Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. While this childhood rhyme is fun and games for most people, it stems from a real, serious problem. Though most children may think bed bugs the stuff of fantasy, for those who suffer from a bed bug infestation, these tiny demons are very real. In reality, bed bugs are a terror that plague millions of people worldwide. Having a bed bug infestation can be frightening, and, for many people, the cost of hiring professionals to eradicate and exterminate the problem can be too expensive. If you believe that you have a bed bug infestation and are unable to hire a professional, don’t give up hope just yet.
Though hiring a professional is ideal and recommended for treating a bed bug infestation, there are ways that you can eliminate your bed bug problem on your own! With a little time and dedication, you can rid yourself of your problem in a cost-effective way. And, while there are no miracle cures, putting the time in to research and implement a bed-bug treatment plan can be the solution you need to restore order to your life. With the following advice, you can take the first step to ridding your home of bed bugs.
Sprays and other treatments to kill and get rid of bed bugs
Determine whether you have a bed bug problem
It goes without saying that in order to solve a problem, you must first admit that you have a problem. While this is true in a general sense, it is especially true when you’re trying to combat a bed bug infestation. Why is that? Because many people who have a bed bug problem either don’t realize it or have trouble admitting it. While admitting to others that you have bed bugs can leave you with feelings of embarrassment and shame, you must first be honest about your problem in order to solve it.
With that being said, you still may not be able to determine if your problem is a bed bug problem. Maybe you know you have a problem, but how do you determine if they are bed bug related? It can be difficult for those inexperienced with bed bugs because bed bugs are very small: ranging from the size of a speck of dirt to that of an apple seed, it’s easy to miss bed bugs even if you are looking for them.
But, don’t worry! There are ways you can be sure that you have a bed bug problem–even if you can’t afford to hire a professional. One way to do so is to judge color. If you think you have seen a bed bug, you can use its color to help give you a better indication. A bed bug that has been feeding will be a red, brown, or rust color, with unfed nymphs being lighter in color. Because they are small and thin, there are chances that you will not see them. However, if you find that you are coming away with unexplained bites after sleeping or sitting in your chairs or on your sofa, it might be time you start treating the situation as if you have a bed bug infestation.
Know Your Limits
This bit of advice cannot be overstated. When you have a bed bug infestation, it can be very difficult to treat on your own. Being honest about the scope of your problem is the only way that you can go about solving it. In order to do this, you have to be aware of what you can do and what you can’t do. There are times when treating bed bugs alone will likely not be enough. In these cases, you should reach out to professionals or other property owners to get the help that you need to rid your home or apartment of bed bugs.
The first and most pressing of these situations is if you are living in an apartment complex or in a building with multiple buildings and occupants. This is because bed bugs rarely infest just one building at a time. If you have a bed bug infestation, you should presume that the apartments surrounding you also have a bed bug problem. This is important because it means that even if you manage to clear your apartment or dwelling, the bed bugs are likely to come back and re-infest your home because the source of the problem hasn’t been treated. Because of the complex nature of this problem, you have no choice but to alert others to the problem that you are facing. If you are not the owner or manager of the property, you should first bring this problem to the attention of your landlord. From there, it is your landlord’s responsibility to contact a professional who can help eradicate bed bugs for all the tenants. This is the only way to solve your bed bug problem.
Keep Your Enemies Close
We’ve all heard the saying “keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” That applies well here. Bed bugs are your enemies, and you should make sure that you take the time to understand all that you can about them. Only by understanding bed bugs can you begin to eradicate them. If you are unfamiliar with where they hide, how they feed, or how they travel, you are unlikely to effectively solve the problem.
We’ve mentioned that bed bugs are incredibly small. In fact, they can be as thin as a sheet of paper. This means that bed bugs can hide nearly anywhere and avoid detection. It’s okay if this sounds terrifying: it kind of is. It’s possible to have a bed bug infestation and never see a bed bug because they can hide in any crack or crevice. Bed bugs could be hiding in your headboard or other areas of your mattress or box springs, meaning that you should always be careful when moving your mattress–even if you don’t see any bed bugs.
