No More Allergies! This Is How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Fast

Making your bed the perfect sleeping place is really vital. From keeping your mattress free of stains to washing your duvet, the tricks are plenty. You got the best mattress, pillows and pillowcases. So now what? What’s bothering you? We hear the phrase “don’t let the bed bugs bite!” ever so often as a fun way of extending a simple “goodnight.” Unfortunately, bed bug problems have been around since the time of Aristotle and the ancient Egyptians. However, you are better equipped than they ever could be; a simple click online and you can find a plethora of do-it-yourself solutions to get rid of bed bugs fast.

A girl with allergie from bed bugs

If you keep waking up to unexplained bug bites and itchy patches, these are likely the signs of bed bugs. Bed critters can disrupt sleep and mental health aside from obvious skin welts and rashes that may need professional treatment for you and pest control for the bugs. Don’t worry, though; we’re here to help with excellent home remedies

What are bed bugs?

A bed bug, scientifically known as cimex lectularius, is a parasite that survives on the blood of humans and animals. Their lifecycle begins as a small white egg, no larger than one millimetre in length. However, bed bugs can grow up to eight times their length, as they venture into adulthood.

Bed bugs cannot fly. But their quick speed as they move across floor baseboards, bed frames, walls, ceilings, and other clever hiding places such as crevices can go easily unnoticed. Female bed bugs lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. These eggs hatch and can fully develop in as little time as a month. 

Immature hatchlings are called nymphs and look like transparent or tan coloured specks of dust. Fact is, these nymphs shed their skin five times and require a warm-blood meal before each to reach maturity. 

Small and reddish-brown in appearance, the parasites bite the exposed skin of humans and animals, usually as they sleep. Their colour becomes darker, more vibrant red when they feed. Bed bugs are known to be most active in the early morning hours, more so during the hour before dawn. 

While there are different types of bed bugs, their features are relatively similar. Their small, flat bodies allow them to squiggle their way into even the most discreet corners. They may be an absolute nuisance, but bed bugs cannot spread any diseases with their bites except for rare cases. Allergic reactions due to their saliva and multiple bites should be seen by a medical practitioner.

What attracts adult bed bugs? 

Despite popular belief no, bed bugs are not attracted to dirty places. In fact, their primary source of infestation is wherever they can eat and access high heat sources.

A pair of bedding sheets

Bed bugs spread very quickly and can be transported as they attach themselves to seams of luggage, clothing, bed linens, furniture, and really any place they can hide. Their survival instincts are one of a kind, as they can live in these areas for a prolonged period without feeding. This is why most people don’t even realise they are the source of the bed bug infestation

The more cluttered a space is, the more hiding places a bed bug can discover. Public hotel rooms and facilities, theatres and hostels are common spots where infestation have been reported before. Even five-star resorts have been victims of bed bug infestations. High populations of people and, or, animals, especially where they sleep are a hotspot for bed bugs. 

Symptoms of a bed bugs infestation 

Initially, bed bug bites are painless and last for only a few minutes at a time. Since you are asleep during this time, they crawl away before you can even realise you have been bitten.

Itchy raised bumps are the first symptom of a pest problem. These bites look like welts or hives and are mainly found on the skin left exposed while sleeping, mainly around ankles, hands and face. You can easily differentiate between bed bug bites and flea bites as the latter feature a distinct red spot in their centre. Other symptoms include enlarged, painful swelling at the site of the bite, insomnia, mental health problems including anxiety, and dermatology problems.

These bites can take up to two weeks to develop in some cases which is why it is important to look for other identifiers to help determine if there is in fact an infestation. In addition, everyone reacts differently to bites and may not even develop physical symptoms. 

Identify if you have a bed bug infestation.

Before you can consider how to kill bed bugs, it is crucial you identify if you in fact have an infestation of the parasite and in which areas.

A woman indentifies if her bed has bed bugs

The first sign of a bed bug problem is spotting them alive. Their reddish colour is what gives them away! Dark spots that look like dots are their droppings and yellow encasements or shelling, are a sign of their young and bed bug eggs. You can easily crush bed bugs too while asleep, leaving reddish stains on infested areas and infested rooms.

