Welcome, this guide will show you how to get rid of bed bugs permanently, and end the sleepless nights that these tiny monsters are causing you.
Bed bugs can drive you mad with the amount of mental and physical stress that comes from living with them. It also doesn’t help that many exterminators will charge you an arm, a leg, and then some just to get rid of the darn things.
However, what most exterminators won’t tell you is that you can eradicate these pests just as effectively as they can, and often times for less money than their charging you for.
The Battle Begins!
The bed is the first place you should start when dealing with a bed bug infestation. You do not need to dispose of your mattress, box spring, or bed frame. In most cases you can effectively treat these items for bed bugs.
Begin treating your bed by laundering all of the bedding including sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and blankets. Tie these items up into plastic bags after removing them from your bed to prevent spreading bed bugs around.
When washing the bedding be sure to use hot water and dry the items on the highest possible heat setting they can handle to kill any bugs hiding in them.
While your bedding is being laundered you can focus on the mattress, box spring, and bed frame. Bed bugs use their flat and tiny bodies to their advantage and will mostly be hiding in any crack, crevice, seam or fold on these items.
Treatment will first involve vacuuming to remove as many live bed bugs as possible from the surface of these areas.
Using the vacuum’s hose and crevice tool attachment slowly and thoroughly vacuum out all the seams and folds on every side of your mattress and box spring. If your box spring happens to have a dust cover remove it to access and vacuum the inner boards.
Tie the dust cover up in a plastic bag before disposing of it. Move on to the bed frame and vacuum out its joints along with its cracks and crevices.
It’s important to note that while you can use just about any vacuum cleaner for this task it’s safer to use one that was designed specifically for dealing with bed bugs.
Standard vacuum cleaners carry a great risk of becoming infested after sucking up bed bugs. This is because most of them use a bag or chamber with openings big enough for the bugs to escape and hide in the body of the vacuum.
Vacuuming plays a crucial role in eradicating bed bugs and you’ll need to do in other areas to effectively treat your infestation.
Getting your vacuum cleaner infested is one of the worst things that can happen since you’ll be spreading these pests across many areas making the infestation much harder to eradicate.
See our review on the best and most suitable vacuum to use for bed bug infestations here.
When you’re finished vacuuming get rid of any bed bugs that were sucked up as soon as possible. Remove the bag from your vacuum and seal it within another plastic bag before disposing of it. For vacuums that use a container empty its contents into a plastic bag before throwing it away.
While your vacuum does a great job at getting the bed bugs off the surface of your bed set its not as effective at removing the ones hiding deeper within the mattress, box spring, and bed frame. The vacuum also struggles with removing bed bug eggs which are extremely sticky allowing them to resist its suction.
This is where a steamer can come in handy. Bed bugs and their eggs are extremely vulnerable to heat and if exposed to a temperature of 180 degrees or more they will die instantly.
Steaming goes hand in hand with vacuuming and is great method for treating bed bugs, however there are 3 essential things that your steamer must be capable of to do so properly.
#1 Heat Output
Your steamer must be capable putting out at least 200 degrees of heat. Some heat is lost while steaming making it ideal to have a steamer that emits heat greater than 180 degrees. This will ensure that you are killing these bugs on contact.
#2 Adjustable Steam Pressure
You want a steamer that allows you to adjust the amount of pressure that it can put out. You’ll need a high amount of pressure for the heat to reach bed bugs hiding deep within cracks or crevices.
However, for the bugs you find on open surfaces such as walls, fabric, or floors you want to lower the steam pressure. This is to avoid blasting the bugs around the room instead of killing them.
#3 Multiple Attachments
Its important to have a steamer that is versatile and can make use of multiple attachments. Having more attachments means you’ll be able to effectively treat more areas in your home. At the very least your steamer should be able to use crevice attachments and multi-floor attachments.
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When steaming your bed set use the fabric tool attachment and wrap it in a cloth to keep the steam from scattering bed bugs everywhere.
Just like with the vacuum you want to steam all sides of your mattress making sure you get every seam and fold. Steam over every crack and crevice in your box spring and bed frame including all of the joints and boards.
Be slow and steady while steaming to really concentrate the heat on these bugs making sure to kill every one of them.
As an alternative to streaming, you can spray your bed set with a potent insecticide. Insecticides also do a great job at killing off the rest of the bed bugs and their eggs that your vacuum didn’t get. While there are many insecticides on the market ideally you want to choose one that:
- Has been tested and proven to be effective against bed bugs.
- Is non-toxic and safe to use on mattresses and other furniture without being harmful to breathe in.
- Dosen’t leave an odor or a stain.
If you happen to be in the U.S SayByeBugs spray fits the bill perfectly and is highly rated as seen from the testimonials below.
You can learn more about this amazing bed bug killer here.
When spraying mainly focus on the inner boards of your box spring along with the cracks, crevices, and joints in your bed frame. You don’t need to spray on open surfaces unless you spot a bed bug.
Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite!
With your bed set fully treated you’ll now be turning it into bed bug proof a fortress. These pests tend to scatter away from the bed to hide and lay eggs around the room. You’ll have to keep them and their soon to hatch off spring from re-infesting your bed and biting you.
Not only will you be able to sleep peacefully once again by doing this, but you will also keep the bugs from being able to grow and reproduce.
If you didn’t know, a bed bug nymph cannot become an adult capable of mating without feeding on your blood first. So by preventing them from biting you they will be unable to increase their numbers making it easier for you to get rid of the bed bugs permanently.
