Bed bugs are terrible.
You hate them.
I hate them.
We have to find the best way to get rid of bed bugs!
In this article I’m going to help to answer these questions: what are bed bugs?, How to kill bed bugs?, and how to eliminate bed bugs? And since we don’t want to upset the delicate balance of our awesome planet, I’m going to show you some home remedies for bed bugs that won’t harm a hair on her lovely head. So here are the best ways to get rid of bed bugs naturally.
A little background
First of all what are bed bugs? Their scientific name is Cimex Lectularius (Cimicidae.) They’re small, wingless insects whose hatch-lings grow from the size of a poppy seed to about 6 millimeters or ¼ inch long.
They are parasites, which mean that they feed from their host and give nothing back; in fact they’re usually harmful. Unlike fleas, ticks and lice, these predators don’t live ON humans, but they love the places we love. So knowing how to get rid of bed bugs for good should be your top priority. So how do you get rid of bed bugs?
Find them first
First of all, you need to know where they hang out! You can’t do any bedbug removal if you don’t know where they are! Bedbug hiding places are in soft, warm, dark places, like beds, sofas, and the cracks and crevices therein. To know how to treat bed bugs, you need to use some of these basic methods although if you know any more ways about how to get rid of bed bugs yourself, I’m sure we’d all be eternally grateful to hear about it!
You will know that you are a bed bug smorgasbord if you experience the following symptoms:
1) Raised red spots, usually on the arms and shoulders, which can be so itchy and irritating that some people scratch the skin raw, exposing them to infections. Often these are in neat little rows! Treat these with an antiseptic, then a product to stop them itching, then a big fat sticking plaster!
2) Allergic reactions, which can range from the very mild to the life threatening variety, so it’s best not to ignore them. Away to the doctor with you!
How to Kill Bed Bugs Yourself
The first thing to do is to clear any clutter around the bed; if you’re keeping it, clean it thoroughly. If not, bag it and dump it in the trash, but whatever you do dispose of it in a way that won’t pass on the cargo. These home remedies for bed bugs might not destroy them all but will help keep them from spreading.
Signs that you are sharing your bed with unwelcome guests: insect bites around any exposed bits of your body, blood stains on your bedding, molted insects’ skins on your bed and a slightly sweet rotten smell.
Bear in mind that the little bloodsuckers are nocturnal, so they make themselves scarce during the daylight hours and only come out at night to do their nefarious business. So want to know how to treat bed bugs? If you don’t know what to do about bed bugs let me give you a few tips.
One of the really effective bed bug solutions is temperature. Bake ’em, boil ‘em or freeze ‘em! Linens, clothing and fabrics which may have touched and been contaminated by infested items have to be cleaned thoroughly with very hot water. Bed bugs can’t survive temperatures above 250F/120c.
Then you can dry them in your tumble dryer on the hottest setting for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, if the weather is below zero you can leave them outside to freeze to death! (I like that one!) Be careful if you carry your items in laundry baskets that you have a ‘before cleaning’ and ‘after cleaning’ basket. You don’t want to undo all your good work by cross contamination.
Using your Trusty Vacuum Cleaner to Kill them
Another thing to know about how to kill bed bugs at home is to suck ‘em up! Your vacuum cleaner is one of your best pals in bedbug extermination (or the Battle Against Bed Bugs.)
I said that they loved dark cracks and crevices, so you need to thoroughly suck them out of the nooks and crannies where they lurk, such as the cracks in your furniture, the corners of your rooms and your carpets, waiting for you to go to sleep so they can feast on all your tender bits! (Remember that you are to a bed bug what a juicy fillet steak is to us!)
Please ensure that when you’re finished you dump your vacuum bag in the outside trash can, not forgetting to seal it properly in a plastic bag sealed with duct or parcel tape. Clean your vacuum thoroughly; they can still be lurking inside!
How else do you get rid of bed bugs? Scrub ‘em away! The mechanical action of a harsh scrubbing brush dislodges them very nicely! After that, CLEAN! And clean, and when you’ve finished doing that, clean some more, preferably with a strong disinfectant or bleach if your furniture can stand it. You can even dismantle your bed and do each piece individually.
Oils and Sprays as Home Remedies
Another best treatment for bed bugs is to spray ‘em! Use lavender, mint, eucalyptus, rosemary or tea tree oil. You can also strew the dried leaves of any pungent smelling herb like mint around your bed, and because the little blighters don’t like the smell of any of these things, they may leave your tender person alone for a while. You probably have these things laying around the house, which saves you money, you don’t want to this bugs to take bites from your skin and bites of your money.
I know someone who works as an exterminator and and I asked him “How do you kill bed bugs.” his response surprised me (because I thought he was going to try and sell me his services). He said “if you want to know how to get rid of bed bugs naturally, the best bed bugs treatment at home is lavender and mint.”
Try rubbing the oils over the bed frame, legs and floor around your bed. A similar method of prevention is to place your bed’s legs in shallow tins greased thickly with Vaseline. This will stop the bed bugs from climbing from the carpets up the bed legs. They get stuck and die. Fill any holes in your bed frame with an appropriate filler beforehand to stop them getting established again. Give them nowhere to hide!
Alcohol is another good weapon in your arsenal. Spraying alcohol can not only treat your bites, but if you spray it into the nooks and crannies where they live you can kill ‘em stone dead before they can do any damage!
One big cautionary note about alcohol, though: it is VERY flammable and is a fire risk, so if you’re a smoker, light candles or otherwise use a naked flame, this may not be the solution for you.
