How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bugs Be Gone: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a growing problem in the United States today. With our steadily warming climate, infestations of the common bed bug are on the rise. In this article, we will focus on where to find bed bugs, and how to identify them. We will also cover a variety of products and services which are intended to deal with the bed bugs infesting our homes and cities, while comparing and contrasting the results.

ProTip: Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

If you live anywhere in the United States which is known to be prone to bed bugs, it’s a good idea to be able to recognize the signs of a bed bug infestation upfront. If you can pick up on a colony before it has become well-established, it will be easier to eliminate the bugs once and for all. A large, well-established colony lays many eggs each day, and feeds in shifts, with an individual bug being able to survive for months without feeding on a human host.

  • Bite Marks: Bed bugs like to feed on exposed skin with a shallow blood supply. They favor the back, thighs, upper arms, and face. Bed bug bite marks look like a rash; on the face, they sometimes resemble a five o’clock shadow, particularly once they’ve darkened and begun to heal over. Fresh bite marks are a mottled, angry red color, are splotchy, are itchy, and may be painful—particularly if scratched excessively. Bed bug bites are prone to secondary infections.
    • Eggs: One obvious sign of bed bug infestation is finding bed bug eggs (and recently hatched shells) in your bedsheets, linens, or furniture cushions. Bed bugs emerge from hiding to feed, so when they pause to lay eggs, it’s usually on or in the general vicinity of where a viable food source is resting.
A look at bed bug nymphs

A look at bed bug nymphs

  • Nymphs: Bed bugs go through a multi-stage life cycle. Their young are called nymphs. Nymphs resemble small, yellowish white versions of adult bed bugs. Nymphs need to feed more often than adults, giving you additional opportunities to spot them. Nymphs also molt as they grow, shedding their exoskeletons, until they reach full adult size.
  • Bed Bugs: A hungry bed bug will come out to feed during daylight hours, if necessary. Once a bed bug has fed, it is slower and more sluggish than normal. When this occurs, it may be a sign of a large infestation: bed bug colonies feed in shifts, but with a limited food supply, that structure can break down.
  • Dark Spots: Bed bug infestations leave traces behind. When a sleeper moves while bed bugs are feeding, they may crush some of the parasites which have already fed, resulting in mottled red stains on the mattress or cushion where they were sleeping. In addition, bed bugs pass waste products. These usually look like tiny dark spots, about the size of the period on your keyboard. They may bleed into their surroundings like a tiny drop of ink from a gel pen or a marker.

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Pest Control Professionals:

Pest control professionals who focus on insect mitigation usually offer bed bug eradication services. How do pest management professionals, or PMPs (frequently known as “exterminators”) fare against bed bugs, relative to the effects of over the counter products and bed bug home remedies?

Pros of Professional Pest Control:

The pros of professional bed bugs extermination include speed, efficiency, and effectiveness. The professional knows where to find bed bugs, and they know what has worked to kill off bed bug infestations in your local area in the past.

  • A PMP will perform a thorough and detailed inspection to determine the full scope of your infestation. A homeowner inspecting their home for bed bugs is unlikely to be aware of all of the places where bed bugs like to hide, for example. The exterminator is more likely to find the primary focal points of an infestation.
  • The professional employs a combination of tried and true methods including pesticides, freezing temperatures, and steam heat, which they have used to optimal effect on previous occasions. They have the experience and the expertise to exterminate bed bugs quickly and efficiently.
  • Not to be underestimated is the value of increased peace of mind, which is often experienced after having an infestation treated by a professional. Without the knowledge that you’ve hired a certified and experienced professional to handle the job, you are more likely to be plagued by doubt as to the efficacy of your actions in getting rid of the bed bugs in your home. Some individuals report obsessively checking for bed bugs weeks, or even months, after an infestation has apparently been successfully eliminated.

Cons of Professional Pest Control:

Environmental concerns aside, along with the desire to live a green-friendly lifestyle, the biggest negative to using the services of a professional exterminator to get rid of your infestation of bed bugs is the cost. For the average homeowner, this bill can be somewhat staggering.

  • Pest management professionals frequently use chemical insecticides which are strong enough to bypass many bed bugs’ increasingly resistant genetics. These are often harsh and abrasive substances, with sufficient exposure being toxic to humans as well—particularly children. Household pets may also be vulnerable to this exposure.
  • On the other hand, a professional might use environmentally friendly solutions almost exclusively, or they may use extremely small amounts of chemical pesticides, in order to accommodate a more environmentally friendly business practice. In this case, we run into the same problem we encounter when exterminating bed bugs using home remedies: many modern strains of bed bugs are resistant or immune to the most commonly employed solutions.
  • A professional exterminator is more expensive than an over the counter product or traditional home remedy. The extermination of a serious infestation in an average home may cost several thousand dollars, particularly if multiple treatments are required.

Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs:

There are a wide range of insecticides, traditional bed bug mitigation solutions, and over the counter products which are used against bed bugs to varying degrees of effectiveness. Here are some of the pros and cons inherent to the option of trying various over the counter and home remedy bed bug treatments in lieu of calling in the professionals.

Pros of Over the Counter Bed Bug Solutions

Far and away, the most viable perk of using over the counter home remedies to kill bed bugs is the relatively insignificant cost. There is also the factor of being able to choose what solutions are employed directly, excluding those to which you would rather not expose your family.

  • By using over the counter bed bug solutions, you can control what you and your family are exposed to. You can choose to avoid insecticides, whether specific products or the entire avenue of treatment. You can opt to use only safe, all-natural products, or organic products, or non-chemical solutions. You can try what you like, until you find something acceptable that works.
  • Over the counter bed bug treatments are extremely affordable, particularly when compared to the high cost of a professional extermination. Even if you wind up using several different products before you find one that gets the bugs out—and keeps them out—you aren’t going to pay the thousands of dollars you would be paying a pest management professional.
  • Once you find a bed bugs treatment and preventative measure that works on the bugs which are infesting your house, you can usually keep them out long-term. This mitigates the expense of your home remedy against bed bugs, as the effects of your bed bugs treatment are extended over time. Should the bed bugs make a reappearance, you will at least have some idea of which product to turn to first.

Cons of Over the Counter Bed Bug Solutions:

The strongest negatives relating to the use of bed bugs home remedy treatments relate directly to a sense of uncertainty. Is the product that you are using reliable? Is it safe to expose your small children or household pets to its residue? Without the benefits of professional experience, you’re largely restricted to what the products’ own manufacturers tell you.

Even your dog can be impacted by bed bugs.

Even your dog can be impacted by bed bugs.

  • Some of the bed bugs treatment and bed bugs prevention products out there today are effectively snake oils. They have little to no effect, or their effect has been diluted by overuse—and the manufacturers haven’t kept up to date. In some cases, their effectiveness is provided by a single main ingredient which can actually be obtained, less expensively, on its own. Without personal expertise, it’s hard to know what’s what in advance, and you may have to try several treatments before you find one that works.
  • Without a professionally conducted inspection, it is likely that you will miss some of the areas where bed bugs like to hide, allowing an infestation to linger as the bed bugs slowly replenish their numbers. Combined with product uncertainty, which includes insecticides to which the common bed bug may well be immune, it’s likely that an infestation won’t be cleared up right away, possibly requiring several successive treatments using a viable solution.
  • You try a treatment. Within 24 hours, your bed bug infestation appears to have cleared itself up! Then, three months to a year later, the bed bugs are back with a vengeance, infesting some of the same places they did before—while leaving others alone. Did your treatment fail, or did you miss a place where significant numbers of bed bugs were hiding? With the use of home remedies, each successive treatment involves a rediscovery of factors which a professional knows to take into consideration from the beginning.

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Popular Bed Bug Products:

When it comes to bed bugs treatments and home remedies for bed bugs prevention, there are several different types of popular products which are widely favored by homeowners across the country. Many of these have varying degrees of effectiveness, with bed bugs in major cities developing genetic resistances to commonly employed pesticides at an alarming rate.

Bed Bug Spray:

Recent years have seen the development of affordable, specialized over the counter products designed to kill bed bugs. One of these is the bed bug spray. There are various bed bug sprays available on the market; they are designed to be odorless, as well as safe to use on interior surfaces such as mattresses, sofa cushions, and moldings—in other words, the very same areas where bed bugs love to hide. The effects of bed bug spray begin when the spray dries. These sprays can be found in most garden supply shops and hardware stores, as well as being orderable from reputable suppliers online. They are often available in up to one gallon containers, for a tiny fraction of the price of a professional extermination.

It is important to remember to read the directions completely when using a bed bug spray. The fact that a spray may be “safe to use” around pets or small children doesn’t mean that you necessarily want them directly exposed to it during the application process, for example. In the event of accidental exposure, particularly where small children are concerned, one should always seek medical assistance immediately, or contact the poison control hotline.

Pesticides and Bed Bug Treatments:

Modern pesticides, particularly those which are intended for indoor use, may complicate some existing respiratory conditions and allergies. In general, they are regarded as being safe for casual exposure when used as directed—assuming that all listed precautions regarding accidental overexposure are taken. The problem with pesticides in general isn’t that you’re going to wake up tomorrow with an extra limb if you accidentally spill some on your shoe: it’s that many of them have been overused, and—like antibiotics—they’ve lost their effectiveness as a result. You’re much more likely to get better results from specialized bed bug sprays.

