Bed bugs were once a common public health pest worldwide, declining in incidence through the mid 20th century. However, bed bugs have undergone a dramatic, worldwide resurgence since they have now evolved resistance to common insecticides. Bed bugs are one of the great travelers of the world and are readily transported via luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. If you do not know how to get rid of bed bugs, act at the first signs of infestation and use an integrated pest management approach involving prevention, sanitation, and chemical treatment. Bed bugs can be persistent, so you’ll need to demonstrate a greater level of persistence if you want to eliminate them.
Bag and launder (122°F/50ºC minimum) affected items. Smaller items that cannot be laundered can sometimes be de-infested by heating. Individual items, for example, can be wrapped in plastic and placed in a hot, sunny location for at least a few days (the 122°F/50ºC minimum target temperature should be monitored in the center-most location with a thermometer). Bed bugs also succumb to cold temperatures below freezing, but the chilling period must be maintained for at least two weeks. Attempts to rid an entire home or apartment of bed bugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be entirely unsuccessful.
Wash all linen on hot, dry on hot setting. Gather all linen, cloth and leather bags, mattress covers, clothing, teddy bears… etc. Machine wash on hot – wash the laundry bag also. Tumble dry on hot. Steam kills bed bugs. Some metropolitan areas offer bed bug laundry and dry cleaning services which have the added benefits of proven methods for killing bed bugs and bagging or storing cleaned items so they do not become re-infested while the home is still being exterminated.
If something cannot be washed or discarded (such as a valuable leather purse) spray with non-toxic bed bug spray (such as diatomaceous earth), seal in a plastic bag and leave for a few months. Dry clean to remove odor if need be.
Point steam on them. You may get a simple device capable of generating steam at your local hardware store. You may also convert a simple electric kettle to a steam machine by attaching a flexible tube. Steam should kill all bed bugs and the eggs. Thoroughly spray steam at all corners and seams.
Vacuum your house. This will remove bugs and eggs from mattresses, carpet, walls and other surfaces. Pay particular attention to seams, tufts and edges of mattresses and box springs, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Afterward, dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag. Steam cleaning of carpets is also helpful for killing bugs and eggs that vacuuming may have missed.
Repair cracks in plaster and glue down loosened wallpaper to eliminate bed bug harborage sites. Remove and destroy wild animal roosts and bird nests when possible.
Consider using insecticides. Residual insecticides (usually pyrethroids) are applied as spot treatments to cracks and crevices where bed bugs are hiding. Increased penetration of the insecticide into cracks and crevices can be achieved if accumulated dirt and debris are first removed using a vacuum cleaner. Many readily available aerosol pesticide sprays will cause bed bugs to scatter making eradication more difficult. Dust formulations may be used to treat wall voids and attics.
Repeat insecticide applications if bed bugs are present two weeks after the initial treatment. It is difficult to find all hiding places and hidden eggs may have hatched.
Beware of insecticide “programs”(which require repeats) in local stores which can be unnecessarily messy and toxic. Many of these “programs” are also not very potent at all and can become a money pit. Look for other options.
Discard affected items. In some cases, infested mattresses and box springs will need to be discarded. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it also may be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments. Pay it forward: chop up and/or damage the items you discard so nobody will be tempted to take them home and spread the problem further.
Apply silica gel. Grind up some crystal silica gel and apply it all over in your bedroom. Put some on your mattress, around the bed and along the wall. The fine silica gel will get stuck to the bug and it cannot be shaken off, causing the bug to dehydrate and die. Be careful not to inhale it.
Diatomaceous earth has similar effects to silica gel and can be used around mattress seams and along the rails of the box spring. The sharp micro fossils cut into the soft bugs making them bleed.
If you have a cat, change the cat litter (crystal silica gel) every 5 days so the newly hatched eggs will dehydrate too. Repeat for 5 weeks.
Use tea tree oil to clean with. This oil can eradicate bedbugs in the house.
Clean the house thoroughly, top to bottom. Wash all bedding and clothing, with a few drops of tea tree oil added.
Vacuum and wash all carpets. Take all beds apart. Spray them all down with tea tree oil.
Apply pest control spray around the entire home, inside and out. To make this spray: Mix 18 oz of water with 18 drops of tea tree oil and spray the entire house with it––the carpets, beds, and furniture.
Use wintergreen alcohol to kill bedbugs and their eggs instantly. It’s very inexpensive and easily accessible. Pour the wintergreen alcohol full strength into a spray bottle and spray directly on the bedbugs and nests. The wintergreen burns the bugs on contact. You can also drench your mattress and box spring with this as well.
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