Do You Have Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small and are very good at hiding, so it can be difficult to determine if you have them. They reproduce quickly, so just a few bed bugs can turn in thousands in just a few weeks. So you must identify bed bug infestations and get rid of bed bugs fast.
First, look for clues. Using a flashlight and magnifying glass, check crevices and cracks where bed bugs love to hide. Check baseboards, folds in mattresses, under and between couch cushions, cracks, and joints in furniture and behind paintings or wall hangings.
Besides living bed bugs (which are reddish-brown and smaller than a pencil eraser), check for dark spots (bed bug droppings), reddish stains (dead bed bugs that have been crushed), and small pale-yellow eggs or eggshells. Bed bugs also shed their skins and will leave them behind.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If an exterminator isn’t in your budget, you can try the following home remedies to get rid of bed bugs:
Wash and dry infested items
Wrap your sheets, towels, clothing, furniture covers, and curtains and seal them in a plastic bag so that the bed bugs can’t escape and move to other areas of your home. Wash everything in a clothes washing machine. Put everything in the dryer at the highest possible temperature setting for at least an hour to get rid of bed bugs.
Preferably use a HEPA filter system. Vacuum your curtains, mattress (get into the folds and crevices), and box springs and furniture. Vacuum your baseboards and anywhere else bed bugs may be hiding. Remove the vacuum bag, put it in a sealed plastic bag, and toss it into an outdoor garbage bin.
Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
The following natural products may help reduce the number of bed bugs in your home:
Rubbing alcohol kills bed bugs on contact (although it won’t kill eggs, and it’s difficult to apply into nooks and crevices).
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can enter your home in various ways, so prevention is key to maintaining a bed-bug-free house.
- Don’t leave newspapers, magazines or clothes, or towels on the floor. Bed bugs love these hiding places. They also love cardboard, so use plastic bins for storage.
- Cover your mattress with a sealable bed bug cover.
- Vacuum drapes, furniture, carpets, and wash your bedding often.
- Seal cracks around your electrical outlets and baseboards to keep bed bugs out.
- If you’re at a hotel, check everything to make sure you are not giving bed bugs a ride home with you.
Bed bugs are hard to kill. At the first sign of a bed bug problem, the best thing to do is call a professional exterminator to get rid of bed bugs permanently.