That brings us to how bed bugs travel. Let’s imagine for a bit that you have bed bugs in your room. You are quite certain that you have bed bugs in your mattress–in fact, you’ve even seen them. So, what do you do? Will leaving your bedroom and sleeping somewhere else solve the problem? Unfortunately, it could actually make it worse. By moving around objects and materials–including you and your clothes–you may actually give bed bugs and avenue by which to travel around your home. This can cause a problem to escalate. While you may think sleeping on the couch is a temporary solution to your problem, you may actually just be infesting your living room as well. Understanding how bed bugs move around your home gives you the advantage and skill set you need in order to slow or halt the spread of bed bugs around your home.
Furthermore, you should be aware that bed bugs are most active at night–with some studies suggesting that they are most active between the hours of three and five in the morning. This means that you should expect to see bites more often at night during the day. If you experience a dearth of bites during the daylight hours, don’t assume that your problem is over. It’s more likely that these tiny menaces aren’t as active as they will be later in the night.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
You must keep in mind before you begin your war on bed bugs that the process can be long and tiresome. Fighting bed bugs requires dedication to the process and a deep understanding of what needs to be done. It can be easy to be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. It’s normal for us to feel bad when our sleeping quarters are infested with bugs, but you should realize that having bed bugs is a common problem, and that it does have a solution. After you get over the initial shock of having bed bugs and you’ve done all your research, it’s time to take all the knowledge that you’ve learned and put it to use actually fighting off your infestation. Allowing yourself to realize that fighting off your bed bug problem could take time–especially if you have a particularly bad infestation–will help you keep the positive attitude you need to see the fight against bed bugs to the end. Also, you should be aware that even when you start seeing results with bed bugs, you should continue your routine until you are 100% certain that you have eliminated the bed bug problem from your home.
Complete a Thorough Inspection
As noted, bed bugs can be terribly difficult to see. However, conducting a thorough inspection of possibly-infected areas can help give you a better idea of what you’re working with and what needs to be done. In order to see bed bugs more clearly, it is recommended that you use a magnifying glass so that you can be sure of what you’re seeing. Once you have secured your magnifying glass, you must know where to look, or your inspection may not yield great results. If you don’t know where to look, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
Realize that bed bugs are hiders. What do we mean by that? We mean that bed bugs don’t lay themselves out in the open for people to see them. If they did, diagnosing the problem with be fairly simple, right? Instead, bed bugs use their small and paper-thin bodies to hide in just about any crack or crevice they can find. This includes cracks and crevices all over your bed. If you have been receiving bed bug bites while sleeping on your bed at night, you should conduct a thorough investigation of your bed. This includes taking your magnifying glass and looking over every portion of your bed–including the headboard, side railings, mattress, and box springs. Don’t let any section of the bed to go without inspection. Even if you don’t realize it, your bed has a multitude of hiding places for bed bugs. This could be from a small crack in your headboard, to a rip in the fabric of your mattress. Wherever your bed bugs can hide, they will, so you must put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and do a little bed bug sleuthing.
Make Your Bed Safe
This is one of the most crucial steps to fighting a bed bug infestation. Though you may be tempted to throw away an infected mattress, chances are you’ll end up paying a large sum for a new one. And, it probably won’t work. Because you didn’t really treat the infestation, you’re likely to find that the bed bugs will return and infect your new mattress. And, if that isn’t bad enough, you could spread bed bugs throughout your home by moving your infected mattress throughout your residence. Ouch. That’s certainly something want to avoid! You’re trying to rid your infestation–not make it worse.
So, what can you do? You can’t sleep somewhere else because it might spread, and you can’t move your mattress because it might spread. What are you supposed to do, then? Are we asking you to just deal with being bitten by bed bugs every night?
Certainly not! In fact, there are several steps you can take to make your bed safe to sleep in–even when it is infested with bed bugs. This is an integral part to fighting your bed bug infestation, as there are options that allow for you to sleep safely while also containing and eliminating your bed bug problem. Sound too good to be true? Don’t worry. Trust us. It’s not!
There are two great ways to help combat a bed bug problem in your bedroom: Mattress Safe Encasements and Active Guard Liners. While they both serve to control and ultimately eliminate your bed bug infestation, they work in two different ways. Both, however, are proven effective and can help you take the necessary steps in order to stop the spread of bed bugs throughout your home.
