It’d be an understatement to say that bed bugs are a nuisance. These pests can hide just about anywhere in your home, making them difficult to find and eliminate.
Without assistance, it can be a major struggle to kill bed bugs. Therefore, it’s advisable to contact a professional pest control company to effectively kill bed bugs. As a leading pest control London company we’re in a great position to be able to talk about bed bugs!
However, there are a few ways that you may be able to manage to control bed bugs in your own home using natural and chemical methods, and we will explore these below.
What Exactly are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small invasive creatures that feed on the blood of sleeping people and animals as their primary food source.
They are an oval shape about the size of an apple seed, brownish in color, and once fed can swell a little larger and turn red.
Female bed bugs can lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime, the sizes of a speck of dust. This makes them a nuisance to deal with but they’re not known to carry harmful diseases.
How are Bed Bugs Spread to Your Home?
While it’s a common belief that bed bugs are attracted to filthy places, such as unclean hotel rooms, they can actually appear in places that are cleaned regularly.
So, if not the hygiene and safety conditions of a home, then what is it that bed bugs are so attracted to? In one simple word: blood.
The way that they spread to your home is primarily by traveling on the clothes, luggage, or secondhand furniture you may have bought recently.
You may also unwittingly invite over people who have had contact with bed bugs and will bring them into your home that way.
Even being outside and setting your belongings down can invite bedbugs as they are attracted to carbon monoxide and the residual oils from your skin which is why they are drawn to furniture, clothing, bags, and other personal items.
What are the 4 Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation?
Remember, bed bugs do not only live around your bed. There are also a few hiding places that the bugs hide in to be harder to detect.
So look out for these signs on your persons and around the house in order to identify whether you have a bedbug infestation.
1. Small Blood Stains
If you see small blood stains on your bed sheets and pillowcases, it may be an indicator that there have been bedbugs present on your bed.
You will usually notice this when you wake up in the morning and if left untreated you will see an increase in these stains.
2. Itchy Welts, Bites, or Bumps on your Skin
These will commonly appear in the morning too after you have gotten out of bed. They will be uncomfortable and irritating.
They will differ from fleas if you have a pet as fleas commonly target ankles whereas bedbugs will bite all over your body. A Bed bug bite will be painless at first and will develop to be itchy.
3. A Musty Smell
Some may describe this odour as ‘musty’ and ‘sweaty’ for long periods of time as if they are smelling a used locker room.
This smell is unpleasant and offensive to the sensitive nose and will be easier to identify if it is uncommon and has no usual reason.
4. The Bed Bugs Themselves
Of course, the most concrete identifier that you have bed bugs is seeing their bodies or seeing what remains when they shed skins. You may also see black droppings or egg shells in mattress seams or other items around your house.
If you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, we advise that you remove all bedding, remove the dust cover of the box springs, and carefully examine your bed frame and other areas of your house for signs of bed bugs
5 Ways to Kill Bed Bugs Right Away
If you have checked your home and found multiple signs including the bed bugs themselves, it’s time to begin treatment methods in order to remove bedbugs.
While these are effective home remedies, you may also wish to call for professional help to securely process the extermination of your bed bug infestation.
Step 1: Identify areas infested by bedbugs
You’ll want to know what areas the bed bugs are found in. You’ll need to thoroughly check all areas of your home for infested items.
This will include but is not limited to: seams of your mattress, beneath sofa cushions, in the joints of your furniture, the box spring, underneath loose wallpaper, behind bed frames, and in electrical outlets.
Once you know where bedbugs hide and have identified the infested areas and determined the seriousness of the situation, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Contain the bugs
Bed bug control can be tough as they are fast-moving and spread quickly so it’s important to contain them in the areas you have identified the bed bug infestation.
The most effective way to do this is to use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean the matters, light sockets, carpets, dressers, and other places you’ve found the bed bugs to be in.
Once you’re sure you’ve vacuumed the infested items then it’s time to contain the bugs in a sealed bag and throw it away once they are trapped inside.
You must then kill any remaining bugs on affected linen and clothes. We advise you to wash bedding at a high temperature or with very hot water for the best impact.
You can also use steam to wash bedding and other furniture that cannot be put in a washing machine.
While this is a good method to kill live bedbugs, it is not effective to remove an entire infestation. So to kill bed bugs permanently, you will want to contact a pest control professional.
Step 3: Kill the bed bugs
Killing bed bugs can be done with two methods. These are using natural remedies or more conventional treatment methods.
The more natural remedies include:
Temperature control can help you eliminate your bed bug infestation.
Making sure to wash and dry fabrics for at least 30 mins at hot temperatures is an effective way to kill bugs.
Alternatively, you can use a colder method by putting the infected materials in a plastic bag and then putting that in the freezer for at least four days at below 0 degrees.
Steaming your affected items at a hot temperature will also have a positive effect and help you get rid of bed bugs.
Other methods include preventing them from entering your bed through bedbug-proof covers that are placed around your mattress.
