How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Fast And Easy
5 Fast & Easy Ways To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are one of the most disturbing little buggers to ever find in your home. They rival maggots and cockroaches in the fact that once you see them the hair on the back of your neck stands on end, your stomach clenches and you think to yourself “why me!?” as you try to remember how these nasty little monsters got into your home in the first place.
Luckily, no matter how large of a bed bug outbreak you find yourself having to contend with, you can get rid of bed bugs in just five simple steps.
STEP ONE: IDENTIFICATION
The best offense starts simply. You need to make sure that it’s actually bed bugs you’re dealing with here and not some strange beetles that are living off cracker crumbs in your mattress. Take a hard look at your bedding and any clothing near your bed (like a dirty clothes pile). This means your sheets, pillowcases, comforters, box spring, bed frame and every piece of frilly material that’s been added to your bed.
The most effective way to do this properly is to get a high powered flashlight, even a little super bright LED will work. Get down to eye level and slowly go over every inch of your bed. Start at the top and strip bedding off as you inspect it. When you strip it, place it into a black plastic bag for now.
When you get to the mattress and box spring, you should have come across signs of bed bugs. This could be tiny blood specks from them biting you or from you squashing them in your sleep. You can often find exoskeletons from molting and live bugs wandering around as you’ve disturbed them with the light and movement.
Once you know for sure it’s bed bugs, you know what you’re dealing with 100%
STEP TWO: CLEAN UP
Now that you know you’ve got bed bugs and your bedding is all in black bags it’s time to kill these little bed bugs. If you live somewhere hot, take those bags and set them in direct sunlight. This will only work if it’s very warm out, think 80-100 degrees F. Leave the bags out there all day. When night comes, dump the contents into your washer then set the dryer for a tad longer than you usually would, just in case. They can’t handle heat at all and will die.
If it’s not sunny out or you live somewhere a bit colder, skip this part and go directly to the dryer. THEN wash and dry the stuff again. Make sure to dispose of the bag immediately using an outside garbage can.
Your mattress and box spring can also be bagged and set outside if it’s warm enough. If not, you’ll have to rely on sprays and chemicals. Make sure these are safe for human use. If you don’t think you can handle this part, toss the whole bed. Frame and all. Mark it up real good so others don’t take it home when they see it by the curb.
STEP THREE: PREVENTION
Now you’ve got a bug free home right? Well, let’s keep it that way. Get yourself some proven bed bug preventative devices. Traps and all-natural repellent products work great by themselves but work even better when you combine them. Use both for at least a few weeks. This will chase off and kill any stragglers that may have been lurking around.
STEP FOUR: PROFESSIONAL HELP
Even after you think you’ve wiped them all out, you should still consult a professional exterminator to make sure you did a good job and possibly to set up a routine to handle them should they come back. Sometimes even the most thorough at-home approach can simply chase them next door or into the garage until they feel like coming back.
STEP FIVE: LEARN FROM MISTAKES
So you’ve dealt with bed bugs from beginning to end. You’re basically an expert now and if you did the right thing and consulted a professional about these critters, you definitely know more than the average Joe. Understanding that used items are a big no-no to drag into your house without a thorough inspection or treatment is the easiest thing to implement and should be shared with your friends and family so they don’t make the same mistake.
If you’re a landlord, always keep in mind you could potentially get in some legal issues if your tenants are infesting your complex or motel so pay a lot of attention to what’s coming in and out, especially if you live in a bed bug prone area of the country. Set up a monthly inspection routine with a local exterminator and set your mind at ease.
Also, here’s a great resource on the truth about bed bugs and debunking myths, very interesting.
If you ever do have to get rid of bed bug infested items, place them in plastic bags that are large enough to cover the item and label it clearly as “infested with bed bugs” or toss in dirty diapers and coffee grounds to avoid further spreading by dumpster divers and such.
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Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Before you panic, read up on how the pests really operate.
The resurgence of bed bugs in American homes has caused many a sleepless night — but not everything you hear is true.
