Think bed bugs only infest hostels and motels? Think again! One in five Americans has either experienced a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has.
Like it or not, you may have to deal with bed bug extermination at some point in your life!
There are lots of myths or half-truths about getting rid of bed bugs. Do they only live in bedding and mattresses or can they survive elsewhere? Does heat kill them and if so, what temperature?
Can you even remove a bed bug infestation by yourself?
This guide covers everything you need to know about bed bug extermination if you have never dealt with one before, so keep reading to learn more.
Step 1: Learn the Signs of Bed Bugs
Chances are if you are reading this, you are already convinced that you have bed bugs. But before you rush to treatment, be 100% sure you do not have another type of infestation. Bed bugs are often confused with other types of pests.
It is a good idea to be aware of the bed bug signs. So, this is how to know if you have bed bugs:
- Bites that are itchy, red, and in a row or cluster
- Dark red or rusty stains on your bed sheets
- Small yellowish-white dots on your mattress or bed sheets
- You see live bed bugs!
These are some of the ways to tell if you have bed bugs and not another pest, but there are more. We have an in-depth guide on how to spot the signs of bed bugs.
Step 2: Keep the Infestation Contained
Once you have identified the bed bugs, you need to uncover the full extent of your bed bug situation. There is no point in carrying out a bed bug extermination if you do not remove every single bug.
It is a myth that bed bugs only live in or near beds. That is not true. Though bed bugs like to stay near their food source (i.e. you), they can hide anywhere.
So you need to check your bedding, mattress, furniture, clothes, books, and electronics. Everything! Try to avoid moving any items whatsoever from one room to another before or during treatment.
And do not take anything to another household, car, or place of work.
Bed bugs squeeze into the tiniest, unnoticeable spots. Even if you search your home from top to bottom with a flashlight and magnifying glass you might still miss some. But it is ideal to at least know which rooms of the house they are in so you can guide your bed bug exterminator.
Step 3: Prep and Clean as Much as Possible
First, a tidy and uncluttered home is much easier for your bed bug exterminator to treat. Discard as many items as possible before your bed bug extermination.
Learn why you should always hire an exterminator to remove bed bugs.
Clothing, Bedding, and Other Items With Fabric
Next, wash all your sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and bedding on a high heat and dry them on high heat too. 118°F for 90+ minutes is ideal to kill bed bug eggs. But at the very least, wash your beddings for as long as possible on the highest heat possible.
Then, wash your clothes, towels, stuffed animals, curtains, and any type of material too. Again, wash them on the highest possible heat setting for as long as possible. At least 30 minutes.
Dry clean any clothes that you cannot wash.
Place all your bedding and clothes into trash bags (double bagging is best) to keep them separate from infested items.
Electronics, Books, Toys, and Other Items
Clean and inspect as many unwashable items as possible. If you are certain something is not infected, clean and bag it up.
Your bed bug extermination is likely to involve insecticide. Be sure to protect any sentimental items (that are free from bed bugs) in bags or plastic boxes. But again, do not take anything out of infested rooms.
Floors, Walls, and Furniture
After you have washed, cleaned, and bagged all your non-infested stuff, you can turn your attention to the rest of your house.
Seal any peeling wallpaper and fill in cracks. Whip out your vacuum cleaner and clean your floors and furniture. Make sure to remove your vacuum cleaner bag afterward and dispose of it in a plastic bag so the bed bugs cannot escape.
Before and between your bed bug extermination sessions, try not to enter (or clean) the infested rooms at all.
Step 4: What Happens During Bed Bug Extermination
Now you are ready for your bed bug extermination! It depends on the size and scale of your infestation but you will need at least two or three extermination sessions to remove your bed bugs.
Each session could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours per room depending on the size of the room.
Your bed bug exterminator may use insecticide treatments and/or heat treatments. Sometimes, they will use different insecticides for furniture and electrical outlets. Your exterminator will have access to chemicals and equipment that you will not be able to get.
Make sure to track your bed bug situation after treatment and keep looking out for the signs. Your exterminators can also give you guidance on bed bug prevention so you never have to deal with them again.
Need Bed Bug Extermination? Call the Professionals
Having bed bugs is never a nice experience. They are difficult to spot and even more difficult to remove. And if you tried to perform a bed bug extermination yourself, can you be certain that you removed the entire infestation?
Enough to be able to sleep at night?
Hiring professionals takes out the guesswork and, let’s face it, the stress. Letting trained experts take away the worry will mean you can get back to living in a relaxing, infestation-free home.
Contact us today with your questions and for a free quote.