Bed Bug Treatment

Although, best left to professional exterminators, this article helps explain what bed bugs are and ways to treat them yourselves as a stop-gap measure.

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, prefers to feed on human blood. Other Cimex species specialize in other animals, i.e., Bat Bugs. Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, likely due to pesticide resistance. They are not known to transmit any pathogens.

Where are Bed Bugs Usually Found?

Common Bed Bug hiding places are tufts of mattresses, mattress seams, drapery cuffs and pleats of draperies, behind baseboards, wallpaper and in walls and where the carpeting meets with the walls. Bed bugs like warm spots and are mostly nocturnal.

What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Adults are about 1/4 inch in length and flat. Babies are the size of a poppy seed and since they feed on blood meal, can take on a red color. Bed bugs can lay dormant for up to six months.

Treatment Methods to Rid Your Home of Bed Bugs

In all instances, wear protective gear. Try to cover yourself as completely as possible. Vacuum with a high quality COMMERCIAL GRADE vacuum cleaner with 4-stage HEPA filtration and disposable paper bags. Immediately place used vacuum bag in a plastic trash can liner then “double bag” it and dispose in an outdoor trash can or dumpster.

Notes About Vacuuming Bed Bugs

Invert vacuum and spray beater bar and crevice tool with a “bed bug” pesticide. Historically, bed bug pesticides that have been found effective include pyrethroids, dichlorvos and/or malathion.

Treating Linens Found to Have Bed Bugs

Linens should be double bagged (in the room) and tied shut. The bags should be washed separately and the bags emptied directly in the washing machines (bag all trash bags, seal and dispose of to an external dumpster) do not mix with the rest of the laundry. The linens should be washed in high heat cycled for a minimum of 20 minutes – the longer the better (it is the heat of 120 degrees that will kill the bed bugs not the water). Dryer’s heat setting to high heat will kill all stages of bedbugs.

Treating Carpets Found to Have Bed Bugs

Spray an approved pesticide into all crevices around the room especially by the hallway to prevent the bugs from crawling out of the infected room. Mist spray the carpeting thoroughly to cover all the areas. An insecticide fogger may also be used in addition to spraying into all crevices. Bed bugs love to hide along edges of rooms, especially near heat registers, beds, curtains, furniture.

Treating Curtains and Draperies Found to Have Bed Bugs

Spray in place, using mist spray pattern with an approved pesticide. Check for color fastness ininconspicuous area of the drapes before applying over entire curtain surface. After drapes have dried, take down, double bag and have them steam cleaned.

Treating Sofas and Other Furniture Found to Have Bed Bugs

Vacuum all the crevices underneath webbing and bottom coverings carefully with a crevice tool. Leather sofas are to be vacuumed extra carefully. Do not spray a leather sofa directly. Let room and furnishings air dry overnight. Open windows if possible and repeat if necessary.

Treating Sofas and Other Furniture Found to Have Bed Bugs

After thoroughly vacuuming, stand mattress on its end the long way against a wall. Mist down the flat mattress area and seams with an approved pesticide. Start at the top of the mattress and work your way down. Pillow top mattresses: the pillow top should be pulled up to allow spray to get into that area.

Let the mattress air-dry by turning the mattress to expose all sides to the air during the drying period. The same procedures should be followed for the box spring. If decide to remove the mattress and box spring from the room, it should be treated in place first and then removed. Any mattress and box spring should be bagged and sealed before leaving the room. Mattress bags are available from mattress supply companies in various sizes. If you decide to dispose of the mattress, it should be marked appropriately so dumpster divers won’t salvage the mattress and use it.

Summary

You should probably leave the eradication of bed bugs to professional exterminators. WE DO NOT PROVIDE THIS SERVICE.

This article is intended to help you understand what bed bugs are and provide some stop-gap remedies until the professionals arrive.