Getting rid of bed bugs can be a difficult process.
Once present in your home, the complicated biology of those insects makes it difficult to eradicate the infestation permanently.
Bed bugs reproduce very quickly and their eggs are resistant to a large number of pesticides.
They are mostly found in hotel rooms. But why ?
Hotel rooms are used by hundreds of different guests, all of which could have potentially created a way in for these pesky little hitchhikers.
A fashion model (pictured above) sued a hotel in which she stayed because of a severe bed bug infestation. You can see the bed bug bites all over her body!
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Techniques to Get Rid of Bed Bugs (For Good!)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective technique to control bed bugs that utilizes the bed bug’s own biology against them.
For instance, the treatment techniques and pest control methods under IPM are designed around the life cycle of pests and their biological makeup.
IPM also takes economics, health hazards, environmental toxicity and damage to property in consideration when treating bed bugs.
There are some chemical ways of treating bed bugs but they are not as effective as part of a long term solution.
Even though a pest treatment may kill all the adult bed bugs, the eggs left behind may hatch and restart the cycle of infestation.
If you have a small infestation, you can use home remedies, bed bug traps and other small scale strategies to control bed bugs.
Steps to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Follow the following steps to develop an effective strategy and get rid of bed bug once and for all:
- Identify the extent and area of infestation
- Record the steps, strategy and duration of process
- Develop a plan to stop spread of the infestation
- Take steps to prepare for the treatment in time
- Eliminate the bed bugs in a safe and effective way
Signs of A Bed Bug Infestation
Discovering a bed bug infestation before it spreads is always the best possible option, and if you are staying somewhere else, it is important to figure out if there are any bed bugs before going to sleep!
By looking for a few obvious signs, you can figure out where and if there is an infestation.
Identifying a bed bug infestation can be quite tricky. But identifying a possible infestation is not entirely impossible. Some signs to look out for to know there are bed bugs in your bedding are:
- Small reddish brown bugs crawling over the sheet or mattress.
- Red rust like stains on bed sheets or the mattress which are actually crushed bed bugs.
- Black round spots which are bed bug excrement and can be distinctly seen on light colored sheets and fabrics.
- Tiny pale yellow soft eggs or eggshells which are indicators of bed bugs having laid eggs on the bedding.
Tiny red bed bugs can also be found crawling around places such as:
- Seams of chairs, couches and in between their cushions
- Folds of curtains
- Inside drawer joints
- Inside electrical appliances
- Under wallpapers and other wall hangings
- Junctions of walls, ceilings, stairs and floors
One of the best ways to monitor and detect a bed bug infection problem before it becomes a bigger problem is to buy a bed bug trap like the one below.
Before officially starting the treatment procedure it is recommended to take the following measures:
Declutter all rooms to be treated and place items in plastic bags.
Keep in mind infested items can spread bed bugs so throw contaminated items away or keep them for treatment if items are valuable.
Watch the video by clutterbug to learn how to declutter your room.
Put all clothing items located near an infested area in the laundry. Make sure the garments and linens are laundered in hot water and then put in a dryer for further heat treatment.
All furniture in the infested area should be dismantled so that you can expose all nooks and corners where the bed bugs could be hiding. Removing drawers near the bed is also important as it may be infested with bed bugs.
Clean and Seal:
Vacuum rooms with bed bugs infestation and seal any wall openings with paint or rubber to avoid spread.
What to do with a bed bug infested mattress?
If a mattress is infested with bed bugs it will definitely have to be treated, one way or another. If the bed bug infestation is quite large then the mattress is beyond saving. If an infestation is small then an encasement can be used.
Encasements are a bedbug certified product which encloses the mattress to keep any potential bed bugs inside. The encasement has to be used for 1 year so the bed bugs die inside.
Another mattress treatment option is lining the mattress with Active Guard Liners. These liners are specialized products which act like fitted sheets and kill all bed bugs and their eggs inside the mattress within 72 hours. The Active Guard Mattress Liners are available in all mattress sizes, including single, full, queen, to king size.
There are hundreds of different bed bug proof mattress. Read our best mattress cover article so you don’t have to waste time researching the right product for you.
In addition to encasement, you can also treat the mattress with insecticides to kill as many bed bugs as possible.
- Bed bug Prevention by Suffer Health (YouTube Video)
- How to Remove Bed bugs from Mattress (Article by Eurapon bedding)
1. Bedlam Aerosol
Bedlam Aerosol is an insecticide spray which kills bed bugs on contact.
The residual effect of the aerosol spray lasts for up to 2 weeks.
Bedlam aerosol kills bed bugs on contact and can be sprayed on and inside mattresses. The spray can also be used on all types of bed bug infested clothing and places such as baseboards, floorboards, headboards, and walls.
Want to learn more about this product ? Read our detailed bedlam Aerosol review in which we covered everything there is to know about one of the most potent bed bug sprays.
2. CimeXa Dust
CimeXa is an Insecticide Dust which kills all adult bed bugs and their nymphs on contact.
The dust can be sprinkled upon the mattresses and any other location with a bed bug infestation.
CimeXa is a powerful insecticide product and made up of 100% Amorphous Silica Gel which not only has an immediate action on bed bug control, but is also odorless and stainless.
If undisturbed, the residual effect of CimeXa can last up to 10 years.
Read more details about CimeXa Dust.
Bed Bugs: What Are They?
Mankind has been pestered by bed bugs nearly as long as it has been around.
During the day, the wingless bloodsuckers love to hide in the cracks of beds, floors walls and furniture.
At night, they come out to feed on humans leaving behind itchy red bites which can irritate for weeks. The reddish-brown bug can grow up to 7mm in length with a life span of 4 months to 1 year.
