HOW TO GET RID OF BED BUGS

“Bed Bug Education will Never be as Expensive as Bed Bug Ignorance”

Don’t be ignorant when it comes to bed bugs! Bed bugs are not like other bugs and cannot be treated for like other bugs.

First, learn what NOT TO DO if you have bed bugs.

BED BUG FOGGER/BOMBS

These are total release (meaning they release the entire product at once) and were designed for fleas and other insects but were relabeled to include bed bugs. DO NOT – and I repeat DO NOT use these for any reason. This is a very common mistake that many people make because they are cheap. The bed bugs will likely become scattered, resulting in a more difficult treatment and costs required at a later date.

If you follow directions for use, you’ll place the fogger/bomb on a protective surface in the middle of a room and remove the seal to allow it to release a chemical in the space you are treating. Since the can is pressurized, it will shoot straight up into the air and the droplets fall on unobstructed surfaces (exactly where bed bugs DO NOT hang out). The chemical doesn’t even come close to adequately reaching the cracks and crevices where the bed bugs are.

They don’t kill the hidden bed bugs and eggs and in fact, used alone is one of the least effective treatments you can use for bed bug problems. Bed bugs can sense chemical odors and will run from it driving them deeper into cracks, crevices, under carpet tacks, electrical outlets and areas which are in-accessible by the chemicals these foggers and bombs release.

People are given a “false sense of security” thinking that with one application that all the bed bugs will be gone. The problem is that because people don’t understand they didn’t get them all and soon they start to get bitten again.

Out of frustration they go out and get more – thinking more is better. The vapors from these (especially when using more than needed for the space they are treating) can lead to a buildup of dangerous levels of flammable vapors and have led to an estimated 500 fires and explosions a year according to the California Department of Pesticides.

These vapors can be ignited by pilot lights (in a stove or water heater, for example), or by a spark from an electrical appliance that cycles on and off (for example, a refrigerator, air conditioner or thermostat). There have been reports of excessive use in apartment buildings and the pesticides circulated to other residents through the ventilation systems causing sickness.

AEROSOL INSECTICIDES

These are called “contact” killers that mainly kill exposed insects. If you see a bed bug you can kill a bed bug. Problem is since bed bugs nature is to hide; these do not reach those hidden behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices of the bed, under carpet edging and in walls.

Furthermore, they will move away from the smell and scatter the bugs to other parts of the room or home. A prime example is pest control going into someone’s home and seeing bed bugs on the ceiling during early infestations. The first question they ask is who’s been spraying what?

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH (DE)

DE is relatively inexpensive and works by dehydrating or drying out the exoskeleton of insects. It is not a contact killer and takes time to work.

A big mistake made by many people is getting the wrong type of DE and another is, over applying it. There are three different types of DE which include pool, feed and food grade.

  • Pool grade DE – it filters impurities in water and is dangerous to breath. The high heating process to make this grade alters the DE enough that it won’t work in your home, yard or garden
  • Feed Grade DE – This type is not as common anymore because most people use food grade on their animals.
  • Food Grade DE – This is what people should use because it is a multipurpose product that can be used in your home, yard or garden.

Although they are considered low risk with low toxicity, they have to be used correctly. I always tell people, if you see the dust, you’ve applied too much. Unfortunately, people tend to think that “more” is better and apply it in mounds throughout their whole dwelling. These mounds are like mountains to the bed bug and they will avoid it.

They are lightly applied in areas where bed bugs often frequent such as cracks, crevices, wall voids, electrical outlets, behind furniture, and under couches using a hand duster or brush. PEOPLE READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! I often suggest using CimeXa to my clients.

READ AND LEARN ABOUT BED BUGS

Think like a Bed Bug – Written specifically for public awareness, this will be one of the most important books you will ever read to help you understand a historical pattern of what we can expect with bed bugs in the near future. Since these are pests we have lived without for many years it’s going to take time and effort on everyone’s part to increase awareness and be preventative and proactive in their approach with bed bugs. This is information you need so they don’t take up residence with you. You will learn the many “risk” factors starting with the fact that bed bugs need blood to exist and you just happen to have it.

