Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a working person’s life. It helps them refresh their mind and body. Imagine getting home after working late on a confusing project and looking forward to a good night’s sleep to get your peace of mind. Just as you are about to drift off, you are hit with an itching sensation on your skin.
As it turns out, you now have bedbugs. These insects make it downright frustrating to sleep or even lie on your bed or couch. So naturally, you will want to get rid of them. However, it is necessary that you should know a few facts about them first.
How to check for bed bugs
Bedbugs can be characterized by their oval, red, body usually measuring about 4-5 mm long. You will most likely find them to be blood-red after feeding. These insects prefer to be active at night when the host is asleep. They only feed on blood. However, they can live up to a year without any meals at all.
They reside in cracks and crevices such as the seam of a mattress, behind baseboards, or any such corners. The usually travel from one location or another through a person or their belongings.
- Related post: How To Tell If You Have Bed Bugs
Signs of a Bedbug Infestation
A bedbug infestation can be easily identified through:
- Seeing the bugs.
- The shells they shed as they grow.
- The droppings they leave behind. These are black or brown stains or mounds.
- The red bites they leave on the skin.
Bed bugs Inspection Checklist
When inspecting for bedbugs, it is important to check in the following areas, which have been proven to be harbor these insects:
- The Mattress and Box Spring
- Bed Frame and Foot/Head Boards
- Walls and Carpet
- Electronic Appliances
- Other furniture
Inspect the mattress closely checking in the seams and turning it over as well. Shine a flashlight in the box spring to ensure no bugs reside there. Remove them after careful inspection of the bed frame. Be sure to check all crevices.
Remove all wall hangings and carefully inspect the wall and carpet. Shine light into any crack on your electronic appliances. Remove all drawers or cushions and check other furniture. Remember that bedbugs, due to their flat bodies, can fit inside any crevice that a business card can fit into.
Once you have identified that bedbugs do exist in your room or house, the next step is to treat them. However, before you start going hay-wire with an aerosol, it is important to follow a pre-treatment procedure that ensures effective treatment of the insects. Otherwise, you will likely miss some of them, and all your hard work would be in vain.
- Reduce Clutter: The first step is to remove all personal items like toys, blankets, gadgets or any stuff that does not stay in the room permanently. Store them in plastic bags.
- Launder Garments and Bed Clothes: Since infested garments, sheets, or blankets cannot be treated with an insecticide due to health risks, it is important you launder them in hot water to get rid of the infestation.
- Dismantle Bed Frames: As mentioned above, these bugs can hide inside the smallest of cracks. Thus it is important to dismantle your bed frame to expose these hiding places. Check the mattress or box spring thoroughly. You can either treat them or cover them with a plastic case that ensures no bedbugs enter or exit.
- Remove Drawers: It is important to toss and turn all furniture to ensure no spot has missed your eye. Drawers can be a popular hiding site for the insects. Remove them to expose the bugs.
- Clean the Area: Bedbugs lay miniature eggs which might not catch your eye. It is important to properly scrub all infested areas with a stiff brush to remove any eggs. Dispose of the brush in a plastic bag immediately to prevent further transfer. Vacuum the area extensively with a hose attachment to get to the tightest of places. This will not only ensure that any potential bedbugs are removed, but that any dirt that might block the path of insecticide is removed as well.
- Seal: Seal all pipes and wires as well as any cracks in the wall with plaster. This ensures no hiding spot is left for these insects.
Bed bugs on mattress
Mattresses can be the hub of all bedbug activity. They provide enough warmth and chances of feeding for all bugs that is why they are where the most intense infestation occurs. You do not necessarily have to throw your mattresses out. There are a few ways you can protect your mattresses without using insecticides.
Plastic Encasements can be used to encase and protect your box spring or mattress. These cases block any potential entry or exit sites for bedbugs. This ensures no bedbugs can escape the mattress and feed you. This is incredibly clever when you find out that bedbugs can live up to a year without a meal. So, encase your mattress for up to a year to ensure the insects do not get their meal.
If you wish to use an insecticide to rest your mind, you can choose a variety that is suitable for mattresses. These insecticides are available in the forms of dust and aerosols. Dust lasts longer than aerosols. It is also best to use the thin tips designed for reaching cracks and crevices when treating these bugs. The best recommendation is to use a combination of both the sprays and dust for proper treatment. Vacuum the area and careful spray or dust all over potential hiding spots.
Active Guards perform the same function as the encasements. The difference is they kill the bugs almost immediately. Within 72 hours, all dust mites or insects are actively treated. They function as a preventative measure against an infestation as well. They are available in the form of fitted sheets in all sizes.
Kill bed bugs with Liquid or Aerosol Insecticides
When treating with a liquid or aerosol insecticide, it is important to cover all sites of the infestation.
- Spray under and around the bed, as well as along the baseboards.
- Remove all drawers and spray.
- Remember not to spray inside the drawer
- Remove all the furniture from the wall and spray behind it.
- Spray on the door, door hinges, and the windows.
- Spray behind bed frames and head/foot boards.
- Do not use on a mattress unless it is specifically mattress-friendly.
There are several kinds of liquid insecticides available on the market. Some of these are odorless and cannot be detected by the bedbugs. You can adjust the nozzle to turn it into a mist or a fine stream depending on your treatment area.
Aerosols can be used with a thin plastic nozzle that makes it easier to reach into fine cracks and crevices.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs with Dust Insecticides
Dust is longer lasting than aerosols. It is odorless and does not stain the surface. You can use specialized devices to dust the material all over the affected area. Other tools can include a small makeup or paint brush. Apply a small amount on the tip of the brush and start brushing it onto the surfaces. If using it for very tight spots, use a small paintbrush to dust in seams or cracks. As mentioned before, be sure to disassemble all furniture to treat all places carefully. Many specks of dust are available on the market, choose the one that best suits your needs.
- Natural and Homeopathic Remedies
Since insecticides are harmful to humans as well as the environment, most folks turn to natural remedies. The most popular choice is cedar oil. However, most of these remedies are largely ineffective in treating an infestation. The problem with home remedies is that they are designed only to cover a specific area.
However, bedbugs may occupy a larger area than expected. When sprayed using a mask and in a properly ventilated area after the treatment period, aerosol sprays will not impose any such health risks.
- Preventative Measures
After treating your house according to the above procedures, you must ensure no bedbugs return to your abode. You must take some cautionary steps. These steps include:
- Check any signs of a bedbug infestation on used beds, furniture, mattresses, or box springs.
- Use an encasement to cover your mattress to prevent any bedbug infestation. Check them regularly for holes.
- Reduce clutter to eliminate any potential hiding spots for these insects.
- Vacuum frequently.
- Use public laundry services carefully.
- When coming home from traveling, inspect all your belonging carefully for any signs of infestation you might have picked up from a hotel room. Immediately wash your clothes with hot water.
- Seal all cracks around the walls, carpets, or electric switchboards.
- Use a heating chamber to eliminate any doubts about bedbugs in your belongings.
Bedbugs are pesky insects that can wreak havoc in your house. Your sleep cycles will be disturbed, and you will be ashamed to invite anyone to your home. The treatments described above are effective against these infestations.
Aerosol sprays and dust insecticides are extremely effective against the insects. You should follow the proper pre-treatment protocol to ensure your treatment works. You can hire professional services to control these pests. It is necessary that you follow precautionary steps to ensure no re-infestation occurs.
Bedbugs are hard to control, however, follow these steps and you are sure to get rid of them in no time!