How to Exterminate Bed Bugs
March 12, 2012
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” It’s not just a metaphorical cliché. Really, your invaluable bed mattress might be actually tainted with these horrible, parasitic insects. You won’t usually see them because they are very small. They are not choosy; whether it be a five-star hotel, one-star inn, or your house’s seat cushions, headboards, mattress or lamps, they can just lay whitish eggs everywhere as they feed on your blood. They are great hitchhikers because although they don’t have wings, they use their six legs to move from your luggage, furniture, clothes, etc. Their bites are not painful but are extremely itchy, especially when you start scratching them.
The following lists some suggestions on how you can banish bed bugs and prevent their infestation from troubling your home sweet home.
1. Inspect thoroughly first.
Because they hate sunlight, bed bugs do their “hunting” and feeding at night, in a span of only 5 to 10 minutes. So use the daytime to your advantage. Check your beddings, mattresses, blankets, box springs, soft furnishings, suitcases for dark stains and peculiar sweet, damp scents. The scent can be quite difficult to sniff out so use your visuals well. The dark-colored stains consist of their feces, discarded skin, blood, egg shells and dead oval-shaped bodies.
Also, you can examine your skin and your family members’ for red welts that don’t look the same as ant bites, mosquito bites, spider bites, or any allergy. The outcome of a bite from a bed bug is a formation of red and itchy bulges found usually on your legs, back and torso.
When you find these signs, quickly proceed to items 2 and 3 below to prevent their return.
2. Prevention might do the trick.
- To limit your chances of getting bitten, wear pajamas to sleep.
- Don’t let blankets and bed sheets touch the floor, as they can use these materials as vehicles to get onto your skin.
- The span of life of bed bugs, when constantly feeding, is about nine months to a year. To keep them from entering or escaping your sanctuary of sleep, keep your bed mattress and box springs encased with a tightly woven, zippered cover.
- When traveling, place your suitcases on a countertop, low cabinet, sofa… whatever. As long as you don’t place your belongings on the floor, you should be fine.
While being preventative is wise helpful, totally getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments by experienced professional exterminators. However, if you want to do it yourself, you can try these suggestions:
- Bag and wash beddings and garments at 48 degrees Celsius (minimum), for those bed bugs cannot live through amount of heat. For those things that cannot be treated by washing or placing in the drier, pack them inside plastic bags and place them outdoors in a very hot and sunny location for at least 24 hours.
- Vacuum everything, including possible areas where they might breed and hide (e.g. small holes and cracks). Constantly clean up your room’s mess to eradicate any attempts to return to your bed. For mattresses, use a stiff brush and scrub the seams to remove their eggs before vacuuming. Then place the vacuumed components inside a plastic bag and immediately throw them into the garbage can outside your house.