Bed bugs are big enough to be seen with their flat body and reddish brown bodies, but these little suckers create havoc by feeding on their hosts’ blood at night, and hiding in the cracks or crevices surrounding the host’s sleeping area during the day.
Known to outlive temperatures reaching 100 degrees for a short period of time, bed bugs can survive being placed in the freezer, and can live without eating for up to a year. But no need to make a desperate call to your local pest guy (that’s a whole lot of money and chemicals) you can combat these nail head sized vampires in just a few easy steps – naturally!
Come out; come out – wherever you are!
Bed bugs usually hide within 15 feet of their food (i.e. you), and tend to be found in dwellings that are frequently used such as dorms, apartments, motels, hotels, and used furniture departments. These little blood suckers are generally found in boxes, mattresses, pillows, suitcases and other fibrous belongings (bed bugs like to nest in natural fibers including real wood). In multi-unit dwellings, such as condominiums and apartment buildings, bed bugs can sometimes find their way throughout the premises by moving about the walls, cracks, pipes, and wires.
In a severe infestation bed bugs can be found behind anything wall or ceiling mounted: base boards, window and door casings, pictures and picture frames, in sofas and furniture, ripped wallpaper & cracks in drywall, lighting, ceiling fans, and light switch plates.
Many folks tend to point to neighbors (etc.) with less than par hygiene for being a source of infestation. The truth is that while lack of home maintenance is conducive to these little vampires, travel is usually the culprit. Hotels tend to be a hot spot for these little conniving blood suckers with so much suitcase traffic, especially when bed bugs build a immunity to cleaning chemicals and pesticide treatments. When guests settle in for the night, bed bugs may climb into their luggage, where they hang out and then hitch a ride are then transported to a new environment.
Kindly Kill Them
Save money while lowering the air pollutant level in your home by eliminating those pesky little vampires yourself – naturally. The key to approaching any genre of pest is patience – and a little elbow grease. The following steps are a sure-fire way to rid of bed bugs, but you will need to repeat all of the steps until they’re gone. Don’t worry, this is easy – not hard!
- Use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to kill bed bugs on contact. Find the surfaces bed bugs inhabit, including crevices and harborages. Mix the isopropyl alcohol at a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle with water. Liberally spray the surfaces and crevices and allow air dry, and spray directly on the bugs. Less water is recommended for smaller areas or areas sensitive to water.
- Wash and dry clothing, linens, textiles, and toys at high temperature — temperatures over 113 degrees are said to kill bed bugs. Leave items in the dryer for more than 20 minutes, then move them immediately into a plastic bag and seal them for 24 hours. This will ensure that you kill all of the bed bugs. Similarly, toys, shoes, backpacks, and other items that can be put in the dryer should be heated. Even wool and silk can usually be put in the machine for this amount of time (not wet, of course). Hot desert climates are also conducive to destroying lingering bed bugs when bedding and clothes are hung in the beaming sun.
- Steam the seams of all fixed home textiles (i.e. furniture, drapes). Using a high-pressure steamer – a garment steamer or a quality iron will do – hold the steamer over the seam (pulled taut) for 30 seconds to a minute. This will kill most of the eggs hiding deep in the crevice. If you have carpeting, rent a steam cleaner to steam eggs using a natural cleaner. Be sure to prep first by shaking baking soda on the carpeting 15 minutes prior to a detailed vacuum cleaning.
Aim to Maintain
Even if your first round of detoxing rids all visible bed bugs and eggs, you will most likely need to do one or two more rounds before you have entirely eliminated the adults and eggs. To avoid future invasions it is best to maintaina toxin-free home – which is the best remedy to controlling pests in general. The home is an ecosystem that can be open to invasion once the balance is tipped (crumbs and skin debris are inviting food sources to recon pests), not to mention they are an R Species that become immune to toxic chemicals within just a few generations. Bed bug control is much more difficult in cluttered homes – piles of clothing, scattered belongings, and stacks of magazines are all potential hiding places for bed bugs – so upgrading to a “clean freak” status will definitely help control the bed bug situation before it even gets started.
- The ClimbUp Insect Interceptor is the best bed bug trap available that can also help with maintenance. You simply place one of these under each of the legs of your bed. The bed bugs get stuck while they die attempt to crawl up the bed legs. This trap will defend your bed, kill bed bugs, and allow you to monitor the progress of your bed bug control methods.
- Be sure to keep a good eye out for eggs by massaging corners, cracks, and crevices on a near-daily basis with the vacuum suction wand to snag random bed bugs and their debris (HEPA filter required). Sanatizing all surfaces – using non-toxic, earth-friendly cleaners – will also help detract future infestations.
Sweet dreams, don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Its freaky, we all know it – the nights during infestation. But just keep in mind while holding strong, and surviving the annoying little nuances, that you will make it out alive. The little buggers are creepy, but hey – it could be worse! Take your mind to another place every night, somewhere comforting, and calm your nerves by only thinking of the good things in your life. Who knows, the infestation might be the greatest therapy session of your life.