In the 21st century, one of the most relevant problems is to prevent the appearance and remove bedbugs from an apartment or a private home. It is wrongly believed that lack of hygiene and pets are responsible for bedbug infestation. Fighting these insects must begin immediately after you discover them and there are chemical and natural products, as well as some preventive measures that you need to know. We shall give you some useful and practical tips how to prevent bedbug bites and how to get rid of these annoying bugs.
Table of Contents
How to prevent bedbug infestation?
Before being a subject to bedbug bites, one needs to realize where these insects come from, what are the places that they occupy and hide and how to recognize them. So, what is a bedbug and how to recognize it?
Bedbugs are small, oval, brown colored insects that feed on the blood of animals or humans. An adult bedbug has a flat body about the size of an apple seed but after feeding their body swells and has a reddish color. At first glance, they are difficult to distinguish from dirt as they can be as little as 1 mm and reach only 7 mm in size. Typically, male bugs are much smaller than female. Bedbugs are classified as several species – brown, black and white and the color depends on the degree of hunger. Like mosquitoes, bed bugs are bloodsuckers and they saw through the skin injecting saliva that contains anticoagulants and painkillers.
Where bed bugs come from? This is a good question which has several answers. It is good to know that these miniature insects like to travel so every time you visit a place, you may bring them back with your luggage. Generally, bedbugs may appear from used furniture or other infested areas. In addition, they move between rooms and apartments in buildings like hotels, motels, dormitories, etc. The bugs move quickly and actively occupy new territories. In villages they can live in a chicken coop, for example and then settle in human homes. Bedbug infestation may occur in various ways:
- Travel – In warm countries, the population of bugs is most common. They may come to your home in your travel bag as hitch hikers and it takes a few weeks to contaminate your bedroom.
- Second hand furniture – When buying used furniture people do not think about insects. Upholstered furniture is a favorite place for the bugs to establish a population. Sofas, chairs, armchairs, mattresses, soft seats – these are the usual habitat of bedbugs.
- Clothes – bedbugs tend to hide in a clothing storehouse. You may bring them home even from a department store. Most often, the insects can be found in second hand clothes stores and if you bought something from such a place you need to treat it carefully.
- Household appliances – During the day bed bugs lead a secret lifestyle. They are hiding in notebooks, computer, TV, etc.
Where bedbugs live and how to find them? As their name suggests, they live in human beds. However, when not feeding, they may hide in other places. Generally, their places of residence are selected based on their proximity to the source of the blood. If you want to check your home, these are the places you need to look at:
- around the bed;
- near the piping;
- slots in the floor;
- in cracks on the bed frame or headboard;
- seams of mattress;
- upholstered furniture;
- electrical appliances;
- under rugs
- dog and cat beds
- electrical outlets;
- seams of chairs and sofas;
- folds of curtains;
- drawer joints;
- under loose wallpaper and wall hangings;
- at the corner where the wall and the ceiling meet.
How to recognize infestation and get rid of bedbugs?
The truth is that it is not very easy to spot bed bugs due to their tiny size. In addition the areas they live in are not at plain sight. However, if you are careful, you may find out their presence. Obviously, when you wake up with bites on your body you can be certain that you have a pest problem. Keep in mind that identifying bed bug bites can be difficult as every individual reacts in a different way. Here are some signs that will help you identify whether you might have a bed bug problem:
- Live bed bugs on furniture joints and skirting boards;
- Shed skins, droppings or egg cases
- Blood stains on sheets;
- Dark stains around the mattress and bed frame;
- Unpleasant, sweet scent.
How to get rid of bedbugs? Well, once you identified the problem, you may need the help of a professional company. Keep in mind that these pests can survive low temperature but die when their body temperature reaches 45°C (113°F). In addition, bedbugs can survive for up to one year without feeding which means that the problem may exist without your knowledge. Getting rid of bedbugs is not an easy task and we shall give you some ideas of simple methods that may help. However, in most cases, killing bedbugs requires a pest control expert. The market offers a variety of aerosol insecticides but it takes time. Further to that, in apartment buildings, you will need the assistance and cooperation of neighbors. There are several effective ways to get rid of bedbugs:
Use essential oils. The smell of wormwood, thyme and patchouli is a deterrent for bugs.
Spray vinegar directly on bed bugs. The acetic acid can kill them. However, this is not a permanent solution of the problem. It is safe and effective method, but a short term solution.
High heat is another way to get rid of bedbugs as they die when exposed to high heat. Put all your bedding, pillows, curtains, etc. in the washing machine and wash on the highest temperature setting. To kill bed bugs with heat, the room must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding. Some people use steamers as well. Steam clean the mattress and upholstered furniture, carpets, curtains, etc.
Use a vacuum cleaner to physically remove bed bugs. Remember to carefully empty and clean the vacuum canister and filter.
Spray liquid insecticides or aerosols around and under the bed, inside of closets, door frames and doors, seams of drawers, around windows, chairs and underneath chairs. Remember that you should not apply such substances to mattresses or other surfaces unless they are labeled as safe for that type of treatment.
Scrub infested surfaces with a stiff brush to remove eggs.
Fill the cracks in floors, walls, and moldings.
How to prevent bedbug bites and infestation?
Everyone knows that prevention is the best fighting method. Yes, it takes time and effort, but better be safe than sorry, right? Begin with thorough cleaning of the house and pay special attention to the bedrooms. Bed bugs like clutter and warmth so remove everything unnecessary.
Vacuum clean everything. Bedbugs hide and lay their eggs on hard surfaces so vacuum cleaning under furniture is a good method to prevent their appearance. This includes moldings, window frames, etc.
Avoid second hand upholstered furniture and do not bring in your home bed frames or mattresses that you found on the street! If you rent furniture, make sure you inspect it thoroughly before bringing it into the home.
Move the bed away from walls or furniture.
Use mattress and box spring covers.
When traveling, check the room in the hotel. Look at the mattress and the headboard for signs of bedbugs. Do not place your luggage on the floor carpet. Upon return, wash everything.
Throw away infested items wrapped in plastic and make sure you put a sign that the thrown items are a subject to bedbug infestation.
Bedbug bites are very unpleasant and may cause insomnia, skin damage, and irritation. To prevent bed bug infestation you need to follow the principles of efficiency and use only reliable, safe and proven methods.