Perseverance and determination is the key to get rid of bed bugs permanently. Bed bugs are pesky creatures that lay hundreds of eggs and disturb your much needed sleep. Therefore, simply treating your premises with a suitable bed bug removal treatment once or twice is not enough – you need to repeat the procedure at least 3-4 times and, additionally, also follow an integrated approach to ensure eliminating all of the bugs, their eggs and larvae. Here are some of the easiest ways to get rid of bed bugs forever, by following a few simple steps and taking advantage of some effective natural home remedies.
1. Know the signs of bed bug activity
The key to preventing bed bugs from spreading is being vigilant constantly. Make sure you know what bed bugs look like. Bed bugs are tiny brown insects that are smaller in size than an apple seed. You might also notice specific signs of bed bug activity, such as brownish red or rust colored stains as well as a sickly sweet odor comparable to almonds, around your bed area. You might even see discarded shells of bed bugs around the edge of the mattress.
2. Vacuum the house thoroughly
Vacuum the house completely and not just the bedrooms where the bugs are typically found. Bed bugs tend to spread from room to room, so you must try to limit their spread by quarantining all items in the room being treated. You can do so by encasing the mattresses using special mattress encasements and also seal clothes, books, toys and photo frames in special plastic bags.
3. Wash infested items in hot water
This is an easy way to get rid of bed bug eggs and larvae – you literally ‘boil’ the infested items in hot water. Wash all your clothes, linen, bed sheets and pillow covers in the washer-dryer operated at the highest heat setting. You can also dry the washed items outdoors in the sun. The key is to raise the temperature of the infested items to 120 F since bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures. You can even place the bagged items inside a hot car during the summer, but you need to be sure that the temperature inside is at least 120 F to kill all bugs and larvae.
4. Be careful when traveling
Bed bugs are increasingly common in metros in developed countries. You can unknowingly pick them up from trains, buses, airplanes and motels. Even swanky five star hotels are dealing with bed bugs. So, if you happen to be spending the night in one, you must avoid placing your luggage open on the bed or luggage rack. Instead, stow it away in the hotel’s bathtub since bed bugs avoid this area. You can also seal your luggage in plastic bags or trash bags, if needed. Also, if you happen to host guests at your house, make sure you clean up the guest room thoroughly after their departure.
5. Try natural home remedies before bed bug bombs and pesticides
Bed bugs are often resistant to pesticides, foggers or bombs. So this seemingly easy way to get rid of bed bugs may not work and might even harm your kids or pets, so try to avoid the use of chemical sprays and powders too and use home remedies to kill bed bugs naturally instead. If you feel the infestation has gotten out of hand, contact an exterminator company.
6. Use diatomaceous earth powder – the natural bed bug killer
DE powder is safe and does not harm humans. However, it is best to keep children and pets away for the duration of the treatment while using it, as it can irritate the lungs. Apply the powder around furniture legs and sprinkle it liberally in headboards, inside box springs etc. The powder has sharp crystalline molecules which shred the bugs’ shell and insides and kills them instantly. This is an easy way to get rid of bed bugs naturally. You can also use diatomaceous earth to kill fleas.
7. Trap them to detect an infestation and remove bed bugs from your home
Bed bug traps are readily available in the market or you could even make one at home. Place the trap around the beds’ legs so the bugs get trapped inside it and are unable to come out. Then remove the bed bugs from your home. Traps use dry ice or CO2, which fools the bugs into mistaking it for humans.
8. Discard heavily infested items
The easiest way to get rid of bed bugs that have infested mattresses and clothes and seem almost impossible to kill, is to simply discard the items. Bag them and mark them as ‘Bed bug infested’ so other people do not pick them up.
9. Avoid picking up items at yard sales
Many victims of bed bug infestations pick up items from yard sales or at the roadside unknowingly. Avoid this at any cost to prevent the spread of bed bugs.
10. The integrated pest management approach
When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs permanently, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to be ever vigilant and use multiple approaches to solve the problem. For example, you can opt to get your carpets and sofas cleaned by professionals using steam vacuum cleaners, but you must also use diatomaceous powder or borax for bed bugs all around the house. Also, vacuuming and washing clothes in hot water are equally important steps in bed bug removal.
11. Repeat treatment every 3 weeks
Whichever method of bed bug eradication you use, make sure you repeat it every 2-3 weeks. Just keep trying because eventually this will help you get rid of the larvae and eggs that could initially have escaped.