To achieve this bed bug proof encasements for your mattress and box spring are essential. These encasements will eliminate all of the usual bed bug hiding spots on these items keeping them safe from infestation.
Also, if you happened to miss any bed bugs on your mattress or box spring during your treatment they will be trapped inside the encasement, and left to die of starvation.
Quality is a key factor when choosing among the numerous brands of mattress and box spring encasements. Cheaply made encasements are usually uncomfortable to sleep on, tear easily, and are overall ineffective at preventing bites.
A manufacture known for producing well-made mattress and box spring encasement is SafeRest.
Their encasements are made from cotton knitted with polyester which gives them a smooth and comfortable surface that resists tears in the fabric. SafeRest encasements have also been lab-tested and certified to be bed bug proof ensuring that no bugs can get in or out.
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With your mattress and box spring encased it’s time to secure the bed frame. This achieved by using bug interceptors, which are simple pitfall traps that go under your bed posts surrounding them. Since bed bugs can’t leap or fly the bed posts are the primary for them to get to you.
When the bed bugs come out of hiding and make their way to your bed for a meal they will be captured and contained within the interceptor.
It is important to note that interceptors only traps and prevents the bugs from climbing on to your bed and does not kill them.
The reason for this is so that you can get an idea of how severe the infestation is in the room. Check the interceptors regularly to see how many bed bugs have been captured before killing them.
Once you’ve successfully treated the room you will not see any bugs in the interceptors.
It helps to vacuum up the bugs from the interceptor after you spray them to make it easier tell when new ones are captured. Bed bug interceptors come in different sizes so be sure to pick the one will best fit around the posts of your bed.
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With your bed fortified all that’s left to do is to make sure your bed is not touching the wall, and your sheets aren’t touching the ground. This leaves bed bugs no other way to climb onto your bed other than your now secure bed posts.
Leave No Stone Unturned
At this point your bed is now a safe haven and you can focus on treating the room. First, you should remove as much clutter the room as possible to eliminate potential bed bug hiding spots.
Pick up any loose items around the room such as clothes, shoes, books, or other personal belongings and seal them within a garbage bag for treatment.
With your room clutter free it will be easier to treat all of the common spots bed bugs hide in.
Bed bugs love to conceal themselves in the fabrics of your clothes. This makes it very difficult to inspect every piece of clothing to find them. Because of this you must remove all clothes from your closet and drawers for treatment.
Treat clothes by placing them in a dryer for about 40 minutes on a high heat setting if possible. Do not place your treated clothes back into your drawers or closet.
Instead, place them into new plastic bags, or in totes to keep them safe until the infestation has been eradicated.
Bed bugs will sometimes hide themselves in the fibers of carpets and rugs, and in between the cracks of hardwood floors. Vacuuming should be done regularly to treat floors and keep bed bugs from taking refuge there.
Treating the baseboards of an infested room is pivotal to eradicating a bed bug infestation. First, vacuum all edges of the baseboards along with any cracks and crevices. Afterwards, either steam or spray these same areas to kill any remaining bed bugs or their eggs.
If your steaming, remember to only use high pressure in cracks and crevices. After treating the baseboards you must protect them from being re-infested. One way to do this is by using a residual insecticide. Residual insecticides will kill any bed bug that makes contact with the area you sprayed for up to 2 weeks before needing to be reapplied.
Its important to note that unlike a contact killing bed bug spray it will take several minutes for a bed bug to die from the effects of a residual insecticide.
You want to apply the residual spray between the carpeting and the baseboard, or in the gap where it meets the floor.
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Alternatively, you can also protect the baseboards by sealing all of its cracks and crevices with caulk.
Upholstery furniture such as couches and chairs should be inspected for signs of bed bugs. Be sure to check every seam, crack, and fold along with the underside of the furniture. You should remove any cushions from the furniture as well for a more thorough inspection.
Should you discover an infestation treatment will once again involve vacuuming out the furniture’s seams, cracks and folds before going over them with the steamer.
Afterwards, spray the furniture down with a residual insecticide and use bed bug interceptors to keep the furniture protected.
Being close to the bed nightstands are often times the next place bed bugs will hide. Your likely to find them on the inside, underside and back of the nightstand.
Remove the drawer so that you can inspect the inner framework of the nightstand along with drawer and drawer slides.
To treat a nightstand steam or spray insecticide over all of the cracks and crevices on the inside and outside of its framework. Do the same to the drawer slides along with the drawer itself.
Baked Bed Bugs Anyone?
So far vacuuming, steaming, laundering, and sprays have been used to eradicate bed bugs from their most common hiding spots. However, the biggest reason why bed bugs are such a nightmare to deal with is because they can and will infest anything that has at crack, crevice, fold or gap.
Unfortunately this includes items such as books, paper, shoes, electronics, and dry clean only clothing which cannot be treated with the same methods used for the other items.
This is where a bed bug heater comes in handy. These heaters allow you to treat just about any infested item in your home safely and easily. Like an oven, all you have to do is place any infested items into the heater and set the timer.
The heater then heats its contents to a temperature over 120 degrees. This is enough kill bed bugs at all life stages within minutes.
You can see a review of the most popular bed bug heater here.
Goodbye and Good Riddance
By applying the tools and methods in this guide you will rid yourself of those awful bed bugs permanently. These pests are extremely persistent and if given an inch they will most definitely take a mile. Be thorough during your treatment making sure not cut any corners.