Last Updated on February 18, 2021
Bed bugs are a big nuisance and it is important to know how to get rid of bed bugs so that they do not disturb you in your sleep.
But before we get on the actual steps on how to get rid of them and kill them, let’s find out more about what these bed bugs are…
Bedbugs are small insects that are usually oval in shape and brownish in color and they feed on the blood of animals and humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies and more often than not they measure about the size of an apple seed. Yep, that’s the average bedbug size!
One of the most noticeable things about these bugs is that they produce very quickly.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a female bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Now, you can well imagine, how fast they can grow!
They can easily make your life hell if they infest your bed. Bedbug bites can leave red, itchy welts all over your body and make it hard for you to sleep peacefully at night.
Thankfully, it is possible to get rid of bedbugs but it may require some time and effort. There are a couple of options available on how to get rid of bed bugs that include various different chemical and non-chemical approaches and what approach you use depends upon the size of infestation.
Fortunately, you can get rid of bedbugs. Be patient as removing bedbugs often takes some time and effort. You may have to try a few different chemical and non-chemical approaches, especially if you have a large infestation.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast
Let’s find out the best ways to get rid of bed bugs as well as to kill them so that you can sleep in comfort without getting those nasty bites that they are well-known for:
1. Identify all those places that are infested
If you have bedbugs then it’s important that you take early action, Delaying things can only worsen the situation since they multiply very quickly. Moreover, early action makes things much easier as well as cheaper. It is easy to treat and handle and small infestation as compared to a big one but the main problem is those small infestations are harder to detect.
Thus, the first step in how to get rid of bed bugs is to identify the places that are infested with such bugs. Bedbugs squeeze into tiny spots such as the seam of a mattress or the couch. Not just this, they can also easily get into the folds of curtains.
Some of the common places where you can see bedbugs and hunt them down include the following:
- close to the tags of the mattress and box spring
- in small cracks in the bed frame or the headboard
- in baseboards
- between cushions placed on your couch
- in small furniture joints
- inside electrical outlets
- under loose wallpaper
A flashlight and a magnifying glass can be some of the tools that can be really handy and helpful in finding out such bugs from where they are hiding.
What are the common signs of bedug infestations?
Some of the common signs of infestation could include the following:
- Live bedbugs themselves that are reddish in color and are about 5 mm in length
- small dark spots that are just as big as a period (these are bedbug droppings)
- small and pale yellow eggs
- yellowish skins that bedbugs shed
2. Contain the Infestation
Once you have been able to locate the infestation, the next step is to contain it so that it does not spread further and one of the best ways to do so is to run a vacuum over them.
Thus, you must try to vacuum your bed, dresser, carpets, furniture, electronics, etc. so that it can suck all the bugs and once you have done that seal the vacuumed contents to a plastic bag before you throw them away. Not just this, it is also important to clean the vacuum thoroughly afterward.
Once you have thrown the bag with all the bedbugs in it, it’s time to take care of all the linens and affected clothes. All you need to do is put them in a bag and wash them with hot water. If there’s any time that cannot be washed, the best way is to put it in a dryer and run it for about 30 minutes at the highest temperature setting.
If there’s anything that you cannot wash or put in a dryer, it is best to put it in a plastic bag and leave it closed for a couple of months so that all the bugs die.
If there’s anything that you can’t debug then its best to throw it away since it can spread the infestation again.
3. Prepping for Debugging
Before you begin treating the infested stuff in your home, it is important to do some preparations so as to achieve maximum success with your debugging treatment.
Now, is the time to take care of all the places where bugs hide and grow. What you need to do is pick up books, magazines, clothes, and anything else lying on the floor or under the bed and take care of it either by cleaning it and if it’s not possible to do so then by throwing it away.
And don’t ever move items from an infested place in your house to a clean room or place because you could spread infection unintentionally.
Moreover, you should also try to seal any small open spaces. It is always better to glue down loose wallpaper. Similarly, it is important to take care of small cracks in furniture and around the baseboard.
If there are some electrical outlets that are of no use then it is best to tape them up. Additionally, try to move your bed at least 6 inches away from the wall so that bedbugs cannot climb onto the bed from the wall.
4. Its time to Kill the Bedbugs
Home Cleaning Techniques – DIY Treatments
When trying to get rid of bedbugs, the first and foremost approach should be to try and kill them without using any chemicals and it can be done either with heat or intense cold. It is known that bedbugs cannot survive in temperature above 46°C (115°F) or below 0°C (32°F), which happens to be the freezing temperature.
Here are some simple and easy ways to kill bedbugs naturally without using any chemicals:
- One of the best and easiest way is to wash infested clothes, beddings, and linen in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Once you are done with that put them in a dryer on the highest heat setting for another 30 minutes.
- Another great way is to use a steamer on your mattresses, couches, and other places that could be infested with bedbugs. You can use a steamer on things that you cannot put in a washing machine or a dryer.
- Another way to get rid of bedbugs is to put all infested things in a plastic bag and leave them out in the sun. Now, this is going to be effective only on a hot day when the temperature is soaring above 95 degrees. Likewise, you can leave things out in the cold during winter days. However, what you need to keep in mind is that in cooler temperatures bedbugs may take up to 5 months to die.
