Bed Bugs - How to Get Rid of Them

While they are unlikely to cause disease, the culprits behind those itchy red welts are usually bed bugs and how to get rid of them is a question many want answered. Here is some information on how to get rid of bed bugs.
While many of us are habituated to saying "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite", those plagued by these annoying tiny six-legged insects will often retort with a "how?". Bed bug infestations that were successfully curbed with the use of DDT in the past are now on the rise again in the US and the world over as these bugs have developed a greater resistance to pesticides. Hence getting rid of them is a challenge requiring other methods.

What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny (about 0.5 centimeters long) reddish-brown insects that suck the blood of humans and other warm blooded hosts. People aren't aware of a bed bug at work as they inject a numbing agent that keeps you from feeling the bite as well as an anticoagulant that keeps your blood flowing as they suck. While they aren't a cause for concern in terms of spreading of illnesses, and treatment of bites is usually administered to reduce discomfort created by itchy red welts or to control an allergic reaction, they are nevertheless disgusting and annoying.

Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye but are usually hard to spot as they come out during the night and go into hiding during the day. The most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation are bites that appear as small itchy red bumps known as papules or wheals. Other indications are tiny droplets of blood or dark spots from fecal matter on the mattress. Now let's go on to the most important question, that is, how to get rid of bed bugs.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
Getting rid of bed bugs is vital in the interests of health and hygiene, not to mention getting a sound sleep! Ideally it is best to call in a professional pest controller to get rid of bed bugs, as efforts to get rid of them yourself will see you trying a number of remedies without any assurance of results. However, here are a few measures you could take:
  • Get rid of the mattress, thus eliminating the source of the problem. However, as they hide in crevasses through the day, these will also need to be cleaned.
  • The bugs can be killed by high heat. While the effectiveness of this technique is debated, using a fabric steamer on the infestations is said to kill the eggs and the bugs instantly. The intense heat successfully exterminates the bugs in a matter of seconds. The benefit of this technique is that steam penetrates through the mattress.
  • Another way to get rid of bed bugs is to store the infested items at a temperature below -19 °C. The infested items must be stored at this temperature for a period of at least four days. Yet another way of accomplishing the same effect is by using carbon dioxide deployed as "snow", which may cause the bed bugs to freeze and die.
  • Bed begs also die when exposed to high concentrations of carbon dioxide. It is up to you to find a way to achieve this.
  • If you find cracks or other bed bug hiding places, spray rubbing alcohol there. For good measure, spray it on bed frames and legs. However, this only offers a temporary solution of how to get rid of bed bugs. For similar local treatment, small steam cleaners are also said to be effective.
  • Another popularly employed albeit uncomfortable method is to wrap the mattress in a plastic sheet, seal it shut and then use it on a bed whose frame is treated.
  • In order to rid bedding of bed bugs, it should be treated by a 120°F (49°C) laundry dryer. However, here too, the same rule applies as in the previous point. If the places where the beg bugs live are not treated, then the solution will be only a temporary one. To take extra precautions, make sure to bathe before going to bed and sanitize your sleeping garments.
  • To ensure that your results last, after they are treated for infestation, wrap the box springs and mattress within impermeable bed-bug-bite-proof encasements.
If you want to get rid of bed bugs, the natural or traditional way, you could spray neem oil on carpets, curtains and mattresses. Two of the latest techniques in how to get rid of them employ canine detection teams and diatomaceous earth. However, if none of the above methods solve your problem, then it is time to call in the experts.
By Marian K
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