Bed bugs. Just saying that brings chills to homeowners everywhere. If you get bedbugs, you just burn your bedroom furniture and your couches, right? Maybe set your whole house on fire and walk away?
It might feel like the end of your days, but it’s possible to get rid of bed bugs without using fire. We’ve got a step by step method to eradicating this household pest that should have you inviting guests over once again. Let’s take a look.
Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs: What You Need To Know
First, you need to recognize that you have them. They don’t just reside in your bed. They can move to any part of your house that contains a soft field for them to hide. That includes couches, curtains, carpets, and a host of other things.
You can’t just treat the surface of your furniture. You may need to disassemble everything to look for eggs and hiding places. If you don’t, you’ll just see the bugs again and again.
Bed bug infestations don’t occur in poor or dirty homes only. Anyone who has a soft surface is at risk. You could bring them home from a business trip, a subway terminal, or even from a storage unit if they’ve migrated from another unit.
Preventing Bed Bugs
Prevention is probably your best defense. GEt in the habit of inspecting your luggage regularly as well as your clothing when you travel so that you don’t accidentally bring them home with you. Hotels and motels in the US are required to have bed bugs precautions in place, but you should still check.
Regularly inspect anything you keep stored because bugs can migrate from storage unit to storage unit. Also, encourage your neighbors to keep public spaces free of trash and debris because that’s a favorite hiding place for the bugs.
If you buy second-hand furniture (or anything really) be sure to scrutinize it for bugs or eggs before you bring it into your home. Never pick anything up from a dumpster area or the side of the road because you can unknowingly bring them into your car. It’s only a matter of time before they come into your house.
Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs Forever
Once you get over the idea that it’s something wrong with you, you can attack bed bugs head on. Let’s get started.
Dismantle Your House
You’ve got to find all their hiding places first.
- Take your mattress and bedsprings off the bed and dismantle the frame.
- Inspect the pieces for eggs and bedbug hiding places.
- If you’ve stored anything underneath the bed be sure to take all that apart as well.
- Move to the curtains and other furniture, disassembling and inspecting nooks and crannies with a flashlight.
- Once you’ve checked your bedroom, it’s time to repeat the steps in any other bedrooms in your house.
- Finally, disassemble furniture in other parts of the house, shake out rugs, and inspect carpet if you’ve got it.
If you don’t find the hiding places of bed bugs, your treatments aren’t going to be effective. This is the most critical step in irradicating your infestation, and without it, you’re lost.
Treatment should be an integrated approach. You’re dealing with a lot of different types of surfaces, so you can’t just spray and move on.
- Wash everything that can be washed
Linens, pillows, curtains, clothing, and anything else you can throw in the wash should be laundered on the hottest setting. Tumble dry on the hottest setting as well. This includes everything, even your child’s favorite stuffed animal.
You can also kill the bugs with hot steam for things that can’t be taken apart and laundered. If you have something that can’t be laundered or steamed, you can wrap it in a dark plastic bag and leave it in the sun for a few days. Make sure the innermost temperature stays at about 122 degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum the entire time to kill the bugs.
- Encase your mattress and box spring
If you aren’t going to bring your mattress and bedspring to the dump, you can completely encase both the bedspring and the mattress in a special encasement meant for bed bugs. It should zip completely around them and have a velcro zipper protector to prevent escape. Taking this option starves the bugs but that can take up to 400 days, so plan to have your mattresses and box springs wrapped for at least that long.
- Vacuum and steam carpets
Vacuum every square inch of your carpet paying particular attention to seams and along walls. Empty the contents and dispose in a sealed trash bag. Rent a steamer and follow up to kill any remaining bedbugs and destroy any remaining eggs. It should be hot steam.
- Repair cracks in walls, wallpaper, ceiling, and other surfaces
Cracks can be significant harboring places for the bugs and could ruin all your efforts to curb the infestation. Repairing them seals any possible bugs inside where they’ll die, and prevents the bugs from taking shelter there while you’re hunting them down.
Residual insecticides can help remove any outstanding eggs and insects. If you’ve got pets or children, this is risky, but it may be necessary as a final step. Spray the insecticide around doorways, seams in carpet and along walls.
You can also spray with tea tree oil as a natural alternative. Tea Tree oil products burn insects on contact. Wintergreen alcohol is another more natural alternative to pesticide sprays.
- Diatomaceous earth or Silica
Treating attics, crawl spaces, and other hard surfaces can be tough. Diatomaceous earth is cheap and can be found at most garden centers. The tiny particles are sharp and can cut the soft bodies of the insects causing death. This is a good option for areas where you won’t regularly be inspecting and where pesticides may wear off over time.
Destroy What Needs It
If you can’t save a piece of furniture and need to dispose of it, take it directly to the place of disposal. Putting your furniture on the side of the street or beside your local dumpster just encourages someone to bring the furniture into their home.
If you can’t haul the furniture off, take the time to break the furniture apart first so that no one can reuse it. You’re doing everyone in your neighborhood a favor.
Your bedbug infestation isn’t a death sentence. You don’t have to light a match and burn things to the ground no matter how much you may want to. It’s possible to get rid of your bed bugs for good, but it might take some time.
If you’re thorough and vigilant, you can get rid of bed bugs once and for all. You can get your life and your house back.
Have you had a bed bug infestation? Where did your bed bugs come from and what steps have you taken to get rid of them? Let us know in the comments below and pass this along to anyone who may be considering burning everything down.