- When it comes to treating bedbugs with cold, you can try to leave the bag containing infested items in a freezer at a temperature of less than 0°F, and in such a case, you must leave the bag lying in there for at least 4 days.
What after you are done with eradicating all the bugs?
Once you are done with killing all the bugs, it is important to prevent any kind of re-infestation and it is possible to do so by making the place inhospitable for such bugs. One of the best and foolproof ways to do so is by placing a bedbug-proof cover on your mattress and box spring and zip up the cover all the way. By doing that, you not only trap any leftovers inside the cover but also make it almost impossible for the new bugs to reach your bed.
If, in any case, you are not able to get rid of bedbugs through this method, it’s time to try an insecticide.
Another approach to clean all infestations is with the help of insecticides. In such a case, you can buy one that is clearly meant for treating bedbugs.
Here are some of the options to consider:
- Pyrethrins and pyrethroids – These are some highly common chemicals that are used to kill bedbugs. However, there are some bugs that are known to become resistant to these chemicals.
- Neonicotinoids – These are much like nicotine and work by damaging the nervous system of the bugs. This kind of chemical is highly effective on bugs that have become resistant to other chemicals.
- Another option to try is Desiccants. By definition, these are substances that are used to dry out or induce/sustain a state of dryness by absorbing water. These chemicals try to destroy the outer coating of the bugs so that they dry out and die. Silica Aerogel (Tri-Die and CimeXa) are some of the best examples of desiccants. One of the biggest plus points of these chemicals and is that bugs cannot become resistant to them.
- Yet another option is to use foggers or bug bombs. However, the problem with them is that they cannot get into small crevices and cracks. More importantly, they can be toxic to humans. In case you decide to use them, check the label carefully and follow the instructions. Moreover, you must leave the room before you set off the fogger.
5. Monitor the Areas that You have Cleaned
First and foremost, you must keep in mind that killing and cleaning bugs takes time. Its not possible to have them completely wiped out in just one go. You need to monitor the condition on a regular basis once you are done with the chemical or non-chemical treatment.
You must check out the infested area and inspect it closely, preferably with the help of a magnifying glass to make sure that the area is completely free of bugs.
In order to spot any surviving bugs, you can also place bedbugs interceptors under all the legs of your bed. These are devices that trap these bugs before they can get onto your bed. And as a precautionary measure, you need to check these interceptors for at least another year.
6. Consider Re-Treatment, if Required
What you need to keep in mind is that bedbugs are hardened creatures and even after making sure that you have completely wiped them out, you might spot some sooner or later.
In such a case, you will have to try another chemical or treatment method from the one that you tried previously.
If, in any case, you do not succeed with bedbug removal for whatever reason, you must call professional help. They can do a good job even though you might have to spend a few hundred dollars more.
7. Get Professional Help for Bedbug Treatment
The message here is quite simple…
If you can’t handle it yourself, get professionals involved!
Professionals can do a much better job at exterminating bedbugs than you because of a couple of reasons. First of all, they have access to chemicals, bedbug sprays, and equipment that is not easily available to you. More often than not, they have chemicals that can kill bedbugs on the first contact itself and more importantly, they know how to use such chemicals safely.
Secondly, professionals have a lot more experience of killing bedbugs efficiently and wiping them out even from hard-to-reach places such as inside the furniture and tiny cracks therein.
Pest control companies not only treat bedbugs with chemicals but they can also use what is called a whole room heat treatment.
A professional bedbug exterminator comes with special equipment that can be used to heat up a complete room to kill all the bugs inside. Usually, they heat up a room to a temperature that is between 135-145°F, which is high enough to kill all the bugs present in the room. This is something that you cannot do on your own and pest control companies do so by taking a whole lot of precautions in order to avoid any kind of damage to other things and materials present in the room.
When you get in touch with such pest control companies, they give you detailed instructions on how to prepare the room/home before they can begin their work. You need to follow their instructions and guidelines closely so that everything goes smoothly and they are able to remove all bugs for good.
Secondly, such companies often require 2-3 visits to your home before they complete the job and after each treatment, you are required to stay out of the room for a minimum of at least a few hours so that the insecticide used dries out and does not harm you.
8. Prevent Further Infestations of Bedbugs on Mattress
Once you are done with wiping out all the bugs, you need to make sure that they do not return and that you get rid of them permanently.
In such a case, prevention is better than cure!
Here are some simple steps on how to prevent bedbugs from further infestation:
- One of the most important things is to clear up the clutter. Unnecessary papers, magazines, clothes, and other items lying on the floor are the perfect breeding ground for bedbugs. Try to clear them away so as to prevent any further infestation.
- It’s also a good idea to cover your mattress and box spring with a bedbug cover and zip it up so that if there are any bugs either in the mattress they cannot come out and get killed therein and if some try to reach the mattress, they cannot do so.
- Vacuuming and washing the bedding, furniture, curtains, and carpets is also a great idea.
- It is important to seal any cracks around electrical sockets, baseboards etc. so that bedbugs do not hide and breed there.
Getting rid of bed bugs can be quite tricky and might require a lot of effort if you do it yourself. Even though it is not impossible to kill them yourself, it is highly recommended that you seek professional help in case the infestation is quite big and troublesome. Otherwise, you can try any of the methods listed above.