Bed bugs are present on every continent, except for Antarctica. Infestations are especially common in less developed nations, as a result of unsanitary living conditions and severe crowding.
According to researchers at the University of Southern California, globally bed bugs are increasing at a rate of 100 to 500% every year. The sudden increase in bed bug populations can be credited to an increase in global trade and cheaper tourism prospects.
Likewise, over the years bed bugs seem to have developed resistance to a majority of insecticides. Furthermore, an increasing fear of chemical toxicity is preventing people from freely using insecticides.
Although there is no evidence to suggest bed bugs spread diseases, they are known to be carriers of pathogens. Human pathogens such as B. Quintana and T. Cruz can survive inside the bodies of bed bugs which may have worrisome future implications.
Bed Bugs & Disease
A survey carried out by Dr. Hwang from the University of Toronto, found bed bug infestations can negatively affect human health.
The presence of bed bugs can also damage the overall quality of life in a general population. Bed bug bites can cause distinctively red skin lesions or hives known as ‘papules’ which can itch, irritate and give off pus for weeks.
Sometimes the application of topical corticosteroids is the only way to cure rashes caused by bed bugs. A few bites here and there may not seem like much of an inconvenience but bites covering all over the body can be a serious health issue.
In the 2015 Bugs Without Borders survey, carried out by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, bed bugs tend to infest these specific places more than others:
- Nursing Homes
- Schools and Day Care Centers
- Public Transportation e.g. train, bus, taxi etc.
- Retail Stores
- Movie Theatres
Effects of Bed Bug Bites On Humans
These bites can be very irritating. The bites are more commonly found on exposed areas of skin like arms, shoulders and legs.
If a new bed bug infestation is not nipped in the bud, the rate of bites will grow exponentially.
Over time the bites can bleed, leak pus, or even lead to the development of eczema if left untreated.
As the number of bites increases the threat to your health increases. In cases of chronic infestations, a person with a significant number of bites may even experience anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
Skin rashes or eczema from bed bug bites can develop into a variety of chronic ailments.
For instance, a person may contract a bacterial infection from the bites. Chronic infection may lead to developing anemia. Similarly, a large number of bites can even cause systematic poisoning in a person.
Precautions Against Bed Bugs Infestation
Better safe than sorry is always a better option, especially when it comes to an insect invasion. Taking a few simple precautions can help prevent bed bug infestations in homes:
- Checking second hand furniture before bringing it home
- Encasing and covering mattresses with plastic sheets or high quality encasements to seal all possible places where bed bugs can come in from
- Reducing clutter in a room so bed bugs don’t have more places to infest
- Frequently vacuuming areas where bed bugs might infest
- Sealing cracks and holes in walls, stairs, flooring and light sockets
- Installing a portable heating system so bed bugs may not be able to thrive
- Avoid using shared or community laundry facilities
- Regularly wash and heat dry all bedding and clothing
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs are wingless insects but they have an uncanny ability to crawl into any available and covered space no matter how small. This unique ability can be attributed to their flattened bodies which allow them to fit through any tight space.
Bed bugs enter our homes through luggage and other outside goods. A majority of bed bugs are transferred all over the world via suitcases or boxes.
Similarly, clothes or bedding items can also bring in bed bugs especially if they are used. The same applies to furniture. Old furniture such as couches, mattresses and even tables are more likely to contain bed bugs and buying them can infest your home with bed bugs.
So be careful to invest in old furnishings before inspecting them for bed bugs.
Some people have a misconception that bed bugs are attracted to only dirty places but that is not true.
Bed bugs can also be found in immaculately clean places. For instance, bed bugs can be found in a five-star room which has been cleaned to perfection but not treated with insecticides. So no matter how clean a place is it can inhabit bed bugs if not treated properly.
What to do when bed bugs bite in the middle of the night?
Bed bugs can bite you suddenly out of nowhere in the middle of the night. If you woke up due to bed bug bites, follow these simple steps:
- Quickly wash the bite with soap
- Apply an antiseptic ointment on the bite
- Change the bed sheets and double up on sheets to help prevent any more bugs from coming out of the mattress and reaching you
- Change your clothing with freshly washed clothes
- Ventilate the room or turn on the fan if you can
- Turn on the heater if you can
Note: All the above are short term solutions. Without proper pesticide treatment, bed bugs are unlikely to leave your home anytime soon.
Appearance of Bed Bugs
For proper treatment, it is very necessary to recognize if the infestation is actually a bed bug colony. Adult bed bugs can be recognized by their distinctive characteristics such as:
- An adult bed bug is equal to an apple seed in size i.e. 5-7 mm
- Bed bugs have a flattened oval shaped reddish brown body
- The body is made up of main body, antennas and wings
- Their wings are short and golden colored
- Bed bugs leave behind a musty sweet smell
The young ones are called nymphs and are different than adult bed bugs. Their characteristics include:
- White and yellow colored
- Smaller than even 4 mm
- Not generally visible to the naked eye
Whereas bed bug eggs can be characterized as:
- Tiny pearl white in color
- Size of a pinhead
The bed bugs life begins within an egg. The eggs are laid by female bed bugs either individually or in clusters and are often placed in tight cracks or crevices.
These eggs are approx. 1mm in size, similar in size to two grains of salt. They are then hatched within two weeks and the immature bed bugs begin begin to feed immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kills bed bugs and their eggs?
Isopropyl alcohol can kill bedbugs and their eggs. It is best to use other chemicals because you should be aware that using rubbing alcohol is inefficient and can even be dangerous.
Should I throw out my mattress if I have bed bugs?
No, If you throw out your mattress without getting rid of the infestation, a new colony will get into your new mattress. Instead, you can use encasements or active lining, and the cause must be treated as explained in our guide.