If you’re reading up on how to get rid of bed bugs, then, unfortunately, you’ve most likely been infested. Unbelievable as it seems, this is not a modern-day rarity; bed bugs have been around for years and continue to infest bedsheets everywhere, no matter how wealthy or clean you might be.
Bed bugs are known scientifically as Cimicidae and sustain themselves through hematophagy. More simply put, they are parasites who live externally of their hosts but depend on sucking their blood in order to stay alive. Yuck! Other hematophagic insects include fleas, mosquitoes, and certain flies. (You might think to include lice in this category, but while they are known to suck on their hosts blood they mostly scavenge skin debris and dead skin cells.)
It’s easy to spot bed bugs if you have them, because they move slowly. Adult bed bugs are less than one-quarter inch (4-5mm) in size and appear to be a reddish-brown color. They are oval-shaped and flat. They normally feed about once a week, but they can go over a year without eating. Their bites cause a raised red welt that itches intensely.
So how do you know if you have them? For starters, check between your mattress and your box springs. Brown streaks on the fabric indicate that bed bugs have left their traces. They are easily picked up in hotels, dormitories, shelters, and similar places where many people sleep, and if they’re in a room that you rent you will take them home in your suitcase.
They were pretty easily eliminated when DDT first came on the market, but experts on how to get rid of bed bugs discovered that many of these nocturnal creatures have developed resistance to insecticides.
Current experts give this advice:
– Eliminate the food source. The bed must remain unoccupied, with the sheets stripped. The legs of the bed should be slathered in petroleum jelly, because bed bugs cannot travel through it.
– All bedding must be laundered at a temperature as high as 120’F or 49’C.
– Visualized bed bugs can be eliminated by spraying them with rubbing alcohol or with steam. In fact, with home steaming devices pretty portable these days, regular steaming of bedding will keep it fresh from these creatures and other impurities.
– Deprived of humans, bed bugs will jump to the family dog or cat. So it’s important to keep your pooch or little tiger off the bed.
– Insecticides containing permithin, dichlorvos, or malathion will kill these creatures.
– Neem oil, pressed from a type of evergreen tree in India, originally was used in cosmetics production, but has also been approved for use in spraying bed bugs and other pests.
– Vacuum the area daily. You must seal the vacuum cleaner bag effectively before disposing of it.
The best advice for how to get rid of bed bugs is to be proactive about avoiding them. Search for them wherever you stay away when you’re not at home. They can fit into tiny gaps, so shine a flashlight beam along furniture crevices, carpeting edges, and mattress seams for evidence of a current infestation. Make certain you spot living insects before you jump to conclusions and begin treatment for a long-ago infestation. It’s also best to make certain you are treating bed bugs even if you find a live specimen put one in a baggie and take it to your local exterminator for verification.
Experts on how to get rid of bed bugs also caution that you must not dispose of affected furniture by setting it outside of your house. Some unsuspecting person might decide that your trash is his treasure, and he’ll unwittingly cart off your bed bug haven to his home. And unintended spreading of this insect is how you came to have it in the first place.
For more information on getting a happier sleep and solving your bed bugs problems check out the Get Rid of Bed Bugs Guide.