Before you start pointing fingers at the reasons your home is infested or why you do — or don’t — have a bed bugs problem, know this: Entomologist Richard Pollack, Ph.D., has found fewer than 10% of the critters people identify as bed bugs actuallyarebed bugs. That’s also why he doesn’t trust websites that list reports of bed bugs at hotels.
If you suspect you’ve got some unwelcome visitors at your house, here is everything you need to know about these nasty insects first.
Where do bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs most notoriously hitch rides on luggage, but traveling isn’t the only way to pick them up. They can easily be carried into the house on secondhand furniture, clothing, boxes, and pillows, so inspect such itemsverycarefully. Encasement products like Good Housekeeping Seal holder AllerEase mattress protector can also prevent bugs that do make it inside from hunkering down in crevices.
But while reports of bed bugs at movie theaters and in retail stores have made headlines, it’s rare that someone actually brings them home, says Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an urban entomologist at Cornell University.
What are bed bugs attracted to?
Whether you have a messy home or a neat home, bed bugs only care that their food source, a.k.a. people, are nearby. Luckily, there’s no evidence they transmit diseases as they feed. The real threat: itchy, red bites, which are the first sign of an infestation.
Can bed bugs bite through clothes?
Unfortunately, long-sleeved pajamas won’t shield you from bed bug bites. In fact, that’s one of the tell-tale signs of an infestation. "If you wake up with numerous bites, especially under your clothes, it could be bed bugs," says David Dunham of Go Green Bedbug Dogs. Not everyone experiences the same skin reaction though. "It’s common for one person to become the host or the person getting all the bites, while their spouse or partner will get no bites at all," he adds. "Usually the person not getting bites will discredit their partner’s concerns.
Now, here’s how to get rid of bed bugs:
The first step is searching your furnishings, particularly along and behind the headboard and sides of the mattress. Bed bugs will hole up in furniture, along baseboards, in cracks in walls and, yes, in beds. Look for black stains (they leave behind blood and fecal matter), discarded molted skins, and the bugs themselves, but don’t wait too long to contact a professional.
"The biggest mistake people make is waiting too long to call for help, because the longer the problem goes on, the bigger of a chance they’ll spread within the home and even outside of the home," Dunham says.
Send or bring evidence to your local Cooperative Extension office (usually $5) or contact an online bug-ID service such as Pollack’s IdentifyUS ($30) for a diagnosis. Accuracy is very important, so pinpoint the areas and rooms in your home that need treatment and act swiftly.
As soon as you determine you have bed bugs, seal the infested bedding and clothing in clean plastic bags. Sort items based on how you would wash clothes and make a separate dry-clean only pile, advises the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology. Then wash and dry the items at the hottest temperature they can withstand.
While some bugs will die in the washing machine, it’s the heat of the dryer that will kill more of them. At least 60 minutes on a high-heat setting should do the trick, according to New York State Integrated Pest Management. Immediately dispose of the used plastic bags and put clean clothes in new ones. Don’t take the items out of the bag until the infestation is successfully controlled.
Thoroughly vacuuming rugs, floors, furniture, beds, and all cracks and crevices can also cut down on your bed bug population, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Afterwards, put the contaminated vacuum bag in a tightly sealed bag and throw it away in an outside garbage bin.
While some people think over-the-counter sprays are a solution, pyrethroid-based pesticides may kill or repel some of the insects, but can be dangerous if misused, and it’s doubtful you’ll be successful on your own. Instead, get written quotes from three licensed exterminators detailing their course of action, including pesticides, traps, and/or heat treatments they’ll use and how and where they’ll use them. "You should ask lots of questions to the companies you interview, because a good company will answer them and will never pressure you to make an appointment," says Dunham.
Asking the company about their success rate and if their treatment comes with a guarantee, should their efforts not be successful, is a must. Good luck!
Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control
Can you get rid of bed bugs on your own?
Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including:
- How many bed bugs you have;
- How much clutter is available for hiding places;
- Whether your neighbors have bedbugs; and
- Whether all residents of a house or building will participate.
Getting rid of bed bugs completely can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation. To be successful, everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.
