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Ridding Your Home of Bed Bugs – Treatment and Prevention Tips

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Ridding Your Home of Bed Bugs – Treatment and Prevention Tips

Introduction

Bed bugs are a serious nuisance that can be extremely difficult to get rid of. As someone who has dealt with them before, I know how frustrating it can be to have these little pests invading your home. In this article, I’ll share the tips and methods I’ve learned for treating bed bugs and preventing future infestations.

Identifying Bed Bugs

The first step is confirming that you actually have bed bugs. Here’s what to look for:

  • Red, itchy welts on your skin – The bites often appear in a line or cluster. They are commonly found on exposed areas like the arms, neck and face.

  • Dark spots on your mattress or bedding – These spots are bed bug excrement and may bleed onto the fabric like a marker. You may also see their molted shells.

  • A sweet, musty odor – Bed bugs release pheromones that smell like rotting raspberries. The smell is more apparent in heavy infestations.

  • Seeing live bed bugs – You may actually see them crawling on your mattress, furniture and walls. They are small (5mm), oval-shaped and reddish-brown.

If you have any of these signs, inspect other areas they like to hide such as furniture crevices, behind baseboards and under loose wallpaper. Confirming you have bed bugs is an important first step before treatment.

Treatment Options

There are several options for treating bed bugs. The approach that works best often involves combining multiple methods.

Heat Treatments

Heating infested areas to temperatures over 113°F can kill bed bugs and eggs. This can be done by:

  • Professional heat treatment – A pest control company uses special heating equipment to raise the temperature in your home.

  • Wash and dry cycles – Washing and drying items on the hottest settings will kill bed bugs. This works for clothing, bedding, etc.

  • Portable heaters – Using a portable electric heater, slowly go over infested furniture until the area reaches the lethal temperature. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer.

Heat doesn’t penetrate very well, so it’s important to target cracks, crevices and hard-to-reach areas.

Chemical Treatments

Pesticide sprays and powders are available for bed bug elimination. Some options include:

  • Professional chemical treatment – A pest control expert applies registered insecticides in and around your home. Usually requires multiple visits.

  • Over-the-counter sprays – There are several sprays made for bed bugs that you can find at hardware and big box stores. Products containing pyrethroids tend to be most effective.

  • Dusts containing diatomaceous earth – The sharp edges cut the waxy coating on bed bugs’ exoskeleton causing dehydration. Apply a fine layer in infested areas.

When using chemicals, always read and follow label directions carefully. Be cautious of making excessive applications.

Discarding Infested Items

If bed bugs are isolated to just your mattress or certain pieces of furniture, you may opt to simply throw away the infested items. This is often easier than treatment.

Wrap the discarded item in plastic before removing it from your home to prevent the bugs from escaping.

Preventing Future Infestations

To help avoid bed bugs coming back, there are some preventive measures I recommend taking:

  • Inspect secondhand furniture carefully before bringing it in your home. Never bring in discarded items from the curb.

  • Thoroughly check for bed bugs when staying in hotels. Inspect mattresses and furniture before settling in.

  • Seal cracks and crevices where bugs can hide. Use caulk and sealants around windows, baseboards, outlets, etc.

  • Consider encasing mattresses and box springs in bed bug proof covers. This traps any bugs inside and prevents new ones from getting in.

  • Be vigilant and check for signs regularly. Early detection makes treatment easier.

Don’t Let Bed Bugs Get the Best of You

Dealing with bed bugs takes diligence and perseverance. It may take weeks or months to fully rid your home of them, but it is possible with persistence! Combining multiple treatment methods and taking preventive measures will help protect your home. Don’t lose hope. You can beat these pests!

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