Learn how to Get Rid of Mattress Bugs

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Image: Akos Nagy / Shutterstock.com

Bed bug infestations can be stressful and bothersome. Because they multiply so quickly, bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of without the help of a professional. However, there are a few things you can do to stop the spread on your own. Here are the steps you should take to get rid of bed bugs if you find them in your home.

What do bed bugs look like?

Before you can get rid of bed bugs, you must first be able to identify them. Bed bugs are small, flat insects that resemble an apple seed. Adult bed bugs grow to be around 5 millimeters, but newly hatched nymphs are much smaller and more difficult to spot.

Even if you don’t see bed bugs, you can still see signs of an infestation. They leave small, dark or reddish stains on mattresses and bed linen. They also leave behind tiny white eggs that are about a millimeter in size.

How do you get bed bugs?

You may think bed bugs are a sign of a dirty home, but they are just as likely to infect a clean house as they are a messy one. They usually enter items like luggage, tote bags, purses, and outerwear. You can pick them up at a hotel, restaurant, or public transport and you don’t even know it. And since a single bed bug can lay 200-500 eggs, even an adult intruder can cause a serious problem.

Prevent bed bugs before they start

To prevent bed bugs from returning with you from vacation, carefully inspect all luggage when you return home from a trip. If you find any signs of bugs or eggs, leave your suitcases outside and wash all clothing in hot water before putting anything away.

If you live in a multi-unit apartment, bed bugs can gain access to your home from other units. Cover electrical outlets and fill cracks under baseboards and around pipes with sealant to keep them from getting through the walls. Whenever you are interested in thrifting or shopping, always carefully inspect and clean any furniture or clothing you take home with you.

Rapid containment is critical

If you find bed bugs in your home, it is important to stop the spread as soon as possible. That means containment. First, seal all soft items tightly in plastic bags until you can clean them properly. This includes all bedding, curtains, carpets, pillows, pet beds, plush toys, clothing, purses, shoes, and outerwear.

Don’t spread the problem

While you may want to move things out of the way to make tidying up easier, avoid moving anything to another location. Often times, when you move infested items, you spread the bed bugs and cause an even bigger problem. If you throw away things that can’t be cleaned, seal them tightly in plastic bags before throwing them away.

Clean everything

Heat is the best way to get rid of bed bugs. It is therefore important to wash everything on the highest temperature setting and dry completely. Put items that cannot be washed in the dryer on high heat for at least 40 minutes. Once the items are clean, keep them in clean plastic bags or containers until you are sure the problem is resolved.

You should also vacuum thoroughly all of the surfaces in your home. Bed bugs are very small and flat and can hide in tiny cracks and crevices. They are most commonly found in mattress seams and box spring frames. But they can also hide in chests of drawers, electronics, ventilation slots and behind skirting boards and door frames.

Call an exterminator

If all else fails, call for help. With bed bugs spreading so quickly, it can be difficult to stop them on your own. When an infestation starts, the best way to get rid of it completely is to call a professional as soon as possible.

A little bit of groundwork can make bed bug eradication more successful. So take the time to follow the steps above. You should also clean up any clutter and move the furniture three feet from the walls so that the shredders have unrestricted access to everything.

Nobody wants to deal with an unpleasant infestation. But if you act quickly, you can get rid of bed bugs and get on with your life.