How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Yourself

by marciag

Getting rid of bed bugs yourself is not easy, but there are ways to do it if you are very determined. Of course the best way is to let professionals take care of it for you.

So you've realized that your home is infested with bed bugs and you're determined to get rid of these pesky tiny animals on your own. So how to get rid of bed bugs yourself? This is one of the questions millions of people are looking for answers on more and more because bed bug infestation is not only real, but it has become quite an epidemic these days.

Initially it has been thought that bed bugs have been exterminated for good back in the 1950s. However much to everyone's surprise they are back and more forceful and difficult to get rid of than ever before.

What Exactly Are Bed Bugs?

The bed bug, officially called Cimex Lectularius is truly one of the worst household pests that we know of. Certainly is one that most people are afraid of, terrorized by and most difficult to exterminate. And definitely it's one of the oldest species on Earth as well. Apparently there is a species of bed bugs found in caves that date back from the times when humans only started to colonize the early caves themselves, many thousands years ago.bed bugs

Bed bugs have the characteristics of feeding on human blood and unfortunately the human species is one of the most favored host for these little blood vampires above anything else.

Bed bugs have really started to become a huge universal problem starting from the 1980s onward, and hotels seem to be especially affected, although more and more homes are invaded by these pests as years go by.

The main problem with these creatures is that they can live longer than a year and can stay without feeding for quite some time before needing to feed again. So even if someone moves over to another room for a week to sleep hoping that the animals will die, they will come back to a sad disappointment and tons of new stings: the bed bugs are still there.

Over the years there were many different pesticides used to eliminate bed bugs, starting with DDT, which was working well enough by the small crystals that a spray of DDT was leaving behind, crystals that would be absorbed by the bugs, which would be killed once the crystals got into the central nervous system.

The problem with DDT was that it was also dangerous to other living creatures, birds, animals and even humans. So as efficient as it used to be at exterminating bed bugs, at the moment DDT is on the no-no list.

Image source: Creative Commons Wikipedia

Bed Bugs In Action

bed bugs
bed bugs
Public Domain
bed bug
bed bug
another bed bug
another bed bug
Creative Commons

How Big Is A Bed Bug?

An Actual Bed Bug When Placed On A Dime
An Actual Bed Bug When Placed On A Dime
Public Domain

How Does A Bed Bug Bite Feel Like?

a person bitten by bed bugsWhen a bed bug bites you, initially you don't feel anything. At least I didn't. Apparently they use some kind of internal anesthetic that eliminates any feeling in the body when it is stung. Over time most people will start to itch and develop small red welts where they have bitten. The more one scratches the area, the stronger the itchy feeling becomes.

Unfortunately the reaction to the bites can start even after a couple of days, so if you've been bitten in several places you might still believe that you're bitten every night over and over again as new scratching places develop.

It is so hard to resist a good scratching, but don't forget the more you scratch, the more there is the chance of getting an infection which is then worst to treat.

Image source: Creative Commons

Have You Ever Gotten Bitten By Bed Bugs?

Bit Creepy, But Worth Watching If You Want To Know More About Bed Bugs

Can easily see their actual size on the human body

How To Prevent The Bed Bugs From Getting Picked Up?

protect your luggage from bed bugsBefore we discuss how to getting rid of bed bugs on your own, let's first see some ways to prevent getting them in the house in the first place.

Bed bugs are tiny animals (you can see in one of the images above how tiny it is when placed on a regular dime) who are nocturnal, which means they are mostly active and feeding during the night.

To avoid bringing these pesky little pests at home there are are a few things you can do. Unfortunately none of them are 100% safe, the bedbugs can still get to your bedroom, but they are certainly better than doing nothing at all - or even encouraging them to travel with you to your doorsteps.

(image source: Creative Commons)

 

  • If you walk in parks and decide to sit on a public bench, first check it out carefully for any signs of the bugs. Also if you have bags and backpacks with you, never leave before thoroughly inspecting them of any unwanted traveler.
     
  • If you have to give your coat or jacket in a restaurant or public place (theater, etc) to the coat room, before leaving check the pockets and the seams for anything unusual. The creatures are small, but still visible with the naked eye.
     
  • When traveling always check your luggage before leaving from the hotel or the place you've been staying at. 
     
  • In the bedroom don't have anything touching the bed that also touches the floor except the bed post. Also the bed should be placed a few inches away from the actual wall, it should not be in contact with it at all. And of course, talking about behind the bed - when you do the regular weekend cleaning, always wash the floor and wipe the walls behind the bed. There is not only dust gathering in those tight places.
     
