life cycle including eggs, otherwise you will be re-infested. Bedbugs not only reside in your bed, but coaches, clothing, furniture, carpets and rugs, electronics and walls of your home via the baseboards, light switches and outlets.
DO NOT USE BED BUG FOGGERS!
Even though there are foggers on the market that say they get rid of and kill bedbugs – you risk having the bed bugs scattering and trying to get away from the fogger and go into hiding into your walls, outlets, light switches, baseboards, electronics, etc. and you risk spreading infestation through out your home.
Some tools you will need in your bed bug fighting arsenal:
- Steam cleaner
- Mattress, pillow and box spring plastic encasement covers
- Vacuum cleaner
- Bed bug killer that cover all stages of their life cycles-
- Plastic Storage bags
- Diamateous Earth – Only use food grade!
Tips for Preventing and Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
First tip is to have patience, perseverance and Faith!
Next you will need the energy to clean everything, EVERYTHING – Bed bugs can hide anywhere, so now is the time to thoroughly clean and de-clutter your home. Clutter is a bed bugs greatest ally. Hold onto stuff you don’t really need and you risk losing peace of mind because bed bugs will spread.
DO NOT BUY USED FURNITURE – ESPECIALLY MATTRESSES, BOX SPRINGS, COACHES, CHAIRS – bed bugs can go into wood, metal, plastic furniture, anything that has crevices and they can hide in the furniture until a suitable host (you) comes along.
If you don’t have to, don’t shop at thrift stores, second hand shops and get free stuff off Craig’s List – It is best to err on the side of caution here. Unless you are wash any clothing item immediately (not bring it home and then take it back out a few hours later to the laundromat) or check each nook and cranny and practically take furniture apart – is it worth the risk?
Being too “green” and recycling can get you in trouble – I know we all want to do our part to be green, reuse and recycle but that is one avenue that bed bugs are using to get spread all over the Country. We need to consume less, have less, do with less. You probably have more than you can ever use, so now is the time to cut back and de-clutter.
If you must buy clothing, especially used but even with new clothing, seal it in an air tight bag and wash and (over) dry it thoroughly before wearing or hanging in your closets or putting in your drawers. More and more stores are becoming infested everyday – people buy items and them return them back to the store with bed bugs and/or eggs on them. The infestation spreads to other clothing and you buy something and bring it home and infest your home with your brand new purchase.
Don’t forget to wash your curtains and check blinds and curtain rods for signs of bugs.
When going to the laundromat with possibly infested articles be careful! Remember to put laundry bag in a plastic bag and tie it closed (an airtight bag with a zip lock seal is even better). Put your laundry bag in the wash and dryer along with your clothing, so that is clean also. When using laundry carts and folding tables remember never put your clothing directly on them (place them on a clean plastic bag).
Someone might have placed infested articles there and your cleaned clothes can pick up adults or eggs. When taking your cleaned clothes home in your laundry bag, do not put them in the same plastic bag you brought them in, use a clean plastic bag.
If you have the money invest in a commercial quality steam cleaner. You need a steam cleaner that produces dry vapor at a consistent 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a slow and steady stroke with a brush attachment that has a cloth over it. Using a nozzle attachment can blow eggs and larva away, not what you want to do.
If you can’t afford an exterminator or want to try to alleviate the problem yourself first, you must buy a product that is for use on mattresses and box springs – then encase them in bed bug proof plastic covers. This way the insecticide will continue to work on both the mattress and box spring while encased. Remember bed bugs can live up to 18 month without feeding, so do not take encasement cover off. Periodically check encasement for rips, tears and holes. If you get a tear, rip or hole use a heavy duty quality duck tape to repair it or get a new encasement cover.
Use bed bug monitors and traps to catch bugs…
If your bed is infested, do not start sleeping on the coach – beg bugs will just follow you and then your coach will be infested also. Instead consider sleeping on an air mattress.
You may need to use a combination of insecticides that can kill both adults bed bugs and larva and eggs – and IGR or insect Growth Inhibitor will work to prevent future generations from reproducing and eventually kill off the population.
Use food grade diatomaceous earth and dust baseboards, inside drawers, etc. The residual action of the diatomaceous earth will work to break down their shells, dehydrate them and kill them. This takes time and patience. You can buy a puffer and dust baseboards, outlets, switches, furniture, etc. Leave it down for a couple of days and then come back and vacuum (discard bag right away). Then redust and leave down.
1. Hire An Exterminator
When dealing with bed bugs, especially if you have a major infestation, the best way to get the problem under control and prevent them from spreading is to hire a professional. Look for a certified exterminator, that is licensed and insured in your area. There are some great bed bug exterminators in Phoenix as I’m sure you can find them where you live too. Get recommendations from others or see if there are any testimonials online.
Check out the supplier on the Better Business Bureau. If you live in an apartment building or condo, talk to your landlord or property manager who might be able to cover the cost of the extermination or recommend a good contractor to use.
2. Dry Clean Your Fabrics
The chemicals used to dry clean fabrics will kill bed bugs. Bed Bugs can still survive a local washer and dryer machine if temperatures do not reach above 140 degrees.
Due to the expense of dry cleaning, if you must wash your clothes at the local laundromat make sure you shake your clothes and sheets out well in case they are embedded in your laundry. You can get an inexpensive Stream Cleaner that will also help kill the bed bugs and eggs that might be hidden in your laundry, mattresses, curtains, and other fabrics. It will be a long manual process but it will save you money on dry cleaning bills.
3.Seal Up Your Garments
Purchase Bed Bug Resistant Bags to prevent bed bugs from hiding in your clothes, especially beneficial when traveling. It is also good to invest in a Mattress Encasement and pillow protectors. This will help keep bed bugs from hiding in the seams of your mattress or kill off any remaining bugs that are trapped inside.
Get a good Hepa Vacuum with attachments that can get to seams, crevices and cracks and use a carpet rake to further deep clean. Vacuum around the infested area and vacuum your mattress and boxspring thoroughly. This will help get to the bed bugs, eggs and larvae hidden away. Make sure you empty your vacuum bag immediately afterwards and dispose of the debris.
5. Use Diatomaceous Earth
Use Diatomaceous Earth carefully as the dust can be harmful to your lungs.. Use a dust mask and disposable gloves when applying the earth around cracks and crevices and the areas around your mattress. Diatomaceous Earth is very effective in killing bedbugs as it lacerates their body when they pass through it. Use it as a post treatment method for preventing the bedbugs from resurfacing.
Don’t Let Bed Bugs Bite You Any Longer
With these tips, you can eliminate the fear, paranoia, itching, sleepless nights associated with bed bug infestation. Dealing with bed bugs can become an expensive ordeal as it takes many steps to eliminate them and prevent them from coming back. If you do not have a big infestation, do not throw out your mattress, a good mattress is very expensive to purchase and buying a new mattress does not guarantee that the bed bugs will not return.
If you have taken the necessary treatment procedures and invested in mattress and pillow protectors you can save yourself a lot of expense. If you do have to throw out your mattress and other personal belongings please make sure to bag the contents well so that the bed bugs are contained. If you just throw the items out they will just scramble onto another item and might make their way back into your home.
Protect your family and yourself from this awful nightmare for good.