Generally found in crevices and cracks, bed bugs feed on blood. These reddish brown, flat and oval shaped insects are not more than 5 mm in size. However, after a blood meal, these often take a swollen form. In cool atmosphere, bed bugs can survive up to a year without meal and these can cause numerous health effects such as skin rashes and allergic symptoms.
Bed Bug Treatment
First of all, one needs to find the bed bugs for immediate killing. Next step is to control the infestation of bed bugs. Finally, required steps should be taken to prevent bed bugs from entering the household again.
Where to find bed bugs?
You should start by dismantling your bed and looking out for the bugs themselves or the molted skins of the nymphs. If there are crevices or cracks in the bed frame, those should be examined thoroughly (Especially, if it’s wooden).
Now, check out the sofas or upholstered chairs. The skirts, tufts, seams and crevices under cushions should be examined thoroughly.
You should check out some of the common places in your household such as dressers, nightstands, edge of the wall-to-wall carpeting, cracks in ceiling wall junctures and wood molding etc.
Immediate Treatment with Chemicals
Once you are able to find bed bugs, the immediate step is to use a spray bottle to kill those. Bed bugs are nocturnal in nature and hence, it is better to kill those at night time. There are various chemicals which are used for killing bed bugs such as: bifenthrin, diazinon, chlorfenapyr, permethrin, carbaryl, imidacloprid, fipronil etc. Some of these chemicals can however be harmful to human health. Therefore, it is better to consult a pest control practitioner before using any of these. You can even hire a pest control practitioner for completing the immediate cleaning procedure. It will cost you some bucks, but you will be safe and the results will be better.
With help of this bed bug treatment procedure, you can kill bed bugs in all stages of its lifecycle. The temperature should reach to 150F-170F degrees for a sustained period so that the treatment actually works. It has a few downsides to it though: sometimes the steam doesn’t penetrate all the materials which bed bugs hide. Apart from that, it has been observed that steam treatment can damage certain materials like varnished wood.
Building Heat Treatment
In this process, the room temperature is increased to around 113F. The process is completed by professionals only, however, it takes too much of time. Many also claim that a room gets re-infested only a few days after the treatment as the bed bugs can hide in the cracks of floors, ceilings & walls; thereby escaping the treatment.
Bed bugs cannot survive cold air and air flow. Hence, if cold treatment is used, the population number generally declines within a few days’ time.
As bed bugs cannot survive body freezing temperatures; for complete eradication, freezing equipment is used. These days CO2 ice spray is often used as this doesn’t cause harm to people and with this, you can even treat electric installations.
Although popular as an outdoor organic pesticide, Beauveria bassiana is known to be effective against bed bugs as well. These are exposed to cotton fabric sprayed with fungus spores. Bed bugs don’t die immediately after the exposure, but after approximately 5-6 days. A word of caution though! If you or any of your family members has compromised immune system, concentrated presence of the fungus can adversely affect the health.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Coming Back?
Some of the affected items such as mattresses or box springs have to be discarded.
If you are back from a vacation, be extra vigilant so that you don’t carry bed bugs along with you. Wash all of your clothes as fast as possible and keep the luggage outside unless you are done with thorough examination of the same.
Repair the cracks in your walls and if possible, glue down wallpaper to those too.
Keep your house clean and vacuum the bed & surrounding area as often as you can.
No bed bug treatment can guarantee that bed bugs will never come back. However, depending on the procedure used and the experience of the exterminator, the results may vary.