Bed bugs are more than simple pests. While a cockroach may be unpleasant, and a bit unnerving, to look at; or termites may threaten the long-term health of your house, bed bugs present an immediate risk to you.
According to both entomologists and medical experts bed bugs are likely to create stress, anxiety, and sleep disturbances once you discover you have a bed bug problem. But with our help you can rest assured that you will be able to rest assured.
Because bed bugs attack us when we are most vulnerable there can be a sense of defeat when it comes to dealing with the pests.
However, it can be relatively easy to regain control over your life and your bed by following a few simple protocols that can help alleviate the problems of a bed bug infestation. There are a few things you should know about bed bugs when trying to create a safe sleeping space.
First, they love to hide. Bed bugs are the world’s hide and seek champions: they will crawl into any crack of wood and bury themselves behind walls if they have to.
Second, bed bugs are not fans of movement; aggressively lugging the bed around or ripping up the mattress is more likely to cause them to try to hide than be seen.
Third, they are persistent: bugs want to get a blood meal and they will climb up headboards if they have to.
So although the protocol is simple, it is not easy, or quick.
First, you are going to want to clean your bedding. Bed bugs die in the presence of extreme heat (Link to article) so taking your sheets, pillows, and comforter and putting them through a High heat dryer cycle should free those from any contamination.
Once you have de-contaminated your bedding be sure to secure it from re-infestation. This can be as simple as placing the items inside a sealed, clean, plastic container, or even a properly sealed garbage bag.
You are also going to want to do the same with your clothing. Keep a set of clothes to wear for the cleaning process, and then treat those the same way you have treated your bed. After that, only wear clothes that have been treated and sealed until you are sure you are rid of your bed bug problem.
Now that your bed is bare and your sheets are secure you’re going to need to tackle the bugs themselves.
One of the greatest tools in dealing with an infestation is surprisingly a vacuum. While there are many different kinds there are ways to make any vacuum into a weapon against bed bugs (link to article or video).
Vacuums are surprisingly good at dealing with the first level of infestation and can get rid of most of the visible bugs. Not only that but vacuums can help get into the crevices of the bed where bugs like to hide out.
The third step is the most difficult. We want to heat the bed similarly to how we heated the bedding and clothes. Now most of us don’t happen to own a mattress sized oven we can use to kill bugs! Thankfully, a simple hand held steamer can do the trick.
Steamers tend to produce high enough temperatures to kill bugs on contact (link) and they are relatively cheap to rent for a day.
When steaming your bed you’re going to want to be extremely thorough as you are not only steaming the mattress and box springs, but also the frame of the bed itself.
Bugs notoriously like to hide in wood because the cracks make it hard to spot them and there’s less likely to be movement. We have a video to detail the proper steaming technique for beds here (link).
Lastly, you need to secure your bed against any potential re-infestations.
There are several products on the market that can inhibit bed bugs ability to climb onto your bed. Climb-ups are purchasable at box stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond and when placed under the legs of your bed would trap bugs that try to climb onto/into your bed.
Another option, which can simplify the entire process, is the OnGuard Bite Barrier.
OnGuard not only has a slippery surface that the bugs cannot traverse, but also has a bite proof casing material so that even if bugs are still in the bed they won’t be able to bite you, or anything else, that is laying on top of the bed.