Bed bugs are a horror story of the hotel industry, and one of the worst fears of any house guests or elementary school parent. Lice and bed bugs are two of the most vilified pests a household can encounter, but the facts are, sometimes these things happen. If your home has been infested with bed bugs, here is what you can do to remove them.
Identify all infected areas.
Bed bugs are extremely small bugs, so they are occasionally difficult to spot. They can hide in all sorts of places, including:
- near the tags of the mattress and box spring
- in cracks in the bed frame and headboard
- in baseboards
- between couch cushions
- in furniture joints
Unfortunately, if one space in your home has them, it is very likely that the pests have spread to other locations in your home. It can also be difficult to read yourself of bed bugs completely if you have a lot of clutter in your home or if you travel frequently.
Contain the infestation.
Once you’ve identified that you have bed bugs in your home, the easiest way to contain the infestation is with the vacuum. Run the vacuum over everywhere that has come into contact with the bedbugs. This includes your bed, your dresser, your carpets, and your electronics. Empty the vacuum contents into a sealed bag and then throw it all away. Collect all your clothes and linens into a bag so that you can wait to wash them. When you are ready to wash them, wash them on the highest setting. Heat helps kill the bedbugs, so also set the heat to the highest setting on the dryer. If something can’t be put in the washer and dryer, seal it in a plastic bag and leave it somewhere safe (like the garage) for a few months, preferably, to make sure that all of the bugs die out. It may be necessary to get rid of a piece of furniture entirely.
Prepare the area for treatment.
Check to ensure that anything soft has been cleaned, treated, or removed. Look for hiding places for bedbugs–knickknacks, books, magazines–and throw out everything you can stand to. Don’t move items from one area of your home to another one, as this could spread the bugs. Tape electrical outlets closed, as bed bugs can hide in there. Move your bed at least six inches away from the wall in any direction so that the bed bugs cannot climb up your wall and into your bed.
DIY Solutions for Killing the Bed Bugs
If you would like to try a chemical-free solution to killing bed bugs, the simplest way is through temperature. Bed bugs cannot survive 115 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees. Wash and dry anything you can for thirty minutes on the highest heat setting, and take a steamer to anything that can not be put in the wash. Bags containing items full of bed bugs can also be placed in the freezer. They should be left there for four days. Put a bed bug cover on your mattress so that the bed bugs still on the mattress will die, and new ones will not be able to get in.
There are several over the counter chemical solutions that will kill bed bugs, but messing with heavy chemicals in your own home can get messy very quickly. The safest option is to call a professional exterminator, who can inspect your home and rid you of pests as quickly and safely as possible.