Bed Bugs Treatment and Prevention: Why Are Bed Bugs So Hard to Treat?
Not one, not two, but 90 species of insects belong to the Cimicidae family. That includes the dreaded Cimex lectularius bed bug and the tropical bed bug.
While experts have yet to discover if bed bugs cause disease, some people may be allergic to their bites. They may even require medical attention if they experience severe reactions. There’s also the risk of secondary skin infections from scratching itchy bites.
Fortunately, some bed bugs treatment methods still work against these pesky critters. However, you may have to use them all or combine several techniques to achieve results.
If you’re not sure which bed bug control strategies to use, don’t worry, as we’re here to tell you about them. So, read on to discover how to get rid of bed bugs and prevent their return.
Why Eradicating Bed Bugs Is Difficult
According to this bed bugs control guide, an adult female bed bug lays 200 to 500 eggs over its lifetime. It usually prefers locations like mattresses, bed frames, cushions, and furniture. However, it can also lay eggs in walls, floorboards, baseboards, and other dark areas close to a host.
Thus, it’s not only bedrooms where bed bugs lay eggs; it can also be the living room and dining room.
If you don’t treat all those hiding spots, you can expect some bed bugs to survive. Unfortunately, though, that means your pest control treatment failed.
Failed treatments, in turn, are chief contributors to pesticide resistance. Resistance can occur when insects, such as bed bugs, get exposed to pesticides but don’t die.
That survival causes bed bugs to develop or improve their self-defense mechanisms. For example, previous studies found that they remodel or thicken their cuticles. They can even increase their body’s generation of enzymes that help detoxify pesticides!
Therefore, incomplete or incorrect treatment can cause a possible bed bug resurgence. The more often they survive and resurge, the more challenging they can be to eradicate.
Can You Still Control Bed Bugs?
Yes. You can still control bed bugs, even the mutant ones, but you can’t rely on anti-bed-bug pesticides alone. Instead, you must combine their use with ongoing monitoring and non-chemical means.
What Are Non-Chemical Control Methods?
Non-chemical control methods for bed bugs include cold, heat, and steam treatments. They can help eliminate bed bugs by killing the pests through specific temperatures.
You can use them as DIY bed bug control methods, but they may only work for specific items and not your whole house.
Cold treatment involves placing infested items in a sealed bag and putting them in a freezer set to 0° F or below. The freezing environment kills the bugs as long as you leave them there for at least four days.
Some freezers don’t automatically have 0° F temperatures, though. So, to ensure yours does, use a thermometer to confirm.
Heat treatment can kill adult bed bugs and eggs. To be effective, though, the heat level must be at least 119° F to kill adult bed bugs. That goes up to 130.5° F for eggs, which are more resistant to heat.
One way to administer heat treatment is by setting your clothes dryer to high heat. Then, use the machine to dry possibly-infested items.
You can also rent or buy a portable heat chamber for stuff you can’t place in the dryer.
Steam treatments use wet or dry steam cleaners to extract bed bugs in cracks and fabrics. The steam must be hotter than 130° F, or it won’t kill the eggs. It’s also best to use a machine without a forceful airflow; otherwise, the bed bugs may scatter.
You can use dry steam for baseboards, bed frames, and other furniture that mustn’t get wet. You can then go with wet steam to treat mattresses, carpets, upholstery, and rugs.
Is Professional Bed Bugs Treatment Necessary?
You may need to hire a professional if your DIY bed bug control methods don’t work. The same goes for if you have a massive bed bug infestation or multiple types of pests at home.
A good enough reason is that bed bug control pros can heat treat your entire home instead of only a few items. For example, they use specialized machines that distribute heat over a large area. Their equipment also generates constant heat at the level necessary to kill bed bug eggs.
In addition, pest control companies provide ongoing monitoring for bed bugs. That allows them to detect infestations early, thus, letting them eradicate new populations. As a result, the ‘newcomers’ have little or even no time to reproduce, minimizing the risk of an outbreak.
How Can You Prevent Future Infestations?
If you plan to buy used furniture, carefully inspect them before bringing them into your home. That’s even more crucial if you’re getting second-hand bed frames. Such items have the highest risk of harboring bed bugs and eggs.
Always be mindful of hotel rooms and rental homes, as they may be sheltering bed bugs, too. Start by pulling back bedsheets to inspect the mattress and its seams and corners. Look for red or dark brown spots on the mattress; those might be blood spots, a sign of an infestation.
At home, use a high-quality protective cover to encase your mattress. It can help prevent bed bugs from burying deep into the mattress.
It’s also wise to use bed bug traps on each foot of your bed and other furniture. They capture adult bed bugs, warning you of a potential infestation. You can then use that as a sign to perform DIY control methods or, better yet, call the pros for help.
Lastly, always keep your home clean and tidy, as clutter gives bed bugs more hiding places. Increasing vacuuming frequency can also help remove unwanted hitchhikers.
Get Rid of Bed Bugs Today
As you can see, chemicals, such as pesticides, aren’t the only bed bugs treatment options. You can also use cold, heat, and steam to kill the pests. Non-chemical methods are also perfect for curbing pesticide use or if you have kids and pets at home.
The most crucial thing is to control bed bugs as soon as possible. The sooner you eradicate them, the less time they have to multiply and put your health (and sleep) at risk.
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