If you are wondering what the best treatment for bed bug bites is; you have come to the right place. In this guide, we will discuss treatment for bed bugs, focusing mainly on home remedies. We will also discuss ways in which you can detect bed bugs and what causes you to get bed bugs in the first place.
Best treatment for bed bug bites on the skin
First of all, it is important that you make sure you have actually been bitten by a bed bug. Many insects, including mosquitoes and fleas, can cause similar symptoms. So, it is vital that you detect the bed bugs to check for sure. Switch on the light (if it is night time and you have woken up scratching your skin); do a complete inspection of your bed, its headboards, under the bedding etc. If needed, strip the mattress, sheets and covers and inspect the bed’s box springs. Do not forget to look in all cracks and crevices.
Once you have determined that what you have is indeed a bed bug bite, here is what you can do as a first aid treatment for bed bug bites on the skin:
- Wash the area with warm water and mild soap. In case you have been bitten in multiple places, it is best to shower. You can also soak for 15-20 minutes in a bath filled with warm water, Epsom salts or colloidal oatmeal. Both these remedies for bed bugs can stop the pain and itching.
- Apply some ice to bring down the swelling. Let the ice remain on the skin for at least 10 minutes.
- Apply some soothing Aloe Vera gel.
- In case you do not have Aloe gel, apply Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream.
- Take some anti-histamine such as Benadryl to stop the itchy sensation.
- Avoid scratching the bites as the germs trapped in your nails could lead to blisters or secondary skin infections etc which are often harder to treat.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers. They can easily get inside your luggage and travel back home with you from infested motel rooms or even airplanes. These days, even movie theaters are known to have bed bugs; so if you have recently watched a movie in a theater, you could have inadvertently brought back a bug or two from there. Bed bugs could also come inside your home from a neighboring apartment. If you have picked up an infested piece of furniture, sleeping bag, couch, mattress or even books from a yard/garage sale; then you could unknowingly become a victim of a bed bug infestation.
A single female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Therefore, without control, the bed bug population can increase exponentially giving rise to thousands of bugs.
What is the best treatment for bed bugs?
There is no single ‘best treatment for bed bugs’ at home. Heat treatment for bed bugs works, but you must also combine it with an integrated pest management approach. Whatever treatment you decide to use; make sure you do it least two times to get rid of all the eggs, larvae and adult bed bugs.
How should you prepare for bed bug treatment?
- Keep pets, kids and elderly people away for the duration of the treatment.
- Pull all furniture away from the walls towards the center of the rooms.
- Vacuum the house completely including rugs, carpets, mattresses, bed frames, baseboards etc. Discard used vacuum bags by sealing them and throwing them outside the home in a trash can.
- Wash all items like bed-sheets, clothes, linen and soft toys in hottest setting of the washer and dryer. Store cleaned items outside the house away from the areas being treated. Items that cannot be washed must be taken to the dry cleaners.
- If you plan on discarding infested items, make sure you damage them, slash the mattresses or at least label them as ‘Infested’ so that they are not picked up by someone else.
- Items which cannot be washed must be inspected for bed bugs, then sealed in plastic bags and stored away neatly for the entire duration of the treatment.
Preventing bed bugs
The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to prevent them from coming inside your home.
- Avoid picking up items from the roadside.
- If you plan on buying used clothes or furniture, make sure you inspect them thoroughly before taking them home.
- Thoroughly inspect hotel rooms for bugs. Place your luggage in bath tubs to prevent bugs in the room from climbing inside.
- Keep your house clean by vacuuming it regularly. Reduce clutter to prevent hiding places for bed bugs.
- If you plan on using insecticides (sprays or powders) make sure you use them twice each week to prevent the bed bug eggs from hatching.
- Steam or heat treatment for bed bugs is very effective. You could consider buying, renting or borrowing a steamer to treat infested areas. Make sure to treat each and every room in the house with the steamer to prevent bed bugs moving from one room to another.
Note that any bed bug treatment is likely to take effect after 3-7 days of treatment. Keep looking for signs of bed bug activity to ensure that the treatment is working. This is the best treatment for bed bugs!