If you wake up with bites after a night’s sleep, you may have bed bugs. If you have an infestation, how can you get rid of it?
While contacting your local pest control expert is a great start, how can you identify if you have a problem and control it until you’re ready for treatment? Continue reading to learn more about 7 tips to get rid of bed bugs in your home.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects known for feeding on the blood of animals and humans. While usually brown with flat bodies, they swell and turn a reddish color after feeding. These bugs quickly move on floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture while laying hundreds of eggs.
Bed bugs typically enter homes undetected through luggage, clothing, used furniture, or other items. You may not even notice you have any problems because these insects are most active at night. They typically nest close to people for easy access to bite at night.
- Box springs
- Bed frames
- Night stands
These bugs may scatter across your home over time, moving into small crevices and other safe locations.
There’s a reason bed bugs are infamous; they can be difficult to remove while causing painful and itchy welts. If you, unfortunately, have these insects in your home, read through these 7 tips to get rid of bed bugs.
7 Tips to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Identify the Problem
Before you can begin to fix your problem, you need to identify it. If you’re experiencing mysterious bites, it can be hard to know if they’re bed bug bites or another insect, like a mosquito.
Keep an eye out for signs of bed bugs, such as:
- Dark, rusty spots of bed bug waste on sheets & mattresses, walls, or bedclothes
- Carpet area that reaches the wall is an area that harbors bed bugs.
- Bed bug fecal spots, eggshells, or shed skins in areas where these insects like to hide
- A musty odor in your home from bed bug scent glands
- Bloodstains on your sheets or pillowcases
If you notice any of these signs, begin looking around your bed or wherever you find bed bug signs. Collect a sample of a bed bug if you can. You can confirm you have an infestation by contacting an extension agent or other inspect expert.
After confirming you have bed bugs, notify your landlord if you live in an apartment. Make sure to inspect all areas with possible bed bugs and don’t leave any place unchecked.
Keep Bed bugs from Spreading
After identifying you have a bed bug problem, prevent the infestation from spreading as best as possible. These insects can spread throughout your home with time, so make sure to consider every possible location bed bugs may be hiding.
Try the following to keep bed bugs in control:
- Remove infested items by placing them in a sealed bag for treatment
- Untreatable items should be sealed in plastic for up to a year to ensure bugs die
- Vacuum infested areas to contain them, but empty your appliance after each use; seal the bag tightly & immediately throw it in an outdoor garbage can
- When removing furniture or beds from the area make sure to wrap the furniture in plastic and tape the ends completely shut to not track bed bugs through other areas of the home.
- Safely discard any furniture you can’t treat
- Have infested items picked up by trash collection as soon as possible
Determine if You Need Help
If you’re going to remove bed bugs from your home, you have to decide between DIY treatment or professional help. It can be tempting to save some money, but these insects are tricky. You may not remove all of the bugs on your own.
Consider Chemical Treatments
When deciding on how to treat bed bugs, pesticides are a common choice. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has over 300 registered products for bed bugs, some for consumer use and others for professionals.
These products fall into 7 different classes of pesticides:
Each of these classes removes bed bugs differently. Their effectiveness depends on many factors, but pesticides can help keep bed bugs out of your home.
Speak with your local pest control experts if you have any questions about the pesticides they use.
Think about Fumigation
Fumigation can be an effective method of bed bug removal, but only if done by a professional. Some believe fumigation is similar to commercial bug bombs, but this treatment is specialized and regulated.
While fumigation can kill bed bugs, it can’t prevent future infestations. It doesn’t have residual effects, so you typically need to combine this treatment with others for complete effectiveness.
Avoid Cold Treatment
While the cold can kill bed bugs, it may not be effective enough. Your home’s temperature has to stay low for long periods, about as low as 0℉. According to the EPA, using outdoor freezing temperatures may help, but there is never a guarantee.
Other methods are generally more effective than cold treatment.
Look Into Heat Treatment
Heat treatment is effective in killing bed bugs at all stages of life, from eggs to adults. This doesn’t mean simply turning up your thermostat; professionals use specially designed equipment to heat your home.
Bed bugs die within 90 minutes at 118℉ or immediately at 122℉. Your pest control expert will use thermometers to ensure temperatures are high enough to remove the infestation. Treatment typically requires several hours to confirm bed bugs are dead.
Heat treatment doesn’t provide residual effects, similar to fumigation. Many use insecticide afterward to prevent future infestation after heat eliminates bed bugs.
Protect Yourself & Your Home
These tips can help you safely and effectively remove bed bugs from your home. While some may try to deal with an infestation alone, pest control experts can use a combination of different treatment methods to eliminate bed bugs and prevent reinfestation.
If you have a bed bug problem, contact your local expert. They can answer any questions you have and help you protect your home.