Yes, bed bugs are real, and they probably terrorise more people in their bedrooms than you think. These horrible critters can show up in almost any bed, whether it’s showroom new or an antique.
If you’ve noticed tiny creepy crawlies sharing your bed, it’s best to start the process of removing them by understanding what you’re dealing with.
Why do I have bed bugs?
The most important thing to say here is that you should not be ashamed about having bed bugs. Contrary to popular belief, their presence has nothing to do with cleanliness. In fact, they may be more likely to appear in clean beds. These tiny bugs actually feed on blood, which means your warm bed — with its regular supply of food — is the perfect place to set up camp.
Bed bugs can hide anywhere. In most cases, they are brought into a bed by either the person or infected bedding. For example, if you sleep in a hotel bed infested with bugs, there’s a chance the little critters will hitch a ride on you, and scatter when you get back into your own bed. Bed sheets, blankets and clothes can all act as a vehicle too, so you need to be thorough when it comes to laundry.
How do I know I have a bed bug problem?
The most obvious sign of a bed bug infestation is the sight of them scurrying across your sheets. But you don’t always have to see them to know that they’re there. For example, if you’re waking up with bites, this could signal a problem. Black debris on your sheets every morning could also be a sign — caused by a combination of droppings and shells. Other signs include a musty aroma around the bed and blood spots caused by you crushing the little critters in your sleep.
How to prepare for a bed bug treatment
If you notice bed bugs, you’re probably going to need the expert services of pest control specialists. A special treatment is applied to the affected areas in order to kill both the bugs and their eggs. However, to ensure the problem doesn’t come back, you need to prepare in the following ways.
These particular bugs like anywhere that is warm and secluded, including draws, wardrobes and toy boxes. Before your treatment, make sure you empty all of these spaces, and wash everything in them. It may also be a good idea to store your clothes in sealed containers or bags… just until you’re sure the infestation has been eliminated.
Remove anything that sits next to your bed
Bed bugs don’t exclusively live in beds. They’re often associated with beds because they tend to feed at night — on sleeping human beings! In many cases, these bugs migrate to a bed from adjoining surfaces, such as tables, nightstands, walls and windows. Move your bed away from such surfaces to make future infestations less likely.
Vacuum the area thoroughly
If you have bed bugs in your bed, the chances are you have them in the surrounding carpet — if you have it. You’ll need the best vacuum for thick carpet, as well as a full complement of accessories and tools. Pay particular attention to skirting and corners as you go. A motorised brushroll will bring the little critters to the surface in order to be sucked up, so check that your vacuum has one.
Can I do anything to remove bed bugs myself
The best way to get rid of bed bugs for good is to call in the experts. However, their services can be expensive, and they’re never 100 percent reliable. But there are things you can do to eliminate the problem. And while they’re not as effective as a professional treatment, they can work if they’re executed properly.
Starve the bed bugs
If bed bugs don’t have a source of food, they won’t stick around. And because their biggest source of food is you, sleeping somewhere else of a couple of weeks is surprisingly effective. Vacuum your mattress thoroughly, and air it outside. Spray it with a solution of vodka and water, and leave to air dry. You can also wrap your mattress in plastic to ensure any remaining bugs can’t come out at night to feed on you.
Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth kills more than 90 percent of bed bugs, so when it’s used with some of the methods listed above, it’s pretty effective. Sprinkle this powder over your mattress liberally — after you’ve cleaned and vacuumed it. Repeat the process until you stop finding new bug carcasses on your mattress.
There are other things you can use, including vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, Borax and pesticide. But if you’re looking for something natural and relatively safe for allergy sufferers, diatomaceous earth is a great choice.
Vacuum regularly, maintain your mattress and take extra care when doing your laundry. If you remain vigilant, you should be able to avoid serious infestations.