Bed bugs have been pestering humanity for thousands of years, but in the 1950s they finally met their match: the pesticide DDT. Then DDT was banned, but for most of the 40 years since, bed bugs have not been a major problem. Now, however, these blood-sucking vermin are back with a vengeance. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs don’t spread disease, and there are practical steps you can take to prevent an infestation. And if you do get bed bugs, you can get rid of them yourself. We’ll show you what to look for, how do you get rid of bed bugs if you find them, and how to keep them out!
It’s perfectly natural to want to eliminate a bed bug infestation without spending a ton of money on professional-grade products or a treatment by a pest control operator. When people discover that they have bed bugs, they often turn to do-it-yourself recommendations from discussions on the Internet. These suggestions might include household items, some of which are recommended more often than others. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular items and how they might be used against bed bugs:
Heat Treatment – this method kills bed bugs with heat. This could be implemented on clothes by putting them in a drier at a high temperature for 30 minutes. In a room, the use of heating devices could kill even the eggs and the nymphs of bed bugs at certain levels temperature at different durations of time. Ideally, to kill bed bugs in all stages, the temperature must be 115 degrees F or 46 degrees C.
It’s cost us about 3 to 6 hundred dollars to get them exterminated. Alcohol does kill on contact but it takes a lot more than that. Some things need to be bagged up until you can wash all clothes! They can live without feeding on your blood for months and months! I had them feeding on me but my husband worked outside and had darker skin so they weren’t biting him at first until they found his white legs! He was sporting a farmers tan.LOL
The decline of bed bug populations in the 20th century is often credited to potent pesticides that had not previously been widely available. Other contributing factors that are less frequently mentioned in news reports are increased public awareness and slum clearance programs that combined pesticide use with steam disinfection, relocation of slum dwellers to new housing, and in some cases also follow-up inspections for several months after relocated tenants moved into their new housing.
Another common suggestion is to use either double-sided tape or Vaseline. The theory is that you can stop bed bugs from climbing the legs of your bed by applying these to the legs. Unfortunately, report after report from customers has indicated that these solutions simply don’t work. I hear all the time about bed bugs crawling right over Vaseline, carpet tape, and other adhesive traps like glue boards.
Spray all baseboards, loose plaster, behind bed frames and headboards, beneath beds and furniture, and bedsprings and bed frames. Do not apply to furniture surfaces or mattresses where people will be laying or sitting unless using a product labeled for that type of treatment. Infested bedding should not be treated, but should be removed, placed in sealed plastic bags, and taken for laundering and drying at high temperature.
Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switchplates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.
After bedbugs find a food source, they bite down with their mouths and inject anticoagulant and anesthetic compounds into the skin. Depending on the species, these parasites feed on the host blood via 1 of 2 mechanisms. Vessel feeders directly insert their mouthparts into superficial capillaries, whereas pool feeders damage the superficial tissue and feed on the accumulated blood. As bedbugs feed, their color may change as they swell with the host blood, as shown in this picture of a larval bedbug feeding on a volunteer host. Image courtesy of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Avoiding bed bugs is most challenging in hotels, apartment buildings, and other places where there are many people, high turnover and ongoing opportunities for introduction of the pests. Periodic, preventive inspection by tenants, housekeeping/maintenance staff, or pest control firms is the best way to detect infestations in their initial stages when they are easiest to control. Visual inspections can be supplemented by using various monitoring devices to capture and reveal bed bugs that may have been overlooked by occupants.
Look for bedbug bites. You most likely know a bedbug infestation by a rash that resembles a mosquito bite. Most often these come at night but in an serious infestation they can occur during the day. A bedbug bite unlike a mosquito bite swells and spreads out. Also, the bites can come in lines and also burn unlike a mosquito bite. A mosquito bite stays round and neat looking.
Just to be clear, you can kill bed bugs with heat. It’s just a matter of using the right equipment. A high-pressure steamer is the weapon of choice for killing bed bugs on contact, since their steam can surpass 200 degrees, and can penetrate deep into soft materials like mattresses and upholstered furniture. You can also use a steamer on more than just clothes or other fabrics; a steamer can kill bed bugs hiding along baseboards, floorboards, window sills, door frames, and the edges of the carpet.
The journal Insects published a study on products containing essential oils for bed bug control. It was found that essential oils like cedar oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, and lemongrass oil all have insecticidal properties against bed bug populations. The study concluded that using these essential oils in a bug spray can be an effective way to reduce bed bug populations without putting humans at risk of exposure to chemicals.8