In the event that you wish to take the pesticide route, there is a list of the more than three hundred chemical products available on today’s market which the Environmental Protection Agency has registered for use against bed bugs. Many of these bed bugs treatments still maintain some positive effect against certain strains, and may be more effective in a rural environment which hasn’t seen a lot of bed bug activity in recent history.

Natural Bed Bug Treatments:

Increasing amounts of environmental awareness in modern times, coupled with a rising recognition of our impact on the natural world, have led to the development of innovative new all natural solutions for combating a wide variety of common household invaders—including bed bugs. Natural bed bug treatments rely upon a combination of time-honored and alternative practices to treat these unpleasant bloodsuckers. It can take time to find the right treatment, but it’s important to remember that bed bugs do not spread disease. You can take the time to get rid of them properly, without exposing your home or your family to toxic pesticides.

One of the most common and widely favored alternative treatments for bed bugs is something that has actually been used to combat hard-shelled insect pests for thousands of years, with historical mention of its use against bed bugs going back as far as ancient Greece. This treatment is called diatomaceous earth, and it consists of fossilized diatoms—single-celled algae—ground up into a fine white powder with the consistency of talcum powder. Diatomaceous earth kills bed bugs and other bloodsuckers like salt kills slugs, by causing their soft parts (the internals, in the case of bed bugs) to shrivel up and harden.

Organic, all-natural bed bug treatments like Bedroom Guardian include diatomaceous earth as their primary active ingredient. What makes Bedroom Guardian different is the assortment of other all-natural ingredients it includes to enhance the effect of its DE. These ingredients include natural preservatives and oils, which help to prolong the effects of the diatoms; this makes the product more effective than straight diatomaceous earth, and easier to use. Best of all, bed bugs avoid affected areas in the future, so you’re left without the need to worry about a returning infestation.

Bed Bugs Treatment and Prevention:

All Natural Bed Bugs Prevention:

It’s more than a nursery rhyme; we’re assuming that you really don’t want to let the bed bugs bite, right? This leads us to some all-natural bed bugs prevention tips. These are focused on safely and naturally preventing bed bugs infestations, without relying upon potentially harsh chemical treatments after the bugs have already moved in. The following tips, just to reiterate, are designed to help ensure that bed bugs stay out, and may not be entirely effective at treating an existing infestation.

  • Many department stores and outlets sell plastic covers for mattresses and box springs. These can also be ordered online. By using a protective plastic cover for those places where you are most likely to come into contact with bed bugs, you make the task of finding places to hide within said items more difficult for the bloodsucking parasites. If bed bugs can’t find enough places to hide within a reasonable distance of their somnambulant nighttime entrees (meaning “us”), an infestation is unlikely to take hold.
  • Be sure to tape up or otherwise effectively seal any gaps, holes, or tears; any openings via which a bed bug might be able to hide during the day need to be dealt with. This applies to the plastic coverings, as well as to your mattress or box spring itself. Along a similar line of thinking, make sure that your home’s moldings are effectively sealed, and that bathroom tiles, tubs, and other elements are effectively caulked.
  • Keep a tidy house! The old adage that bed bugs like filth is inaccurate (they couldn’t care less, honestly) but it’s easy to see where it came from. It isn’t a “dirty” area which attracts them; it’s a cluttered one. Clutter, absent dirt, makes for countless places in which bed bugs can hide themselves safely away from prying eyes. Bed bugs have been known to hide inside of children’s toys, under the outer covers of hard-backed books, and
  • Have you been staying in a hotel, or been away on vacation? When you get home, unpack your clothes directly into a washing machine, and wash them all with hot, soapy water. Before you walk in the door, and preferably before leaving your vacation destination—as bed bugs can and will hitch a ride in your car—check any gaps or fine spaces in your suitcases and other luggage.
  • Do you buy used or secondhand items to save money and help avoid waste? This is a wonderful habit, but it pays to be safe rather than sorry. You need to check any such items before you bring them into your home. Check clothes, and furniture, especially furniture with cloth padding or gaps in its frame. Wash used clothes immediately, before wearing them or putting them away. Check items that you might not otherwise think to check: furniture, power tools, and even used electronics can harbor bed bugs.

ProTip: Tips for Preventing Bed Bug Re-Infestation

You don't want to see this again.

You don’t want to see this again.

So, you’ve successfully dealt with a bed bug infestation, whether professionally or through the successful use of home remedies. Now that that’s over, you’ve got another problem to deal with—and if it doesn’t strike you as being urgent? Guess again. You need to make sure that those bed bugs, wherever they came from, don’t simply re-infest your home. You and your family are as tempting a target for a midnight snack as you ever were. How do you go about ensuring that these pesky parasites don’t come back to make a second appearance?