Bed bug management takes a lot of hard work and vigilance from both the consumer and the pest control industry. Early detection plays the most significant role as without educated and informed consumers, control cannot be easily achieved. This book was written for quick and easy understanding as you take the bed bug journey and discover why they are reproducing so fast and see why they are one of, if not the toughest pests ever to eliminate. Along with identifying them, you will learn where they hide, how to treat bites, tools used for detection, travel tips and plenty of prevention methods

Click here for information on all our books.

NEXT – Evaluate

Bed bugs have sparked a consumer alert like few other pest problems of past decades. A new, innovative and safe approach to bed bug elimination and prevention through education and behavioral changes is urgently needed. A key component of education and one of the first tenets of Integrated Pest Management is to “know what you’re up against”

Bed Bug Inspection

In the next several decades our lives are most likely to be fundamentally transformed more than in the previous one thousand years. Let’s examine a new innovative and safe approach to bed bug elimination and prevention.

Bed bugs are not difficult to identify if you know what you are looking for, finding them can be the problem because of their talented ways of hiding in the smallest of cracks and crevices.

If you capture a bug, you need to positively identify it. You may be able to do this yourself, but if you aren’t sure there are several options for you; you can take a picture or send a specimen to https://identify.us.com/, seek the identification from your pest professionals’ entomologist or adviser or you can mail a specimen to your County Public Health Department.

Use a seal-able vial, small container, or plastic bag to capture bugs noticed near sleeping areas. Do not crush or damage the bed bugs. Seal and freeze for three hours.

Inspecting for bed bugs

It is important that you are trained in identification and biology of the bed bug before attempting to inspect or using any product. You must be extremely thorough during the inspection process and be sure not to rush through but take time to find all harborages.

  • DO NOT REMOVE anything from the premise you are inspecting. If anything is removed it must be bagged and sealed properly.
  • When you inspect for bed bugs make sure you wear disposable medical gloves and safety glasses. Bed bugs gorge on the blood of humans so much so that they can easily pop with very little pressure.
  • Avoid sitting, leaning or placing anything on beds or couches or chairs.

Bed bugs are very difficult to detect in their early stages so you need a keen eye and knowledge. Because of their size and lack of visibility they can hide in the smallest of spaces. You will be looking beyond just furniture and beds and carefully examining small unsuspected hidden areas and looking for “signs of bed bugs”, fecal stains, castings, eggs.

We suggest these tools to assist you in inspection:

  • A 10X magnifying glass
  • Disposable gloves
  • LED flashlight
  • Screwdrivers (Flat and Phillips)
  • Mirror for inspection
  • Camera
  • Moist disposable towels
  • Note Pad (to record inspection)
  • Sticky tape and/or glass collection bottle
  • Plastic bags for removal of items
  • Change of clothing
  • Bed Bug Detection Dog (if you are lucky to have one available)

What to look for: Live bed bugs in any stage of growth, fecal matter (sometimes looks like mold) and blood stains on sheets, castings of nymph growth, a peculiar odor. They may be in different stages during your investigation, from larva to any of the 5 stages of growth. Don’t be discouraged, in a short period of time you will be trained to look for certain telltale signs that improve your due diligence.

(Refer to pictures)

Starting with the bed: The first thing you should do is to spot check the bed. First approach your bed and pull back the blanket or comforter. Lift the bottom sheet away from the corners of the bed and check the seams. Pull the seam away to see deep in the crevice. Use the LED light and magnifying glass to look close. Look for signs of adults, smears of fecal matter, nymphs and their castings and possibly larva (eggs). Always roll bedding into the center of the bed and be careful not to allow it to touch the floor. Remove bedding and place into a large plastic bag for transport to the laundry room.

If you find anything, that even resembles bed bugs or evidence of their disposals, continue to check the whole mattress from top to bottom. Carefully inspect both sides of the mattress piping.

After complete inspection of the upper mattress, lift the top mattress off and set aside. Examine the box spring, corners and seams in the same way. Look where the fabric is stapled on the box spring. Lift the box spring off and check the frame. Make sure to check the mattress tag and plastic around the edges; bed bugs often hide there.

