If you suspect that bed bugs have invaded your home, it is important to take the necessary steps to detect and eliminate the bed bugs and also prevent future infestations of them. While bed bugs are not thought to carry any harmful diseases, they can wreak havoc on your furniture and lower your quality of life.
Look For Physical Evidence of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can be introduced to your home through luggage, clothing, used mattresses/furniture, or other personal items. After they have entered your home, they tend to congregate in small dark places, like your mattress and box spring. The bed bugs will bite at night, so look for any small welts on your body, bloodstains on your sheets, dark excrement spots, or any eggs in your bed. You might also notice a repulsive, musty odor that comes from the bed bugs’ scent glands.
Thoroughly Clean Your Home
Start by cleaning all of your bedding, curtains, and clothes in very hot water and dry them on the hottest setting to kill any bed bugs that may be clinging to them. For anything that cannot be washed (stuffed animals, shoes, etc.), put them in the dryer for thirty minutes on high. Then, scrub and vacuum your mattress seams to remove any bugs or eggs, and finally place that vacuum bag outside in a sealed garbage can.
Discard Any Infested Furniture
Especially if you have spent a lot of money on your furniture, It can be hard to part with a mattress or sofa that has been infested with bed bugs. Yet, you will be better off in the long run if you do. It can be almost impossible to completely eliminate bed bugs from your furniture, so it is in your best interest to discard it and buy a new piece of furniture. Otherwise, the bed bugs may persist in your home for years by using your old, infested mattress or sofa as a base.
Call an Exterminator
Despite your best efforts, chemical treatment is often required to completely get rid of your bed bug problem. These chemicals can be harmful to you and your family, so even though you can purchase them yourself and use them to eliminate the bed bugs, we recommend that you leave it to a professional to prevent any health or safety complications. Additionally, you can usually expect a higher rate of effectiveness when the extermination is done by a professional.
Take Precautions to Prevent Future Infestations
While nothing is foolproof, you can take precautions to decrease the chances of having another bed bug infestation in the future. Thoroughly examine any luggage or used furniture before bringing it into your home, encase your mattress and box spring in a zippered cover to prevent the bed bugs from getting into them, keep the area around your bed free of any clutter, and finally, repair any peeling wallpaper or cracks in your walls, where bed bugs could go to hide.
The Arkansas Department of Health says research, training, and public education is crucial to avoiding bed bugs.