In addition to following the preceding tips for all natural bed bugs prevention, here are a few ideas on how to reduce the likelihood of re-infestation.

Determine whether or not you live in an area of the country where bed bug infestations are common. If you do, you need to put a little extra effort into bed bug prevention: the next visitor to your house could have a pair of fertile bed bugs hiding in a crease within the sole of one of their shoes. If you don’t live in such an area, it may be possible to track a bed bug infestation back to its source. Did someone in your family recently return from summer camp, from a festival, or from a stay in a hotel? Did your family recently return from vacation? Did you recently purchase used clothing or furniture, or anything from a thrift store?

Bed bugs are making a resurgence across the United States, but they aren’t yet so common as to abandon well-established pastimes and widely embraced lifestyles. Feel free to continue taking vacations, and to purchase from thrift stores. Depending upon the level of the problem you had to deal with, however, you might want to either take your next trip with a viable bed bug treatment in hand—or simply switch to a different vacation or shopping destination.

Explore known, viable alternatives for bed bug prevention. Bed bugs have a harder time establishing a colony than they do maintaining an existing infestation. Some bed bugs products, like Bedroom Guardian, are designed to protect against bed bugs long-term. You can also sprinkle some diatomaceous earth on a regular basis, being sure to cover areas like the entrances to bedrooms and laundry closets. It can’t hurt to apply it to mattresses or laundry hampers either.

One of the avenues of prevention that is least often thought of is that of physical prevention. Bed bugs are insects, and they’re completely flightless; they don’t have wings. They literally need to find a way into your home, and into every area that they wish to hide or infest. This may seem like a cinch for something so tiny, but it’s surprising how often these diminutive parasites will literally just walk right through a door. Putting double-sided tape under the carpeting across the entrance of a doorway can help to prevent them from gaining access to a room.

Bed bugs can’t climb; seriously, they’re not very good at it at all. Put the legs of your bed, sofa, or any furniture where you’ve encountered them before inside some shallow cups or plastic containers of some kind. Keep the bottom of each container filled with roughly ¼ – ½ an inch of baby oil. This can actually help keep bed bugs from climbing up onto your furniture and helping themselves to any unwary sleepers.

Bed Bugs Prevention Spray: Does It Work?

There is a lot of ongoing debate about just how effective bed bugs prevention spray is. Bed bugs prevention sprays come in a variety of forms. Some use traditional pesticides to attack bed bugs, and some are all-natural and organically manufactured. The common question to all of them, regardless, is usually “do they work?” before anything else is asked.

bed-bug-spray

In general, there are a few overall facts to abide by, starting with: bed bug prevention sprays may work. They’re notoriously hit-or-miss depending upon the immunities developed by the bed bugs that live in the environs around your home—or wherever your infestation came from. The experts agree, however, that what you need to avoid are general insecticides, bug bombs, and other products designed to keep your home free of “insects” without a particular focus on bed bugs.

Non-insecticide sprays with an alcohol base may kill bed bugs if applied directly to the bugs themselves. However, they will not work as a bed bugs prevention spray. Once the liquid from the spray has dried, Lysol and other sprays and aerosols that aren’t designed to kill bugs to begin with don’t have any effect on them.

Bed bugs prevention spray can be bought online from retailers like Home Depot or Wal-Mart. These tend to be relatively inexpensive, and may come in large quantities for less than fifty dollars. The residue from a spray will eventually wear off—how long it takes to do that depends upon the spray, as well as the environment in which it is used.

A better solution for long-term bed bugs prevention would be the use of diatomaceous earth, the powdered remnant of fossilized algae which can also be bought from garden, farm, and home supply depots. Diatomaceous earth’s many benefits have long been well-established, and the powder can be sprinkled over an area you wish to keep bed bugs out of without risking your own health—or that of your family.

Bedroom Guardian is, to date, the only widely available all-natural bed bugs treatment which promises long-term prevention through the use of diatomaceous earth. The other ingredients in Bedroom Guardian, rather than being useless binders, are used to help prolong the effects of the DE. Bedroom Guardian can be sprinkled across the floor of a room you want to stop bed bugs from getting into; by applying it under the carpet in the vicinity of the doorway, you can stop bed bugs from getting in with a minimum of expense.

If you have a bedbug problem, the best solution for you will be easy to find after reading this post. If you want to take things into your own hands, the best solution for you may be Bedroom Guardian. If you want to take a more hands-off approach, perhaps you should consult with a professional. Hopefully, this article helped you decide which approach was right for you!

Get Bedroom Guardian Now

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