“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite,” it seems like such a sweet way to say goodnight, but for those who have had the hassle of having bed bugs, the experience was not so sweet.
What are bed bugs, anyway?
These pests are like tiny vampires. They come out at night, drink your blood, and seem to disappear at will. Their flat bodies help them hide almost anywhere, even behind baseboards and inside picture frames. Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to get rid of, nearly impossible without professional intervention.
Your first line of defense is prevention. While there is nothing you can do to prevent bed bugs completely, here are some ideas to lessen your chances of having uninvited overnight guests:
- Clean up clutter. Unfortunately, having a clean house won’t save you from being invaded by bed bugs, they enjoy tormenting neat freaks as much as slobs and everyone in between. However, clearing up clutter, especially around the bed, gives them fewer places to hide.
- Be careful when traveling. Bed bugs are fantastic hitchhikers. You can pick them up anywhere, but if you are traveling or sleeping somewhere new, be sure to check thoroughly for signs you are not alone. Keep your luggage off the floor on a luggage rack away from the bed. When you get home from traveling, immediately wash all clothes and fabric from your suitcase in hot water. Store your luggage somewhere other than the bedroom and away from the bed.
- Be careful with secondhand furniture, especially beds and couches that may have been used for sleeping. Inspect carefully for signs of bugs, or just buy new.
- Repair loose wallpaper and fill cracks where the bugs may hide. These master players of hide-and-seek can be pretty much anywhere, but removing some hiding places will help.
- Vacuum often. The bugs and their eggs can be picked up by the vacuum, bringing down their numbers. If you know you have bed bugs in your house, make sure to immediately dispose of the vacuum bag or empty your canister into a sealed bag in an outside trash can.
Even after doing all you can to prevent the problem, sometimes it’s just not enough and you end up infested anyway.
What can you do then?
- Gather all affected fabric items; bedding, clothing, bed skirts, stuffed animals, etc.; place in plastic bags and put in the sun for at least three days. The heat will kill the bugs and their eggs. Then wash in hot water and place in dryer at the hottest setting to kill any bugs that might still be alive. If it is winter or you live in a cool place, run all items through a hot dryer before washing, then wash at the hottest setting and then again in the dryer.
- Vacuum mattresses thoroughly, especially in the seams. Vacuum the rest of the bedroom, especially paying attention to carpet at the edges of the room and around the bed.
- Vacuuming won’t touch those bugs living deep inside the mattress, so a plastic cover that seals the mattress may be a good idea. Bed bugs can live nearly a year without a meal, so be sure to keep the mattress sealed for at least that long.
- You may need to replace mattresses and other furniture that aren’t able to be cleaned properly.
- Steam can be a powerful tool for killing the bugs because they can’t withstand the heat. Spray until they stop moving, paying attention to nooks and crannies where they may be stowing away.
- Wipe down everything. Bed bugs don’t just hide in fabric, they can be inside drawers, in picture frames, literally anywhere. Use an all-purpose cleaning solution to wipe down all surfaces.
- Repeat the cleaning routine every 10 days for at least a month.
- Consult a professional. The only truly effective way to be rid of the pests is to have a pest control professional take care of your home.
When bed bugs hit, all you want is to have your home back to normal as soon as possible. With Admiral Pest Control you can sleep tight, with no more worry about bed bug bites.