It’s in everyone’s best interest to avoid having a bed bug problem. Just one can hitch a ride on your clothing or baggage and quickly cause an infestation throughout your home. These are not ordinary bugs. Squashing the ones you see doesn’t solve the problem. Specialized treatments are what kills bed bugs wherever they hide.
Identifying the Scope of the Problem
Bed bugs are very flat, making it easy for them to access any hiding place. While they’re visible to the naked eye, it’s easier to identify them with a magnifying glass. They have a classic, oval-shaped, reddish-brown body; once you see them, a sunken feeling of despair comes next.
Adults, nymphs, and their eggs tend to cluster in the seams of mattresses, couches, and chairs. The adults tend to have a brown color but the nymphs may be translucent or whitish yellow.
Knowing what a bed bug looks like is just one step. Next you need to find out how big the problem is. These little critters like protected places. Anywhere it is dark and isolated is a good start in seeing the magnitude of the infestation.
Peek into all cracks and seams. Bed bugs can creep behind wallpaper, around door frames, and even into electrical outlets. Also look for the classic rusty mattress stains, shed skins, and dark spots of excrement.
Once the problem is identified and assessed, it’s time to prepare so you actually kill all the bed bugs. First carefully clean up any clutter. Blankets, toys, and electronics should be removed and cleaned to prevent spreading the insects. Further gauge the problem by dismantling bed frames, removing drawers, and standing up the mattress and box spring. Inspect for more bed bugs all the while.
Clean all infested rooms and scrub any infested surfaces. A stiff brush is usually sufficient for getting to the eggs. Use vacuum cleaner attachments that get into bed seams, baseboards, carpet edges, and other tight areas and throw out the vacuum bags afterwards.
Next, seal up any cracks or holes in the wall or floor, cracks near baseboards, or spaces in molding. Still, this is not enough to kill the bed bugs that are there.
How to Kill Bed Bugs in Their Tracks
- Heat is what kills bed bugs the best. Sometimes people use strong heaters to essentially bake the insects no matter where they are. Hot water can be used to treat infested clothing and bed linens. Clothes dryers can work as well. Bed bugs cannot survive temperatures above 120°F, so heating rooms and articles for 90 minutes or more is typically effective. At least 40 minutes in a dryer is recommended.
- Freezing has been known to work as well. Four days of temperatures below 0°F kills bed bugs. If you can fit infested items into your freezer and it works at temperatures that low, it’s a good way to eliminate the problem.
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