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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

January 13, 2016  |  Difficulty: Easy

bed bugs

Bed bugs - from the Cimicidae family - are small, flat, and wingless bugs that feed exclusively on blood. Getting rid of these tiny parasites is not easy and one may feel helpless. The most effective way to get rid of the parasites is to put your trust in professionals. Sure, you can try on your own, but there is no guarantee that you will get rid of all the beg bugs and their eggs.

Combat the Bugs

Inspect the area thoroughly. Live bed bugs are evidence of an infestation, but they are difficult to spot. Look for bed bug eggs, fecal staining on sheets, and cast skins near their nests. Visible bed bugs can be eliminated by vacuuming, steaming, freezing, and insecticide treatment.

Generally, it would be easiest to dispose of the bed, mattress, and nearby furniture, but in practice, this usually is not possible as it would involve a high cost. On the other hand, if you get rid of the furniture and purchase replacements, there is no guarantee it wouldn’t be re-infested, even though the household was already treated for bugs. It can take several treatments to completely eliminate bed bugs.

In case you decide for disposal, prior to removal from the infested area, the mattresses, box springs, and furniture should be sealed in plastic to keep bed bugs inside and eliminate their transmission. Disposal should be coordinated with trash pick-up, or the items should be taken directly to a disposal site.

If you decide to keep your furniture, it must be taken care of thoroughly. Vacuum the mattresses and box springs, and encase them in a special bed-bug-proof encasement. After vacuuming suspected bed bugs from the bed, take your vacuum cleaner outdoors and remove and discard the bag. Clean the bed frame and nearby furniture as well as the floor.

Wash baseboards, frames, the ceiling, and other areas with hot soapy water and/or rubbing alcohol. Inspect electrical outlets, and heating and air-conditioning vents (vacuum if needed). Install bed bug interceptors under the feet of the bed frame to keep bed bugs off your bed while you are sleeping. Interceptors are special platforms or cups that prevent bed bugs from climbing onto your bed. You can also try to use home-made interceptors – e.g. a plastic plate filled with water.  

As for the bed linen and clothes, washing in hot water for 30 minutes or tumble drying for 30 minutes on high will kill all stages of bed bugs. For items that cannot be washed, it is suggested to keep them in a freezer for at least eight hours. Larger items, that won’t fit in a washing machine, dryer, or freezer, may be wrapped in a plastic bag to isolate the bugs and put in direct sunlight to produce a high temperature. Seven pounds of items placed in clear bags in direct sunlight on a 95 degree day will get hot enough to kill all bed bug life stages in one afternoon.

Note that vacuuming can remove many bed bug adults and nymphs, but it isn’t the most effective treatment choice for removing the eggs.  For this job you’ll need insecticide sprays.

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