Just the mention of bed bugs can cause your stress levels to sky rocket. The very thought of these blood-sucking pests infesting your home or workplace makes the skin crawl. Anyone who has ever found themselves in the middle of a bed bug infestation can attest to the anxiety it can cause.
Naturally, the first thing you want to do when you’re faced with an invasion of bed bugs is eliminate the pests. As soon as possible. But totally eliminating a bed bug infestation is not always as simple as it sounds. These pests are experts at hiding from humans and it can be a difficult task tracking them down and removing them once and for all from any environment.
Well, we’ve put together a list of steps that will help you manage a successful bed bug removal. But first, let’s talk a bit about what you’re going to be dealing with.
Bed Bug Behavior
Bed bugs don’t behave the way most household pests do. They don’t build localized nests. Instead, the wander through the environment searching for suitable hosts. However, throughout their wandering they do tend to focus on certain locations – most specifically beds, couches, and laundry closets. They are attracted by human pheromones and so tend to gravitate towards places where humans spend the most time.
This behavior can make it difficult to know if an infestation has taken hold in your home. In most cases people we notice signs of bed bug activity in their homes before they see any actual bed bugs.
Bed Bug Elimination
Eliminating a bed bug infestation can be a challenging proposition. The bed bug’s behavior, reproduction rates, and resistance to common pesticides can make bed bug removal a lengthy process.
In many cases it can require at least 2 professional treatments to full eradicate an infestation. This is why proper preparation and follow-through is so important if you want to achieve the best results. Understanding this will help you to better manage your bed bug elimination tactics.
Now, let’s take a look at those steps I mention that will lay the groundwork for a successful bed bug removal.
Monitoring for Signs of Bed Bug Activity
The most common signs of a burgeoning bed bug infestation include:
- Blood stains on sheets, pillow cases, and bed linen.
- Dark spotting of bed bug excrement on sheets and mattresses.
- Bed bug eggshells and shed skins around baseboards, bed posts, and other places where bed bugs might be hiding.
- An unusual musty odor (though this mostly only occurs in extreme infestations).
Of course the surest sign of bed bug activity is discovering bed bug bites on you or a family member. These generally appear as a jagged, or zig-zag, series of bite marks that quickly become itchy. In some cases the bites my present as a rash when the bite marks are closely clustered or the victim’s reaction is severe.
Washing Clothing and Linens
Bed bugs can, and will, get into clothing, cupboards, closets and pantries. If you begin noticing signs of bed bug activity in your home you need to do a thorough cleaning throughout your house or apartment.
Clothing and linen should be machine washed at the highest possible setting. This includes all bedding, clothing, rugs, towels, plush toys, and even curtains. These should all be washed at high heat and dried thoroughly. Heat is one of the best ways to kill bed bugs, so don’t shy away from the hot cycle.
Deep Cleaning What Can’t be Machine Washed
Obviously furniture and mattresses can’t be machine washed. But you should still give them a good deep clean. Use a stiff bristled brush when tackling large pieces of furniture. Give extra attention to seems and stitching to ensure that you remove and eggs lurking in the folds. Whenever possible finish the cleaning process with a thorough vacuuming or a steam cleaning.
Empty your vacuum or steam cleaner outside of the home to avoid recontaminating any living areas. Vacuuming may remove the bed bugs and their eggs but it won’t kill the pests. You want to be careful to avoid redistributing throughout the home.
Thorough Cleaning of Your Home
Bed bugs can turn up anywhere, from luxury resorts to inexpensive flats. Dirt and clutter does not attract these pests, and finding bed bugs in your home is no reflection on your personal cleanliness. However, if you suspect you have bed bugs a thorough cleaning will help you root out any potential infestation. It will also make it easier to treat your home later.
Declutter all areas of your home and set to thoroughly cleaning your household. Pay special attention to baseboards, windowsills, and any cracks or crevices where bed bugs might hide. Again, a steam cleaner will be very useful at this stage as the heat will help to kill and bed bugs you find.
Call In a Professional Bed Bug Removal Service
Now that you’ve thoroughly inspected and cleaned your home it’s time to call in a professional bed bug removal service. They can pick up where you’ve left off, preforming a deeper inspection and locating any hiding places you may have missed.
Working with your pest control expert you can decide on a treatment program that addresses the infestation. Remember, it may take more than one treatment to completely eliminate the infestation. But by working closely with your bed bug removal professional you can lay out a suitable plan of attack.
Schedule Regular Bed Bug Inspections
Once your bed bug removal service has competed their treatment program it’s time to think about future infestations. The final step in bed bug removal (and one of the most important) is maintenance. Scheduling regular bed bug inspections will help to prevent future infestations. Should the bed bugs return those inspections will also be crucial in nipping any growing problems in the bud.
Early detection and treatment can help to keep a bed bug infestation from getting out of control. If you suspect you have a growing problem in your home the time to act is now. Follow these steps to help ensure a successful removal of these blood-sucking parasites.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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