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How to get rid of bed bugs? A guide

Bed bugs are one of the most annoying problems one can experience in their lives. Not because it is deadly, but because of how difficult it is to eradicate. They are difficult to contain, they wreak havoc on our sleep and they multiply like crazy. Here’s all you need to know on how to get rid of bed bugs. 

First, let’s start with the basics. 

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are little, wingless insects that love feasting on human blood. They are called such since they are most commonly found in beds. These little guys are everywhere. They were even found in ancient Egyptian tombs from 3500 years ago. Scientifically called Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus, they can grow up to 0.25 inches long as full grown adults. 

how to get rid of bed bugs

Signs you have bed bugs

Bed bugs are often small, quick and not noticeable by humans. This is partly because they love the dark so come out to feed between midnight and 5 AM. But never fear, even the stealthiest of all ninjas leave behind some signs. Here are the main signs you have bed bugs:

  1. Bites – One of the biggest signs you have bed bugs is the red bed bug bites they leave on your body after feeding. They usually feed on humans from 3-10 minutes till they are bloated and then go back to their nesting space. These bites, though occur painlessly, turn red and itchy. 
  2. Dark, rusty spots – Bed bug leave behind another clue in the form of excrement. These droppings are dark and rusty spots and can be found on the mattress, curtains, sofas, and carpets. 
  3. Bed bugs shells – Though they are small, you can find their exoskeletons if you know what you are looking for
  4. Blood stains – You can also find some blood stains on your sheets or on your pillows 
  5. Bed Bugs – You can find bed bugs themselves if you know where to look. You need to look for bed bugs in creases, near the headboard, folded areas and in the nearby furniture. 

How do you get bed bugs? 

Bed bugs gain access to your home through a carrier. It can either be a human or an animal carrier. So if you wake up one day with a bed bug problem in your home, it could be because of you or your pet. It required a person or an animal to go from an infested area to inside your home. This can happen through travel or through close-knit living. 

Travel 

Bed bugs are creatures with a little wanderlust in their DNA. They love to travel, often hitchhiking in backpacks, clothing, and suitcases. If you have traveled somewhere, even a fancy hotel, you might have brought bed bugs to your home. 

Apartments

Often, apartment complexes get a bedbug problem if one apartment gets them. These bed bugs can travel from room to room and infest multiple houses easily. 

how to get rid of bed bugs

How to get rid of bed bugs?

Bed bugs aren’t deadly. Their bites carry no diseases nor are they aren’t venomous. But you still need to get rid of them the first chance you get. These bugs multiply rapidly. The females are able to lay hundreds of eggs smaller than a speck of dust. They can transfer from your bed to your clothes, to your carpets and so on. No place is safe when it comes to bed bugs. The best thing to do when you have an infestation is to get rid of it. 

Hire an expert 

You may not be able to take on these creatures alone. As mentioned before, they are an infestation that is hard to contain. If you have cleared out the bed, it doesn’t mean the war is over. Once these bugs enter your home, they hop from room to room seeking refuge in cracks and crevices. You may not be able to control bed bugs and you may need to call in a professional to eradicate these creatures chemically. Pest management companies are often your best bet with a bed bug infestation.

Hot water for your bedding

You may need to clean your bedding, linens, clothes and all the infected areas in hot water. This includes steaming out your mattress. You may also want to crank the dryer setting to high heat. While they may not be good for your bedding, it is the only way to kill these bugs. 

Vacuum your bed

You will need to use a vacuum cleaner on your mattress. It is generally a good idea to frequently vacuum your bed to prevent dust accumulation. However, in situations when you have bed bugs, you will have to discard your bag outdoors. Ensure there is no way these bugs will hop back home by placing the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag. 

Insecticide Sprays 

Bed bugs are usually found in mattresses and box springs. These hard to reach places can make it difficult to get rid of bed bugs completely. While vacuuming may help in killing bed bugs, their eggs may be unaffected. To combat this issue, using a bed bug spray can help. However, it is not safe to use insecticide sprays into your mattress as the fumes may harm you while you sleep. It is best to leave it up to a professional. You may also consider completely getting rid of your infected mattress. 

vacuum cleaning to get rid of bed bugs

Prevention

With bed bugs, prevention is better than cure. You can take preemptive measures, especially when you come back from vacation. Here are some ways you can prevent a bed bug infestation in your home. 

  • Vacuum regularly. If you have returned from vacation, vacuum your suitcase. 
  • Avoid clutter. While clutter itself doesn’t create a bed bug problem, it serves as great hiding spots for when it happens. 
  • Choose mattresses that do not provide a habitable environment for bed bugs. Latex mattresses, for example, are effective against bed bug infestation. 
  • Spend time inspecting the hotel room you are staying in. 
  • Keep your power outlets closed. These bugs can travel through these electrical outlets in and out of your home. 
  • Check your pets regularly. It is easy for these bugs to hide in your pet’s fur. Once they have access to your home, the infestation can happen quickly. 
  • Check used items before bringing it home. A lot of people fail to check any used items you bring home. Anything from an armchair to a bedside table must be thoroughly checked before you bring it home. 

It is important to note that these bugs can go 70 days without feeding so once you spot a bed bug, call an exterminator. 

How much does it cost to get rid of bed bugs?

While there are many herbal sprays available, it is best to leave it to the expert pest controller. Professionals usually charge according to the number of rooms. In India, exterminators usually charge around Rs.1000/room for bed bug treatment. However, it is best to get a quote directly from the service provider. Each service provider will take different factors into consideration – the area of the room, the number of furniture, the amount of product they should use and so on. 

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