What's the best treatment for bed bugs and what can you do to get rid of them fast?
These tiny, bloodthirsty insects love nothing more than making a cozy home in and around your bed.
So if you're tossing and turning at night, frustrated that you're still having to deal with this problem, take some comfort in knowing that you're not alone.
Though they weren't formally and widely recognized as a problem until the late 1990s (and even then they were mostly only acknowledged in the tourism industry), bed bug infestations are now widespread, believed to affect as many as 1 in 5 Americans at one point or another.
But the good news is that you don't have to suffer in silence.
There are several steps you can take to eradicate these pests for good using pesticides or a non-chemical approach.
One major sign - usually, the most obvious sign and the one that leads most people to suspect bed bugs in the first place - is waking up with itchy, red welts on your skin.
These bites can be found in a straight line or cluster and often appear on areas of your body that are exposed while you sleep.
This means your fingers, arms and legs are all common spots to find bed bug bites.
It's important to remember that not everyone has a reaction to these bites.
In fact, only about 50 percent of people actually react to the saliva, while the other 50 percent of people may have no reaction at all.
Bed bugs find their host by using their antenna to detect body heat and carbon dioxide given off as you sleep.
Once they locate the host, they will feed for about 5-10 minutes then return to their hiding space.
Another sign to look out for is actual bed bugs themselves.
These tiny brownish-red bugs are about the size of an apple
seed and can be found crawling around your mattress, bedding, and furniture.
Pay special attention to the folds around your mattress, behind your headboard, and along your baseboards.
You might also notice their shed skins or small, rust-colored stains on your bed sheets and mattress.
Locating their exoskeletons is a great way to figure out if you have bed bugs.
As a bed bug grows, they molt and leave behind their exoskeleton shell that's pretty easy to spot if you're paying close attention.
Remember....It's important to act fast if you suspect a bed bug infestation, as these pests can quickly spread throughout your home and cause a lot of discomfort.
If you're a DIY person and want to tackle bed bugs yourself, you don't always have to hire a professional.
In fact, there are several methods that work really well to get rid of bed bugs that are cheap to buy, and easy to use.
Thankfully, I've only had to deal with bed bugs once in my lifetime, but these are the best methods I've found that actually work!
Vacuuming To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
First, start buy decluttering your room and thoroughly vacuum everything....I mean everything!
You'll want vacuum your mattress (making sure to get all sides and in between all seams and folds), headboard and bed framing, carpet, baseboards and everything in between.
This is probably the easiest and most important step in the whole process.
Then, once you're done take the vacuum bag outside and dispose of it.
Or, if you have a bagless vacuum, simply take the vacuum outside and empty the contents into a garbage bag, seal it up and throw it away.
The last time I had an issue with bed bugs, I vacuumed one bedroom for about 3-4 hours.
This is not the time to take short cuts!
Take all of your bedding and clothing items and seal them in garbage bags.
At this point you can decide to throw some of the items out, or you can wash and dry everything that will fit into your machines.
A clothes dryer set to 120 degrees will kill bed bugs instantly.
Chemical Application Treatment For Bed Bugs
Chemical treatments work really good at killing all stages of bed bugs.
Since it can take a few months for a bed bug to mature from an egg to a fully developed adult, it's important to use a chemical spray that disrupts all stages of growth.
I recommend Ortho Home Defense Max bed bug spray.
The spray is simple to use with the battery operated spray wand, and it doesn't leave behind any residue.
Simply spray your mattress, bed, baseboards, carpet and anywhere else you think might contain bed bugs or their eggs
I love this spray because it kills the toughest bed bugs.....even pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs that have developed a tolerance to other types of sprays.
It's a water based spray that safe to use, just make sure you let it dry before allowing pets or people back into the room.
Diatomaceous Earth For Bed Bugs
Diatomaceous earth works great for getting rid of a variety of different bugs.....especially bed bugs!
It's a silica based product that adheres to bed bugs which dries them out when it sticks to their exoskeleton.
After a bed bugs encounters this fine dust, it will kill them in a matter of days.
Plus, they can also carry the dust back to their hiding spots and transfer it to other bed bugs, eliminating them too.
When applying Diatomaceous earth it's important to use a duster and only apply a light dusting, not a thick line.
Bed bugs tend to avoid walking through a thick layer of powder, so you just want them to pick up the dust as they walk through.
Use it along your baseboards, behind electrical outlets, along window trim and anywhere else you think bed bugs could be hiding.
Diatomaceous earth continues to work until it gets wet, so make sure to let the Ortho bed bug spray dry completely before applying it.
I did find that when vacuuming up the dust at a later date, it does like to clog up your vacuum's filters.
This is easy to fix by just knocking out the filters, but it is a little time consuming.
Since bed bugs are sensitive to hot temperatures (around 120 degrees), using steam is a great way to kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs.
A steamer works great for getting into hard to reach spaces like the folds in your mattress and along your bed frame and even your carpet.
In fact, many professionals use steam because it's so effective.
When I encountered bed bugs in my home, I used a steamer after I vacuumed just to make sure I did a very thorough job.
Sure, it's a little pricy to buy a steamer, but they work so well, I thought the extra level of protection was worth it.
Plus, steamers are a great option if you don't want to use any chemical sprays.
Now that you've gotten rid of the bed bugs, the final - and most crucial - step is to make sure that they don't return.
After all, prevention is always better than a cure, right?
So how do you do this?
Start by keeping your living space clean and clutter-free.
Vacuum your carpets and upholstery regularly, and wash your bedding and linens frequently at high temperatures.
Also, be vigilant when buying second-hand furniture or bringing in items from outside.
Inspect them thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your home.
But, even with all the preventive measures, bed bugs can still find a way back into your space.
If that happens to you, don't hesitate to call in a professional.
A professional exterminator will have the skills, equipment, and experience necessary about the best treatment for bed bugs - that way, you can stop these obnoxious pests from taking over your life for good.