Use some Steam to Kill those critters
Steam ‘em! If you have any way of making steam (steam iron, boiling kettle, one of those clever things that do your clothes without you having to iron them) you can stand over them and watch them wriggle till they die! Make sure they’re dead, though. They’re remarkably resilient.
That old favorite, Bicarbonate of Soda, is another of your foot soldiers in the campaign against the bloodsucking battalions! Baking soda is good for just about anything, but if you sprinkle it in the crevices of the mattress and between the mattress and frame it will stick to them and they will eventually die of dehydration.
Use a dry paintbrush to get into all the places you can’t see well. You can make good use of a flashlight and mirror by lifting the mattress and examining it thoroughly from underneath.
Diatomaceous earth is one of the best bed bug extermination methods. It is a product made up of millions of fossilized skeletons of tiny creatures called diatoms. It’s made of silica, and when ground up is coarse, abrasive, and lethal to bedbugs! It basically rips them apart and they bleed to death.
This is a good, natural, planet-friendly way to go, although it can be quite stressful on your vacuum cleaner and you will have to wear a face mask because it doesn’t do any favours for your lungs either! It doesn’t look great sprinkled around your home, unfortunately, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, right? It is one of the best bed bug treatments at home.
Shut them Out
How else to treat bed bugs? Shut ‘em out! Encase your mattress and pillows with a bug proof cover made of cotton and polyurethane. Leave these on for at least a year or eighteen months of you want to be absolutely certain, since there may be thousands of eggs skulking around inside the mattress.
The cover is bed bug bite proof, so till you get rid of them permanently you are properly protected. This is a good solution if your mattress is infested and you can’t afford to buy a new one. If you use all the treatments above your bed should now be totally isolated from all danger of contamination.
How do you get rid of bed bugs before they move into your closets? If you have a lot of clothes and other belongings that you hold dear and you don’t want them to become Bed Bug Central, you can double bag them.
This means sealing them inside two bags and taping them shut at the top. You can also use a twist tie. This is a good barrier method for keeping them out. If there are things you don’t use very often and you want a good method of bed bug extermination, bear in mind that the nasty little critters can live for up to eighteen months before giving up the ghost.
Be careful of any sharp edges that may poke their nasty selves through the plastic; you don’t want all your efforts to be in vain.
The good news is that while bed bugs will tackle any warm-blooded creature, they prefer humans because of the amount of carbon dioxide we give off, but that doesn’t unfortunately let your pets off the hook. Though they are less likely to be bitten, they are by no means immune.
Bed Bugs for Those with Pets
However, your pet’s bedding may be infested, so wash them on the highest heat setting and/or tumble dry them at a very high heat for at least thirty minutes. If their pillows, blankets and baskets have any holes, discard them. They make great bed bug motels!
And you may have some other residents in your home that can provide free transport for bed bugs. If you have any rats, mice, owls or bats who have taken up residence in your loft, it’s better to humanely escort them off the premises!
If you have a cat (like me!) change its litter every five days so that it stays fresh. Cat litter dries out the insects and their eggs.
Bed Bugs in Hotels
If you’re travelling, here is a checklist to make sure your hotel room is bug free:
Use the luggage stand to keep clothes off the floor, then hang them in the closet furthest from the bed, and wearing rubber gloves, check the seams of the mattress to see if any bugs are lurking there. You’re looking for molted skins and things that look like grains of rice along the edges of the mattress. These are eggs.
Check tables, furniture and fixtures.
Powder in the drawers means that the room has already been treated, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t in the rest of the hotel. I would move to another place if I were you!
Conclusion and Summary
In conclusion, what is the best way to kill bed bugs? Well, there is no magic silver bullet or instruction manual that tells you how to kill bedbugs yourself; there is no single home remedy for bed bugs. It requires a consistent, repetitive effort.
Washing, cleaning, scrubbing, spraying, scattering and vacuuming over and over again are the only things that will get rid of these pests. (But think of all the calories you’ll burn!)
Even if you employ a professional pest killing company with state of the art technology and lots of toxic chemicals it may take them some time to totally eliminate the infestation, and it will be expensive! These are extremely nasty little critters that hang on for dear life!
Remember that 95% of the infestation is within a 5 foot radius of the bed, but if you think that’s small, it’s at least 25 square feet, (approximately – my math is awful) which still leaves plenty of room for the other 5%! If you live in an apartment block and the infestation keeps coming back you may need to contact your neighbor and/or the manager. Since this article showed you how to get rid of bed bugs for good, you can help them help you eliminate the infestation.
This problem requires constant vigilance, and remember that prevention is better than cure. The best way to get rid of bed bugs is never to let them in to start with, and even the best home remedies can’t beat that!
Several of the ways bed bugs can enter your home are: bringing in used clothing without washing it, bringing in used books or used ANYTHING in fact, inviting in someone who is infected, and taking stuff from a dumpster.
And remember it’s much harder to rid yourselves of uninvited guests than it is to unwittingly invite them in to start with! So, if in doubt, leave it out!
Don’t think that you’re immune because you live in a clean house; that’s a myth. The incidence of bedbug infestation is rising, and no-one is safe. It may be better not to invite friends round either; in this case sharing is NOT caring! Hope this has helped you to know how to get rid of bed bugs on your own!
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or if you have experience with bug killing then let me know how do you kill bed bugs.
Tom is a bug hater and DIY master. He loves destroying bugs that infest his home. When he’s not killing bugs he’s writing. Currently he is a contributor at moneysoldiers.com.
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