The sight of bed bugs is enough to cause panic. They may appear small but can wreak havoc in anyone’s house. That lovely house could become a place you dread returning to after a long and tiring day.
It would be best if you remained calm before taking further steps. An action informed by panic could further worsen the situation. The main aim is to treat the infestation without spreading it into other rooms. Here are tips on what to do and not to do to avoid an infestation.
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Dos to avoid an infestation
Be cautious about any new places that you visit or sleep in
A global resurgence in bed bugs has led to renewed interest and research. Scientific research reveals that increased resistance to pesticides by these bugs has meant that more and more places are getting infested at an alarming rate. So, with any new place you visit, remember that there might be an infestation, even at an unnoticeable scale.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of carrying these hitchhikers from your travels to your home. Remember that 100% avoidance of bed bugs is practically impossible. Especially considering that human beings are social beings by nature, we cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. You still can make it hard to get your home infested by taking these steps in your travels;
- Avoid placing your luggage on the floor or near other luggage. It is advisable to hang them on an isolated rack.
- Wrap luggage in an airtight plastic bag. This will keep bed bugs away from your bag.
- If you can, avoid crowded places or hangout spots
- Carry out a thorough inspection of the accommodations you get. Concentrate on potential hot zones like cracks, crevices, furniture joints, and mattress seams.
- Examine your luggage and clothes on arrival. Wash all washable in hot water and wear new clean clothes.
Make a habit of vacuuming your house as often as possible
Bed bugs are not necessarily attracted to dirt and clutter. However, the clutter in your home offers more hiding spots for these critters. It makes spotting and eliminating them much more difficult. Besides, having a clean house won’t hurt.
Vacuuming your house will not only help manage the bed bug infestation but also helps to keep the place clutter-free. Vacuuming can only help to reduce the number of bed bugs in your house. It, however, won’t be a hundred percent effective. If you do it right, it could also help to reduce bed bug eggs. Attachments like crevice tools can suction off bed bugs and their eggs from hard-to-reach areas. Alternatively, you could ask for bed bug vacuum cleaners at the market stores.
Yes, washing your clothes is one of the ways to reduce bed bug infestations in your home. Washing alone may eliminate a few bed bugs. However, using a washing machine and dryer at high temperatures of 140° F (60° C) will kill all stages of a bed bug’s life cycle. How you wash will depend on whether you have an infestation or are trying to reduce the chances of harboring them. The procedure will be as follows:
- You will have to sort your clothes into different piles. Separate infested ones from the others. Sort into infested ones, clean ones, dirty but un-infested, and delicate fabric to wash them differently
- Place them differently and set the wash at high temperatures to kill bed bugs and eggs. Take care not to ruin the fabric.
- Take them out, place them into the drier, and set them into the highest setting.
- Take them out of the drier and sort them differently. Place them in sealed plastic bags to avoid re-infestation while you take care of the more significant problem.
Manage your socialization in one spot or room in the house.
Dealing with an infestation in one place is easier than a massive outbreak in the whole house. It is cheaper. You will not have to throw out much stuff in case the cost of eliminating the bed bugs outweighs the price of that item. Having friends in the living room is even better since spotting and inspecting bed bugs will be easier.
Dos if you get an infestation
Bed bugs can get into your home regardless of the preventative measures you put in place. What you do next will determine whether the war with these bed bugs will be relatively easy or if it will be a long protracted one. Mistakes when treating bed bugs can lead to even more significant infestation problems. Here are some things you should do if you get an infestation:
Remain calm, have a clear head, and carefully inspect the area
A clear mind will help you make informed decisions you will not live to regret. Take the time to lift the mattress off the bed or cushions off the couch. If necessary, separate parts of the furniture to clearly show the extent of the infestation. Use items at your disposal, like a magnifying glass, torch, or any other tool.
Isolate all infested items, not dropping any bed bugs or eggs.
A zipped plastic bag will come in handy to isolate potable items like clothes and bags. You should;
- Pull the bed, couch, and bedding away from the wall to the center of the room.
- Use a plastic mattress encasement on your to keep bedbugs away or seal them inside it and suffocate them.
- Take down all drapes, nets, or other items in the infested room.
- Place all clothes in a zip-lock bag for bed bug treatment later.
Treatment the bed bugs
Most people use pesticides to treat bed bugs, but they are ineffective due to their resistance. There are more effective and safe treatment options that you can use, for example, heat treatment. The treatment you choose will depend on the infestation size, the cost you are willing to take, and available options.
Don’ts if you get an infestation
Do not ignore or put off a bed bug treatment, as it could worsen
Any infestation or bed bug sighting should be treated as an emergency. Remember that most infestations are started by a single engorged female bed bug giving rise to clusters. The situation will worsen, leaving you with a massive, costly infestation problem threatening to evict you from your home.
Ignoring a bed bug problem is akin to sticking your head in the sand. It won’t make it go away. Even if you feel too helpless to fight it, any action is better than inaction. Even cheaper methods of managing an infestation will not cost you a dime. These options, like vacuuming, de-cluttering, and heat treatment, can be done independently and would no doubt manage the rising bed bug numbers.
Do not move furniture, clothes, or electronics into or out of the infested zone
You will probably be tempted to move furniture out of an infested room to make treatment more manageable and the space accessible. This is not wise because you risk carrying bed bugs and contaminating other rooms. Bed bugs are elusive critters that have adapted fast and can easily hide; just because you cannot see them doesn’t mean they are not there.
Do not attempt to treat the infestation if you are not sure it’s bed bugs
You must be sure you have bed bugs, not other pests that look like bedbugs. There are tell-tale signs of bed bugs that you can check to be sure you have them. Treating bed bugs without proper confirmation wastes your hard-earned money.
Bed bugs are already insecticide resistant. If you apply the wrong treatment options, you could make the problem even worse than you started. That is why you must thoroughly investigate whether they are bed bugs. Correct diagnosis is always the first step of treatment.
Don’t use commercial pesticides without professional guidance.
It is not advisable to use pesticides because they are harmful to humans and pests and do not often deliver results. Their high toxicity also has adverse effects on the environment. Using environmentally friendly, safe, and efficient treatment options such as heat is wise. Consider the safety concerns and relevant protective measures if you use pesticides to treat bed bugs.
This fight against bed bugs calls for mindful living. The recent resurgence means you could catch these critters anywhere hence the need to be careful about your activities. The need for making informed decisions cannot also be understated. Panic breeds chaos. If you see a bed bug, you remain calm, conduct a thorough investigation, and treat it accordingly. Quality treatment options, consistency, and patience will go a long way to hand us victory in this fight.