According to the 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey, 99.6% of U.S.-based professional pest management companies encountered a bed bug infestation in the past year. This fact alone is enough to make your skin crawl, but wait, it gets worse. As bed bugs are the most formidable pest that infests home – even more so than the resilient cockroach – their numbers are only expected to continue to rise in the years to come.
If you are one of the countless people who have discovered bed bugs in their home, you may be confused about what steps to take next to get them out safely and effectively. In order to ensure a pest-free home and get the chance to sleep easy once again, apply the following tips as soon as you spot bed bugs on your property.
The first step you should take the moment you detect bed bugs in your home is to call a professional. Bed bugs are the most difficult pest to treat, and the safest and most effective way to get them out is through the assistance of a professional. You may want to run to your nearest department store to buy pesticides, but restrain yourself: pesticides can be very harmful to humans and pets, and many people do not know how to safely apply them in their homes. By contacting a pest control professional, you will not only be assured that your home will become bedbug-free, but it will be done so through the use of the safest and most effective treatments possible.
Clutter in the home is a bed bug’s best friend. With a bounty of places to hide, clutter provides ideal conditions for bed bugs to survive and roam from one room to the next undetected. By cleaning your home and removing all unnecessary items, it will not only be easier to spot these critters in your home, but the treatment process will be significantly streamlined for the exterminator. Also, be sure to vacuum each room thoroughly after eliminating clutter to remove any lingering bed bugs before they find a new place to hide.
When you spot bed bugs in your bed or on an item of clothing, your first reaction will likely be to throw these items out. However, this is often unnecessary, since they will likely be killed during the extermination process. In fact, throwing items out can actually increase the spread of an infestation throughout your home, primarily because bed bugs can detach themselves at any moment and scurry to find a new hiding place. By keeping infested items where you found them, you can avoid the costs of replacement and help keep the infestation localized.
Just as you might be inclined to throw infested items away, changing where you sleep after detecting bed bugs is a common mistake you can make. If you discovered bed bugs in your bed, avoid sleeping in another room or on the couch – bed bugs are pervasive pests that won’t be deterred by this action. In fact, moving to another room will likely cause the infestation to spread throughout your home, as the pests will find your new sleeping location easily and proceed to infest this place as well.
Bed bugs’ preferred method to move throughout a home is to attach themselves to a person’s clothes and get off in a new room. What this means is, if bed bugs have infested your home, chances are they have infested your closet as well. Regularly laundering your clothes is a simple and inexpensive way to kill bed bugs, and it is also one of the most effective home remedies you can perform. Be sure to dry your clothes at a high temperature to eliminate any lingering pests, and inspect your clothes before placing them back in your dresser or closet.
Mattress encasements have long been an effective solution to prevent bed bugs from infesting your bed; however, they can also be utilized after an infestation has been identified. Through the use of plastic encasements, you can seal bed bugs inside and keep them from biting you in your sleep. Better yet, it will prevent the infestation from growing in your bedroom, making their extermination much easier once the professional arrives.
Bed bugs may be a tricky pest to treat, but following the aforementioned tips can do a great deal to help you get them out and prevent the infestation from getting worse. Remember that even one lone bed bug can be the sign of a bigger problem in your home, and the sooner you take actions to treat them, the more effective their removal will be. If you decide to work with a pest control professional to manage and control existing bed bug problems, be sure to also ask them for tips on how to prevent future infestations in your home.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.