Imagine this, you wake up one morning to find small, red bite marks on your legs and ankles. You begin to investigate what would have caused this and much to your horror you discover you have bed bugs.
Bed bugs are insects that feed on human blood and have been around for thousands of years. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, oval in shape and are fairly flat. Adults generally grow to about 4mm in length. Bed Bugs love to live in dark places such as the crevices of mattresses but can also live in luggage, furniture and clutter and can easily be carried inside your home.
If you’ve discovered that you have an infestation of bed bugs, the first thing to do is not to panic, but formulate a plan for their eradication. Depending on the severity of the infestation, you may be able to get rid of them on your own.
So, here’s how to get rid of bed bugs:
- Strip your bed completely and wash all linen in hot water. Bed bugs cannot survive in high heat. By washing the linen in hot and drying them in a hot dryer, you can be assured of a kill. Once the linen is clean, store it in a sealed plastic bag.
- Examine your entire mattress and box spring, paying attention to any crevices in fabric or edging where bed bugs generally hide and lay their eggs. Throughly vacuum the mattress and box spring to suck up the bed bugs and their eggs. If you have a home steamer, it is also recommended to use the steamer on the same crevices you vacuumed out to ensure a good kill. Remember, bed bugs cannot survive in a high heat environment so steam is good!
- Once you have your bed vacuumed and steamed, vacuum your entire room paying close attention to ensure you have vacuumed corners. When you’re done vacuuming, take the bag out of the vacuum, seal it in a plastic garbage bag and take it to the trash.
- Wipe down walls, furniture, baseboards all surfaces that bed bugs may have come in contact with, or you’ve seen evidence of their presence.
- There are bed bug powders and sprays that you can use to assist in the clean up and future prevention process as well that can be picked up at your local discount stores.
If after doing your best to clean the impacted areas, you still have evidence of bed bug infestation, you will need to call in professional help. Exterminators will use more powerful commercial poisons that will kill the bed bugs and some may even use bed bug sniffing dogs to pinpoint the exact location the bed bugs are hiding.
Once you have eliminated beg bugs in your home, you need to take steps to prevent another infestation. Since bed bugs can be carried home from hotels, movie theaters, schools and other infested homes, always keep a close eye on your clothing. Since bed bugs are large enough to be seen, you can do a quick scan of your clothing to ensure none of these critters hitched a ride home.
If you’ve come back from a vacation or a hotel stay, pay close attention to the outside of your luggage and keep a sharp eye out when you’re unpacking to make sure bed bugs haven’t come home with you.
There are several products available to help prevent a bed bug infestation from happening such as traps, mattress encasements and more. A little prevention goes a long way to ensure that bed bugs don’t enter your home again.