Bed bugs have come back with a vengeance and are now a public health issue. Have you spotted what you think is a bed bug? We’ll help you figure out if you have a bed bug infestation, how to prep for treatment, and how to deal with bed bugs and treat an infestation.
Inspect and Identify
Did you find a lone bed bug clinging to your sheets or a cluster of bugs and waste?
Either way, you should further investigate to ensure they are bed bugs and evaluate the extent of the infestation.
If you find a single bed bug, don’t panic and immediately throw out your mattress (this can actually make things worse and spread the bed bugs to neighbors). It may not be an infestation yet. If you notice more than one, or other signs of an infestation, it may be worth it to contact a professional to assess if you have an infestation.
You should know that one pregnant bed bug can become 31,700 in 6 months, so while you shouldn’t freak out if you find one bed bug, you should take it seriously.
What Does a Bed Bug Look Like?
A bed bug is a small and hard bug that appears dark red. The larger the bug, the more mature they are.
Besides bed bugs, you may notice their eggs and waste. Bed bug waste is black and dark red and may show up in small smears on your sheets or mattress.
Bed Bug Bites
Are you suspicious of having bed bugs because of bites on your legs?
Before freaking out, make sure they are in fact bed bug bites.
Bed bugs usually bite at night so you may wake up with small little red bumps on any part of your body. They are opportunistic feeders, so they’ll bite any open body part.
If you have bites just around your ankles, you may have fleas, not bed bugs.
Make a Plan of How to Deal With Bed Bugs
Before you start treating you should strategize and come up with a plan on how to clean, treat, and prevent further infestation for bed bug treatment.
DIY or Professionals
A lot will go into your decision on how to approach the treatment of bed bugs in your home.
Many people will try to treat at home and then realize the problem is far bigger than they can handle on their own. If you can afford professional help, get it from the beginning to avoid spending more money on at-home treatments that may not work.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give it a try yourself if you want. Just know there is a risk that you may not be able to handle the infestation as well as an expert.
If you decide to go the do it yourself route, there are two options that we find work the best, a dry steamer and diatomaceous earth. Add lots of vacuuming and you can hopefully treat your bed bugs in no time!
Think you want to have the local professionals take care of the bed bugs instead? You’ll still need to do some prep and follow up.
Having a plan from the beginning on how to clean, treat, and further prevent bed bugs will help keep you on track.
Before you treat the affected area you’ll want to declutter any nonessentials. Throw away trash and items that aren’t valuable.
Any smaller items that may be infested should be put in a smaller bag to be treated by the dry steamer. Any furniture you cannot clean should be thrown away, but the good news is you can usually treat most furniture with dry steaming without damaging it.
Any items you can’t treat should be sealed for a year so all of the bed bugs are assuredly dead.
If you’re going with the experts, make sure to ask them how to prepare for the treatment. They’ll likely have you do a preliminary cleaning of your house so that they can more easily assess and treat the bed bug infestation.
Whether you’re doing this yourself or going with the expert, there are some more steps you’ll have to take to treat effectively.
Since you’ve already decluttered, thrown away any unnecessary items, and sealed items that can’t be treated, you can get started right away on the treatment.
First off, you don’t have to do one treatment exclusively. You may want to combine treatments for more effective termination of the bed bugs.
One treatment that is proven to work is a dry steamer which is sort of like a vacuum but used for cleaning carpets and other fabrics without spraying them with water. The benefit of not spraying with water is that you can prevent mold and use it on furniture you may not have been able to clean with water, solutions, or sprays.
Make sure you follow all the instructions on furniture and fabrics so that you don’t damage it. If things can’t be treated, you may have to throw them away to prevent further infestation.
You may be able to rent a dry steamer, and if you can that would be your best but as they can run you about $300 to purchase.
Diatomaceous earth can be used alone, but for a most effective DIY treatment, you should combine it with dry steaming.
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural pesticide in a white powder form made from sedimentary rock.
Sprinkle the Diatomaceous Earth around your home. When the bed bugs contact the powder they become dehydrated and killed.
The experts have this covered. You can ask them about their process to make sure there is nothing that will harm pets or small children, but chances are they’ll let you know if there are any hazards involved.
Follow up and Prevent
An underrated aspect of dealing with bed bugs is the follow up to the treatment.
Keep areas decluttered and any items you couldn’t treat in sealed bags should remain there until the bed bugs are dead, a year to be safe.
After you treat, continue to vacuum the infested areas. After you vacuum, dispose of the waste as soon as you can and clean the vacuum itself to prevent bed bugs from staying in there.
Need an Extra Hand?
Are you in Pinellas County? Trust your local experts at Brantley Termite & Pest Control to know how to deal with bed bugs.
Bed bugs are extremely hard to eradicate, so don’t risk it if you have an infestation. Contact us for help and get rid of the bed bugs for good.