Bedbugs are the stuff of nightmares. It’s that awful feeling when you wake up in the night, itching like crazy, and discover your entire body is covered in red, itchy welts. Knowing that something has been snacking on you for hours feels like a violation.
Bedbug infestations can happen anywhere: in hotels, rental properties, and even your bedroom if a few hitchhikers hop into your luggage from an infested hotel room. Grim, isn’t it? But fear not, we have a few useful tips to help you eradicate these tricksome little pests.
Identifying a Bedbug Infestation
The first step in dealing with bedbugs is to confirm they exist and you’re not just being paranoid after watching a creepy film featuring insects (The Nest, anyone?).
Bedbugs are small, red-brown oval-shaped insects. They can be found in various areas of the home, including mattresses, headboards, box springs, furniture, and even cracks in the walls or floors. Look for dark spots (bedbug excrement), shed skin, or tiny bloodstains on your sheets.
How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation
Preventing a bedbug infestation is better than dealing with the little critters once they’ve settled in and ordered room service. Here are some helpful tips to keep bedbugs at bay.
- Examine second-hand furniture: Before bringing any items you bought from a neighbor or Craigslist into your home, thoroughly inspect them for signs of bedbugs. For this reason, it’s better not to take a chance on a second-hand mattress, no matter how clean it looks.
- Be cautious while traveling: Always check the bedding, mattress, and furniture for any signs of bedbugs. Keep your luggage away from the bed. That luggage rack in the corner of the room is there for a reason. Place a suitcase on the bed at your own risk.
- Maintain cleanliness: Regularly vacuum your home, paying special attention to areas near the bed. Wash bedding, curtains, and clothing regularly in hot water to kill any potential bedbugs. 90-degree wash cycles kill bedbugs and bacteria.
- Seal cracks and crevices: Seal any cracks, crevices, or gaps in your walls, floors, or furniture where bedbugs could hide. There’s no point providing luxury accommodation for 10 million bed bugs when a cheap tube of caulking makes them homeless.
Treating a Bedbug Infestation
If you’ve confirmed a bedbug infestation in your home – and when you’re done screaming in horror – it’s essential to take immediate action.
Here are some effective treatment methods:
- Professional extermination: Let’s be honest here, professional help with bed bugs via a pest control company is often the most efficient and reliable way to eliminate bedbugs. They have the expertise and proper equipment to treat the infestation thoroughly. This approach is essential if you are a landlord, and your tenants are complaining about nighttime visitors that offer zero fun times.
- Heat treatment: Bedbugs cannot survive high temperatures, so exposing infested bedding and clothing to heat can be an effective treatment. This can be done through steamers, dryers, or professional heat treatments.
- Chemical treatments: There are various insecticides available specifically designed to kill bedbugs. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and consider seeking professional advice before using them.
- DIY options: If you prefer tackling the infestation yourself, there are DIY bedbug treatment options available, such as bedbug-proof covers and bedbug traps.
Dealing with the Aftermath
After successfully treating a bedbug infestation, aside from booking some therapy to help you deal with the trauma, be vigilant and look out for further signs an infestation has returned. When traveling, continue to practice caution and inspect your accommodations for any signs of bedbugs.
Dealing with a bedbug infestation can be a frustrating and stressful experience but there are treatments out there. And remember, you aren’t the only one suffering!