Bed bugs are extremely difficult to control and sometimes, the only option left for homeowners is to hire professional bed bug exterminators. If you have scheduled a bed bug treatment program, then the following steps will help you get the most out of it in order to rid your home quickly off these critters.
Before the bed bug extermination
- Do not move your belongings to other areas- not to your office, or your neighbors before you follow certain precautions. Failure to do so will only spread the bugs to these areas. Moreover, the chances of re-infestation in the treated areas also go up once you move back the items. The solution here is to only move clean and uninfected items but not before they have been inspected, sprayed with insecticides or heat treated. After this, place the said items in sealed plastic bags and only then move them to clean areas.
- Move the furniture away from the walls so that the bed bug extermination professionals can treat the spaces beneath and behind these items.
- Dismantle bed frames to expose all the hiding areas of the bed bugs. Use a flashlight to inspect the box springs.
- Wash, wash and wash some more- You must wash all the blankets, bed sheets, comforters, pillow covers, and other infested linen in the sleeping areas and living room. Use the hottest setting of the washer when doing so- making sure there are no delicate items that can get damaged. Place the washed items in the dryer on the highest setting as well. Once cleaned, bag all the cleaned items and move them to the areas which are free from bed bugs such as sinks, tubs, and bathroom closets etc. You can even temporarily store the items in your un-infested office or at your friends/neighbors’ homes. For coats, mattresses and other items that cannot be washed, inspect them visually. You can spray or heat-treat/steam these items or even have them cleaned at professional dry cleaners.
- Prepare to leave the home for some time- at least for the duration of the treatment which can last anywhere from 1 to 4 hours based on the size of the room treated and extent of the infestation. The same is true for your pets (dogs and cats)-keep them away from the treatment areas. Also remove or cover the fish tanks and aquariums.
- Clean up clutter- This will remove hiding places for the bugs.
After the bed bug extermination is done
- Follow an integrated pest management program. Talk to your pest control professionals about the best DIY bed bug treatment options available. For example, in case of very large infestations, freezing method of killing eggs and larvae may not be an apt solution. In such a case, it is better to go in for heat treating all items, except delicate ones such as electronic goods etc.
- Caulk all cracks and crevices-particularly vents in walls where pipes or wires come in and out. Seal them using sealants readily available in home improvement stores. Also remove and replace loose floorboards etc.
- Regularly wash and clean the bed spreads, covers, sheets and other bedroom and living room linen.
- Inspect and clean all the rooms, even if just one room has been infested and treated.
- Continue to vacuum and de-clutter all areas regularly. Empty out the vacuum bags and discard them outside the home in trash cans.
- Buy sturdy mattress encasements as these can trap bed bugs hiding inside the mattresses. Encasements are ideal for restricting the bugs’ movement and prevent them from feeding on you as well as from laying eggs and multiplying.
- While you can dust the carpets and rugs with diatomaceous powder etc, avoid shampooing the carpets for at least 3 weeks- following the bed bug extermination treatment. This will make the treatment more effective.
- Give the treatment at least 3 weeks to work. Observe and monitor the sleeping areas for bugs during the period. If the problem still persists, contact the pest control company or your landlord.
Bed bugs have become one of the most notorious of all pest problems in the United States. By following above protocols, you can get the most out of your bed bug extermination treatment.