You just discovered you have bed bugs, so it’s time to burn down the house and throw everything away, right?
Fortunately, you can put the lighter fluid away, bed bugs are a pest, but they’re not life, or furniture, ending. When it comes to bed bugs panicking is a normal reaction.
Bed bugs can make you want to uproot your whole life, get new furniture, and even move apartments if you live in one. While that trauma is very much real, we’re here to tell you that things aren’t as dire as they seem.
Your life and your furniture can be salvaged without too many additional expenses!
When we say ‘don’t panic’ we mean to not overreact; your stresses and difficulties with the bed bugs can all be managed. The first thing to know is that your furniture can be saved.
For many people it makes sense that if you have bed bugs you should start by getting rid of the bed. While this might seem intuitive, it’s not actually all that helpful.
In any given infestation it’s estimated that only about 60% of the bed bugs live inside the mattress or box springs. Getting a new mattress is mostly just a recipe for infesting a new mattress without other steps to treat it.
There is good news; however, which is that trained Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) know this information and have tailored their treatment protocols for the pesky bugs.
Following our guide to create a refuge (link) can help alleviate some of the immediate stressors associated with bed bugs while also preventing you from having to purchase new furniture.
In fact, most protocols are explicitly designed to be non-harmful to furniture such as mattress, night stands, headboards, and footboards, so that professional treatment not only gets rid of the bugs but also saves you some cash on replacing infested furniture.
One important thing to know is that the risks of bed bugs are real, but they are mostly psychological not physiological. Bed bugs are known to be unable to transmit diseases so they pose little threat to your physical health, sort of.
The psychological impact of bed bugs is both commonplace and manifests itself in symptoms such as stress, anxiety, and even trauma. These symptoms are real and certainly do have a physiological toll, but they’re also normal.
Talking to Dr. Gale Ridge, who works for the State of Connecticut’s Agricultural Experimentation Station and is an expert on bug related stresses, has revealed that there are many ways to manage the stress and panic symptoms that are common with a bed bug infestation.
Giving yourself a routine to manage their population growth, such as vacuuming the bed (see our guide on how to do that here) on a weekly basis can return some control over the pests to your life. Giving yourself a routine management tool not only makes the PMPs job easier when it comes to killing the bugs but it can also help you recover from the real danger of bed bugs.
Finally, saying don’t panic is much easier said than done; and we understand that here at The Bed Bug Adviser.
While we wish we could give you a magic wand to get rid of bed bugs, we know that such a solution doesn’t really exist.
Knowing more about the bugs can help alleviate the instinctual reaction. You should know that bed bugs have no rhyme or reason for who they make a victim. Bed bugs are just as common in high end five star resorts and Beverly Hills as they are in downtown areas or a motel.
Bed bugs spread like a disease and the reality is that the US hasn’t had to deal with them for decades so people can’t be prepared for the sweeping infestation of bed bugs.
Learning the different kinds of treatments used by PMPs and their effectiveness can be helpful for many different reasons.
If you have a lot of wood/wicker furniture or a high number of couches targeted chemical treatments may not be the best solution as there are many places for the bugs to hide.
On the other hand, heat treatments are highly effective, but also more expensive, and more difficult with a couch than with a bed.
Regular management of the bugs via steaming, vacuuming, and laundering is great for your mental health and for getting rid of the buggers once and for all.