Where Did They Come From
Bedbugs are microscopic insects typically the size of an apple seed. They prefer to feed on the blood of humans, but can also bite animals, as well as fast for long periods of time between meals. Unfortunately, people can contract bedbugs from a variety of sources:
- Bugs and eggs can be brought in the home from other infested dwellings on a person’s clothing or luggage
- Thrifting second-hand items where bedbugs like to hide (such as beds, upholstered furniture, clothing, or backpacks)
- Curb-side treasures: Does that free sofa seem too good to be true? Always be cautious about new pieces you bring into your home.
- Wild animals (such as bats or birds) or domesticated animals (such as dogs or outdoor cats) may also harbor bedbugs or related insects
- Children playing outside or in an infested area can carry the bugs to another area on their clothing, luggage, or bodies.
What Can I Do To Protect My Home?
A clean house is the first step in getting rid of bedbugs. Use hot water to sterilize bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing. Hot water is best to remove germs and bedbugs. However, hot water can shrink, fade and damage some fabrics, so be sure to read your clothing labels before selecting the hot option.
Once you have cleaned your fabrics with hot water, dry them on the highest dryer setting. When it comes to stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed. Place them in the dryer and run it on high for 30 minutes. In order for the dryer to be effective, you have to dry clothes at high heat. Many bedbugs will be able to survive in a low heat setting. If you do not have a dyer or your items are too big for the dryer. Hang them outside in the sun. The sun will also help because ultraviolet light is a natural sanitizer.
Invest in a mattress protector! A mattress protector will keep your bed clean and comfortable for a good night’s sleep. It protects you from dust mites, bedbugs, and other allergens that may lurk in the mattress, including mold, mildew, pet dander and pollen.
Human bodies are pretty unique. At night we perspire and produce oil from our skin. We also shed dead skin cells which can soak through your sheets and into the mattress. Once a little gets into your mattress, it’s almost impossible to get it out of your mattress. A mattress protector can prevent skin cell build-up in the mattress, and can be taken off and washed.
If your bed is already infested with bedbugs a mattress protector will keep additional bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
In extreme cases, getting rid of bedbugs usually requires chemical treatments. While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs. Chemical treatment is the safest and most effective way to get rid of bedbugs. It is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms.
Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding. Using insecticides can be harmful, so it’s best to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination. They’ll catch the little details where you might not think to look (think behind baseboards and behind picture frames!), plus many pest control companies have a guarantee if your infestation returns after treatment.
If bedbugs become a consistent problem it is time to replace your mattress. Over time, a mattress can harbor generations of bedbugs, lose its shape and begin to sag, creating dips and lumps. The majority of bugs will, in fact, be associated with the mattress and boxspring. As a result, discarding the bed is a very effective way of immediately eliminating a large percentage of the bed bug population. Don’t forget to immediately wrap your new mattress in a quality mattress protector to prevent any future infestations.
A bedbug problem can drive even the sanest, sweetest person to the brink of insanity. Take precautions to prevent bedbugs from entering your home, and if you have found bedbugs be sure to follow these 4 steps to getrid of bedbugs for good!