How Do You Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

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The steps to get rid of bed bugs

People ask all of the time, what can I do if I get bed bugs? Is there a bed bug spray can buy? Do I have to throw away my furniture? Bed bugs can be scary for people when they get. The simple answer is there is not a simple answer. Bed bugs are a very difficult pest to eradicate even for professionals. Every room and home is different. Trying to get rid of bed bugs is not easy and will take time and patience.

If you live in an apartment, condominium, assisted living, or other multi-family type property it is best practice to notify the property manager. In an apartment type situation bed bugs can move from one unit to another and treating just your room or unit may not eliminate the problem. A study showed why inspecting the adjoining units for bed bugs should be done.

Inspection

You must perform a detailed inspection and determine which rooms and pieces of furniture have bed bugs. Do not throw away your bed. It will not cure the problem and you will have to buy another one. If your bed does have bed bugs you can move it away from the wall so it does touch. If it is not on a bed frame we suggest encasing first and then putting it on a frame. You can also place monitors under the feet.

Encasements

Encase your mattress and box spring with a bed bug encasement. Beds are one of the top spots for bed bugs because that is where you spend a lot of time. The encasements will trap the bed bugs and they will eventually starve.

Sprays

You can buy over the counter sprays that will kill bed bugs. You can order some of the same products that professionals use. Sprays come in different varieties from biopesticides to synthetic. The issue is that field trials have shown that sprays are most effective while they are wet. Once they dry, most products become ineffective at killing bed bugs. Bed bugs require direct contact with a pesticide which due to the nature of where bed bugs hide is hard to obtain. Think about your bed frame. Your bed frame has screw holes, crevices where pieces come together, and other decorative pieces that create hiding spots.
The main reason chemicals alone are not effective is insecticide resistance in bed bugs. With each new generation that is born a portion may have developed resistance to a product, you used just a few months ago. Applying pesticides can be dangerous and care should be taken. Always read the label before using a product.

Rubbing Alcohol

This may kill some on contact but does not provide any meaningful long term control.

Dusts

Dusts or desiccants have been shown to work. Although all dusts are not equal. As with liquids, there are different formulations and bed bugs react and die at different rates depending on the type of product used. These products come in a variety of formulations with the most common being diametecous earth (DE). Do not buy DE that you use for pools. It is not the same. Proper application of dusts is also important. Desiccants do not work if they are applied as a hill or poured out into a mound. Dusts are relatively inexpensive and can be applied with a paintbrush. As with any chemical, you must get the product to where the bed bug is.

Steam

Steam works but only if you have a steamer that can reach 120 degrees or more and can produce enough steam to kill the bed bug. The steamer you use for your clothes is not strong enough to provide any meaningful control.

Heat does work. You can use your dryer on high and place articles that are safe to be exposed to those temperatures. The dryer will need to run for at least 30 minutes. You can also place items into heating bags ( heavy trash bags) and place them in the sun in the summertime. Heating bags are not the most efficient way to kill bed bugs on items.

Cold

If you have a freezer you can place items in the freezer for a minimum of 3 days. These can be toys, stuffed animals, books, etc.

Cleaning

Cleaning up clutter in the area where you have bed bugs will reduce the areas in which the can hide. This will make any treatment you choose more effective.

Bug Bombs or Foggers

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