If you’ve ever had to face a bed bug infestation – you know that it’s a horrible thing to have to deal with. These flat little reddish-brown bugs are about the size of an apple seed, and they feed on blood alone – typically at night when the host is asleep. One of the most horrifying characteristics of these bugs is their ability to survive. Bed bugs are able to survive for up to an entire year without feeding.
Bed bugs are most commonly spotted in the cracks and crevices of bed frames and mattress seams. However they also tend to hide in sheets, baseboards, outlets, photos, and even in the sleepers of trucks. These pests can be picked up in hotels, and spread by stowing away in the luggage of a traveler. They also reproduce very rapidly. Female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs each day – and can lay up to 500 in a lifetime.
Spotting Bed Bugs
There are a number of ways to spot a bed bug infestation. One of the most noticeable signs of bed bugs are the bites. Bed bug bites are massively itchy/painful welts, and the bugs themselves can be spotted fairly easily as they come out to feed. These bugs also shed their skins throughout their lifetime, so their case skins and waste (which they would cast about) would also be good indicators of an infestation scenario.
Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs
Oftentimes, if the infestation is bad enough, professional help is going to be needed. The most important thing to do is to take immediate action. In the even that you’ve spotted some bed bugs you’re immediately going to want to run out and grab a bag of Diatomaceous Earth – and inexpensive and safe powder made from fossilized algae that is very effective when it comes to killing bed bugs. Diatomaceous Earth slices into the bug’s exoskeleton with it’s microscopic razor sharp edges and absorbs the waxy layer of a bug’s outer skeleton and essentially kills the bug by dehydrating it.
Heat is also very effective when it comes to fighting a bed bug infestation. If a steamer isn’t something that you already have access to, you may want to invest in one. Bed bugs can withstand temperatures up to about 120°.
1. The first step is to clear any and all clutter out of the area. Thoroughly wipe down all surfaces, clean, and steam (all items that can be steamed as you remove them from the invested area and store them in a safe area. Wash and thoroughly dry any and all clothes, linens, and materials recovered from the area with hot (over 120° water).
2. There’s a good chance you’re going to need to dispose of the infested mattress altogether (just to be safe) bed bugs tend to hide underneath the mattress and lay their eggs in the seams. Be sure to seal up the discarded mattress and mark that it has been contaminated and disposed of due to contact with bed bugs.
3. Steam the entire area. You’ll want to wave the hot steam over every empty surface. Dead bedbugs will fall from their resting places as they com in contact with the heat.
4. After a few moments (give the steam a chance to dry completely) you’ll be ready to spread the Diatomaceous Earth. Some recommend the use of bed bug dusters (a special device, used to lightly spread the dust) or squeezable ketchup bottles – others just spread it using a rubber glove. You’ll want to spread the dust (thinly) onto all surfaces – being careful not to breathe it in.
5. You’ll want to suck up all that dust (and hopefully dead bed bugs) with a vacuum – (preferably one with a bag, but a Shop Vac that you could thoroughly clean would also work). Thoroughly vacuum the area and IMMEDIATELY dispose of the vacuum bag.
6. Keep a close eye out for more bed bugs death by Diatomaceous Earth is not immediate, and any eggs laid during the spread of the dust may not be effected. – Repeat this process as needed, check for signs of bed bugs every day, and don’t hesitate to call a professional in the event that the situation has escalated into something you can’t handle.
Bed bugs are a horrible, and majorly expensive problem to have to deal with. Try to stay positive, tackle the situation head on – don’t procrastinate, and best of luck to you!