You are likely to have never considered the possibility that your home may one day be infested with bedbugs. This type of infestation sounds like a relic of a distant past, yet bedbug infestations are becoming increasingly common across the United States.
Although bedbugs can be killed with specific poisons, the best and safest way to eliminate bedbugs is using heat to get rid of both the bugs and their eggs.
How do bedbugs get into your home?
If you live in an apartment or rowhome, bedbugs can enter through walls or floors. This method of infestation is more likely if a connected domicile is being treated and the bedbugs are looking for a safe haven.
A more common way of picking up bedbugs is bringing them into your home yourself, either on an infested item or on your person.
Bedbugs can't jump or fly, so they must crawl onto your clothing as you make contact with an infested area or person. You may pick up bedbugs in a movie theater, on a bus, in a waiting room, or any other public area where you may sit for an extended period.
Yard sales, flea markets, and private sealed of home goods, especially used rugs, are also possible sources of infestations.
What are the signs of bedbug infestation?
You may start to notice small droplets of dried blood on your sheets or pillowcases before you actually notice a bedbug infestation. You may start itching at night from bedbug bites.
Upon close inspection of your bedding and bed frame, you will see brown stains, which are bedbug excrement, and you will eventually notice the bedbugs themselves.
Adult bedbugs are rust colored and about 1/4 inch in diameter. Babies are lighter in color and difficult to see unless they are moving.
Using heat to get rid of bedbugs
Eliminating bedbugs is a ponderous task. They can crawl into every type of space. Mattresses, sofas, wall molding, and appliances are all possible hiding and breeding spots.
However, they prefer to stay close to their feeding source, so beds and furniture are the most likely hiding places.
You will need a strong vacuum and a canister type steamer with a sufficiently long hose to kill bedbugs in various locations. Bedbugs can be killed by heat that reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which water turns to steam.
Creating a safe place
You will begin treatment by decontaminating your bed and creating an area both free of bedbugs and protected from future infestations. You will need to buy three items to accomplish this task.
Mattress cover designed for bedbug infestations
Bed bug interceptor cups to place under the bed frame to keep bed bugs from climbing bed legs
Canister type steamer
This means removing all bedding and placing it in a dryer for at least one hour at the hottest setting. You should then remove the mattress and boxspring, vacuum them thoroughly, then steam every inch of their surfaces.
Next, take apart the bed frame and vacuum and steam every square inch of the frame, especially the normally hidden crevices.
Assemble the bed frame and place the interceptor cups under the frame legs, then cover both the mattress and boxspring with the bedbug covers. These covers keep any hidden bedbugs inside so they eventually die of starvation.
The covers should remain on your bed for at least one year.
Treating the rest of your home
All of your clothing will need to be placed in a dryer for at least one hour at the highest setting, then placed in sealed plastic bags while treatment is performed.
You will then vacuum and steam every accessible part of your home, including furniture, rugs and carpets, even wall mounding..You will likely need to repeat this treatment multiple times to eliminate bedbugs and their larva.
Keep your bed safe through constant vigilance. Never lie on the bed in street clothes or allow bedding to touch the floor or night stands.
You will need to be mindful throughout the process if you hope to get rid of bedbugs and prevent future infestations. For more information, contact a local pest control company, such as Fowler Pest Control.