Reading Time: 11 minutes
You need to get rid of bed bugs as they can cause a nuisance. Though they do not transmit any disease, the small insects can suck blood from your body. As a result, you can develop itching welts. The small, brownish insects have an oval shape and feed on blood from animals or humans. Before feeding, they have flat bodies. After sucking the blood, their color changes from brown to red. These insects cannot fly. But, they move quickly over the floors, ceilings or walls. They can frustrate you as the bed bugs reproduce at an alarming rate. A female bed bug can lay more than a hundred eggs in its lifetime. You cannot identify the problem easily. The bed bugs have small eggs that looks like a speck of dust. Bed bug infestation can occur in filthy home as well as immaculately maintained spaces. So, hygiene plays no role in the infestation. The bed bug bites can affect your sleep and also cause skin problems. Therefore, you need to take steps to eliminate the infestation.
Bed Bug Cycle
Before learning about how to get rid of bed bugs, you need to know why they can cause you a nuisance. The life cycle of the insects can shed light on reproduction. The immature bed bugs reach maturity after shedding their skin five times. Before each shedding, they require a meal, blood. So, you can expect bedbug bites. Within a year a single bedbug can produce three or more generations. It takes only a whole month for an immature bedbug to develop fully. So, they reproduce at a rapid pace and make your life a living hell. The insects can easily infest the mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. It is the reason why they are called bedbugs. The life cycle stages consist of:
A female bed bug lays its eggs around the button on your mattress or its edges. At times, the bed bugs can glue the eggs on rough surfaces. In normal cases, a female bed bug lays two hundred eggs at the rate of three or four eggs per day. It usually places the eggs in the crevices, cracks or other isolated areas. It looks for protected shelters to lay the egg. The female bedbugs lay eggs after their blood meal.
After one or two weeks, the eggs hatch into nymphs. Nymphs are the newly hatched bugs that start feeding immediately. The nymph phase lasts for fourteen to thirty days. But, it depends on the room temperature as well as the food (blood) supply.
The nymphs shed their skin at least five times before becoming adult bedbugs. Once they mature, the bedbugs start mating. So, from the egg hatch to laying eggs on their own can take only four to nine weeks in favorable conditions. Six months to one year is the average lifespan of the bedbugs. They feed every ten days. But, they are capable of surviving for months without a blood meal.
The main problem with the bedbugs is the alarming rate of reproduction and the ability to hide. They can enter your home undetected and infest in a different area without getting noticed.
Hiding Places Of Bed Bugs
The insects can enter your home through clothing, luggage, used bed or other furniture like couches. The bedbugs have a flat body, which makes it possible to hide in tiny spaces (even as small as the width of a credit card). While these insects have no nests like bees or ants, they live in groups in the hiding places. They tend to hide in places that have easy access to people. So, they can easily bite in the night. Once infestation occurs, it can spread to other areas of the same room or nearby rooms. They can move into a protected location like crevices and cracks. The bedbugs live only on blood. So, it is not the sign of dirtiness. Unfortunately, infestation occurs in clean and immaculate homes/hotels just like filthy ones.
Why Do You Need To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are active at night time. So, they can bite you when you are sleeping. The insects survive by sucking the blood from your body. It has an elongated beak that can pierce into the skin and withdraw blood. The bugs can feed on your body for three to ten minutes. Then, they become engorged and crawl away without people noticing. While the bite from the bed bugs may not trigger pain at first. But, it can later start itching and develop into welts. The other insects like fleas bite only around certain areas of the body like ankles, bed bugs can bite any exposed of your skin. People at first may associate the rash formation and itching to a bedbug infestation. They attribute it to the itching due to mosquito bites. The bedbug bites can cause allergic reactions, skin infection or other skin problems.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small creatures that measure five millimeters across. But, the small insects are tough and multiply quickly. They reproduce at a faster rate. The bedbugs are also good at hiding. So, they go without detection for a long time. The insects can live without meals for a long time. A healthy female bed bug can lay up to five hundred eggs in their lifetime. Though the insects are small in size, they can create havoc in your home. They can bite you and affect your skin adversely. It can leave red welts all over the body and cause itching.
It is possible to get rid of the bed bugs. But, you need patience, effort, and time to eliminate the problem. You have to try non-chemical and chemical approaches to treat the infestation. For large infestation, it is better to seek professional assistance. Some factors can affect the removal of bed bugs from your home. The factor that makes it tough is:
- Have a lot of clutter at home
- You travel frequently and bring luggage infected with bed bugs
If you wish to remove the infestation from your home, then read ahead to know the steps. It will help you clear the agonizing problem creating havoc in your life.