12. Do not forget to treat cracks and crevices to kill all bed bugs
Bed bugs tend to hide in cracks and crevices of furniture, under the floor boards, inside carpets, in the lining of mattresses and sofas, on curtains, window sills, sockets or electrical outlets and so on. Do inspect these areas and seal all cracks with sealants or liberally sprinkle DE powder around them. This natural bed bug killer gets all the bugs that are trying to hide from you.
How to get rid of bed bugs permanently
At first glance, it might not seem easy to get rid of bed bugs using a DIY approach. However, by diligently using the above steps, and most importantly, by repeating the treatment every few weeks, you can make sure you get rid of them permanently. By taking preventative precautions afterwards, like keeping your home squeaky clean at all times, the bed bugs will stay away from your home forever.
Bed Bug FAQ
Before you start killing bed bugs, we have answered some of the most common bed bug questions.
What happens when a bed bug bites you and how fast do the bites or rashes appear?
When bed bugs bite you, they inject saliva into your skin. Many people will develop a rash from it. Some people can develop this rash anywhere from a few hours to days later. Rashes tend to develop if the bites are scratched often.
What do bed bug bites look like and how long do they last?
Bed bug bites look similar to flea bites. They are red and slightly raised. Bed bug bites often occur in rows. It’s not uncommon to have three or four bites right next to each other. These bites can last for a couple of weeks. If you scratch them, it can take longer for them to go away.
Why do bed bug bites itch and do they spread when scratched?
Bed bug bites itch because of the puncture to the skin. They become irritated and itch. This may cause you to scratch the bite. Fortunately, bed bug bites can’t be spread from scratching. However, they can become infected. This can cause them to get worse and scar.
How do you treat bed bug bites and scars and what can you do to prevent them?
You can treat bed bug bites by washing them with soap and water. This will cleanse the area and make them itch less. You can also apply a hydrocortisone cream. This over-the-counter-medication can greatly reduce how much your bed bug bites itch. It’s best to try not to scratch bed bug bites. Scratching them can cause them to scar. This scarring may be irreversible.
What is a bed bug, how long can they live and what does it mean if you find a dead one?
A bed bug is a wingless insect that ingests blood as its food source. It feeds off of a host, such as a human. Bed bugs can live over five months without having a blood meal. If able to feed consistently, bed bugs can live over a year. If you find a dead bed bug, you may have live ones present. You need to consult an exterminator to inspect your home for live bed bugs.
What does bed bugs look like, how many legs do they have and how big are they?
With an oval-shape and a reddish-brown color, bed bugs are rather small. They are about the size of an apple seed, and adults tend to be about 0.18 inches long. Bed bugs have six legs and body hair.
What does bed bug feces look like and what should you do if you find it?
The feces of a bed bug often appears in dark clusters. It can be black or rust colored. It may look like dots from a marker. If you find what looks like bed bug feces, you need to inspect the area thoroughly to see if you do in fact have a bed bug infestation.
What do bed bug eggs look like and how long do they take to hatch?
A bed bug egg looks similar to a grain of rice. It is white, and you will usually see several of them clustered together. They are sticky and about 0.1 inches long. Female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs each day. It takes about 10 days for these eggs to hatch.
How do you get rid of bed bug eggs and what temperature kills them?
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to get rid of bed bug eggs. Hot water can kill them. It needs to be at least 113°F for the eggs to die. However, you will have to expose them to this temperature for at least 90 minutes. It will only take about 20 minutes to kill them if the water temperature is 118°F or higher. If you find bed bugs eggs on an item that is small enough to fit in your bath-tub, fill the tub with hot water. Then, let the item soak for the appropriate amount of time. You should use a thermometer to make sure that the water is hot enough to kill the bed bug eggs.
How do you know how bad a bed bug infestation is?
It’s very difficult to treat a bad bed bug infestation on your own. If you see a lot of feces or live bed bugs crawling around, the infestation is bad. During a bad infestation, it’s not uncommon to see them on the walls, in bed frames or curtains. Because female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs a day, a bed bug infestation can go from mild to bad very quickly.
How much does bed bug treatment cost and when should you contact a professional?
The cost to have your home treated for bed bugs will depend on a number of factors. The severity of the infestation and the location of your home will influence the cost. Many bed bug treatments cost under $400. Before your home is treated, your exterminator will go over the costs with you.
What to do after bed bug treatment and when can you return home?
After you’ve had your home treated for bed bugs, you should wash your linens. This will ensure that you aren’t using bedding that has had chemicals put on them. In many cases, you can return to your home about five hours after it has been treated for bed bugs. Your exterminator will let you know when it’s safe to go back inside.