  • When you have guests at home, they usually give you their coats or jackets. These should be inspected without alerting them to anything (you don't want to hurt their feelings, but you do need to be careful). Try to not place their coats right next to yours if possible and once they've left, double-check your own coats on the racks as well.

You Have Bed Bugs - Now What?

Even with the most careful precautions, bed bugs can become your permanent guests at any time. Sadly a bed bug infestation is not called as such for nothing.One of the easiest ways to find bed bugs is something that I truly like and it's easy to get hold of. It's called a Climb-up.

Climb-ups are quite cheap to buy and I recommend you have at least a few in every bedroom you own. It is a small white round dish that you put under the bed posts. Basically the dish traps any small animals (not only bed bugs) when they try to leave the bed or come to it from the floor. They get all trapped in the small dish.

If you suspect you have bed bugs, but you're not quite sure, this is an efficient and cheap way to find out right away because in the morning  you will find some of these bugs in the dish.

There are also professional solutions of finding bed bugs such as using bed bug dogs, dry ice and pheromones, but those will be employed by the pest control once you call them to your home anyway.

Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs Yourself

Let me first tell you this: there is no easy way to get rid of bed bugs. In fact it is much easier to get rid of cockroaches as nasty as they are. These are very small, very resilient and nasty little buggers and it's very easy to miss them.

The chemistry behind getting rid of bed bugs is to expose them to enough heat for a long enough time for them to be killed. So for example if you found some bed bugs in your shoes or other clothes, you can put them in a plastic bag and place them outside in the sun for a few hours. The closed plastic bag combined with the sun will create enough heat to destroy these buggers in most cases.

There are also pesticides you can use at home to eliminate bed bugs, but when you buy them, make sure you really read carefully what the box says as some are truly dangerous to us when exposed.

Also if you do go the pesticides route, try to use natural formulas with less (or no) harmful chemicals in them.

While these work in most cases, there are bugs that actually develop a strong resistance to the chemicals and won't be killed easily at all.

However before you use any pesticide of sorts, there are some things you simply have to do yourself (this you have to do even if you call a professional Pest Management company, there are no two ways about it):

  • Take every bed sheet, pillows and all the bedding and wash them thoroughly on the highest heat possible. In fact I'd go as far as saying that throwing them completely away and getting new bedding is the best way to go about it.
     
  • Get all the clothing from the bedroom to the dry cleaner or wash thoroughly on high settings everything that can be washed. Keep them away from the bedroom for at least a while.
     
  • Clean all your closets once emptied.
     
  • When cleaning the bedroom, do a very good job of it, much more so than with a spring cleaning. When vacuuming, make sure you also vacuum the bed boards and behind the bed. Once you took out the bedding, vacuum the mattress as well with a new attachment (not the one you used for the floor). Also wash the floor very well. Finally get rid of the vacuum cleaner bag right away because bed bugs can and will get out of the bags with ease.
     
  • Now is the time to see about the clutter in your home. Bed bugs love to hide in cluttered places, so discard of anything you haven't used in a while and it's just taking place. Don't be a hoarder. 

Bed Bug Bully - Spray To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On Your Own

Bed Bug Spray - Bed Bug Bully 32oz Eliminate bed bugs, eg...

Bed Bug Bully is one spray that can be used at home if you don't have the funds to hire a professional bed bug exterminator. If you can afford a professional, you should go with them, but there are times when this is just not financially feasible.

This is a spray you simply spray on the surfaces infested with bed bugs and one thing I like about it is that your bedroom might smell afterwards like Christmas cake :) It includes cinnamon oil (something that bed bugs hate) so they will get away from it. It doesn't mean that all bed bugs will be killed, some might simply leave the area or your home and get somewhere else.

This is why a professional pest control company is best employed, but as an alternative Bed Bug Bully is a cheap way to get rid of bed bugs on your own.

The way the company recommends using Bed Bug Bully is to first spray the entire home with the product including the tiniest areas that the bugs might hide in. That, of course, after you have removed everything that you could from your home, sealed them in plastic bags after washing them on high heat (at least clothing and bedding).

Once the initial spray has been laid, it is best to spray again 2 days after to weaken the bugs. And then you have to keep spraying with Beg Bug Bully every 2 weeks until there are no traces of bugs anywhere in your home anymore. Indeed this might be the more tedious way, but it is also the cheaper way if you truly can't afford a professional bed bug exterminator.

Updated: 05/23/2013, marciag
 
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marciag on 05/23/2013

You're lucky. Our home was once infested and trust me, it was not fun! And it took quite a while to get rid of them and lots of work, but as we didn't have thousands of dollars for a professional crew, we had to do it the manual way - this should really be the last option for those like us at the time with not much money under our belt.

dustytoes on 05/23/2013

I've never come in contact with bedbugs and hope I never do.

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