When it comes to pest management, you can collect a sample of the pest and confirm from an exterminator or any professional insect expert to help identify them. Such an expert is also sometimes called a pest control professional 

Common hiding places to keep a lookout for are; in the box springs and tags of your mattress, in baseboards, inside a bed frame and the headboard, between couch cushions and furniture joints. Bed bugs hide inside electric outlets, loose wallpaper and in the crevices where a wall meets the ceiling as well.

Through the use of a flashlight and magnifying glass, you should be able to easily spot bed bugs in these areas. 

How to get rid of bed bugs? 

You’ve identified the pesky infestation of bed bugs, but now what? 

1. Contain the Infestation

The quickest and easiest way to contain an infestation once identified is simply running a vacuum cleaner over the spots. This helps trap the parasites in a contained spot so you can dispose of them. Always use a designated disposable plastic bag when cleaning out after vacuuming thoroughly. 

If you cannot wash your linens immediately, seal them and all affected clothing in plastic bags as well. As soon as possible, wash them at a high temperature, ideally around 60 degrees celsius, setting in your washing machine and dryer. If an item cannot be washed, you can toss it into your dryer for half an hour. 

2. Use Insecticide Instead of Pesticide

Bed bugs are one of the few species that have developed a resistance to pesticides over the last few decades. Opt for traditional pest control to treat the infestation for you with special insecticides made for bed bugs. 

A hand with insecticide

If you reach out for professional help, when the exterminator or professional shows up, be sure to show them ALL the spots you may have seen the bugs in, even if you are not sure. This will ensure all areas including potential hotspots are treated. Most companies offer a free follow up after initial treatment as bed bug eggs get left behind. 

3. Heat Treatment 

Please do not turn your heater up and head out when trying this. Professional pest control companies use special equipment to heat the infected areas. This allows for a controlled environment where they can kill bed bugs easily. 

It can take between six to eight hours at a time to execute this treatment and requires preparation from you as a homeowner in advance. However, this is the quickest way to control bed bugs instead of waiting for weeks. 

4. Steam Cleaning

Whether wet or dry, steam can reach hard-to-reach spots such as cracks and fabrics. This is an effective bed bug treatment for infestations in carpets, beds and furniture in general. 

Ensure to use a diffuser rather than harsh airflow to prevent the bed bugs from escaping and scattering across your space.

5. Cold Treatment

Who knew winters were the solution for bed bugs? If you can successfully create a home environment under 17 degrees Celsius, this may be a game-changer for you. 

However, this is most effective when only certain items are notably infested with bed bugs rather than a whole space. Freeze the item for four days at a temperature setting below 17 degrees. You can use a thermometer to make sure of this. 

6. Do-it-Yourself

If you are tight on budget and time, you can take care of the problem yourself easily. But, be warned, you may end up spending more time and money if you make mistakes.

A woman is cleaning her bed

A successful regime to eliminate the infestation includes using different insecticides such as pyrethroids, for different areas. For example, you could use a bed bug spray around your bed however, it would not make sense to use the same around electrical outlets. Always read labels before using the product. 

Another great way to prevent further infestations is through box spring and mattress encasement. An effective repellent for bed bugs is using rubbing alcohol or a mix of essential oils which have both been rumoured to kill bedbugs that come in contact with them. Essential oils you can go for in this DIY repellent are neem and tea tree oil. 

7. Natural Insecticides

Diatomaceous earth is another common alternative to pesticides. This is a finely-ground powder containing the fossil remains of small, sea creatures whose bodies are made of silica. Silica has sharp edges which cut through the exoskeleton of bed bugs. 

This is an effective powder that can be spread anywhere from crevices to box springs. It is crucial to leave it untouched to ensure its effectiveness over the span of a few weeks, slowly killing the bed bugs. 

8. Cryonite Treatment 

This is a rather odd solution that may require specialist consultation as cryo machines are used to freeze bed bugs

Cryonite treatment is made a reality through a machine responsible to convert liquid carbon dioxide into dry ice, like snow. This “snow” is an effective treatment for bed bugs hiding inside cars and other vehicles where other treatment options would not be possible. 

There is more than one effective way to kill bed bugs, however, each method comes with its pros and cons. Be sure to consider which method is most suitable for your infestation space and take preventative measures to ensure you are not in the same situation again.

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