Bed bugs can turn up anywhere, poor, rich, they don’t discriminate and can sneak on to your clothing or bedding from hotels, hospitals, libraries, airplanes, almost anywhere you go. But wait there’s no need to fear, the first step in controlling bed bugs is to completely inspect the room to determine the extent of the infestation. Place close attention to the sleeping areas. They can be hiding anywhere but they will stay as close to the food source as they can. Small crevices in solid structures, such as the joints in the bed’s headboard or between the wall and the base board are the bedbugs’ refuge of choice. Strip the bed so you can inspect the mattress and box spring. Examine the seams and buttons on the mattress as well as any labels. Bed bugs will hide in all of these areas. Stand the mattress on end if you have to and examine the box spring if there is one. Stand it up and look at the underside, especially along the edges.
Also look behind pictures hanging on the wall, between and behind any books or magazines in close proximity to the bed and in any furniture nearby. You may have to turn some of the furniture over and examine the underside. Carefully check anything that is under the bed including storage boxes. If there is any litter under the bed, it should be removed. Also check for dried cast skins (exuviae) from the molting process and fecal matter.
Before you start the treatment, there are a few preparations you should do:
- Wash all the bedding in hot water (120 + degrees). This will kill any bed bugs in the bedding.
- If you have a clock, phone, radio or other appliance near the bed, they should be opened and inspected as bed bugs will hide in those places as well.
- Thoroughly vacuum the entire room including inside closets and dresser drawers. If the infestation is severe, you will have to use a crack and crevice vacuum tool to suck the bugs out from along the edge of the carpet, from behind switch plates which you will have to remove, from all around the bed frame, inside the box spring and inside any furniture in the room.
- If you see any eggs on the mattress along the seams, you can remove these by picking them up with duct tape and discarding them or brushing them off with a stiff brush.
- After vacuuming the room or rooms, remove the bag from the vacuum and discard it right away.
Next, use a steam cleaner in all the cracks and crevices and along the edge of the carpet and on the furniture to get any bed bugs the vacuuming missed. You want to get rid of as many bed bugs as you can before the final treatment. If you haven’t got a steam cleaner, you can use a hair dryer.
Now it is time to treat the bed. Use a flashlight and carefully examine the seams, buttons and any folds in the mattress along with the headboard and foot board if they are present. Check the box spring and frame as well. If you missed any bed bugs with the vacuum or steam cleaner, they will be visible. You’ve done most of the hard work, but now the questions is what do you spray your mattress or other furniture with…there are a number of residential sprays out there, not all of them are effective. You can use Diatomaceous earth (DE) dust for insect control (not the same product as diatomaceous earth for swimming pool filters). This is an abrasive dust that desiccate, or dries out, bed bugs when they come in contact with it. Spread it on any bed bugs you see and the underside of the box spring as well. If you don’t see any bed bugs, then spread it along the seams and around the folds and all the other areas mentioned.
For stronger products contact a pest control company, please be aware that many store bought liquids will not do the job.