It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the horror stories of travelers who have stayed in a hotel and have come back with a few unwanted guests tucked away in their luggage. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not necessarily an indicator of uncleanliness – some highly rated hotels have been plagued by these unpleasant hitchhikers. With home remedies to get rid of bed bugs, you can attempt to remove the pests before the issue requires help from an exterminator.
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What are Bed Bugs?
Although they are equipped with wings, bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that do not take flight. Belonging to the insect family Cimicidae, there are three species of the pests that bite humans. Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color, and measure 5 mm to 7 mm long, while the younger insects are as small as 1 ½ mm. Since bed bugs have flat bodies, they are often misidentified as small cockroaches or ticks. The bugs feed on humans and animals by sucking their blood. They move about a home by rapidly crawling – they do not jump or fly.
Bed Bugs in Your Home
From tiny cracks in your furniture to a pile of clothes in the corner of a room, bed bugs can thrive in any area of a home. However, they do prefer to dwell where their next meal is situated, which is why they are often detected in beds, mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. They tend to feed when humans are fast asleep. They spread by crawling from one place to another, and can infest multiple rooms in a house, and infiltrate multiple units in an apartment building. Bed bugs are notorious for traveling in boxes, suitcases, and other items that move from residence to residence, or from hotel to households . They can also hitch a ride on the clothing from an infested home.
Bed bugs prefer to live in environments where the temperature is between 70 F and 80 F. This allows the insects to quickly reach their adult stage, and have the ability to reproduce three generations over the course of one year. Bed bugs are most active in the middle of the night, and will bite exposed skin of a sleeping individual. They will commonly strike the face, neck, arms and hands.
The presence of bed bugs in a home is usually detected by fecal stains, egg cases, and their shed skins (called exuviae), which all appear in crevices and cracks on or near beds. However, seeing one of the bugs is the only way to accurately confirm their presence in your home.
Bed Bug Home Remedies
Getting rid of bed bugs is no easy task, and most cases will end up in the hands of a pest control expert. However, there are a few things that you can do to minimize their presence and protect your belongings. For starters, you need to act fast. You might want to consider some of the following home remedies to get rid of bed bugs:
a) Clear Clutter:
Removing the clutter in your home can make it easier to find and get rid of bed bugs.
b) Wash Linens:
Washing and immediately drying your bed linens in the hottest temperature possible will help get rid of bed bugs.
c) Rubbing Alcohol:
When you have encountered bed bug eggs, apply rubbing alcohol to your furniture or other items using a stiff brush. This remedy will cut off the oxygen supply to the eggs and help cut down on your bed bug population by killing potential pests.
d) Steam Cleaner:
A thorough steam cleaning of a bed bug infested room can help get rid of the pests. You must pay attention to the entire room for this method to be effective. If you only focus on one thing, such as a mattress, your problem will still exist. A commercial steam cleaner will produce the best results. You’re going to need equipment that can be used over long stretches of cleaning.
e) Clothes Dryer:
After a trip that involved staying at a hotel, immediately put all of your clothing from the luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest temperature setting.
f) The Sun:
Since bed bugs die in temperatures over 113 degrees, people living in hot climates can take advantage of their weather by hanging their bedding and clothes in the beaming sun – after washing and drying items at high temperatures.
g) Strong Plastic Bags:
If you believe that all bed bugs have been removed from your bedding, you can protect clean linens by sealing them inside strong plastic bags.
h) Hot, Soapy Water:
When you wash your comforter in hot, soapy water, the heat will kill any bed bugs that may have compromised your bedding. For comforters that cannot be washed, you will have no choice but to treat in a hot dryer, have it dry cleaned, or simply toss out.
For some, vacuuming and laundering their mattress cover at high temperatures has provided temporary relief from bed bugs.
j) Remove Mattress or Bed:
You can’t use an insecticide on a bed or mattress, so one of the best things to do in the case of a bed bug infestation is to toss out the old, and replace it after all measures have been taken to get rid of the insects.