Bed bugs are possibly one of the more difficult pests to eliminate. They are particularly common in countries with warm weather and high humidity, and can survive for years without feeding or coming out from their nests. Bed bug bites are very itchy and leave ugly marks on your skin, and sometimes cause serious allergic reactions.
Bed bugs usually make their homes in little cracks in wooden furniture as well as other dark and warm places, like mattresses and little nooks in the wall. Female bed bugs lay up to 5 eggs per day and can reproduce on any surface. It’s important to eradicate both adult bed bugs as well as their young as a thorough approach. Here’s how you can start:
1. Educate yourself about bed bugs
The first step in combating bed bugs is to know all about them. Read up about how they look like (small, reddish and round) and their life habits. You’ll also need to know how to identify other signs of their presence, including small dark stains on fabric, case skins from the bugs shedding and itchy bites appearing on your skin.
2. Remove the clutter
If you suspect that a room of a space in your house has been infested with bed bugs, the first thing to do is to remove all non permanent items like pillows, blankets, cushions, toys, decorative items and the like. Soft things like pillows and cushion should have their covers removed and treated with heat, either in a dryer or by sunning. Fabrics should be laundered with soap and hot water above 70 degrees Celcius. Solid items need to be washed or treated with heat. If you have a carpet, the best way to treat it is by steam cleaning.
3. Clean large or wooden furniture
Chairs, table legs, sofas, mattresses and bedframes are just some of the places bed bugs can hide. Examine each piece of furniture for signs of a bed bug colony. There are several ways to clean furniture. Smaller pieces of furniture should be doused with hot boiling water. For larger pieces of wooden furniture like cabinets and drawers, a steam cleaner will really help, or you can dismantle it and use the boiling water method.
4. Tackle the mattress
Mattresses are one the main places bed bugs love to breed and nest. Thinner and lighter mattresses should be brought out and sunned, but thick spring mattresses can harbour bed bugs deep in the springs. For these types of mattresses, you can try encasing them tightly in a plastic covering, such as clear kitchen wraps. The aim of this is to prevent bed bugs from escaping and feeding. Keep the wrappings on for up to 2 years so that the bugs will starve and eventually be eliminated. The same strategy can be used with sofa cushions and other soft components of your furniture.
5. Clean the infested area
Time to get scrubbing using a hard bristle brush that will help dislodge eggs and any adult bug. After scrubbing, vacuum the floor and crevices, in order to dislodge any leftover insects. This step is especially important as bugs like to hide in places like the edge of carpets, wooden wall bottoms and more.
Diatomaceous earth or DE is a really effective way to bring down the bed bug population in your home. It come in powder form and function to slowly kill bed bugs and other pest that come into contact with it by piercing their bodies and slowly dehydrating them. Dust DE in areas where you believe the bed bugs will cross, with more areas covered the better.
Getting rid of bed bugs requires both patience and commitment. Also, you should use a combination of methods to get rid of them, rather than just relying on one. Bed bugs are sensitive to heat, ethanol, extreme cold and several other things which should be used in combination. If you need some professional help, there are professional mattress cleaners who will definitely help turn your bed bug problem around.
written by Michelle Chee