Knowing How to Get Rid of Bed bugs Permanently is a job most homeowners hope they will never need to learn. However, if you have already discovered Bed bugs you already know bed bugs can be one of the worst infestations to have in your home.
Once they have established themselves, removing bed bugs can become a very challenging and involved process. Fortunately, if you take the right steps early – you can head off the problem and eliminate an infestation quickly.
Here is everything you need to know on How to get rid of bed bugs permanently:
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs are a very small oval-shaped, reddish-brown bug that feeds on the blood of humans and animals. Their sole existence depends on the “opportunities” they can find for their food source. You. Bed bugs are wingless and cannot fly but they can move very quickly across floors and furniture.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Into The Home
Bed bugs had been mostly absent from the United States for the last 50+ years. However, bed bugs have made a strong comeback in recent years, due to increases in foreign travel, immigration, and most significantly – a ban on the use of effective insecticides, namely DDT.
As reported by The University of Minnesota, and based on public outcry in 1972 on potentially harmful effects, the insecticide, DDT, was banned for agricultural use in the United States. With that ban came a significant increase in insect population and with it – bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs are transferred from previously infested locations (hotels, tents, cabins, RV’s), by hitching rides on your luggage, clothing, personal pillows used at hotels. Bed bugs can also arrive by purchasing used clothing or furniture and introducing it to your home without laundering or treating it first.
Once they arrive in your home, bed bugs will seek a hiding location close to their food source. People or pets, with people being their first choice.
Quickly Identify Bed Bugs In Your Home
To properly treat it, It’s essential first to recognize that you have a bed bug infestation.
So what do bed bugs look like? Bed bugs are wingless, reddish-brown in color, and very small – which gives them their best defense – their hard to find.
Below is a photo of a Bed Bug (magnified 100 times)
Adult Bed bugs are only the size of an apple seed, or about the length of the thickness of a quarter – very tiny and hard to spot.
Bed bugs also change shape as they feed as illustrated below, so they may look slightly different when you’re discovering them:
How Long Do Bed Bugs Survive?
So here’s where it gets pretty disgusting. Bed bugs survive by feeding on the blood of humans or animals. So no, this isn’t an insect you would ever want to share your bed.
Also, an adult female lays between 5-10 eggs daily, and up to 500 or more in her lifetime. Bed bugs can live up to 400 days without food and have a lifecycle up to 6 months old.
As you can see, the bed bug is a very resilient and very quickly reproducing insect.
What Do Bed Bug “Bites” Look Like?
Another way to identify a bed bug infestation in your home is by bed bug bites left on your skin Bed bug bites look like red blemishes on the skin, often with raised bumps where the bed bug bite occurred. In cases of severe infestation, these red lesions can cover large sections of the body due to multiple bites the same night.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Five Steps:
Getting rid of bed bugs isn’t a simple one-step process. It will involve very thorough cleaning and chemical treatment to make sure the pests don’t come back.
To assist you with that process, here are the Five Basic Steps in how to kill bed bugs yourself – and so you can solve the problem, without hiring a professional exterminator.
Step 1: Kill Bed Bugs In The “Bed”
The first step to getting rid of bed bugs is to kill the bed bugs that are already living in your bed.
- Start by completely stripping the bed of all linens and washing them in hot water, at least 120 degrees, to kill all bugs and their eggs.
- Bag and dispose of your pillows (which are a concealed haven). Be sure to bag up your clothes and other personal possessions so that they can be removed for thorough cleaning and or disposal.
- Vacuum your mattress and box spring thoroughly – every square inch. Follow that step with a high-pressure steamer to penetrate the fabric and kill any bed bugs just below the top layer of your mattress. Pay particular attention to tufts, seams, and creases, which is where they hide. These two steps should eliminate the adult bed bugs that are currently living in your bedding.
- As an additional precaution, and in the case of major bed bug infestation, you may wish to skip this step, and bag and dispose of both your mattress and box spring altogether. This is a worst-case scenario, and professional treatment may actually cost less than replacing your mattress and box spring completely.
