Bed bugs like to hide in our furniture, and even though they’re relatively harmless, they cause itchy, painful sores. Not to mention, the thought of something biting us while we sleep is a horrible thought. Most people do not know that bed bugs are very common, and it’s likely you’ve come in contact with them at some point in your life.
If you suspect a bed bug invasion or would like to know more about bed bugs to protect your home, this article is for you. We cover everything from identifying bed bugs in your home, to home remedies that can treat minor bed bug infestations, and what professionals can do if you have a full-blown infestation.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Getting rid of bed bugs is potentially difficult. They’re resilient little creatures, hard to find, and can reproduce quickly. However, there are a few natural and home remedies you might want to try before you call in an exterminator.
Identifying Bed Bugs
First, you need to be sure you have bed bugs before you start treating for them. You may have bed bugs if you wake up with small, red, itchy spots all over your body, there are small blood stains on your sheets, or you see little, round brown or back specs (bugs) in the crevices of your mattress or bed frame.
Bed bugs are difficult to find because they are so small and like to hide in dark spaces. They may be between your mattress and box spring, under the bottom of your bed frame, or in the corners of your bed frame in the tight cracks were the corners of wood or metal meet.
Bed bugs are a pest, their bites are minimally painful and itch, but they do not cause health issues. That said, no one welcomes the idea of sharing their bed or home with a bug that feeds on their blood. Whether it’s home treatments, natural bug repellents, store-bought pesticides, or an exterminator, below you’ll find everything you need to know about getting rid of bed bugs.
Natural or Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
The first step you should take to get rid of bed bugs is thoroughly cleaning your house. This means vacuuming everywhere, such as under beds and sofas. You also need to vacuum the corners of the bed frames and other wooden furniture. Vacuum anywhere that looks like a dark, tight place that a bed bug could hide. Take all of the debris you vacuum away from the house and throw it in the dump that way the bed bugs do not climb out your trash and back into your home.
Next, shampoo your carpets and make sure to dump the dirty water away from your home. Finally, wash all of your linen and dry it on the highest heat setting in your dryer. You may have to wash your linen multiple times to ensure the all of the bed bugs and larva are dead.
A homemade vinegar spray can kill bed bugs. Use distilled vinegar, preferably a quality name brand vinegar and an equal ratio of vinegar and water; for every one cup of vinegar put one cup of water. Then spray all the areas you’ve seen bed bugs, including under your bed, in the cracks of your bed frame, the carpet below your bed and other furniture. Your home will smell like vinegar for a while, but this is one of the safest ways to get rid of bed bugs.
Baking soda absorbs moisture, which is why you use it in your shoes, fridge, and other areas that you want to keep dry. Since bed bugs feed on blood, putting baking soda on them dries them out. It’s a particularly safe remedy if you have children or pets. Just sprinkle baking soda on your furniture and under your furniture. Make sure to get into the cracks of your bedframes and other furniture where bed bugs like to hide.
Pesticides for Bed Bugs
If you have an infestation, baking soda and vinegar my not work. It’s extremely difficult to kill every single bed bug as well as their larva. Your next step could be to use a pesticide from your local hardware or home improvement store. Several quality brands sell pesticide for bed bugs and many pests. Like the vinegar and baking soda, you want to spray the pesticide wherever you’ve seen bed bugs, but do not spray it on your mattresses unless the brand says it’s safe for your bed or sofas.
How Do Professional Exterminators Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
You may need to hire a professional exterminator if you cannot get rid of the bed bugs. Sometimes they multiply quickly or you’ve had an infestation and didn’t know about it. Although a professional exterminator is costly, it may be the only way to get rid of the bed bugs for good and it may be the fastest way.
Heat Treatments for the Whole Room
This is a great option if you want to get rid of bed bugs and do not want to risk having insecticides all over your home. A professional pests exterminator will place special devices in each room of your home that will heat the rooms to above 130°F; bed bugs are sensitive to high heat and will die instantly when the temperature reaches above 120°F. The exterminator service will allow the equipment to heat your home for several hours well above 120°F. The other benefit of this treatment is that it kills all the bugs in one session.
Home Safe Pesticides
The exterminator service may also use pesticides that are similar to the ones you would buy, but they have access to stronger chemicals that work faster and more effectively. They may use several treatment methods, such as a spray that is safe for your beds and sofas, a gel for cracks in the wood and metal parts of your furniture, and a powder for wood and metal.
How Can I Protect My Home from Bed Bugs?
The best way to protect your home from bed bugs is to buy furniture new. They most often come in on used furniture. If you buy used furniture, do not bring it in your home right away. Instead, inspect it thoroughly outside, and treat it outside if you see bed bugs.
On rare occasions, new furniture can have bed bugs if the furniture store has a bed bug infestation. It’s always a good idea to inspect furniture before you purchase it or bring it inside your home. You should look in cracks, flip furniture over, and look at the bottom for black or brown bugs.
Bed bugs can hide anywhere even though they’re called “bed” bugs, and that means you should regularly clean all areas of your home. They particularly like to hide among boxes and papers. Keeping your home clean and organized can greatly reduce your chances of a bed bug infestation.
The Bottom Line
Don’t panic if you suspect bed bugs in your home. They are much more common than you might think, and many people have to deal with these pests. While they can leave sores on your skin, they do not carry harmful diseases or parasites.
You can confirm a bed bug infestation by looking for rusty stains on your mattress or sheets and little brown or black bugs on your mattress or tucked away in the cracks of your furniture.
Natural home remedies like vinegar spray or baking soda are a great way to get rid of bed bugs if you don’t have a severe infestation. You can also try insecticides from your hardware store, but you may need to hire a professional if you have a bad bed bug infestation.
Choosing the best extermination method depends on your distinct needs. If you’ve seen only a few bed bugs, you may want to try home remedies or store-bought pesticides. On the other hand, a professional can get rid of bed bugs much faster.
Finally, you can protect your home from a bed bug infestation by inspecting any furniture as well as keeping things decluttered.