Bed bugs are a nightmare. Literally. Once these hitchhikers maneuver themselves into your mattress and onto your bedding, you’ll quickly have an infested site that needs to be cleaned by professionals.
Much like any other pest, bed bugs are resilient and full of nonsense. Once they’ve made their way into your bed, they can live up to months without feeding. But, understanding what they are, how to get rid of them and how to identify them when they’ve arrived will help you catch them as soon as possible.
One of the first warning signs is bites. They look somewhat similar to mosquito bites, however, they usually appear in clusters of three. They also tend to affect exposed areas such as arms, neck, face and shoulders. They can easily be mistaken for mosquito bites, so keep a close eye for any recurring bites.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent (or control) an infestation from happening in your home.
Cover your power outlets: If you’re thinking about fumigating your bedroom, the first thing you will need to do is cover your power outlets. The minute bed bugs feel threatened, then enter the power plugs and hide there until it’s ‘safe’ to move elsewhere in your house. You will quickly be able to pick these movements up by monitoring their droppings, which look like clumps of dark coloured dots.
Vacuum the floor: While the name suggests otherwise, bed bugs can be found in and around the bed, as well as in your cupboards, clothing and furniture. If you’re experiencing bed bugs, try and get rid of them by vacuuming the floor, your bed and your dog’s bed. Make sure you cover the areas where the floor and wall meet because that is usually where the infestation gets out of control. Once you have completed vacuuming, remove the bag and place your used bad into a garbage bin far away from your home. While this might be a temporary solution before you decide to consult with a professional, vacuuming can help. Also, don’t forget about your dog’s bed. Much like fleas, animals bring these pests into the house and lay on them in their beds. The same goes for bed bugs. Once they’re embedded into your bedding or furniture, it’s an absolute nightmare to get rid of them.
Cover your mattress: Many people forget about the mattress protector when they make up the bed. If you are experiencing an infestation, something as simple as a mattress protector would be able to protect your mattress from getting infected, however, it does not eliminate the infestation. By mattress protector, make sure you purchase one that is of high-quality fabric, cloth and durable. The perk with cloth protectors is that they do not have any folds around the zipper where bed bugs could find shelter.
Call a pro: The reality with bed bugs is that more often than not, you’re going to have to call a professional to come and sort it out. While this type of infestation is not exactly dangerous, it’s a real hassle. The chemical approach is not ideal for any home, it is, unfortunately, the only way to kill off these pests. Over-the-counter pesticides can actually make things worse, so try not to cure things yourself. In the meantime, vacuum your mattress to kill off any eggs found in the mattress. And, if your clothing shows the same, run them through the dryer to kill any bugs that may be lingering in your clothing. Once the professional has come in, order yourself some new bedding online to start clean and fresh again.
Beware of public places: Most of the time, people pick bed bugs in public places, bring them home (in their clothing) and transfer them to other areas in their home. One of the most common areas to pick up bed bugs is via dressing rooms at clothing stores. These bugs are usually sitting on carpeted floors, so avoid dropping any items onto the floor while you are changing and rather hang items up on rail hanger provided. Otherwise, before you know it, they’re in your clothing and going home with you.
During the summer months, it is advised that you wash your bedding often and keep cleaning your bedroom to avoid a dust build up or pet infestation. Bed bugs, in particular, love the heat, therefore a warm bed or heated room is the ideal location for them to hide. These troublesome creatures only crawl from room to room and cannot jump. If you find that a furniture item is packed with these tiny pests, send the item for a deep clean immediately or discard it. You might not even know they’re there, especially because they can go unnoticed for weeks before a sizable population appears. Once the troop gets bigger, it’s harder to get rid of. So, keep your eyes peeled for any bites or droppings before it’s too late.