what you need to do if you find bed bugs at home

If you have woken up with mysterious red welts in your arms or strange brownish marks on your pillowcase, you probably are unknowingly playing host to bedbugs! No matter how cool you are, the prospect of a bedbug infestation can strike fear in some of the most level-headed today. What you need is some practical know-how on dealing with it. Before getting into the ‘dealing with the bedbugs’ part, it is important to have an insight into these tiny creatures.

Bedbugs are small pesky parasites that measure just about 5mm. They are tough and smart and have a high rate of reproduction. They do not come out in the light and attack mostly at night. They hide in small cracks and crevices and are hard to detect, and they can live for months without being noticed. They can survive for many weeks without food in their hideouts. Bed bugs can be eliminated but require some amount of effort and time. Now that we know what they are, let’s see what can be done if you find them at home.

What to do if you have Bed Bugs?

If you suspect a bedbug infestation, do not panic. It can be dealt with and is no rocket science. Most people start moving their furniture, throw away the mattress and other belongings, and use pesticides to eradicate bed bugs. Experts advise that by doing this you are actually increasing the chances of bedbugs spreading throughout your home. Another reason not to panic is that even though bug bites leave red marks and feel itchy they do not pose a major health risk. So relax and deal with it rather than getting stressed.

Identify the Infested Areas

The foremost thing to do if you find the bedding and furniture stained and soiled or find bite marks on the body is to identify the infested areas. Early detection helps in containing its spread. Moreover, treating a smaller infestation is much easier than a bigger one. However, the detection of smaller infestations can be difficult. Hence, it is always advised to hire bed bug services to do an inspection and eradicate them once and for all. If you are hiring professionals they are experienced and can do the job quickly and efficiently. However, it is essential to know where to find them to ensure that you do have an infestation.

Where to Find Them

Bedbugs are small and narrow, hence they find refuge in tiny spots like the folds and seams of mattresses, couch or curtains. You can checkout baseboards, headboards, footboards, and tags of mattresses. They also may hide in cracks in the legs of the bed frames, furniture joints, and in between cushions. Bedbugs can also be on walls. You can usually spot them under torn or loose wallpapers or inseams of ceiling and wallpaper joints. You also need to checkout under wall hangings or wall posters and in electrical sockets.

How to Identify a Bedbug Infestation?

To inspect the area use a magnifying glass and a flashlight. You may find any or all of the following when you check the area for bed bug infestation.

  • Small reddish colored bugs which are about 1/4th of an inch
  • Bedbug droppings which are dark in color and round in shape
  • Bloodstains on the mattress as the bugs get crushed when you are asleep
  • Eggs which are small and pale yellow in color
  • Shells and yellow peels of skin that the younger bedbugs shed

How to Contain the spread of Bedbugs?

Now that it is confirmed that you have bed bugs next step is to contain them so that it does not spread and they can be exterminated. The easiest way to trap them is by using the vacuum. Use the cleaner on the bed, carpets, electronics, dresser, etc. Once done thoroughly clean the vacuum cleaner and empty the contents into the garbage bin. Apart from that here are some easy tips to contain the spread of bedbugs:

Remove and Wash the Bedding

To reduce the chances of spreading, strip the bed linen and place it into a plastic bag. Throw away the plastic bag once you put the bed linen to wash. Use a washing machine to wash bedding in hot water and then use the hottest setting of the dryer. Once the linen is stripped off the bed, vacuum the mattress to remove any eggs or bugs. Don’t forget to vacuum the bed frame legs.

Encase the Mattress

Use encasement to ensure that the bed bugs don’t enter the bed and the linen. Encase the mattress and the box spring in a mattress protector so that the bugs get trapped inside and the new ones don’t get inside. If there has been an infestation it is best to leave the cover for at least 12 months. Also, make sure that the linen does not touch the floor as the bed bugs can climb into the bed using it.

Lay Traps

Place traps on the legs of the bed frame so that they are intercepted before they reach the mattress. These devices can be found online or can be made at home.

Treating Furniture

You first need to vacuum clean the furniture. Once done, check if the furniture can be disassembled and clean them out. If you are unable to clean it then it is best to throw it away. Remove all books, magazines, clothes, etc from the furniture or under the bed and place them in plastic bags. Throw out what you can and leave the rest in the plastic bag so that the bed bugs starve to death. Seal all open areas, caulk the cracks in furniture, headboards, etc. Glue the loose wallpaper and tape out the electrical outlets. Move all the furniture away from the bed so that bedbugs don’t get into them again.

How to Kill the Bugs?

Heat treatment needs to be used on bed linen and other furnishings like curtains and carpets. Once that is done, you can use some chemical and non-chemical treatment options. Among them, insecticides can help get rid of bed bugs. Some of the types of insecticides that can be tried are:

  • Chemicals like pyrethrins and pyrethroids which can kill the bugs.
  • Chlorfenapyr to kill bed bugs through cell disruption.
  • Neonicotinoids are chemicals that damage the nervous system of the bed bugs. It has to be used when the bugs have become resistant to the other chemicals.
  • Use desiccants that have the ability to destroy the outer coating of the bugs. A major advantage of these desiccants is that the bugs cannot become resistant to these substances.
  • Plant-based products that are less toxic than the other insecticides and work effectively in killing bed bugs.

Bedbugs do not get wiped out immediately, they take time. You should have enough proof that the treatment has worked and the bugs are killed. Monitor the infested area regularly to look for signs of activity.