Bedbugs are tiny insects which suck human blood for nutrition. These insects hide in crevices and cracks in furniture, walls, floorboards, appliances and have flattened bodies which aid them to fit into tiny spaces. A bed bug can fit into space as thin as a business card. Bed bugs are usually active at night and are very hard to spot until the person has already been bitten. By this point, the bugs would have started a nest, and after a while an infestation becomes imminent. Should you find these critters in your home, here are steps to eliminate them;
Most of the time you will find bedbugs hidden close to the host. They like to lay their eggs close to a blood meal and the headboard, foot board, mattress and box spring are common hiding places. Evidence of bedbugs includes blood spots and fecal spots on the sheets or pillowcase caused by the insect being crushed. Check the box spring and mattress paying extra attention to tufts and seams. Turn over the mattress and inspect it carefully. Rips in the fabric should be closely inspected. Use a flashlight and shine along the bed frame. Look for any potential hiding places and dismantle the bed.
After you are done with the bed area, check other furniture such as desks, dressers, chairs, etc. Bed bugs can spread after their numbers grow and even move to other rooms. Remove drawers and check for bedbugs using a flashlight. Do the same with cushions making sure to check the seams. Finally, check the carpet, walls, and electronics using a flashlight. Another telltale sign is if you wake up with insect bites on your arms, neck, legs or other exposed areas. If you find any evidence of an infestation, move to the next step.
Launder the bedding
Blood spots on the bedding that look like rust or molted bed bug skin definitely mean you should wash your laundry. Use the hot water setting and wash at more than 120 degrees. After washing with hot water, use the dryer and set to maximum heat setting. This is guaranteed to kill all bed bugs as they can’t survive the dryer for more than 20 minutes. Use dedicated bags to take the bedding to the laundry room to prevent cross-contamination. Also, check the fabric first, so you don’t damage them on the dryer.
Vacuum and scrub
Use the vacuum cleaner and run it under your bed, on the mattress including tufts and seams and along the baseboards. Be thorough along any crevices and cracks. Do not use the brush attachment because you may end up spreading the bugs, which is what we want to avoid. After vacuuming, dispose of the dust bag in the outdoor trash can. Scrub crevices with a brush to dislodge eggs. Bed bugs lay many eggs (about three or four a day) to continue breeding even after you kill them. Scrub the areas you vacuum cleaned and afterwards you can spray them with insecticide.
When using insecticide powder or aerosol spray, check the label to see if you can use it on bedding. Some have chemicals that can damage your mattress when used. Target any torn areas if spraying the mattress with insecticide or powder. Apply insecticides in any nests you discovered to kill eggs and any nymphs that might be hiding. However, you should not fog the room at any time. Fogging will make the bed bugs spread throughout the room. And those that survive will be scattered everywhere. After spraying cracks in the walls and floorboards, seal them with caulk to prevent further breeding.
As soon as you take your bedding to the laundry room and have sprayed the bed, put the mattress inside an encasement. You do not have to throw away the mattress. Use a bed encasement on the mattress or the bedspring and zip it up. These encasements are bed bug proof and dust mite proof too. Keep it on for at least a year. You can also opt for an active liner encasement.This one serves as a preventive and active measure against bedbugs. The encasements act like a fitted sheet and come in different sizes e.g. queen, single, full, etc. Bed bugs are killed within 72 hours. Other preventive measures include;
Repeat the cleaning procedure
After the first clean and the mattress in the encasement, do it again three more times every ten days. What this does is to get the bugs that might have survived the extermination. Knowing their life cycle and feeding habits can help in preventing bedbugs thriving. Bed bug females lay eggs after a blood meal. These eggs hatch in a week or two into nymphs. Nymphs will feed immediately and will take 14 to 30 days in favorable condition. During the nymph period, it sheds skin five times which explains the skin molts found in bed bug nests. As an adult, at about nine weeks old, the adult bed bug mates and lays eggs. Apart from newly hatched nymphs, bed bugs feed once every 10 days. This is why it is important to repeat the cleaning three times at 10 day intervals.
Trapping the bugs
Bed bugs are adept at hiding, and even if you have scrubbed, vacuumed and sprayed everywhere, a few critters can stay hidden and survive. Now you want to prevent these bugs from getting to you and your family. Employing the use of bed bug traps helps to attract them and contain them so that they don’t attack you is a smart choice. You can either use interceptor cups under the bed posts or use scent traps. When using traps, dispose of the bugs that have been trapped before moving it to another room. This is to avoid spreading them to other rooms.
Pets, soft furnishings, and toys
Some bed bugs attack pets and usually can be found on the carpet or around the pet’s sleeping area. These can be missed as you do your inspection. Other potential hiding places are soft furnishings such as throw pillows, rugs, etc. Stuffed toys can also harbor nesting grounds for these bugs and should be checked too.
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