Bed bugs suck, pun intended! Especially when you find out you have an infestation. What can you do? Once you have them, can you ever really get rid of them? In this article, we review common ways bed bugs enter a home, tips on prevention and treatment, what to do if you find your bed bug problem is persistent and how to finally get rid of them for good.
Resurgence of bed bugs
Bed bugs started making a comeback in the 1990s. Since then, almost every place where people sleep has been infested with bed bugs. Entomologists think that the resurgence of bed bugs is due to a number of factors, ranging from less potent insecticides, global travel, and a loss of vigilance practiced in the 60 years since bed bugs were eradicated in the US. These pests are problematic for several reasons:
- Bed bugs are good hitchhikers, easily traveling in suitcases, handbags, backpacks, electronics, and other items people transport from place to place. Guests in your home may transport bed bugs into your home in their luggage.
- Bed bugs are difficult to detect until they’ve settled in and started to multiply. Nocturnal, these tiny blood suckers are active at night, feasting on unsuspecting victims and hiding under your mattress, in the cracks in your headboard, and other hiding places.
- Bed bugs are difficult but not impossible to get rid of because one female can lay 2-5 eggs every day.
- Bed bugs can go without food for 6-7 months, according to researchers at UF-IFAS, so they can hide out in protected harborages that might be missed during treatment
What to do when you find out you have bed bugs
First of all, don’t panic! Contact a professional pest control operator, such as Petri Pest Control Services to schedule a free pest inspection. Our licensed and certified technicians will assess your bed bug situation and suggest a treatment plan that will include pre-treatment activities that are important for you to follow. These include:
- Removing all bedding and curtains, laundering these items in hot water and drying them on the highest heat setting.
- Vacuuming your bed and headboard, pulling the mattress off and vacuuming under it. It’s important to remove the vacuum cleaner bag and discard it in an outdoor trash receptacle.
- Placing small items in the infested area in plastic bags, such as books, photos, clocks, lamps, and other bedside accessories.
What to do while you wait for your pest control pro to arrive
While you wait for your scheduled appointment, make sure to launder everything in the infested area and vacuum everything you can, as well as, places you may have never vacuumed before, such as electrical outlets, drawer slides, your night stand, your headboard, behind your headboard, your mobile phone, your laptop, paintings, etc. Declutter the area, placing items you wish to keep in plastic bags for treatment.
Acquire bed bug proof encasements
The next thing you could do is purchase bed bug proof casings for your pillows, box spring and mattress. Make sure your bed bug encasements are bite-proof, as well as escape-proof. Taking these steps will allow you to entertain the idea of sleeping in your own bed before your treatment can be performed, instead of sleeping in a different room and spreading your bed bug infestation to another room.
Resist the urge to remove items
Resist the urge to remove items from the infested area, except in tightly closed plastic bags.
By dragging your bed bug infested mattress and box spring out to the street to discard them, you risk spreading bed bugs to other areas of your home or even spreading them to someone else’s home who happens to find your curbside mattress and box springs a good find. As a matter of fact, if you must discard your mattress and/or box spring, leave a large note on it that warns that the items aren’t safe to use.
Bed bug treatment
Because of the persistence of bed bugs in this resurgence, pest management companies are always looking for better ways to treat these pests, along with pest control product manufacturers and Entomology Departments in universities and colleges around the globe. Traditionally, bed bugs have been treated with chemicals, including:
These products are applied in places where bed bugs like to hide, such as cracks, crevices, and voids.
Due to the fact that bed bugs like to lay eggs in rough wood, headboards, bed slats and any rough wood needs to be treated, as well, then replaced by smooth finished wood or metal. In some cases, tent fumigation is required to eliminate extreme bed bug infestations or when your whole house is infested.
Pest management professionals will probably employ several non-chemical methods used to eliminate bed bugs, as well. Because bed bugs can’t withstand temps higher than 113 degrees F, some pros use localized and whole structure treatments that heat a room or an item, such as a bed that is surrounded by polystyrene materials and heated with room heaters or commercial heaters. Steaming some items, such as upholstery can eliminate some bed bugs. Extreme cold will also eliminate bed bugs, using pressurized CO2 to freeze items and areas.
Bed bugs may need more than one treatment to eliminate
It may take a little time, a few months even, to totally eliminate bed bugs from your home, but you can get rid of bed bugs for good, with vigilant monitoring and by:
- Regularly vacuuming your home
- Not storing boxes, books, and other items under your bed
- Keeping items organized and clutter to a minimum
- Checking your headboard, bed, and mattress immediately when checking into a hotel or a house rental for red spots before unpacking your bags
- Vacuuming your college kid’s bookbag, electronics, and luggage when they come home to visit and launder their clothes in hot water and dry on a high heat setting
- Getting your pest control company to perform a preventative pest control treatment of all cracks, crevices, and avoids in your bedrooms.
Petri Pest Control Services has been serving South Florida since 1955. Locally and family owned, we want to be your affordable, neighborhood pest management company. Bed bugs can be daunting, so contact Petri Pest Control Services to safely and efficiently eliminate these pests from your home or business.
Bed Bugs: Can You Ever Really Get Rid Of Them? in South Florida
Serving Broward County and Palm Beach County