Move to the headboard and check wood, metal or fabric for tiny black spots (like the size of poppy seed) examine behind the headboard and the footing for, castings [translucent skins] or actual bed bugs. Bed bug spots (fecal matter) are dark brown to black in color and eggs stick to the surface. You can also take a moist towel and wipe the spot to see if it smears and if so, then it may be fecal matter.

(Always refer to pictures for identity if puzzled)

Use sticky tape or glass bottle to capture your findings for proper identification and make notations on inspection ledger. Continue to look at the night stands and dressers alongside of the bed. Remove all drawers and contents. Check all corners and seams inside and out and under-neigh. One pest control operator I spoke to uses colored tape to mark the spots where the bed bugs are colonized.

Carefully remove any pictures or wall hangings on the wall behind or alongside the bed. Examine all corners, seams and folds. Use your magnifying glass! Even the most trained inspectors have a hard time finding a few eggs or instars that you recently brought home from a trip on your luggage.

Check the wall sockets by removing plates, space between the carpet and wall, digital clock, drapery folds, silk flower pots, etc. If there is a lazy chair or dressing stool, turn it over, remove the cushion[s] and check all seams and areas. If you have found any bed bugs or signs of bed bugs, remove legs from stool or chair if possible. (Look under, around and in everything)

Bed bugs like rough surfaces or raw unfinished wood as under tables and dressers. Tip or turn over these items for thorough inspection. Bed bugs don’t like the light, so they’ll be hiding in areas that are usually dark or have very low light.

Other signs of bed bugs may include a foul smell. Usually only found in serious infestations the odor has been described a number of ways, some say it resembles spoiled raw beef, musty odor or a sweet odor such as root beer or fresh red raspberries.

If a person is getting bit and suspects bed bugs it is probably safe to assume that the bed bugs will be found in the areas where the person sleeps or relaxes (i.e.) bedroom or den/living room. But do not stop your inspection thinking that you will find them only in that room. Continue to inspect each room carefully as if you suspect them to be everywhere. Remember, bed bugs “hitchhike” on clothing, shoes and just about anything and can be moved easily from room to room.

Continue your inspection with each bedroom and make notations for each room. Move to rooms adjacent to the bedrooms and continue your inspection thoroughly.

Remember single homes vs. apartments.  If bed bugs are found in a home, it is isolated from infecting the home next door (unless you are close to your neighbor and visit each other often) but with apartments it is safe to assume that the bed bugs can or have traveled into the walls and crawl spaces and can travel to adjacent apartments above, below, next to and across easily and they need to be notified if bed bugs are found.

Use your camera to document bed bugs as you find them and note location of each picture. These pictures can be used as examples in your portfolio for training purposes.

People have the tendency to panic when they realize they have bed bugs. Assure them that it’s not the end of the world.  One of the most prudent moves one can make BEFORE bed bugs are introduced is to eliminate clutter. As mentioned many times, clutter can cause complete failure of a bed bug control program.

More Dos and don’ts about bed bugs

DO – Eliminate Clutter

Clutter is a bed bug’s best friend and you’re worst enemy. Clutter provides an infinite number of areas and harborages for bed bugs to hide and creates areas that cannot be effectively treated by pest control. These areas are a “safe haven” for bed bugs. Cluttered areas can cause the complete failure of a bed bug control program. If cluttered conditions persist, you may only be able to reduce the number of bed bugs and never completely eliminate the problem.

Before bed bugs arrive, eliminate clutter.

Plastic containers with lids and large zip lock bags are perfect for shoes, linens, storing toys, books, extra clothing and miscellaneous items when not being used and offer a “protected zone” where bed bugs cannot enter.

Although most pictures on the internet are examples of extreme situations, they are perfect examples of just where bed bugs can thrive and where they can be found and how bad the infestations can become if left untreated. We are finding more and more of these situations as time goes by because of the lack of awareness.

