We all know where bed bugs come from, we typically bring them home as unwanted souvenirs from vacations or take them with us after moving from an apartment complex. What we really need to know is how to get rid of them.
Lynn Little wrote an article “Kick the bed bugs out of your bed” discussing some of the tactics that you can to on your own to get rid of the little pests. Getting rid of bed bugs as soon as possible is crucial because after a bed bug is in place females can produce eggs that will hatch into blood-thirsty nymphs within a matter of days. An adult bed bug can live anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
The reason bed bugs are so hard to get rid of once they’ve been established in a building or home is because they hide during the daytime. They typically hide in cracks and crevices, in furniture like your bed or under rugs, behind pictures, artwork or loose wallpaper. According to Little the best thing to do to get rid of bed bugs is a three step integrated pest management (or IPM). This consists of sanitation and the application of the chemicals only to the areas needed.
One of the very most important things you can do is inspect your hotel room when traveling to ensure you don’t bring any bed bugs home with you, in other words prevention. But if by chance you miss them and do bring them home on accident be sure to inspect all clothing. Look for their fecal spots or actual bugs. When buying used furniture, especially mattresses double check everything. Try caulking cracks and crevices on the interior and exterior of your homes so the bugs can’t hide there.
The next step, sanitation, means frequent cleaning of your home. Vacuuming and cleaning your mattress and areas nearby, washing clothes in hot water and just generally cleaning and sanitizing your home. After the mattress is vacuumed or scrubbed, it can be enclosed in a zippered mattress cover. Any remaining bedbugs will be trapped inside the cover. Leave the cover in place for a year or more, since bed bugs can live a long time without feeding. Steam and hot water can also kill bed bugs. So after traveling and unpacking make sure to wash all your clothes in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs you might’ve brought home won’t survive.
The last step, chemicals on targeted areas, means residual insecticides are applied directly to the areas needed. For example any cracks or crevices where bed bugs may have been hiding. Feel free to repeat as needed, especially if more bed bugs are spotted. Make your home less hospitable for bedbugs and other pests by preventing entry and controlling their sources of food, water and places to hide.
If you have any more suggestions or tips on how to keep your home bed bug free please share them with us below!