Bed bugs are some of the most difficult pests to get rid of. Not only are they tiny and difficult to detect, but they also reproduce quickly and are well-adapted to living in small, concealed areas. What’s more, bed bugs have been noted to develop resistance to some of the commonly used insecticides. However, while they are difficult to deal with, there are various options available when it comes to ridding your home of a bed bug infestation and preventing future infestations. Hiring a professional pest exterminator is by far the quickest and most effective option.
What Is a Bed Bug?
Bed bugs are tiny, flat, wingless insects, measuring no more than 4-7mm in length or the size of an apple seed. They are parasitic insects that live solely on the blood of animals and humans (feeding while the host is sleeping). Bed bug bites do not spread diseases but can lead to a wide range of problems, including red, itchy welts all over your body, loss of sleep, secondary skin infection from excessive scratching, serious allergic reactions, anxiety, and more.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs can be found anywhere, even in the cleanest of places, provided that they are close to people and animals.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
- Live bed bugs (reddish in colour)
- Bite marks in the morning
- The bed bugs’ shed skin
- The bed bugs’ droppings (black in colour and about the size of a period)
- Tiny blood stains on the bed sheets or pillowcases
- Musty odours are commonly described as “locker room smell.”
Common bed bug infestations occur around the seams of mattresses, the folds of a curtain, between seat cushions, near the tags of the box spring and mattress, in cracks between the headboard and bed frame, the seams of your carpet, and other tiny spots they can squeeze in.
Ways to Get Rid of a Bed Bug Infestation
There are various options available after discovering a bed bug infestation in your home.
However, your first step before taking any further action is to contain the infestation. You do this by thoroughly vacuuming the affected areas. This will help to significantly reduce their population.
How to Eliminate Bed Bugs
Heat is one of the best weapons against bed bugs. These bugs can be easily killed by temperatures ranging from 104 – 122 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on their life stage and how long they are exposed to these temperatures. Temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bed bugs in all stages of life much faster.
To use this technique, wash and dry affected clothing, bedding, and items under the highest possible temperature.
You can also seal affected items in black bags and leave them outside on a hot day. This may take several days to kill all bed bugs.
Intense cold is also dangerous to bedbugs. To use cold temperatures to kill bedbugs, they should be exposed to temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four days. So, pack up the affected items and put them in a freezer below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for four days.
High-heat steamers designed to kill bed bugs are especially ideal for treating mattresses, couches, box springs, and other affected items that can’t be laundered. Bed bug steamers use temperatures reaching 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
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If you want a more drastic solution to your bed bug problem, there are various chemicals available on the market for home use. However, before buying any product, ensure that it is EPA-registered and certified for use on bed bugs. Here are the options available:
Currently, the most widely used pesticides for bed bugs are pyrethrins and pyrethroids. These have a reputation for killing bed bugs rapidly and being relatively safer for pets and humans. Also, they are only required in low doses.
But on the downside, some bedbugs have developed resistance to these chemicals.
Other insecticides include neonicotinoids (synthetic nicotine that targets the bugs’ nervous system). Others are pyrroles, like chlorfenapyr, which kill bedbugs by interfering with their cells.
This is another group of chemicals that you can use to kill bed bugs. These work by drying out and eventually destroying the protective coating of the bed bugs. Bed bugs can’t survive without this coating. Desiccants include products like boric acid and diatomaceous earth. These have a higher kill rate than insecticides but require a more regular application.
iii) Bug Bombs
Lastly, we have bug bombs. These are highly effective and kill bed bugs almost instantaneously. However, it is important to note that they are toxic to pets and humans and will often require that you temporarily vacate the building. However, they may not enter cracks and crevices where bed bugs are hiding, which reduces their effectiveness.
Hire a Bed Bug Exterminator
When it comes to getting rid of a bed bug infestation, the fastest, safest, and most effective option is hiring a professional bed bug exterminator. They will not only help to completely rid your property of all bed bugs, but they will also help you in making steps to avoid future infestations.