Use due diligence and careful thought process and DO NOT just toss items into a garbage can or on the street or alley. Many people are grossed out by the very thought of bed bugs and want to throw everything away. This is unnecessary and could possibly make the problem worse. As you disturb the bed bugs and carry items through the home, bed bugs can fall off of the item and be spread throughout the home to uninfected areas.

In addition, discarded items are often picked up by other people (maybe even your next door neighbor), spreading the problem to new areas.

If you must discard an item it must be wrapped and sealed in plastic so that the bed bugs cannot drop off during transport. DO NOT leave infected items curbside as they can be picked up by unsuspecting people.

DO pay attention to where you go and how you place your purses, luggage, backpacks or anything that could possibly “pick up” the hitch hikers.

DO NOT   – be in denial about bed bugs if you discover that you have them. If you should experience bed bugs, or suspect that you have them, let people know that you have them so that they do not come over and pick up a few to take home with them. It’s not about “dirty”. You will be doing them a great service to tell them NOT to come over until you have the problem taken care of. Or, if your friends have been to your home and then you discover you have bed bugs call them immediately!!! (Just like you would have if both your young children were together playing and your child broke out with chicken pox).

Safely disposing of Bed bug infected items

Like I mentioned earlier, the very first thing that people do when they find out they have bed bugs is panic and throw things out of their homes. What they don’t realize is – doing that can cause more harm than good.

To make sure that your infested items do not become a source of contamination for others, items must be disposed of in a responsible way. Some states now fine people for leaving bed bug infested items on the curb.

NOTE:

  • While moving the furniture through the home, bed bugs can fall off on an area where it is clear of bed bugs thus creating a new infestation area.
  • Innocent people may become victims to bed bugs when they see a perfectly good mattress, dresser or couch, grab it up and take it home with them only to cause an infestation in their own homes.
  • Depending on the extent of the infestation people need to recognize that it is not always necessary to throw out items because they can be treated and replacement cost is very high. Some bed bug specialists are capable of decontaminating an infestation.
  • If you have infested furniture follow your pest control operator’s advice in treatment. I.e. bed bug control solutions, heat, cold, steam, or a solution treatment.

If you insist on getting rid of the items that are infested, make sure that they are 100% properly contained and wrapped in plastic, taped and boldly marked CAUTION – BED BUG INFESTED before you move them through your home or out on to your sidewalk or lawn or dumpster for proper disposal. If you call a disposal company to remove infested items let them know that what they are picking up is infested with bed bugs.

What NOT to do:

Think safety first and foremost when seeking solutions for bed bug elimination. Mistakes lead to re-contamination, spread of and possible damage to you or your home.

DO NOT – ignore bed bugs; they will not go away on their own.

DO NOT – move from or sleep in another room. This will cause the bed bug to spread to other parts of the dwelling.

DO NOT – use foggers or aerosol type of insecticides. These can cause explosions and fires!

DO NOT – place items in the microwave – Again extremely dangerous!

DO NOT – use a conventional oven – FIRE RISK!

DO NOT – use a hair dryer. This will blow them all over the place!

DO NOT – send your infested clothing to a dry cleaner without advising them! You could spread the infestation to others.

Please act responsibly by identifying items and spreading the word about bed bugs.

3. Initiate

Removal and complete elimination of bed bugs can be a significant problem for certain people and locations. Every bed bug must be eliminated in order to stop reproduction of them. Leaving behind one pregnant female can start the process all over again.

The decision of “do-it-yourself” treatment or hiring professionals needs to be made before attempting any bed bug treatment. Some people cannot afford the services of a professional and purchase products from their local hardware store. In all cases these products; without complete understanding and education do not work and can cause problems by spreading the bed bugs, poisoning people and in some cases such as bed bug foggers and bombs can cause fires.

If you MUST insist on trying to eliminate the problem yourself read – Bed Bug Treatment Methods and Options for the Homeowner [safe do it yourself].

Read the book in its entirety BEFORE you attempt to treat for bed bugs. The book covers things NOT TO DO and what works.

For Professional Bed Bug Elimination Call the Bed Bug Hotline @ 1-888-966-2332 or visit our Service Providers Page to address your bed bug problem now.

 

 

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