We have all heard the euphemism, “Sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” But what is a bed bug anyway and how do you keep them out of your bed? The thought of biting bugs in your bed is actually fairly disturbing.
Meet the Bug in Your Bed
Bed bugs are small insects, with a brownish color, roughly the size and shape of an apple seed. These nasty critters do not fly, however, they do move very quickly over walls, floors and ceilings. A female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs over her lifetime, each egg roughly the size of a speck of dust. Bed bugs that haven’t fully matured are called nymphs shed their skin about five times before reaching adulthood.
Although bed bugs do not live in nests or hives like some other insects, they do tend to group together in their hiding places. Do not be deceived by the name “bed bug”, these insects will hide just about anywhere that they can find to have access to bite in the night, hiding places include:
- Box springs
Bed Bug Bites
You will likely notice you have a bed bug infestation by the ensuing rash on your skin before you spot any bed bugs. The rash will often resemble mosquito bites. “Most often these come at night but in a serious infestation they can occur during the day. A bed bug bite unlike a mosquito bite swells and spreads out. Also the bites can come in lines and also burn unlike a mosquito bite.”
Bed Bug Control: Get Them Out!
If bed bugs have decided to take up residency in your home bed bug control is sure to be your top priority. However, please keep these very important DO NOT items in mind:
- DO NOT use pesticides meant for garden or agricultural use.
- DO NOT use products that appear to be “homemade” or “custom formulated” or products purchased from someone without a license.
Bed bug control requires persistence. These bugs are very persistent, so you will need to be that much more persistent to eliminate them. There are several different bed bug control methods:
- Killing the bugs by hand
- Steam treatments
- Freezing infested items
- Dry heat treatment
An interesting method for killing bed bugs is the “Cold Treatment” mentioned at Jen Reviews:
“If you are able to freeze your room temperature to 0-degrees for a long period of time, then only will the cold treatment work. But in hindsight, you can opt for throwing in your clothing or linens in a freezer set to that temperature. Leave the items in the freezer for 4-5 days. This will reduce the number of bed bugs in your home, if not eliminate the infestation completely.”
Although some of these methods are “do it yourself” friendly, the most effective way to eliminate bed bugs is though a combination of chemical measures and heat treatments by a pest management professional. DYI steam treatments with a commercial steamer can be very effect, but require careful monitoring to maintain adequate temperatures to kill the bugs.
To begin controlling the infestation, make a treatment plan and call a pest management professional, your battle with bed bugs will be time consuming. You will not only need to move furniture but will likely need to take furniture apart. Launder any linens or clothing that have been infected in the hottest temperature the fabric can withstand. Vacuum every nook and crevice. Most importantly, stay persistent!