Bed bugs were almost eradicated years ago, but we are seeing a rapid resurgence of infestations. Currently, the Bedbug Registry has 635 bed bug reports in Massachusetts hotels and apartments alone!
Bed bugs are small and easily spread around the world through luggage, clothing, bedding and furniture, but are very difficult to get rid of! Getting rid of bed bugs should include the following:
Treat Your Bed Frames, Headboards, Mattresses & Box Springs. Approximately 70% of all bed bugs in the typical infestation are located on the mattress, box spring and bed frame. Successful self-treatment of these items is difficult and you’re better off discarding these items, although, the money to replace these items might better be spent on hiring a professional pest control company who can effectively treat and save these items.
Treat Mattresses & Box Springs. Alternatively, you can vacuum and steam clean the mattresses and the exterior of box springs. Air dry them thoroughly to avoid mold and place a bed bug proof cover over them (to trap the remaining bed bugs and eggs inside and starve them to death). Bed bugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on for at least 1 year to make sure all bugs are dead. Immediately double-bag the vacuum bag after cleaning and dispose of outside in a trash can.
Wash All Washable Items In Very Hot Water & Dry Them On The Highest Dryer Setting. For washable items (bedding, linens, curtains, clothing, stuffed animals, etc.), research shows that dry cleaning, washing with temperatures at 120°F for 30 minutes, or tumble drying for 30 minutes on high will kill all stages of bed bugs. Make sure to bag and store all cleaned items so they do not become re-infested while the home is still being exterminated.
Heat All Un-Washable Items. Heat infested articles (e.g., furniture, luggage, and other items that can’t go in clothes dryer) and/or areas to at least 120°F for 90 minutes to ensure that eggs are killed. The higher the temperature, the shorter the time needed to kill bed bugs at all life stages. This is often done using a heat-generating device or in a specially constructed heating unit, some of which are portable. Make sure to bag and store all cleaned items so they do not become re-infested while the home is still being exterminated.
Freeze Un-Washable Items. Place all un-washables in bags and place them in a freezer set to below 0 degrees F (about the temperature of a chest freezer, not a refrigerator freezer) for at least 4 days. Bulky items require more time. The lower the temperature, the less time needed to kill bed bugs. Make sure to bag and store all cleaned items so they do not become re-infested while the home is still being exterminated.
Steam Bed Bugs. High temperature steam will kill bed bugs at all stages of growth. It is essential that the machine produces a dry ‘vapor’ steam at a minimum temperature of 120°F to be effective in killing bed bugs. Use a high-pressure nozzle to get into the crevices of your furniture as well as places like base boards.
Vacuum & Steam Clean Carpet. Pay particular attention to the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Immediately double-bag the vacuum bag after cleaning and dispose of outside in a trash.
Seal Cracks & Crevices. Seal up all cracks and crevices with caulk. This includes sealing both inside and outside of your home. Bed bugs are so small, they can live in just about any little crack or crevice. Pay attention to cracks in the wall, ceiling, floor, and baseboards.
Insecticides. Many of the insecticides available in over-the-counter products are not effective in controlling bed bugs due to a variety of reasons (inadequately preparing the area, overlooking bed bug harboring areas, not following up on treatments within appropriate timeframes, bed bugs becoming resistant, etc.). Also, treating your home with insecticides can be hazardous, it is important to use products that can be used safely in your home.
Use Monitoring Devices To Ensure That You Have Truly Gotten Rid Of Bed Bugs. Place your bed (or other piece of furniture) away from other furniture and the walls and place interceptor cups under the legs. Bugs approaching from the floor or leaving the furniture will get stuck in the cup. Check the cups regularly to keep track of how many bed bugs you catch weekly so that you can track your success.
Hire A Professional Pest Control Company. Using the above do-it-yourself methods will be helpful in controlling bedbugs and a necessary part of a comprehensive plan, but to completely get rid of bed bugs, treatment usually requires professional services. Experienced companies know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of safe, professional-grade treatment and prevention options.