The first option involves encasing your mattress in a bed bug-proof encasement that both traps bed bugs inside and prevents them from biting you. Before you encase your mattress, you should be sure to strip down all the bedding so that you can wash it and so that you can vacuum the mattress and box springs. The standard procedure for washing your bedding is to double bag it and discarding the inner bag before placing it in the washer. Make sure that your bedding is clean and bed bug free, or you may find bed bugs returning to haunt you even after you’ve encased your mattress.
Mattress encasement works by placing a woven fabric around your mattress. After zipping this encasement around your mattress, you are protected from bed bug bites, as the fabric is thick enough to prevent bites. Furthermore, the encasement is designed so that nothing can slip out and spread the infestation. This means that by washing your bedding and encasing your mattress after thoroughly vacuuming and cleaning your mattress and box springs can prevent the spread of and combat the presence of bed bugs in your home. Because encasement fabrics don’t actively fight the bed bugs and kill them, it is recommended to leave them on your bed for up to a year, to ensure that all the bed bug life cycles have come to an end. Though this may seem like an incredibly long time, you will be protected from the bed bug infestation during this period–as long as you take other areas to rid bed bugs from other areas of your home, of course.
Additionally, active guard liners perform a similar function, only going one step further to actually provide an insecticide treatment. Instead of encasing your mattress completely, these liners are more like fitted sheets, and they can kill beg bugs and bed bug eggs within seventy-two hours. They are also a great preventative measure to keep bed bugs from infecting your mattress in the first place.
Another option is to use insecticides that are safe and recommended for indoor mattress use. You must be careful not to use just any insecticide indoors because this can have deadly and unintentional consequences. Always be sure to research the insecticide you are using and be 100% confident that what you are using is certified safe to use indoors and on your mattress. Also, if you have any pets, be aware of how insecticides may react with your pets, as some chemicals that humans are able to tolerate may be deadly to our furry and feathered friends. Some recommended insecticides are Cimexa Dust and Steri-Fab Bed Bug Spray. As you can see, you can get both dust and spray insecticides. Both have their own advantages: while dusts last longer, being able to spray your insecticide allows you to better target crevices and other hard-to-reach bed bug hiding places.
You also must free your headboard and other areas of bed bugs, and to do this, you should also use these insecticides. When using these insecticides to treat bed bugs, you must make sure that are safe to use indoors, and you must follow ALL directions as stated on the product’s box or container. Misuse of insecticides can be dangerous and is illegal. In order to ensure that you are working in a safe manner, you should read the specific directions as outlined by the product. Follow all instructions exactly as written. Failing to do so is not only dangerous, but it can also lead to the failure of your bed bug treatment. Whether you are using dust or sprays, and no matter what part of the bed you are using them on, make sure that you are doing so safely and effectively.
Also, invest in bed bug interceptors that you can place around the legs of your bed frame to keep bed bugs from climbing into your bed. Two such interceptors are The Climb Up Bed Bug Interceptor and Blackout Bed Bug Interceptor. Using these interceptors, along with the other treatments outlined for bed bugs, protects you from bed bugs on your mattress. This comes with the caveat that you cannot return any bedding to the mattress until all portions of the treatment are in place, as well as keeping your bed and your bedding away from the ground and walls or any other avenue by which bed bugs can return.
Treat the Rest of Your Home
The treatment plan for the remainder of your home is very similar to how you managed your mattress. The first step to treating the rest of your home First you must inspect all corners and crevices in which bed bugs could be hiding. While this process can be time consuming, it is essential to making sure that you completely eradicate your bed bug infestation. Partial treatments only waste time, as the bed bugs are sure to come back.
Once you identify problem areas—such as cracks and crevices in your furniture and other areas—you must go about treating them. Using insecticides is a great way to rid yourself of the problem, but you should always make sure that you are using an insecticide that is clearly labeled for indoor and bed bug use. Make sure that you follow the directions to ensure a safe and proper treatment and be aware of any safety or precaution information in regard to your health or that of others, including animals. Also, be aware that foggers and homemade chemicals are generally ineffective and can be dangerous. Only treat your home with licensed and approved bed bug insecticides.
In short, your fight with bed bugs takes a certain degree of fortitude and can seem long. However, it is a winnable fight if you maintain a proper regime and stay dedicated to your cause. Following the above-mentioned steps will help you to stave off a bed bug infestation and reclaim your mattress, furniture, and your home.