Dealing With Bed Bugs

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Bed Bug

If you suspect you have bed bugs, you’re in for a bit of work!

Bed bugs are little, wingless, oval-shaped insects that typically bite people’s faces, necks, upper torsos, arms, and hands in the middle of the night. They’re nest parasites that have adapted to the human environment and made their way into our homes and — you guessed it — into our beds. Once you’re sure you have these pests hidden behind your headboard or around your bed’s cracks and crevices, you’ll want to start dealing with them right away.

Capture a Few

It might seem like a weird idea to keep a few bed bugs when you’re trying to get rid of them, but if you live in a rental, you’ll want proof to give to your landlord or superintendent, as well as pest control professionals. To do so, use a strip of clear tape to pick them up, and then put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

Vacuum Beds

As you begin to execute your plan of attack, the first thing you should do is grab a stiff bristle brush and scrub down your mattress (especially in the seams) to loosen any lurking bed bugs and their eggs. Once you’ve scrubbed it down, vacuum the entire thing. Be sure to take your time and really work at it. You don’t want your efforts to be a waste.

When you’re done vacuuming, take out the vacuum cleaner bag right away, place it in a plastic bag, tie it up tightly, and throw it away in a garbage can outside of the house.

Spray Rubbing Alcohol and Detergent

You can then mix rubbing alcohol with water and detergent in a spray bottle to kill off any bed bugs you may have missed. While you could go out and buy a spray bottle from the dollar store or department store, you could also mix this solution in a used sprayer from laundry pre-treatment or car interior treatment.

Using a large bottle of 70 percent rubbing alcohol mixed half-and-half with water, spray mattresses, box springs, cracks between the floors and walls, and crevices in furniture. Then, using 90 percent rubbing alcohol, soak the seams of your mattresses. Finally, mix detergent and water together to clean the bed.

Cover Everything in Plastic

After you’ve sprayed down the furniture, make sure to cover it all with clear plastic bags. That includes the mattresses, box springs, chairs, and any other pieces in the vicinity. Once fully covered, you can tape everything up with masking tape. You’ll want to keep your furniture in plastic long enough to starve the surviving bed bugs. Unfortunately, that could take up to five months in warm conditions.

To ensure that they are all completely dead, you might want to keep your mattresses encased in plastic for an entire year. As the weeks go by, make sure the plastic is still tightly wrapped around them. Tape up any holes or rips that pop up.

Clean Everything

Once the contaminated areas have been sprayed and covered, you’ll have to clean everything else: from clothes, bedding, and rugs to storage containers, shelves, and desks.

Bed bugs can live in a number of places. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to squeeze into tiny spaces, even the cracks between baseboards and walls. While they’re more likely to be living in your bed, they could also be hiding in and around your other pieces of furniture. When you do wash your clothes and bedding, do so in hot water and dry all of it on the highest dryer setting. You should also throw any stuffed animals, throw pillows, and shoes in the dryer on high for at least half an hour.

Stay Organized

When you’re dealing with bed bugs, it’s a good idea to clear your bed of clutter. Clutter is your enemy. Don’t provide bed bugs with any additional hiding spots. Clutter can come in the form of decorative throw pillows, stacks of magazines or books, piles of laundry, and even storage boxes.

Having less clutter in your bedroom will make it a lot easier to deal with bed bugs, especially because in order for any chemical or rubbing alcohol mixture to work, the bed bugs will have to come into direct contact with it. If you have a lot of clutter, then they’ll have plenty places to hide, and it will be that much harder to spray them.

Discard Furniture If Needed

If any of your furniture can’t be salvaged, you’ll have to dispose of it properly. To do so, make sure you ruin it before placing it on the curb to deter anyone from taking it home. Do this by ripping open its covers and removing the stuffing. Then, you should spray paint the words “bed bugs” over it, so people will know it’s infested. Ideally, you should wait for garbage night to put anything out, or arrange for someone to pick it up as soon as possible.

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