Adult bed bugs are similar in size to an apple seed and brown in color but when they feed on blood they swell up and become reddish. Even though they can’t fly they’re very fast. Obviously, the clear sign that you have a bed bug infestation is getting to see them. Also, if you wake up with small red bites that itch on areas of your body that were exposed during the sleep, you probably have these little pests biting you during the night. A mosquito bite typically swells more and has an irregular shape while the bed bug bite is smaller, redder, and more circular. Once you’re 100% positive that you have a problem with bed bugs, it’s time to identify and get rid of them.
Locate the Infested Areas
It’s important to inspect specific areas in your bedroom and around your bed in order to locate the infestation of bed bugs. The most likely places include curtain and mattress folds, as well as tiny spots around bed frame cracks, baseboards, furniture joints, and between the cushions. In case you don’t find the bed bugs here, make it a point to check out electrical outlets, loose wallpaper, behind the paintings, and the area where the wallpaper and ceiling meet.
If you spot the bed bugs, do your best to catch them in a jar with some rubbing alcohol. You can also see clear signs of infestation if there are brownish/reddish stains and drops. You might also want to inspect for eggs, which are small and yellowish. Use a magnifying glass to be sure you’ve covered an entire area properly.
Contain the Infestation
Of course, if there are many bed bugs to deal with, you can’t catch them all in a jar. The best solution is to vacuum them all, seal the vacuum bag, and then throw it out. Clean the vacuum thoroughly afterward. It’s crucial that you wash all the items that might have come in contact with bed bugs in your washer on the highest setting. Use the highest setting for the dryer as well. In case you can’t commit to washing and drying every single item of your clothes/linens immediately, put them in a plastic bag, and seal properly.
Proceed to Get Rid of the Bed Bugs
Before the actual treatment, make sure that you’ve moved and cleaned potential hiding places for the bugs such as books and trinkets. Seal any cracks in the furniture and glue the wallpaper properly. Move the bed from the wall. Then you can opt for either a non-chemical or chemical treatment to remove the bed bugs.
In case you’re not keen on chemicals, the steps you’ve already taken such as cleaning and washing your linens/clothing, furniture, walls, and so on are a good start. You can then go over everything with a steamer. It would also be a good idea to replace your old mattress covers and linens with those that are specifically bug-proofed.
On the other hand, chemical treatments may be the only option. You can use pyrethrins and pyrethroids, which are the most common solutions against bed bugs. Foggers or bug bombs are also effective as a treatment that kills bed bugs but it can also be harmful to humans. Neonicotinoids are great for the most stubborn bugs who have become resilient to other solutions. Desiccants such as silica aerogel and diatomaceous earth are also effective in case of bed bug resilience, but they take a couple of months to work. It’s possible to look into some plant-based solutions as well that don’t have as high chemical content as the other treatments.
Call for Professional Help
In case you simply can’t get rid of bed bugs on your own, your best option would be to call for professionals to deal with the issue once and for all. Specialized pest control companies have products that aren’t readily available to you and can effectively kill the bed bugs as well as make the common areas they infest bug-proofed. Different areas and climates will also have different solutions for the best treatment. If you decide to call, let’s say a bed bug pest control in Arizona, you can expect both the inspection and treatment with chemicals that aren’t toxic to humans and pets. In other areas, companies may be more inclined to add the method of room heating to 135-145 degrees F in order to completely eradicate these pests. You’ll probably need to stay in another room for a couple of hours after the treatment unless informed differently.
Maintain a Bed Bug-Free Home
Once the bed bugs are gotten rid of, you should make a habit of regular maintenance that will prevent them from infesting your home again. Make sure that your rooms are clutter-free and that there aren’t any bits and bobs on the floors. Wash and vacuum your bedding, carpets, curtains, and furniture on a regular basis. If there are any cracks in the walls or furniture, seal them up as soon as possible.
Even though they don’t transmit diseases, bed bugs are very annoying pests and there’s no reason why you should put up with bites and itchy skin on a daily basis. If you suspect an infestation, don’t hesitate to perform a thorough inspection on your own before deciding how to proceed further.