What can you do if you already have bed bugs? First, don’t panic. Sure, I know it’s what you want to do. After all, living with bed bugs is gross, disgusting, itchy and embarrassing. But falling apart won’t get rid of the nasty things. You need to take control! Take action! Get back in charge and get rid of the darn things! We’re going to tell you how.
- #1 Contact a professional. Bed bugs are tiny, hard to find, easy to spread and hard to get rid of. If you want to completely eliminate them from your home or business, you’re going to need the help of a highly trained, licensed professional with expert knowledge of bed bug biology, behavior, and the proper use of pesticides. Commercial pesticides won’t do the job and may wind up spreading bed bugs to other rooms in your house. But there are things you can do to help eliminate the pesky insects faster.
- #2 Kill the bugs. Regularly inspect and vacuum your mattress and box springs. Make sure you dispose of the vacuum bag immediately by tying it tightly in a plastic bag and removing it from your home to an outside container. If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the contents into a plastic bag, tie it shut and remove it from the house. Then wash the canister in hot water to remove any bugs or eggs. If you see any live bugs on your mattress, kill them by crushing them. They may leave a dark stain, but stains can be washed.
- #3 Eliminate clutter. Bed bugs hide in clutter; it’s their safe zone. Pest control measures and chemicals may not be able to reach bed bugs deep in a pile of clutter. You must remove bug hiding places and make them accessible to treatment if you’re going to totally eliminate the problem. So clean up and clear out the clutter!
- #4 Nix underbed storage. Bed bugs hang out near their food source. They’re nocturnal, creeping out at night to feed — on you in your cozy bed. You want to eliminate any places they might hide near your bed so that chemical treatments can reach the little buggers. That means eliminating underbed storage.
- #5 Fire up the washer. Linens should be laundered weekly in hot water and dried on the hot cycle of your dryer to kill bugs and eggs. Eggs may not be visible. They’re very tiny and can be dropped in clusters or singly as females roam around your bed — so don’t trust your eyes. If your couch is infested, toss the cushion covers in the wash every week too.
- #6 Install mattress and box spring encasements. Not only will encasements trap bed bugs inside so they eventually starve to death, but they’ll keep new bugs from getting into your mattress and box springs. It’s important to keep the encasements on, sealed and in good repair as bed bugs can live without food for many months. Not all encasements are created equal. You need one that is bed bug bite and escape proof. We’ll talk more about encasements in our next blog post.
- #7 Stay in your bed. This is one of the hardest things you may have to do if you have bed bugs. You will have a strong desire to abandon your bed — the presumed source of your woes — and sleep in the guest room, on the sofa, or even move in with a friend. Don’t. If you move to a different room, the bed bugs will find you and further infect your home. If you stay put, you have a better chance of containing the problem until your pest professional has time to eliminate the little buggers. If you move out, it’s highly likely you’ll take them with you to your friend’s home. Talk about an unwelcome guest! Hard as it may be, you’re best off staying put and sticking it out.
- #8 Don’t throw away your stuff. Another common reaction to a bed bug invasion is the desire to get rid of anything you find bed bugs on or near — your bed, linens, clothing, etc. Try to remain calm. Not only is it unnecessary to get rid of your stuff, but it will simply spread the problem. As you’re moving things out of the infested area, bugs are likely to brush or fall off items and infest more of your home. The less you disturb the places bed bugs hide, the easier it will be for your pest control professional to annihilate those hiding places and the bugs they harbor. And whatever you do, don’t put infested items on the curb. Anyone claiming your discarded stuff will bring home more than he bargained for.
If you get bed bugs, common sense, patience and an experienced bed bug professional will get you through what admittedly is not going to be a fondly remembered experience. But if you follow these tips, you’ll get through it with minimal damage and in record time. We’ll help you. Stern Environmental Group is the bed bug expert, and we will get rid of your bed bugs — guaranteed! If you have a problem, don’t delay. Give our professional bed bug elimination experts a call today. For more information on the biology and behavior of bed bugs, click the post title. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.