Bedbugs are a nuisance that can enter your home through luggage, clothing, used beds, couches, and other items. Their flat bodies allow them to crawl into tiny spaces, that can be as small as the thickness of a credit card. Bedbugs don’t have nests like bees or ants, but they do live in groups in hiding places. They typically hide in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards, where they have easy access to people to bite in the night. Here’s How to Get Rid of Bedbugs.
How to Tell if you Have Bedbugs
If you wake up in the middle of the night with itchy areas or small abrasions that you didn’t have when you went to bed, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or any other used furniture shortly before the bites started.
Other signs that you have bedbugs can include:
- Blood stains on your skin, sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses and bed clothes, and/or walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- A musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect that you might have bed bugs, How to Get Rid of Bedbugs includes removing all bedding and check it for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover from the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
In addition, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach themselves to clothing. If you’re not sure about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator. They will know what to look for.
How to Get Rid of Bedbugs
Once you’ve discovered that you have them, How to Get Rid of Bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. Consider non-chemical methods of killing bed bugs. Some of these methods will be more useful than others.
Options for how to get rid of bedbugs include;
- Heat treatment using a clothes dryer on high heat, black plastic bags in the sun or a hot, closed car (pest management professionals have other methods that are not suitable for non-trained individuals to use).
- Cold treatment can be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0o F. You must leave the items in the freezer at that temperature for four days. (Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0o.)
- Reducing the numbers of bugs with these and other non-chemical methods is helpful, but is unlikely to entirely eliminate the infestation.
How to Get Rid of Bedbugs may include using pesticides. Pesticides can also be used to treat a bedbug infestation. Use pesticides carefully, and according to the label directions, or hire a pest management professional.
- Look for EPA-registered pesticides.
- Bedbugs must be listed on the label.
- Use bug bombs (or foggers) with extreme care. Incorrect use can do damage to your health or cause a fire.
- Foggers shouldn’t be used as the only source of bed bug control. The spray won’t reach the cracks and crevices where bedbugs hide.
- Every few days after you complete your first cleanup attempt, and control processes, look for any evidence of bed bugs.
- If you see bedbugs, that means that your first cleanup missed some of the bugs, or that new eggs have hatched (finding and removing or killing all eggs can be difficult) and re-treatment will likely be necessary.
- If repeated treatments are necessary, consider using desiccants. Desiccants are drying agents, and they can be extremely effective in some circumstances, since they work by drying out the bug (which means the bed bugs can’t develop a resistance to it).
If you decide to use desiccants, be sure to use only products that have been registered as a pesticide. Do not use pool or food-grade diatomaceous earth – this type of diatomaceous earth can be extremely harmful when you breathe it in. The pesticide version uses a different size of diatoms, which reduces the hazard.
Desiccants can be extremely effective, but they’re not ‘quick acting’, meaning that they can take up to several months to work.
Continue to inspect for bed bugs at least every 7 days, in case any eggs were left behind.