Identify The Infested Area
It is important to identify the areas of infestation to prevent the bed bugs from spreading. So, finding them early can prevent the bed bugs from reproducing. It is the most effective and a cheaper option to treat the infestation. When the infestation becomes large, it becomes difficult to clear them. Unfortunately, the small infestation is harder to detect. Bed bugs are small insects that can squeeze into tiny spots like folds of curtains, couches, and the seams of a mattress. You can search for the bedbugs yourself or hire a professional pest controller to perform the inspection. Some pest controllers use trained dogs to detect the infestation by scent. You have to look for places like
- In cracks of the headboard or bed frame
- Near the tags of box springs and mattress
- In baseboards
- Inside electrical outlets
- Between couch cushions
- Inside furniture joints
- Under loose wallpaper
- In the seam where the ceiling and wallpaper meet
- Under posters and paintings on the walls
You need to use a magnifying glass to see the evidence of bed bugs. Go through all the suspected areas and look for the following signs:
- Live bed bugs that are small in size (1/4 inch) and reddish body
- Reddish stain on bed sheets that indicates the crushing of the insects
- The dark stains on the bed that can indicate towards bedbug drooping
- Eggs or eggshell that is small and pale yellow
- Yellow skin shed by the young bed bugs
When you see a bed bug, it is better to catch them and get a professional opinion. It is because many of the bugs can look a lot like bed bugs. Professionals like the entomologist or exterminator can identify the type of insect.
You need to contain the infestation of bed bugs to get rid of them. It is important to stop the infestation from spreading to other areas. Here are some steps to contain the infestation by yourself.
A quick and easy method to trap the insects is to use a vacuum. You need to run the vacuum over the places you suspect the infestation. The most common places you need to vacuum are:
- Electronic appliances
After vacuuming, you need to transfer the contents inside the vacuum in a plastic bag and throw them away. You need to thoroughly clean the vacuum to prevent the spread of bed bugs.
Clean The Affected Clothes
You need to seal all the affected clothes, including the linens in a plastic bag until you can wash them completely. You need to dry them at the highest possible temperature. So, you can dry them outside in the sun or use the highest temperature setting of the washer and dryer. If you cannot clean the infested furniture, then it is better to throw them away. You need to dispose of them properly. So, tear them completely and spray words of caution to prevent others from taking it home.
Prepare For Bed Bug Treatment
A cluttered home makes the bed bug inspection difficult. It is because the insects can find many hiding places. So, you need to remove the clutter by throwing out unnecessary items. Collect all the loose items in all the rooms in your home and double bag it. You need to throw the items that are impossible to treat. You need to inspect the items before returning them to the treated room. It is because you can return the bed bugs to the treated rooms.
Seal any open areas to prevent the bed bugs from venturing out. You must also glue down the loose wallpaper and caulk the crack in the baseboards or other furniture. Before treating a room, tape the open electrical outlets. Place the bed at least six inches away from the wall. It will avoid the bedbugs from climbing on the bed.
Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
To eliminate the bed bug manifestation, you need to kill them. You can opt for home cleaning methods or ask for professional assistance to remove the problem. Here are the details about the different techniques available to kill bed bugs.
Home Cleaning Methods
You can use some natural methods to remove the bed bugs from your home. The concept uses a high heat (46 degrees Celsius or 115 degrees Fahrenheit) or intense cold (less than 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill the bedbugs. So, you can try the following methods to kill the bedbugs:
- You need to wash the bedding as well as clothes in scalding hot water for at least thirty minutes. You dry them in the hot sun outside or use the dryer on the highest setting for thirty minutes.
- The bed bugs have some common places to hide like mattresses, couches, etc. So, you can use a steamer to eliminate the bed bugs.
- You need to pack the infested items in a bag, preferably black. Leave the outside on a hot day to kill all the bed bugs. You can also leave the black bag in your car. If you choose to freeze the bedbugs, then it may take two or more months to kill the bedbugs.
- In cooler temperatures, the bedbugs, take longer to die. You can put the bad with infested items in a bag in a freezer. The temperature of -17 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit) can freeze the bed bugs. Use a thermometer to check the temperature. After four days, the bedbugs will freeze.
These steps will kill the bed bugs visible to the naked eye. The next step is to make the area inhospitable for other bed bugs. So, you need to place bed bug-proof covers for your box spring and mattress. It will prevent new bugs from getting inside. The ones trapped inside the cover will ultimately die.
