Bed bugs infestation is on the rise in the past decade, and people are trying out different ways to eliminate them. These blood-sucking bugs do not cause any diseases, but their bite can be itchy for many hours and lead to lesions. Most people try a lot of remedies to control these bugs and finally end up having to call pest control professionals as they are ineffective. Before you learn how to get rid of these pests, you should have some basic information on how it looks, how to know if you are infested and what attracts these bugs.
What are Bed bugs?
Bed bugs are pests that feed on human blood and are extremely active at night. It is named as bed bugs as they like to hide in soft places and in dark crevices and the mattress is the ideal location.
Due to their small shape which is around 5mm in size, they are barely visible to the human eye. They are flat, oval-shaped and brown in color and cannot fly or jump like other bugs. A female can live for about 2 to 4 months and can lay up to 250 to 500 eggs (oval and white-colored) in her lifetime. these eggs are laid in crevices and cracks. To feed on human blood, they crawl out of their dark crevices and bite at night. The bite does not cause any disease but is highly uncomfortable as it itches. Usually, they like to stay within 8 feet of humans so that they can crawl and feed at night.
What attracts Bed bugs and where do they come from?
The belief that dirty places are the source of bed bugs is wrong because irrespective of whether the place is tidy or dirty they can infest the area. But having clutter at home gives them more hiding places. They feed on warm blood and wherever that is available these pests spread. They can reproduce very quickly hence they spread fast and also hide very well.
Though they seem to suddenly appear in your bed or in your furniture, bed bugs come from the outdoors. It may have been picked up during a hotel stay, someone’s house, or from used clothing or furniture. It cannot travel long distances on its own but uses carriers like coats, suitcases, clothes, etc to move around.
It can also spread from your neighbor’s house especially if you share a common wall. These critters have flat bodies and hence they can creep into the smallest cracks and crevices in the walls, electrical or plumbing pipes and enter your house.
What are the signs of Bed bug Infestation?
- Bites on skin
- Red stains on the bed sheets or other bedding
- Black dots which are a fecal matter or dead skin they shed
- Eggshells are oval-shaped and white in color and found on the carpet, under furniture, etc.
- Bugs, when they are well-fed, are bigger and easier to see.
How to Eliminate Bed bugs?
If you see any of the above signs and symptoms of bed bugs, then there is an infestation that needs to be controlled.
De-clutter the Place
The first and foremost step is to remove all the clutter as they can be a safe haven for these bugs. Before you try to get rid of them remove as much clutter as possible. They can be hiding in cardboard boxes, drawers, cloth piles, laundry basket, etc. Use plastic bags or boxes and seal them so that they do not escape.
Deep Clean or try Heat Extermination
Every item that could have been infested by these pests should be deep cleaned thoroughly. These pests don’t like extreme temperatures, hence these items can be heat treated in a dryer. A single round of heat extermination is the best way to get rid of bed bugs, however, make sure that you take help from experts in the field. Bed linen, pillows, and other bedding should also be heat treated thoroughly. Furniture should be carefully examined and the whole room has to be vacuumed properly. Use the vacuum cleaner’s hose to suck eggs and adult bugs that are hiding in crevices.
Steam cleaning is Effective
Bigger items like the mattress, bed frames or furniture can be steam cleaned using a steam cleaner. Use the hottest setting on it and run it over them, concentrate on the places where the bugs tend to hide.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
It is a type of sand that occurs naturally and is rough to touch. Since bed bugs have a weak exoskeleton, crawling over the sharp and rough sand cuts them into pieces. Spread this on the infected areas and leave it for 2 days. After that use a vacuum to remove the sand as well as the dead bugs.
Silica Gel is also Effective
These are packets that are found when you buy new shoes, bags, etc and are used to keep things dry. These can be used to kill bugs by crushing and spreading the powder on the infected areas. If you have kids or pets this option is not suitable as inhalation of silica is harmful.
Use Double-sided tape
They act as bug interceptors and prevent the bugs from reaching the bed. Apply this tape near the legs or underside of the bed or furniture so that the bugs get stuck.
Baking soda helps control Bed bugs
Sprinkle baking soda on the areas infected by bed bugs which will dehydrate these pests. The salt’s abrasive properties aids in cutting them to shreds. The best part of this remedy is, it is not harmful and can be used on the mattress also. Vacuum it regularly to remove the dead bugs, eggs, and baking soda. Repeat the process regularly till all bugs are eliminated.
Tea tree oils or Lavender and peppermint spray
This oil has antibacterial properties and is not toxic. It has a strong smell that masks the human smell and deters them from biting people. It can also kill these bugs when it comes in contact. Lavender essential oil is a bug repellant that is often used to prevent moth infestation. It is an effective natural spray that can kill bugs while being safe for humans. It can also destroy the larvae and eggs too. Similarly, peppermint oil also has bug repellent properties. 10 to 15 drops of essential oil and water is all that is needed for making this spray. Spray on the infested area to kill the bugs.
Bed bugs infestation can happen anytime, using the above remedies, they can be effectively eliminated.