The following steps will help you begin:
You may have to follow these steps more than once to kill all the bugs and their eggs.
Identify the Problem
- Identify the pest:
- Collect a sample of the pest to show an extension agentExitor other insect expert.
- Extension agents can identify the pest at no cost to you. They are trained in pest control and know your local area.
Develop a Strategy
- Make a schedule for completing the steps below. Be sure to include any personal plans, such as vacations.
- Keep records through the whole process. Note the dates and exact locations where pests are found. This will help you track progress and better know where to target your work.
- Keep checking for at least a year after you’re done to make sure all the bed bugs are gone.
Keep the Infestation from Spreading
- Remove infested items. Place them in a sealed plastic bag and treat them. Learn more about treatment methods in the sections below.
- Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left there for up to a year to ensure any active bugs are dead.
- Empty the vacuum after each use. Seal the bag as tightly as possible and immediately throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
- Discard furniture responsibly if you can’t safely eliminate the bed bugs. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
- Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
- Use spray paint to mark furniture with "Bed Bugs."
Prepare for Treatment
Preparing for treatment is very important; it will make it easier to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been eliminated. This preparation should be completed whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.
Kill the Bed Bugs
- Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What’s Legal, What’s Not.
- Considernon-chemical methodsof killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others depending on your situation. These and other methods can be helpful, but they might not get rid of the infestation entirely:
- Heat treatment:You can use a clothes dryer on high heat. You can also use black plastic bags in a hot, closed car in the sun, but success depends on your climate and other factors. Do-it-yourself heat treatments might not work. Professionals have access to more intensive and proven methods that can even treat whole houses with heat. You may also purchase a portable heat chamber, which is usually quite effective.
- Cold treatmentcan be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0 o F. You must leave the items in a sealed bag in the freezer at that temperature for four days. Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0 o .
- Steam cleaners(wet or dry) can get into cracks and fabrics to treat carpets, baseboards, bed frames, and other furniture. The steam temperature must be at least 130 o F but should not have a forceful airflow, or it may cause bed bugs to scatter. Use a diffuser to prevent scattering.
Evaluate and Prevent
- Continue to inspect for bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remain. You can use interceptors, traps or other monitoring methods. Interceptors are placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs. Commercial and do-it-yourself interceptors are options.
- Continue to protect your home from bed bugs.
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Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
When Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.
Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.
People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.
If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."
The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."
How to get rid of bed bugs fast and easy
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Bed Bugs Signs & Symptoms
The real cause of a full-blown infestation in any home is thatmost people are not aware of bed bugs. The reason for this is because bed bug bites are usually painless. Also, if allergic reactions or itchiness might occur, it usually happens a few weeks after the bite.
Then, most of the time, people just blame mosquitoes or fleas. This gives bed bugs ample time to feed and reproduce; and before you know it, a house becomes fully infested.
What Are Bed Bugs?
*Parasites- bed bugs are classified as parasites, specifically warm blood feeding. This means they are specifically feeding off from warm-blooded creatures like humans and furry pets.
*Nocturnal- bed bugs are nocturnal, which means they are most active during the night. This means that when you are sleeping comfortably in your bed during the night, they are feeding off of you.
*Furniture-dwelling- if you are thinking that bed bugs only infest beds, then you are mistaken. In fact, they infest all kinds of furniture within your home such as cribs, sofas and beds.Bed bugs may be hiding at the movie theater, hospital waiting room, on the train or the bus- even at your own workplace.
*Health Hazard- bed bugs not only feed off of you and your family, but they cause multiple bites which cause irritation and itching. The real danger is when you or one of your family members is allergic to bed bugs. Keep in mind that while unlikely, some allergic reactions may be fatal if immediate necessary medical attention is not given.
*Hard To See- bed bugs are so small that it’s difficult for the normal human eye to see them. They may be minute in size, but there is nothing small to them when it comes to the health hazards they can cause.
*Hard To Kill- bed bugs are resilient creatures. Without the proper tools or cleaning agents, these nasty little creatures can survive for years within your bed. In fact, these pests are able to stay alive for 12 months without feeding.