There are many annoying things in life, like stubbing your toe or opening the fridge to find someone has eaten the last piece of cake but there is nothing more annoying than an encounter with the pesky critters called bed bugs.
Your bed is a sacred place, a hideaway, and where you relax after the long day. However, it’s nasty to find that one bug in your bed but fear not! There are ways to prevent an infestation to spread and kill these pests to keep your dreams bug-free.
A few words to start with, what are bed bugs?
At Handymantips.org we start with the basics.
What do you need to know about bed bugs?
How do they live and work their way in your life?
This is how baby bed bugs look like:
- Bed bugs are small and flat, which makes it easy for them to hide in the seams of mattresses, bedding, headboards, etc.
- Bed bugs feed when their hosts have long periods of inactivity (read: at night when you are asleep).
So if you wake up with bites all over you, some bed bugs just had a great meal. They can’t jump or fly, so their only method of travel is crawling.
Bed bugs and apple seeds:
They are little hitchhikers, always being transported and spread by humans and human possessions. When they are disturbed, they are likely to move to a place where they can be intruded upon. So as much as it stinks, don’t be fooled by thinking these nasty critters stay on the bed only.
They can travel to couches, laundry, headboards, chairs, carpet, and even with your car.
How to protect your mattress against bed bugs?
“Okay, it’s time to be perfectly honest here: there is no such thing as a totally 100% bug-proof mattress. It’s just not possible, because bed bugs can get anywhere,” said Elizabeth Hennigan from MattressAdvisor.com, ”However, this is not the time to panic. So what can you do to stop the creepy crawlies from entering your front door?”
A heavy bed bugs infestation.
“First, check in closely with your mattress. Can’t remember when you upgraded? It’s probably time for a reality check. Mattress quality has improved dramatically within the past few years, including new mattress materials that are more resistant to bug invasion.” added Elizabeth, ”Trust me: it’s more often than not worth the investment into a nice mattress rather investing money into a professional bed bug exterminator.
Brands like Leesa and Nectar offer quality mattresses for customers who want a good night’s sleep without being worried about any extra visitors. Not sure where to start? We can easily help you compare the top mattress brands for your specific needs. We have hand-reviewed more than 100 different manufacturers.”
The way you store your bedding is also important for bug prevention.
Even if you fold your sheets to a perfect 90-degree angle in your closet, bed bugs can still migrate and spread.
Consider storing your bedding in airtight containers to isolate oxygen and make it impossible for the buggers to find refuge in your clean sheets and pillowcases.
Did you hate cleaning your room as a child? Turns out your mom knew what she was talking about after all. There is more than one good reason to keep your crib clean and tidy: having hidden fewer nooks and crannies makes it easier to identify bed bugs as soon as they turn up, as it’s harder for them to hide in a clean and tidy home.
Identifying a problem early on could save you time and money.
Since bed bugs spread through human contact and human items, it’s really important to be aware of what you bring into your home.
Buying new items from department stores is one thing, but if you shop at thrift or second-hand stores, make sure you thoroughly inspect furniture, clothing, and any used goods that come through your front door.
What to do if you find them?
If you come across bed bugs in your home, take a deep breath. This is not a life-altering disease, you aren’t going to die, and you CAN get rid of them. Take a minute to put things into perspective.
Next, start working on the problem right away, as there are plenty of things you can do yourself to get rid of them. If you don’t know where to begin, check out the EPA’s comprehensive guide to dealing with bed bugs. Get ready to take it seriously and act quickly.
If you do proceed with DIY, a good set of tools and protective gear is a must. Call a professional immediately. Bed bugs move and reproduce quickly, so it’s nearly impossible for you to get rid of them on your own without some expert help.
“There are multiple ways that experts can help you, including a professional mattress steaming or even specialised heat treatments”, said John J. Elliot, a professional cleaner, “The high heat level kills both nymphs, adult bugs and their eggs. However, it’s absolutely crucial to use a mattress encasement in between treatments. We always offer subsequent treatments at a discount when it comes to post-bed bug jobs. We also stock up with packs of nitre gloves to hand out to people too and recommend reviewed air purifiers to further prevent health hazards like asthma, allergy reactions and even dust mites.”
If you have any valuables in your bedroom, remove them from the room before the exterminator comes and secure them in an airtight bag. For clothes, launder them at the highest heat possible and dry on very high heat.
Next option – invest in a mattress encasement (protector).
One can keep bugs from migrating outside of a mattress and are very handy for traveling or storing a mattress when it isn’t in use.
After you have taken measures to stop the bugs from spreading and killing them, it’s important they stay trapped in the bed and don’t migrate. A quality mattress protector for bed bugs will completely envelop your bed and box spring, with a tight zipper that will prevent bed bugs from penetrating your home any further. Buy a brand new encasement to put around your mattress and use light-colored sheets to make it easier to spot any bugs on the bed.
What do I do with my bed?
As crazy as it sounds, just because you have bed bugs doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your mattress, and there are many ways to make it useable again.
Read more: How To Craft Your Own Bed Frame?
This how a heavy mattress infestation looks like:
While the bugs will be located in the mattress, a lot of times the majority can be found in the box spring and bed itself. If the bed is older and needs replacing within the next few years, it is a good way to get rid of a chunk of the infestation.
Another reason to get rid of your mattress is if it’s emotionally traumatizing to keep sleeping on the infected mattress.
Another consideration is where you sleep while your mattress is being rid of the bugs. Many people make the mistake of sleeping on the ground or moving into another room/bed in their house and even taking the infested bed to their newly bought home due to lack of budget on furnishing which is what experts warn about. This is a very bad decision as this allows the bugs to spread and lay eggs in multiple places. While it may offer temporary relief, it can ultimately make the problem worse!
How long is this going to take?
“Unfortunately, the critters can last for up to a year without a meal, so you should keep a mattress cover on your bed for 4-6 months minimum before opening it again” commented Bronco Pest Control, ”It’s a process to get life back to normal, and that’s totally okay. Patience is a key ingredient to a bug-free life. Our best advice is to get a specialized heat treatment from a professional exterminator at least once every 3 months just to stay on the safe side. It is endurance that makes bed bugs hard to get rid of!”
With these helpful tips and tricks, even the least knowledgeable person can be equipped to handle a bed bug problem in its early stage. However, if the problem is out of your hands, do not hesitate to follow all the expert tips and advice shared above.