Other Treatment Methods
If the above-mentioned methods fail to wipe out the bugs, then the next rational choice is to try an insecticide. The insecticides can get rid of the bed bugs. But, look for products with EPA registration. You need to choose an insecticide specifically chosen to get rid of bed bugs. So, you can try the following insecticide:
- Pyrethrins are derived from flowers (chrysanthemum) while pyrethroids are synthetic insecticide that resembles the chemical structure of the pyrethrins.
- Chemical insecticides like pyrroles can disrupt the cells of the bedbugs and kills them.
- Man-made versions of nicotine called neonicotinoids can damage the nervous system of the bed bugs. So, it is effective in bed bugs that have become resistant to other pesticides/insecticides.
- The bed bugs have a protective outer coating that helps them avoid dryness and death. Desiccants can destroy the outer coating of the bed bugs. Without a protective coating, the bed bugs are at risk of dying. Silica aerogel and diatomaceous earth are two such products that help get rid of bed bugs. Bed bugs cannot become accustomed to the type of insecticide. But, the product can take some time to work. So, you need to wait patiently for a few months to kill the bugs.
- Bug bombers or Foggers are popularly known as an effective insecticide to kill bed bugs. But, it does not penetrate deep into the cracks as well as crevices. It is the place where the insects hide. Another issue is the elevated toxicity levels to humans with incorrect use. So, read the label carefully before you set off the bug bombers.
- Plant oil-based insecticides are more effective against bed bugs. Studies reveal it can kill the bed bugs when sprayed directly on the insects. You can get the products over-the-counter or online easily (for example, Bed Bug Patrolare or EcoRaider). While the product works better than other insecticides, it is less toxic compared to chemical insecticides.
Getting Professional Help To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
The DIY method to get rid of bed bugs may not work for all people. It can occur due to the risk of errors associated with the techniques. At the time, you tend to use over-the-counter materials to eliminate the bed bugs. But, it may not prove effective and cause exposure to toxic chemicals. People tend to choose ineffective insecticides to eliminate bed bug infestation. Another reason is the failure to find the actual places of infestations. So, you need professional assistance to eliminate the infestation. When you seek professional assistance, you can experience the following benefits:
Find All Bed Bugs
You may see the bed bugs and spray chemicals on it to kill them. But, it does not mean you can get rid of the infestation. You will have trouble finding all bed bugs and in some cases, you cannot reach all the insecticides. The problem is only a tip of the iceberg in terms of the actual manifestation. A professional exterminator can find the actual source of the infestation and find all the bed bugs with ease.
Combination Of Tactics For Effective Removal
Professional exterminators use a combination of tactics to eliminate all the bed bugs from your home. In most of the cases, one method alone may not work properly. So, the pest control operator has to develop a proper strategy to deal with the infestation. The professional pest controllers use dry ice that can freeze even the hidden bugs. In combination with dry ice, they can also use vacuuming. For long-term effects, insecticides can offer better benefits. But, insecticides can cause resistance. So, pest controllers study the surroundings thoroughly to offer better removal methods.
Avoid Loss Of Time And Effort
You can avoid frustration, anxiety, and worry associated with bed bugs when pest controllers take the job. It saves your time and effort as you never have to search for bed bug infestation and try different removal methods. Thinking about bed bugs too much can cause stress and affect your life. Thinking about a way to get rid of bed bugs can lead to more problems than the bed bug itself. So, ask a professional pest controller to help when you cannot eliminate the infestation.
Constant Monitoring Of Affected Area
It takes some time to wipe out bed bugs completely from the affected area. Irrespective of which treatment option you have opted, it is important to seek proof to see if the treatment has worked or not. So, you or the pest controller checks the infested area once every week for signs of bed bug activity. You need to place bed bug interceptors under the bed, couch or other areas that suffered from infestation. Placing it at the foot can avoid the climbing of the creatures into the furniture. Keep checking the interceptors for a full year.
You need to get rid of bed bugs as the stigma attached to it. While the presence of bed bugs does not mean your home is filthy or has unhygienic surroundings, it can make you lose your peace of mind. The creatures unlike flies, rat or cockroaches that survive on filth, lives on human blood. So, you can get an allergic reaction due to bed bug bites. You can find the bed bugs even in a five-star hotel as well as resorts. You can find the bed bugs, mostly in major metropolitan areas. But, they have also found their way into rural areas. It is important to maintain caution as the bed bugs can suck the joy out of your life. You have to take proper steps to eliminate the infestation from your home.View Article Sources