- While the mattress and box spring are drying (24-hour minimum), Use an effective bed bug spray – chemical treatment and spray all hard surfaces including the bed frame, headboard, and the feet of the bed, to kill any remaining bed bugs on those materials.
*Note: Chemical sprays are not for use on mattresses, fabrics, or any other materials that may come in contact with your skin.
Mattress treatment is critical, as even a handful of remaining bed bugs can lay new eggs and reemerge as a full-fledged infestation in a very short period.
Step 2: Vacuum and Steam Clean Your Room
The process of how to get rid of bedbugs doesn’t stop with your mattress and bedding. You’ll need to undertake a thorough cleaning of your entire room, paying particular attention to the carpet.
Vacuum and steam clean every surface you can reach to collect or kill any eggs that may be left.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not confined only to carpets and mattresses. Bed bugs can hide behind electrical plates, in the crannies of base molding, framing, and even in the interior of your car.
Step 3: Treat Room With Bed Bug Spray
Use a top brand of chemical bed bug spray for your room, trim, baseboards, furniture, and carpeting if you’ve discovered bed bugs.
Again, we recommend using all-natural bed bug spray such as EcoRaider for spraying the room’s hard surfaces.
Don’t forget to spray all the cracks and crevices you can find, and along all the walls – areas that will not come in direct contact with your skin.
After thoroughly cleaning the room, you can also take extra safety precautions, use a bed bug “fogger” to fog an entire room with products such as this one from Hot Shot.
Step 4: Powder the Entire Room
Next, you’ll want to apply an insecticide powder to the entire room, including the mattress.
Consider an organic mineral powder called diatomaceous earth to treat your mattress for bed bugs. This mineral powder is supplemental protection that isn’t chemically harsh.
This powder will eventually kill the bed bugs and their eggs, preventing any of them from escaping and reproducing.
Step 5: Wrap Mattress and Box Spring with Protective Covers.
If you want to stop the feeding and reproduction cycle of bed bugs, you have to prevent them from reaching your skin. If they cannot feed, they will eventually die.
Once you have thoroughly completed step 1, and your mattress and box spring are thoroughly dry, you should install mattress and box spring encasement covers.
Encasement covers prevent any bed bugs not killed by the treatments above, from reaching you or your loved ones.
Bed Bugs – Tips To Avoid Infestation in Your Home
Make Your Bed – “Bed Bug Proof”
Move the bed away from the wall and any adjacent furniture such as nightstands, to prevent bed bugs from climbing up and reaching your mattress.
Remove and discard or significantly “shorten” – bed skirts that touch the floor.
Install climb up Bed bugs Interceptors on the feet of your bed. These ingenious inventions, capture the bed bugs before they can climb up your bed and onto your mattress.
Remember How to “Prevent” Bed Bugs
In addition to how to get rid of bed bugs on your own, you should also know a little about preventing them in the first place.
To prevent bed bugs from getting into your house, Here are the necessary steps you can take:
- First and foremost, you should be spraying the cracks, crevices, and joints around your home regularly with a bed bug repellent spray.
- Bed bug spray will create a barrier that bed bugs are unlikely to cross. Most bed bug sprays are effective up to 6 months but refer to recommended dosages on the product.
- Next, avoid bringing bed bugs into your house. Always make sure to clean your luggage thoroughly when you stay in a hotel, and avoid bringing home used furniture or other used cloth products before they have been thoroughly cleaned.
- If you travel, it’s strongly advised to use a bed bug spray to treat your luggage in the garage before entering the house.
- If you buy used clothing or bedding, bring it directly to the washer and dryer and run both on the “hottest setting” available.
- Finally, you can prevent bed bug infestations with regular cleaning. Bed bugs need to be able to lay eggs to multiply. If you are washing your bedding, carpet, and clothing regularly, the eggs will be less likely to survive.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bug “Bites” (On Your Skin)
Easily the worst part of a bed bug infestation is the painful biting that takes place while you sleep. Bed bug bites appear as red, inflamed spots around where the insect has punctured the skin. To treat these bites, use soothing calamine lotion and a non-prescription pain reliever like ibuprofen to relieve soreness and itching.
