Updated: Jul 13
Let’s face it, no one wants to find bed bugs in their home ̶ or anywhere else for that matter! However, these tiny invaders can find their way into virtually anywhere: offices, schools, dormitories, retirement homes, correctional facilities, and manufacturing facilities. If it’s inhabited by humans, chances are good that that bed bugs will make an unwanted appearance at some time or another.
But don’t feel bad. It’s probably not your fault. Just because your home, office, clinic, or retirement facility is clean and well-maintained doesn’t make you immune to bed bug infestation. A recent study by The Royal Society discovered that homes in wealthier areas can host more bugs, flies, spiders, dust mites and book lice than less welcoming environments. This is because upscale neighborhoods tend to be more biologically diverse.
Bed Bugs: The Equal Opportunity Pest
There's now need to fret! Here's how to get rid of bed bugs - for good.
Actually, bed bugs are one of the most challenging and hard-to-control pests. According to one reliable source, at least 20% of Americans have encountered bed bugs in their homes, offices, and in hotels and sundry other places. In other words, bed bugs are equal opportunity pests; no one, and no place, is immune.
However, if you do want to minimize your chances of facing a bed bug infestation, there are some tips to keep in mind. For those proactive bed control busters among you, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts. Following the advice therein could save you a lot of time, money and grief.
The Do’s of Bed Bug Treatment
There are a lot of false claims out there about which products can actually kill bed bugs, and there are plenty of articles touting the use of cayenne pepper, tea tree oil and even baking soda to get rid of bed bugs. If only it were so easy. The truth is, there are very few products that can get rid of bed bugs for good, and even fewer that are nonresidual - meaning that they leave no trace. We recommend Sterifab because, after more than 50 years in business, its benefits are proven. It's the go-to product for pest control professionals and EPA-approved as both an insecticide and fungicide. 15 minutes after spraying, you can go right back into the room. Sterifab is easy to use, odorless, fast drying and completely clear. Plus, it won’t ruin your fabrics or carpets, and it’s one of the only non-residual products that you can use on mattresses and upholstered furniture. In today's world, Sterifab offers the added benefit of being a virucide - meaning it kills viruses like the Coronavirus.
Here are proven tips on how to prevent the spread and get rid of bed bugs:
First, thoroughly clean the affected rooms (or offices, dormitories, etc) of clutter. The fact is that bed bugs love unmade beds and unwashed laundry, piles of paper and rarely-read books, neglected files and drawers, dusty carpets and drapes, and so on ̶ because it makes it easier for them to move around.
Second, vacuum beds, carpets, chairs, office desks, drapes and window blinds, then throw away the vacuum bag. Don’t put it in trash container or a kitchen receptacle. Remember, bed bugs are tricky, devious little critters and they’ll stage an escape attempt. Instead, remove the vacuum bag from the building, placing it immediately in an external trash container.
Third, wash all your sheets and bedding in the hottest water you can (at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit) and finish them in a hot dryer. If it can't be washed, dry clean it or put it in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. Tip: commercial dryers in laundromats reach very high temperatures and are especially good for pillows, bedspreads, and bulky items.
Fourth, and probably most importantly, realize that steps #1, #2 and #3 above are only temporary measures, especially if you haven’t treated the infected rooms and areas with Sterifab. Vacuuming, cleaning, and washing will undoubtedly reduce and minimize a bed bug infestation, but don’t be lulled into thinking the bed bugs are gone. Chances are they aren’t ̶ until they undergo the “Sterifab Experience.”
The Don’ts of Bed Bug Treatment
If you find that you are playing host to these unwelcome creatures, don’t panic. Your immediate reaction may be to reach for whatever insecticides you have under the kitchen sink or to run to your local hardware store and scoop up a handful of bug bombs and foggers.
A word of advice here: don’t! According to the entomology department at The Ohio State University over-the-counter bug bombs and foggers have little effect on bed bugs – even after direct exposure for two or more hours. Where it’s a home or a business, there are almost always places that bed bugs can hide ̶ sheltered spots where they don’t come into direct contact with fogging mist.
More things not to do to get rid of bed bugs:
First, don’t start throwing away your mattress or your furniture. Not only will you be throwing away money but there’s a great likelihood that you’ll be dropping bedbugs and their eggs with every move you make. Besides, it probably won’t solve the problem. Bed bugs can hide anywhere: chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. They can also hide in the folds of curtains, in household appliances, kitchen utensils, and wall hangings.
Second, don't waste hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new bed and furniture.
Third, don’t abandon your home or office. Simply moving won’t help. Even if you do there’s a very good chance that the bed bugs will come with you. The mere thought of bed bugs can, and has, led people to make rash, often irreversible, decisions. Don’t be among them.
Fourth, don't start moving furnishings, or other belongings from room to room. Moving pillows, blankets, or toys to another room only risks spreading the problem. However, if you must relocate to a different room, take clean pajamas, clean bedding and clean pillows. The same goes for offices. Shifting files, bookcases, and computers may not help. The bed bugs just go along for the ride!
A Few Tips for Keeping Bed Bugs Out
Of course, you can’t guarantee that bed bugs won’t find their way into your home or office, but there are a few steps you can take to lessen the probability:
If you like to visit yard sales be sure to examine any purchases carefully. Remember: bed bugs are devious little critters, and great ‘hitchhikers.’ Oh, yes, and stay away from used mattresses or old couches.
If you buy a new mattress, move it yourself. Why? The same vehicles that deliver mattresses are often used to haul away old ones ̶ and they may contain bed bugs!
When you travel, whether for business or pleasure, be sure to check your hotel room for bedbugs. Even upscale hotels can harbor these tiny interlopers.
Make sure that you keep your belongings ̶ including briefcases, computer bags, purses, and backpacks ̶ off the floor, even at places like movie theaters, office complexes, and stores.
If you aren't 100% sure that your bites are from bed bugs, be sure to check out our blog about 5 simple ways to tell bed bugs from scabies.