Bed bugs! What to do and how to exterminate them?
The Boogeyman may not be living in your room, but there’s another creature you need to be worried about: bed bugs.
These pesky critters are small—almost the same size as an apple seed—with brown flat rounded bodies. They usually inhabit beds, mattresses, and couches, making it easy for them to bite humans and even pets.
One of the first signs of bed bug infestation that people notice is the bites they get while sleeping. This might have happened to you: You wake up and you notice you have small red dots on your skin. You might think they’re nothing, but then they become itchy—sometimes irritating—welts you’ll need to treat with calamine.
So, how do you deal with bed bugs? Well, let’s start with where they come from and how you can spot them.
The hunt for bed bugs
Fun fact: Bed bugs can’t fly. However, they are cunning enough to latch onto luggage or clothing for easy transporting—this is also how they manage to get into homes. They are also known to move quickly from the floor to the walls and ceilings.
Bed bugs also multiply like it’s nothing. A single female can lay hundreds of eggs, which you can’t spot easily since they look like dust particles.
That said, how do you exactly find these tiny insects? First off, you have to make sure if you really have a bed bug infestation in your hands. You can’t just deduce it to the insect bites you’ve gotten while you’re asleep—there’s a chance you got those from other insects, like mosquitoes.
One easy way to know is to check your sheets and pillowcases for blood stains or fecal stains from the bed bugs. They’re usually the size of a dot you make with a marker. Fecal matter consists of digested blood so it won’t appear red anymore. Bed bug poop typically looks like clusters of tiny dark (reddish brown or black) spots on the bed. Sometimes, they may also appear in other parts of the room.
You might also find skins and egg shells in other hiding spots like the corners of your room, your bed springs, and also the wood of your headboard. Basically, every crevice in your home because these bugs like to stay in warm, secluded areas.
When you’re looking for bed bugs, you should wear gloves, and have a flashlight and a flat-edged tool—it can be as simple as a card. These will make it easier for you to spot adult bugs and eggs anywhere.
Remember to extend your search to other areas other than your bed and couch. There might also be bed bugs in your drawers, your rug, your curtains, and even inside electronics. Identify as many places as you can before proceeding to the next step: removal and eradication.
Time to get rid of them!
Once you’ve found the bed bugs’ hiding areas, you should now prepare for removal.
There are multiple ways to do this depending on how bad the infestation is and how big the affected room is. The most common method is to thoroughly wash your linens, pillowcases, and clothing in hot water, then throw them in the dryer at the highest setting. It is also recommended to throw your pillows and plush toys in the washing machine for 30 minutes to eliminate any bed bugs that have inhabited them.
Before you place a fresh sheet over your mattress, you should also clean it thoroughly via scrubbing. This ensures that the bed bugs and their eggs are removed from the seams. Once you’re finished with that, proceed to vacuuming the whole area so you won’t miss any specks. Do this frequently to lessen infestations. (Pro tip: When you’re changing bed sheets, make sure you use light-colored ones. Bed bugs are more attracted to dark-colored sheets.)
If you really want bed bugs to stay away from your mattress or to prevent them from multiplying any further, you can encase it in a tightly woven cover with a zipper. This will keep them from entering and exiting the mattress. The trapped ones can easily die from starvation after one year.
However, it can get really bad – you can end up with a severely infested mattress. You’ll know this if you see heavy fecal stains that have an unpleasant odor; cast skins and eggs are more visible; and lastly, you’ll see more bed bugs walking on your mattress, bed frame, and the floor.
It’s not always recommended to throw away a mattress or a whole bed, but if cleaning and exterminating doesn’t lessen the bugs, it’s time to get a new one. This is especially the case if you have a really old bed that needs to be replaced in the first place.
As for the rest of the room, vacuuming and throwing the bed bug-infested dirt in a plastic bag outside will mostly do the trick. But there are also heavy-duty ways in dealing with them, namely chemical treatments.
Let’s talk about insecticides or pesticides to eradicate bed bugs. These chemical treatments usually come in kits, but you will always find a product made with chemicals like pyrethrins, desiccants, and biochemicals. Each of them also has specific uses:
Pyrethrins, for example, can flush out bed bugs from their hiding places, even killing them. The downside to this chemical, though, is that bed bugs might develop a resistance to it, so it’s mostly used for the former.
Meanwhile, chemicals like desiccants directly and slowly destroy portions of a bed bug’s body. This one will melt the outer coating, which will cause the bed bugs to dehydrate and die.
You can also go the natural, cruelty-free route and use biochemicals like neem oil. This is said to be helpful in insect prevention and protection, and this includes pesky bed bugs.
A lot of these chemical treatments are available for consumer use. But some of them are exclusively used by professionals. In case you’re unable to exterminate bed bugs by yourself, feel free to call someone who can help you out.
The rule of thumb here is to make sure the chemical treatments are EPA-certified. The EPA is the one that evaluates if a product is safe to use and effective. You can never be too careful, you know?
They’re gone! What now?
If you’ve successfully exterminated the bed bugs in your room, congratulations! But don’t be too lax yet.
What you do after your general cleanup and extermination is just as important. Make sure you always clean your area and make vacuuming (or simply sweeping) a regular habit. Also, put your dirty sheets in the wash every month.
Do all these to prevent another infestation. You’ve worked so hard to get rid of them, so make sure they don’t come back.
Call the Professionals!
Exterminating bed bugs can become an all consuming task on your own. Instead of trying to tackle it alone, call a professional to get the job done. Fromm’s has the experience and tools necessary to eradicate even the most stubborn bed bug infestation. So, if you need bed bug extermination
, contact us today!