A few years ago, several friends and I rented a cabin in the mountains for a weekend getaway. We were having a blast…until we found bed bugs!! Can you imagine 30 girls screeching at the sight of those things? As you can imagine, it scarred me for life. So when Sarah asked if she could guest post on the topic, I happily obliged!
Bed bug infestations have become epidemic throughout the country. It can be quite difficult to get rid of the tiny flesh-eaters, as they hide within furniture and walls and are often not visible to the naked eye. (Adult bed bugs can become the size of an apple seed.) These pests can quickly multiply, making it impossible for you to get some rest as they dine on your flesh.
If you’ve had the unfortunate luck of playing host to bed bugs, there are a number of things you can do to get rid of them. Here are a few tips:
Start your extermination process by thoroughly vacuuming your mattress, bed frame, carpet, furniture, and even your outlet covers and baseboards. Pay special attention to the places that bedbugs like to hide, such as the seams of furniture and cracks in walls. You’ll suck up eggs and even a few bed bugs. Be sure to throw away what you collect in a sealed bag.
Clean with Rubbing Alcohol
After you’ve vacuumed up what you can, start killing off remaining bugs and eggs with rubbing alcohol. Clean hard surfaces with a cloth soaked in the alcohol – though be careful of using it on delicate surfaces as it can strip paint and stains. Apply alcohol directly to visible bugs or eggs.
Clean Bed Sheets and Linens
Strip your bed of sheets, comforters, and pillows, and wash these in the hottest water possible for the fabric. These should be washed in temperatures of at least 112 degrees in order to kill off bed bugs and eggs. Clean these items at least twice a week to make sure you have killed all the bugs inside, including any new infestations.
Cover Your Mattress
Before putting your sheets back on your mattress, make sure you cover it with a high-quality cover. Bed bugs can eat through fabric and plastic, so this needs to be a specially made cover, or one made of vinyl or another heavy-duty fabric. It should completely cover your mattress and seal completely. Any closures, such as zippers, should be tight enough that the bugs can’t slip through.
Covering your mattress will prevent new infestations and it will ensure that the bugs inside are killed off over time. However, bed bugs can live for up to a year or two without food, so this process may take some time.
Hire a Professional
When efforts to rid your home of bed bugs yourself have failed, you can hire a professional. Treatment methods can include spot spraying and fumigation, so be prepared to leave your home for a short period of time. Just be sure that whatever clothes or other items you take don’t have bed bugs so the bugs aren’t returned to your home when you come back.
Getting rid of bed bugs can be a long and tedious process, but persistence and patience will pay off in the end. Fight the temptation to leave your home or to get rid of furniture or other infected items since doing so will only spread the bugs to other places and people.
Have you ever had an encounter with a bed bug?
Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for BedBugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a master’s degree in environmental science. Her main focus for the site involves teaching people about how to treat bed bug rash as well as answering great questions like how do you kill bed bugs? If you’d like to gust post, refer to the guidelines found here.