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How to Effectively Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, flat, brownish insects that feed on human blood. They can be very difficult to get rid of once they infest your home. This post will explain the steps you need to take to effectively eliminate a bed bug problem.

Pests - Bed Bugs by British Pest Control Association
Source: Flickr

1. Inspect Your Bed and Bedroom

  • Look for signs of bed bugs in your bed, mattress, box spring, headboard, and bed frame.
  • Look for live or dead bed bugs, molted skins, and small dark stains which may be bed bug droppings. Inspect crevices, seams, tufts, and folds.
  • Inspect walls, floor, and furniture near the bed. Bed bugs often hide near where people sleep.
  • Use a flashlight to see cracks and crevices. Magnifying glass helps too.
  • Capture a sample bug and have it identified if you aren't sure.

2. Reduce Clutter

Red minimalist bedroom by tec_estromberg
Source: Flickr

  • Remove clutter from your bedroom. Take everything out of drawers and closets.
  • Get rid of unneeded items. Less stuff means fewer hiding spots for bugs.
  • Use plastic bins with tight lids to store items you want to keep. This prevents bed bugs from infesting them.
  • Consider using mattress and box spring cover encasements. Zip them shut.

3. Kill Adult Bed Bugs

  • Use insecticide sprays made for bed bug treatment. Spray mattress, bed frame, headboard, and baseboards. Follow product labels.
  • Steam cleaning can kill bugs and eggs on mattresses and furniture. Use high, penetrating heat.
  • Vacuum crevices on mattresses, furniture, and walls. Dispose of the vacuum bag right away.
  • Professional heat treatments heat home or room to kill bugs—expensive but effective.
  • Cold treatment uses portable freezers to kill bugs—also expensive.

4. Eliminate Hiding Spots

Bathroom Renovation - Floor Grout Problem by Phil King
Source: Flickr

  • Caulk and seal crevices and joints in walls, floors, and furniture. This removes harborages.
  • Paint over cracks in plaster to seal them.
  • Repair or remove peeling wallpaper.
  • Seal any openings around pipes and wires.
  • Fill gaps around baseboards and outlets with sealant.

5. Prevent Reinfestation

  • Wash and dry bed linens on hottest settings items will allow. This kills bed bugs.
  • Cover mattress and box spring with encasements. Keep them on for at least 1 year.
  • Intercept bugs that are moving between rooms with clutter-free sticky traps.
  • Monitor regularly and re-treat if needed. Be vigilant.

6. When to Call a Professional

Bed bugs on box spring by Lauren
Source: Flickr

  • If self-treatment efforts don't eliminate the infestation.
  • If bugs are in many rooms or the whole home.
  • If you rent, the responsibility falls on the landlord, so you'll want to alert them first.
  • If you're elderly or disabled and cannot self-treat safely.

7. Prevent Bed Bugs from Entering

  • Inspect new and used furniture carefully before bringing home.
  • Never bring discarded bed frames, mattresses, etc. from the curb into the home.
  • Thoroughly inspect after traveling, even in nice hotels.
  • Isolate and inspect clothing and luggage after trips before taking them into bedrooms.
  • Dry potentially infested items on high heat to kill bed bugs.

Following these steps will allow you to successfully eliminate a bed bug problem. Be thorough and persistent and you can get rid of these pests. It may take time but you can do it yourself. If not, call a professional.

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