This will disallow them from biting you while you sleep.
The Conventional Methods of Extermination Include:
1. Using an insecticide
According to peer reviewed studies such as this one, Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are common pest control insecticides that may help you get rid of bed bugs.
An advantage of these is that they are relatively safe to use around pets and people due to the low toxicity levels that they contain.
However, because some are resistant to these, you may not be able to kill all the bugs. In this case, a stronger insecticide may be suitable such as pyrroles like chlorfenapyr, or neonicotinoids.
It’s important to talk to a professional exterminator in order to gauge which to use.
2. Using a desiccant
These, fortunately, have a high kill rate because bed bugs are not immune to desiccants. Silica aerogel and diatomaceous earth are especially popular desiccants used.
They work by destroying the protective coating of bed bugs making them dry out and die. They may be messier to apply though and may need more than you would with insecticide.
3. Deploy a fogger or bug bomb
If you are in the position of being able to vacate the premises for a while, bug bombs are highly effective and an immediate method of extermination.
This is because they are highly toxic and if inhaled can cause health problems. Another issue would be that it doesn’t get into cracks so may be less efficient than directly applied insecticide.
4. Use plant oil products
Eco Raider and Bed Bug Patrol are favorable options for plant oil extermination.
This is because they are considerably less toxic than insecticides and studies show that they work well to eliminate bed bugs.
Step 4: Monitor to prevent future bed bugs
To prevent bed bugs from returning and quickly spreading out throughout your home again, you should evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment.
Start by checking all of the areas you treated at least every seven days for signs of activity. Bed bugs hide very well and can be difficult to spot.
It’s possible that the treatment you tried wasn’t 100% effective so to stop them from returning to your bed, you may want to place bedbug interceptors under each leg of the bed.
If you find that you have tried multiple treatments but the bed bug infestations, unfortunately, keep returning, it would be advisable to contact pest controllers to manage a serious infestation.
Step 5: Hire a Pest Controller
If you find that you can not manage the situation by yourself, hiring a professional exterminator is the best way to get rid of bed bugs.
This may save you time and money in the long run because they will have the advantage of experience and the skills necessary to kill bed bugs quickly, saving you a few months of stress.
How Pest Control Professionals Get Rid of Bed Bugs
To prepare for a treatment in your home, you may be asked to follow some instructions and it is vital to do so so that the treatment can work effectively.
The professionals have specialist equipment that can heat the room up to temperatures between 57.22 and 62.78°C which will be high enough to kill all bed bugs in the area.
These treatments have the benefits of being non-toxic so you won’t have to worry about harsh chemicals in your home.
This can also include steam treatments if you want it to be done on a smaller scale and in a way that you won’t have to evacuate your home for a couple of hours.
Chemical treatments will often require that you allow for one or more follow-up treatments to make sure that all the bed bugs have been killed.
Preventative options are offered by specialists for both those who have had bed bugs before or feel that they are at risk for it.
This can come in the form of mattress encasements that disallow bed bugs from being able to bite you in your sleep and will prevent them from surviving by cutting off their food source.
Bed Bug FAQ
What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly?
Heat treatment will instantly kill bedbugs. The most effective way is to hire an exterminator with specialist equipment with the ability to get your rooms to very high temperatures. Steaming works effectively too, applied slowly to affected areas to exterminate all the bugs.
You must be careful around electrical outlets and electric items and be aware that steam can damage some finishes.
How do I Permanently Get Rid of Bedbugs at Home?
By washing your affected fabrics in hot water and drying them at a high temperature you can begin to permanently get rid of bedbugs at home. It might also be necessary to use insecticides or desiccants like diatomaceous earth to completely exterminate them.
It’s best to contact a professional to manage the situation as there may be many hiding places for the bedbugs that you might have missed.
Can You Get Rid of Bedbugs Yourself?
You can get rid of bed bugs yourself through home remedies such as steaming, washing at hot temperatures, and freezing affected items in a plastic bag.
You can also use chemicals responsibly, such as insecticides, desiccants, and bug bombs. You may have to vacate the area before deploying it, however, as it they are toxic to both humans and other animals.
Washing sheets, fabrics, and linens are mostly advisable if your goal is to kill live bed bugs, as is hoovering up potential laid eggs to eradicate a further infestation.
What is the Main Cause of Bed Bugs?
The main cause of bed bugs is coming in contact with someone from somewhere that already has bed bugs and bringing them into your home.
Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide and the oils on your skin and will likely travel on items that have these.
The place does not have to be dirty to have bed bugs but rather just has their only food source which is blood.
You Should Note
Professional exterminators are your best bet against bed bugs to save you time and money trying to get rid of them yourself.
To keep bed bugs away from your home, it’s advisable that use preventative measures, know how to check, and identify them in places that you stay to prevent yourself from traveling home with them.
Knowing the signs in your own home can also help you treat them as soon as possible to prevent the infestation from getting worse.