Bed bugs are one of the most troublesome infestations that you can ever have in your home. These insects set up camp in the sleeping areas of warm-blooded animals and will feast nightly on all humans and cats, dogs or other pets on the premises. If you’re tired of waking up to a fresh rash of painful, itchy bites each morning, you need to learn how to get rid of bed bugs fast. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to eliminate of this problem within a very nominal amount of time.
Make A Positive Identification
Before you rush out and invest in costly insecticides to perform a home bed bug treatment, you have to make sure that you are actually dealing with bed bugs. The best way to do this is by checking your bedding and mattress for signs of bed bugs feces. Given that bed bugs live entirely on the blood of warm-blooded mammals, their feces looks exactly like digested blood. This will be present on the mattress and bedding in small, dark-brown or black speckles. Bed bugs are notoriously good at hiding and thus, you may not spot the actual bugs when checking your bedding, but you will definitely see evidence of their presence in the form of their feces.
Other Places To Look For Bed Bugs
Although bed bugs will climb right into the bed with you at night, this is not always where you’ll find them hiding. Check around the baseboards near your bed, under or behind picture frames and in the crevices of your nightstand or any nearby dressers. When checking your mattress, be sure to pull back the rolled mattress seam at the edge. Wherever they are, you’ll find the tell-tale signs of feces and the light-yellow or light-red, discarded shells of growing bed bug nymphs.
Verifying Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites feel similar to spider and mosquito bites given that they leave the affected area red, hot and itchy. In appearance, however, these bites are much smaller than the bites that mosquitoes or spiders make. They are usually small, reddish, raised bumps and some bites may have white tips or heads that make them look similar to tiny pimples. People often get these bites on their arms, stomachs and faces, however, they can also be present on the hands, back, legs and feet depending upon where the infestation is centralized.
Bed Bugs And Your Pets
These insects don’t just feast on humans. They will happily climb into the bedding of your cat or dog and thus, areas in which pets regularly sleep should be checked and treated as well. Dogs and cats that scratch themselves frequently and yet exhibit no other signs of fleas are a likely sign of a bed bug infestation. Behavioral changes and moodiness in pets are also indicators of an infestation. Animals cannot vocalize their discomfort and thus, they often show their displeasure by acting out or by refusing to sleep in their normal sleeping areas. It is also important to note that bed bugs could be living off of other pests in the home. For instance, if you have a rodent or raccoon infestation on the property interior, you will need to eliminate these pests first given that they are the underlying problem. Treating human and pet sleeping areas will only cause the infestation to abate temporarily when other, warm-blooded hosts exist.
Getting Your Home Ready For A Treatment
In order to ensure that a self-managed treatment is wholly effective, it is important to prepare your home before getting started. Given that bed bugs are excellent hiders, you’ll want to clear out all unnecessary clutter. The more clutter that exists in your home; the more places that these insects will have to hide. When eliminating unwanted items, however, it is vital to always place these things in the trash rather than donating them or leaving the out in the yard to be picked up by unsuspecting parties. This will prevent the spread of your infestation to other homes. You should also vacuum your home thoroughly while using the hose attachment to vacuum at all baseboards and unsealed cracks. All linen and clothing should be washed and then dried at the highest possible temperatures and then double-bagged to prevent re-infestation.
Using Steam Heat
Steam heat is an excellent addition to any multi-pronged treatment plan given that it is easy to disburse and relatively inexpensive. Bed bugs will succumb to high enough temperatures and thus, you can use a standing or hand-held steamer to treat all likely hiding places before disbursing any chemicals. Use your steamer at all baseboards and cracks. Once the resulting moisture has dried, seal these areas with a high-quality caulk to prevent re-entry.
Mattresses, boxsprings and upholstered home furnishings can be treated with your steamer as well. These same areas can then be coated in a spray-on insecticide. After the insecticide has dried, consider putting zippered, bed bug covers on all applicable items. This will prevent any living bugs from getting back out and causing problems.
Never Use Foggers
Always use spray-on insecticides rather than foggers when treating a bed bug infestation. Foggers do not permeate all of the cracks and other crevices in which bed bugs are likely to be hiding. Spray-on insecticides, however, allow for a direct application in all targeted areas. It only takes one healthy male and one healthy female for an infestation to start anew and this makes it vital to disburse treatment chemicals in the most effective manner possible.
Treat Just One Room At A Time
Move from room to room so that no treatment area is missed. When possible, always use multiple resources to eradicate these insects. For instance, you can combine steam heat with spray-on insecticides, bed bug covers, caulking and diligent vacuuming for optimal results. Always make sure to immediately empty your vacuum canister in a receptacle outside of the home when finished. Cover all areas in which pets sleep as well, so that your animals can enjoy bed bug-free living quarters as well.
Break The Breeding Cycle
One of the most important steps in a bed bug treatment is making sure that you have broken the breeding cycle. Many store-bought insecticides only kill living adult bugs and do not impact bed bug eggs or nymphs. You will therefore need to repeat all applications of insecticide throughout the home within two weeks of the initial treatment in order to effectively break the breeding cycle.