Ants are painful, cockroaches are unsanitary, but bed bugs are just plain gross. Reason enough to want to rid your home of them.
They were almost wiped out from North America years ago because of insecticides we no longer use. Due to new insect treatments that do not affect bedbugs, as well as frequent travel and a lack of public awareness, bedbugs have resurfaced and continued to spread, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.
The tiny insects don’t transmit disease, but they feed on people and animals and live where people spend much of their time sleeping, resting, or sitting. They are mostly active at night and hide during the day.
The first step is to see if you have a bug infestation. Once you know if they have invaded your home, the battle begins.
How to look for bed bugs
Whether you are looking for your own home or a hotel room, go to bed first.
Check the sheets and blankets first, then pull them away and check the mattress and box spring bed, suggests the American Academy of Dermatology. Look for tiny spots of blood that look like dark, rust-colored stains. These are signs that bedbugs are being crushed.
You may also see the bugs for yourself. Consumer reports indicate that adult bedbugs, as well as their nymphs, eggs, and excrement, are visible to the naked eye. Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and their eggs are tiny, white ovals. Also, look around for bedbug exoskeletons, which are the outer sheaths that the beetles shed when they molt. Tiny black spots can be bug droppings.
Be sure to check nooks and crannies, warns the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Look close to the seams and labels on the mattress and box spring, as well as cracks and joints in the bed frame and in the head and foot sections.
Also, check all the upholstered furniture in the room, especially the seams of sofas and chairs, between the pillows and in the hems and folds of the curtains.
Remember, bed bugs are very small. As the EPA says on their website. “Since bed bugs are only about the width of a credit card, they can squeeze into really small hiding places. If a crack contains a credit card, it can hide a bed bug.”
How to kill bedbugs
These animals are sneaky, small, and often evolve to withstand pesticides. Home pesticides are available, but often unreliable and time consuming. Not to mention, it can be very difficult for the untrained eye to distinguish between different types of insects, and the wrong pesticide can be completely ineffective.
However, if you only seem to have moderate infestations and want to try a do-it-yourself attempt at bedbug eradication, follow these few steps:
The first thing to do is do a very thorough cleaning. Wash all sheets and comforters (separately from clothing) in hot water and / or dry them at temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius. Doing this for at least 20 minutes will kill all stages of the bedbugs, says the University of Minnesota Extension. You can also heat curtains, carpets, and similar items by drying them on a medium-high level for about 30 minutes.
The next area you need to address is your mattress, the ideal property for bed bugs. First, check your mattress. Is it worn out, filled with holes, and appears to have dark, bloody spots? If so, you may just have to throw it away and buy a new one. Bedbugs can lay eggs in the mattress, making complete cleaning impossible.
If your mattress appears to be in reasonable condition, purchase a bug-proof mattress cover. Many retail stores sell these at a reasonable price, and the covers are effective at insulating the mattress.
Never spray insecticide on your mattress or anywhere else where you can rest your head unless the label specifically states that the mattress is safe. Pesticides are highly toxic.
Although kits are available for home treatment, the only way to ensure a home free of bugs is to call an exterminator. Professional pest control has highly specialized equipment and volatile chemicals that cannot be handled without proper care. Annihilators come to evaluate the property, select certain chemicals precisely engineered for your problem, and return two or three times to make sure the defects are definitively eliminated.
Annihilators rarely have a fixed price; Depending on the number of rooms, the accessibility of the area, your location and the exact type of infestation, prices can vary widely.