Incidences of bed bugs have been on the rise over the last few years as these insects have become increasingly resistant to certain pesticides, and humans are able to travel longer distances in shorter amounts of time. Often unwittingly brought into a home in luggage following a trip, an infestation in the house can be a horrifying prospect. Fortunately, there are several options available for dealing with the bugs.
When considering the best methods for eliminating a bed bug infestation in a home, there are a few things that need to be considered, including how bad the infestation is, and which method is the safest for the family.
Do it Yourself Strategies
If bed bugs are sighted in the home, there are several strategies homeowners can employ to try to get rid of them. These methods may need to be repeated to fully eradicate the pests and may not be effective if an infestation is severe:
- Start by removing as much clutter around the house as possible, since the critters will use this as hiding places and, in the case of papers, as a breeding ground.
- Launder bedding and clothing on the hottest settings available, as bed bugs are killed by high temperatures.
- Vacuum thoroughly, including mattresses, upholstered furniture and corners. Immediately dispose of the bag or empty the canister so that any bugs inside are removed from the home.
- Homeowners can use a steam cleaner on bedding, along upholstered furniture and on carpeted floors.
- Bed bug powder is available and relatively inexpensive. It can be sprinkled over and around the bed and is designed to pierce the soft shells of the bugs.
- There are also sticky bug traps that can be bought. They are a little messy but can be effective.
Hiring an exterminator may be more expensive than do-it-yourself methods, but these professionals are experienced in dealing with such pests, and most will offer a guarantee the bed bugs will not return within a certain amount of time.
- The exterminator will want to examine the house to find the locations of the bed bugs. Some companies use specially trained bed bug dogs to sniff out their hiding places.
- All furniture in the house will likely need to be placed in one area so it can be fumigated. It is also likely all light switch coverings will need to be removed prior to the exterminator’s arrival.
- In order to ensure all the bed bugs are killed, fumigating a house will likely entail spreading chemicals through the entire structure, which may require finding a temporary place to stay.
- Bed bugs can be killed by extreme hot or cold temperatures. Professional exterminators may use steam heat or a cryonite freezing machine to kill the bugs and eggs, as an alternative to spraying.
Dealing with a bed bug infestation can be time consuming and costly. If someone tries to eliminate the problem on their own, they will likely save money but need to take more time. More money will be spent using a professional, but results will come quicker.
Written by Karen Barnes, who writes for a website that gives advice on bed covers for bed bugs and other tricks for avoiding being bitten by these nasty pests.