If your house or apartment has ever suffered from a bed bug infestation, then you know only too well how difficult it can be getting rid of bed bugs. Generally it is so challenging that in most cases the task of getting rid of bed bugs can only be achieved with the help of a trained professional. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent and control infestations which can make getting rid of bed bugs less of a challenge or enable you to avoid the problem altogether.
Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs
Though they are called “bed bugs” these tiny wingless insects do not confine themselves to just beds. They can be found in any kind of upholstered furniture and in any kind of dwelling, from luxury hotels to army barracks, dorm rooms and even cruise ships at sea. Sadly, there is virtually no place that human beings dwell that is immune from a bed bug infestation.
The official scientific name for bed bugs is Cimex lectularius and they are classified as what is known as “nest parasites.” They can found not just in the homes of human beings, but in animal nests as well. They live by feeding on the blood of warm blooded animals. Although visible to the naked eye, they are rarely noticed until one experiences their painful, itchy bites. They usually have a brown or burnt orange color and when present in large numbers give off a musky odor. They move easily from one piece of furniture to another or one house to another, traveling by luggage and clothing from one infestation site to another.
The good news is that there are things you can do if you have bed bugs to prevent and control them. Here are some basic tips:
Bed bugs and their eggs are killed almost instantly by using rubbing alcohol applied by a brush. However this technique can not be reliably used to eliminate an infestation, as that can only be fully achieved by a trained professional. However, rubbing alcohol is a good way of keeping the infestation under control until an exterminator can be brought in.
A good way to get bed bugs off your clothes and other items is by putting them in the washing machine where the hot water will kill them. Items that can’t be put in the washing machine can be placed in the sun for a couple of days. Applying steam is another way of killing bed bugs with heat. A fourth way of getting rid of bed bugs is exposing the infested item to temperatures below freezing. However since this can take more than a week it’s generally not a practical solution since you can usually get an exterminator in by then.
Bed bugs are too weak to defend themselves against the suction of a common vacuum cleaner, so vacuuming them can be a quick way of getting rid of bed bugs in large quantities. Be sure to get the edges and cracks in the areas you clean as bed bugs often hide in those areas.
Sometimes the easiest and most sensible solution for getting rid of bed bugs is to simply get rid of the infested item by throwing it away. Just remember that bed bugs seldom stick to just one area, so nearby furniture and other bed bug friendly locations may still be a problem even if you throw out the worst infested items.
The sooner you spot an infestation the easier and less expensive getting rid of bed bugs is likely to be. Therefore it is a good idea to check for bed bugs periodically. That means looking at your furniture carefully, especially in the cracks and crevices of nightstands, dressers, and the seams of stuffed furniture like sofas and chairs. Look under your carpets and examine them with a flashlight. Don’t wait to get bitten to discover you have a bed bug problem!
Bed bugs do not just bother humans, so keep on top of the situation in your house by checking on your pets as well. Dogs and cats can bring in bed bugs from outside, and birds nests and other woodland creatures may also be carrying them. Changing the cat box litter regularly is a good idea as is sweeping away bird’s nests near the doors to your house.
Careful When Buying Used
That sofa or mattress at the neighborhood tag sale may look like a bargain, but it may be a foolish purchase if it comes with bed bugs. It is helpful if you know something about the conditions in which the furniture was kept before being put up for sale. Be sure to check all such items before bringing them into your home to be sure that you haven’t inadvertently acquired the unwanted expense of getting rid of bed bugs. Also when you travel be sure to check your luggage for bed bugs as soon as you return to your home.
Be Ever Vigilant
The best way of getting rid of bed bugs is to never have them in the first place. That means keeping the threat of them in mind so that you are sure to take the commonsense precautions described above. Knowing what they look like, where they like to live and how they can get into your house will go a long way towards ensuring that you never have to pay to get rid of them.
Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs – The Conclusion
However, should your best efforts fail, don’t hesitate to contact a professional exterminator to quickly and effectively solve the problem for you. It is fine to use the stop-gap measures mentioned above to control and limit the infestation, especially until the exterminator can arrive, but delaying contacting a professional in a futile attempt to remove the infestation yourself will only lead to wasted time and money. Bed bugs may be one of mankind’s oldest enemies, but getting rid of bed bugs is very doable with professional help.