Bed bugs are small and can hide in small spaces especially in mattresses, headboards and bed frames where they have access to people to bite. Adult bedbugs have brownish, oval flat bodies about ¼-inch long. After feeding on animal or human blood, their bodies turn reddish and swell. They hide in crevices and cracks near a blood meal during the day and come out to feed at night.
Bed bug Bites
Bed Bugs hide during the day and usually bite people at night. They solely feed on blood which they withdraw by piercing and breaking the skin. They feed to become engorged for a few minutes and then crawl back to their hiding place. Most bedbug bites are unnoticeable and painless at first, but they become itchy welts with time. The bites are mainly around exposed areas of the skin while sleeping and do not have a red spot in the center like most flea bites.
Look for the bugs in places where bedbugs are biting. Start with cracks and crevices in head/foot boards, supports and attached side rails of the bed. Look for dark spots of bedbug excrement on mattresses, inspect the box springs for any rips that might act as hiding places and examine rips in your mattress as well. If you have any items stored underneath your bed, remove and examine.
- Inspect all cracks and crevices
- Empty and inspect nightstands and dressers
- Inspect upholstered sofas and chairs
- Inspect other places like edge of the wall, carpets, cracks in ceiling and wood molding
Signs of bed bugs infestation
- Itching welts
- Blood stains on pillowcases and bed sheets
- Nymphs Shed skin, bedbug fecal spots or egg shells in hidden places
- A musty offensive odor
How to eliminate bed bugs
For effective treatment and control of bedbugs, follow an integrated pest management approach (IPM). This approach includes multiple strategies like preventive measures, heat treatment, exterminator treatment, store bought spray, natural remedies and industrial strength pesticides.
Preventive measures to kill bedbugs
Some home remedies and preventive measures can be used to prevent infestation or the spread of bedbugs. If you suspect your luggage, clothing or second hand furniture has bedbugs, consider treating with chemicals or by heating before bring them in the house. Other preventive measures include,
- Vacuum your house and dispose the content in a sealed trash bag
- Repair cracks and glue down wallpapers
- Encase mattresses, pillows and box springs with air tight covers to prevent bedbugs from entering or escaping. Keep the cover for at least one year to ensure all bedbugs are dead.
- Use bedbugs monitor traps
- De-clutter your house especially under and around the bed
There are many methods on how to kill bedbugs, ensure that the method you use is legal, safe and cost effective. Here are some of the methods that you can consider.
One great product that saves money and is safe and effective is Defensive End!, a bed bug killer spray that is natural and contains no pyrethrins from plants which can cause toxic neural damage to mammals.
Home remedies & Treatments for bed bugs
Home remedies like applying silica gel around your bed and mattress can help in killing bedbugs. You can also use tree oil or tea-tree to clean the house to prevent and eradicate bedbugs. Vacuum your bedroom frequently and get rid of nuisance bedbugs.
This is a non-chemical method that is safe to use and cost effective. Affected items can be laundered with 122F/50ºC minimum and dried in high temperature. Other infected smaller items that cannot be laundered can be treated by killing the bedbugs with heat. This can be done by wrapping the items in plastic bags and placing them in a sunny and hot location of 122F/50ºC minimum temperature for a few days. However this method is not effective where the infestation has spread and the entire apartment needs to be de-infested.
A simple device like electric kettle can also be used to generate steam which is pointed to crakes and craves to kill bedbugs and the eggs.
You can use residual insecticides or industrial strength pesticides to kill bedbugs. Insecticides can kill bedbugs by penetrating cracks and reaching the hidden areas. Use of chemicals to kill bedbugs can be harmful to you and your family. Follow the directions of use and only use products that are tested and registered by the relevant bodies.
Getting rid of bedbugs is a step-by-step process which can prove challenging and time consuming for many. Consider hiring a professional exterminator who is experienced in pest control and management. The initial cost may seem expensive, but the exterminator’s contract will end when your home is bedbug free thus saving you money in the long run.