So it’s finally happened to you: you keep getting these mysterious mosquito bites, despite the fact that you haven’t been in any particularly mosquito-infested areas recently. They’re red, swollen, and itch like crazy – and there’s a lot of them. Then, you realize each morning you wake up and have more and more bites, and the bites show up in rows. They’re not mosquito bites…they’re bed bug bites.
Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of, but not impossible. It’s all about reducing the amount of places they can hide, having the right equipment, and getting rid of whatever you can that might serve as a home for them. The first step, as always, is not to panic – bed bugs are pretty annoying, but don’t usually pose any substantial threats to your health. After you calm down, try a few of these tricks.
Don’t: Give them a Place to Hide
Like most bugs, bed bugs love clutter. Clean up! Don’t keep piles of clothes on your floor, seal those loose corners of your peeling wallpaper, clean out your desk drawers. Do a thorough cleaning and sanitizing before tackling the big stuff.
Do: Become Friends with the Vacuum
Start vacuuming whatever piece of furniture you think they might be living in. Bed bugs and their eggs are pretty visible, they’re like small poppy seeds and often hide near seams and corners. Use a tool to scrape in between the seams of your mattress and a vacuum hose to really go at the fabric. Do this with your rug and other pieces of cushy furniture as well.
Don’t: Keep what you Don’t Need
If you can stand to get rid of that one living room chair or have a spare box spring lying around, then do some spring cleaning. Get rid of anything that’s too big to fit in a washing machine and that you can afford to get rid of, but make sure to mark them in such a way that no one will pick them up from the curb!
Do: Kill with Heat
Wash pillows, sheets, clothing, couch covers, and anything else you can fit in hot water and dry them on the hottest cycle. This should kill anything within those fabrics. Anything else – like mattresses, pillows, and couch cushions – should be put in black bags, sealed, and outside in the sunlight for about 24 hours. The heat from the sun trapped in the bags will be enough to kill whatever’s living inside. However, don’t turn up the furnace in your home, as this won’t be hot enough to kill the bed bugs and will only waste energy.
Do: Use Professional Products
You can easily learn how to kill bed bugs with any of the professional-grade products on the market. Treat the entire room with something like Suspend SC, Talstar, or Bedlam Plus that has immediate and residual control, which you can spray in the corners of rooms, along baseboards, in closets, and other hard surfaces. Find a steam cleaner that’s made specifically for killing bed bugs and use it on all the fabrics in your home. Then, use protective mattress covers to seal your mattress until the rest of the bugs have died while also protecting your skin as you sleep.