You may also consider using an over the counter antihistamine to reduce itching and swelling in the affected areas.
These methods will bring you considerable relief, and the sores should heal quickly once any new bites have ceased.
Best “Home Remedy Treatment” for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are challenging to get rid of without chemical sprays, but there are a few home remedies that may work if your infestation is still minor.
Diatomaceous earth and borax have both been known to kill bed bugs, and diluted rubbing alcohol may be useful in neutralizing eggs.
For the most part, however, it’s a good idea to stick to commercial insecticides, as these have the highest “proven” rate of success.
Bed Bugs – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Do I Know I Have Bed Bugs?
If you wake up from sleep and immediately discover multiple bites that itch, you may have bed bugs. Additionally, look for small dark brown or red bloodstains on sheets or pillowcases.
How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
Using our methods described above, it takes 2-3 days to permanently get rid of bed bugs. If you want to know how to get rid of bed bugs fast, it’s important to use chemical sprays, since these will quickly and effectively kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs.
What Is Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs?
If the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach doesn’t work, you’ll have to call in a professional exterminator for heat treatment. Heat treatments involve raising the temperature of a room to 118-122 degrees Fahrenheit, which are temperatures that will kill bed bugs, and ultimately end your infestation.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Although you now know how to get rid of bed bugs permanently, it’s still important to see a bit more about where they come from so that you can keep them from getting into your home.
Bed bugs can arrive in your home by attaching themselves to luggage, used furniture, or even human clothing or skin. Infestation in your home can quickly occur through travel and exposure to previously infested locations.
Can I Eliminate Bed Bugs Myself?
Yes. Just follow our five steps noted above, and you should be able to eliminate a mild to a moderate infestation of bed bugs. If your infestation has become more severe, though, professional help may be required.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
According to webmd.com Bed bugs can hide in mattresses, linens, carpet, clothing, and other soft materials. Besides that, they can work their way under baseboards, behind electrical plates, and into other hard-to-reach crevices.
Can I Kill Bed Bugs Instantly?
DIY bed bug treatments will take between 1 – 3 days to treat and completely eliminate bed bugs from your home.
How Can I Kill Bed Bugs Fast?
The fastest way to kill bed bugs is with professional heat treatment. Professionally applied Heat kills bed bugs in 1- 2 hours.
Professional pest control companies such as Orkin, will set up their equipment and provide “heat treatment” – per room to kill bed bugs. The Bed bugs will die in 90 minutes, with a temperature of 118 degrees, and bed bugs will die immediately at 122 degrees heat Fahrenheit.
Heat treatment is also the most costly approach. The least expensive, but still effective way to kill bed bugs is with DIY chemical treatments, although this will require more work, and
Now that you know how to get rid of bed bugs and keep them out of your house, you should be equipped to tackle whatever infestation you’re facing.
Keep in mind that bed bugs aren’t the easiest pests to get rid of. The obvious fact is an entire industry (pest control) built around the treatment of insects such as bed bugs.
So when you take on this job as a homeowner, be very thorough and take all necessary steps to kill bed bugs yourself.
Know when to say “when”. If your infestation has gotten out of hand, don’t be afraid to call in a professional exterminator, most will offer a free estimate to fix the problem.
In the end, getting bed bugs eliminated from your home is a far safer and healthier solution than ignoring them, and letting them spread.
Hopefully, you have all the necessary tools on how to get rid of bed bugs permanently – so you can replace your worry – with Sleep!
Please leave us a comment below, as we would be glad to assist with any additional questions you may have.
Also, don’t forget to check out any of our many “How-To” guides for homeowners @ BestHomeGear.Com
Photos: Lead photo courtesy of webmd.com
References and Additional Resources:
Search tool for determining the correct pesticide for bed bugs – EPA.GOV
Recommendations from the National Pesticide Information Center
Bed Bug environmental habits in residential applications – University of Kentucky Entomology
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