Bed bugs or Cimicidae are small blood sucking parasitic insects. They live by feeding on the warm blooded animals, preferably the human blood. These are found especially on beds, furniture, mattresses and other areas where people tend to sleep. These have been known to be human parasites for thousands of years. Though bed bugs do not transmit disease, they do cause ailments such as skin problems and other allergic symptoms. They travel from one place to the other via luggage, bedding, furniture and clothing. There are various pesticides and insecticides available to get rid of the bed bugs. Below listed are some of the options that you can use to prevent and get rid of bed bugs.
Complexity Level: Moderate
Time required: 1-2 days depending on the intensity of the bug infestation
- Vacuum cleaner
- Hot water
- Pesticide or insecticide
1. Vacuum regularly:
- Bugs infest heavily in furniture, mattresses, bags, pillows and bed linen. Vacuum all of them in a regular basis. Pay extra attention to corners, wall crevices,edges of mattresses, seams and tufts.
- Follow up with steam cleaning of carpets, rugs, bed spreads to kill those eggs and bugs that the vacuuming process could have missed. Spray the steam at all the seams and corners.
2. Expose the infestation sites & treatment:
- Dissemble all the parts of the bed and furniture, and examine the corners and crevices of bed frames and furniture. There are various ways to get rid of the bugs:
- You can either apply pesticide or insecticide in the infested sites. These come either in powder or sprays. Use a pyrethin based pesticide/insecticide which is generally effective in killing bed bugs.
- Use rubbing alcohol on the bed bug spots to kill them right away along with the eggs.
- Washing your clothes, pillow cases, linen in hot water helps in killing the bedbugs.
- You can de-infest those items that cannot be washed, through heating. Keep your mattress, furniture, bed rugs, carpets and soft toys under hot sun for a few days. Temperature over 113 degrees Fahrenheit is known to kill bed bugs.
- Bed bugs also can be treated with cold temperatures. However, this temperature should be maintained for at least two weeks.
- Bed bugs love to dwell in dark holes and crevices. Inspect your house for such potential sites (in furniture, cot, walls, cupboards, false ceilings etc). Seal and caulk such gaps. This will prevent the bugs from staying there, while kill those which are already present.
- Vacuuming of your furniture, bed, carpets and floors goes a major way in preventing nesting of bed bugs.
- People traveling frequently should be wary of bed bugs in hotel rooms. Check for bugs in the mattress, bed sheets and furniture. Keep your luggage away from such furniture. Once you reach home, do not open or keep your luggage on any of the furniture. Launder all the dresses and the bag that you carried for travel.
- Repair the cracks and openings in the building exterior to rule out rodents, bats and birds that can serve as yet another host for bed bugs.
Frequently asked questions:
1. How do bed bugs get into the house?
Since bed bugs infest in furniture and mattresses, it may find a new home when you buy second hand furniture. They can also come from hollows in walls and pipes of the apartment. Bed bugs also get a free ride to your home when you travel in public transport and use bug infested hotel rooms.
2. How to know if there are bedbugs in my house ?
You will experience bug bites regularly especially in the arms, body and legs. You can spot small blood stains on your bed sheets and their droppings in the sides of the mattress or furniture.
- Clean your bed linen regularly. Bed bugs thrive on dirt and grime.
- When you keep your mattress and other furniture under hot sun, ensure to cover them to avoid sun-damage.
Things to watch out for:
- Do not buy a second hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, unless you thoroughly check for bed bug infestation.
- Never open or put a luggage on your bed or furniture. Those bed bugs that have traveled, will have a great opportunity to sneak into your home.
- Ensure the insecticide or pesticide that you want to use is safe. Check the label before purchasing.
- You may have to repeat the bug treatment since it is not possible to eradicate bed bugs in the first round itself. It might take up to a week or two to fully eliminate the infestations.