How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are plaguing hotels and homes all over the world. They were nearly extinct in the 60’s with the advent of carcinogenic insecticides like DDT, but have since resurged. Bed bugs are small oval shaped parasites, 3-5 mm in length. They prefer to infest bedrooms and feed on the blood of sleeping homeowners, hiding beneath layers of bedding and the seams of mattresses. But how do you get bed bugs? Their rapid spread is commonly attributed to travel and infested hotels. They can also spread by hiding on luggage or used furniture. Unfortunately, the best way to get rid of bed bugs, is to make sure you never get them at all, as well as knowing how to check for the signs. Knowing how to get rid of bed bugs is extremely valuable, considering the complexity and cost of their treatment. On a global scale, they have overtaken parts of New York, Ohio, and India.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

The first priority in getting rid of bed bugs is to disassemble the bedroom. They can hide in alarm clocks, dressers, box springs, cracks and crevices, behind wall electrical outlets, and pillows. Most of the activity should be located directly around the mattress, inside the box spring, and directly behind the head boards, where you will find blood smears. The presence of blood smears is one of the major signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs feed are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide exhaled by humans - after absorbing the required nutrients from a meal, the bed bug will leave behind its waste, a skid of tarry blood. These tiny brown or black streaks are found around the corners of box springs and within the seams of mattresses.

Bed Bug Treatment

Bed bug treatments are often limited to rooms where people sleep. On impulse, many homeowners consider trashing the bulk of their belongings, thinking a new bed will do the trick. This is costly and ineffective, due to the multitude of places a bed bug will seek shelter. All bedding should be washed and dried. The temperatures from your dryer are enough to kill off any adults and eggs. Floors should be vacuumed and bags placed in a dumpster outside. The first step in any infestation is to remove yourself from the room and sleep elsewhere. Be careful not to carry any with you.

  • Mattress and box spring covers should be purchased. This will get rid of and reduce the number of hiding spots, trapping bed bugs still inside.
  • Vacuuming will greatly reduce the number of bed bugs. Using the wand attachment, pay close attention to cracks and crevices, baseboards, bed frames, and seams in furniture. The bag must be thrown away following its use.
  • Everything must be taken apart. It may seem like too much to move a 100 pound dresser out of the way, but it is completely necessary. Everything must be inspected and cleaned out, no questions asked.
  • Bed bugs leave behind fecal smears. These are tiny stains found on the seams of mattresses. Skin casts from molts may also be visible.
  • Place crib posts in glass jars to prevent bed bugs from biting the baby. The glass will prove to be too slippery for them, making it impossible to negotiate the climb.
  • Change rooms, but don't take the bedding with you. All clothes and beddings in the infested rooms must be washed and dried. Temperatures from the dryer should be hot enough to kill bed bugs caught in the material.

When changing rooms, be wary of what you decide to take with you. These common pests are notorious for infesting anything and everything from gaming systems to laptops. Many people think throwing the mattress away is enough. This is never the case, and you are wasting your money. Instead, a mattress cover should be purchased and properly fitted. The prevalence and difficulty of getting rid of bed bugs encourages many to seek professional assistance. But even for the professionals they can prove to be challenging.

Professional Extermination

The professional treatment of bed bugs is time consuming and costly. These insects have rapidly developed a tolerance to pyrethrins, a chemical used in nearly every modern pesticide. Companies are charging hundreds of dollars per room due to cost in labor and supplies. What’s worse, is that they are able to survive as long as 1 year without a blood meal, meaning they could lie dormant inside your walls after any treatment. As a result, many companies have attempted to treat infestations using alternative non-chemical measures, such as through trapping or temperature modification. Some companies have even gone as far as training dogs to sniff out bed bugs.

  • Exposure to heat or cold has been used effectively for getting rid of bed bugs. The amount of heat required to kill bed bugs is 114 degrees farenheit for about 15 minutes. Elimination of eggs can be achieved at this temperature over the course of an hour. Below freezing temperatures are also sufficient. The cost of these treatments is insanely high.
  • Specialized trapping devices have also been tested in bed bug management programs. These devices are placed in the center of the room and emit carbon dioxide, attracting bed bugs from every direction. When they crawl inside, the surface is too slick for them to get back out. While useful, the efficacy of trapping bed bugs with this method is not 100%.
  • Last but not least, chemical applications. A list of the most popular bed bug sprays is as follows: Suspend SC, DeltaDust, Phantom Aerosol, Phantom Concentrate, Bedlam, ExiteR, and Gentrol.

There are many companies who won’t even guarantee their treatment will work, charging on average $400 per room. Keep that in mind if you choose to hire someone to handle the problem for you. The treatment process may take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months depending on the severity of the problem, and the cost will vary greatly depending on the type of treatment techniques being used. Learning how to get rid of bed bugs using professional products is simple so long as you are patient. Repeated exposure to commercial insecticides like Suspend SC, have proven to be effective so long as the treatments are properly administered. Follow up inspections should be conducted at least twice following the initial treatment.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are characterized by tiny red welts. For unknown reasons, women and children are bit a lot more than grown men. The severity of each reaction is unique to the individual, where people with poor allergies are capable of having stronger responses. They come out of hiding at night, when people are fast asleep. Crawling up the mattress, they make their way onto the host and pierce the skin with their sharp mouth. Simeltaneously, they deliver an anti-coagulant, so it temporarily halts any pain and keeps humans from waking up. While any parasite is capable of spreading disease, there has been little evidence to support the idea that bed bugs are at fault for biological illnesses. In severe infestations, repeated exposure to groups of these insects can result in heavy blood loss, causing the victim to become weak and anemic. Human blood is preferred by bed bugs, so pets are not usually at risk.