Bed bug treatment
No matter how clean you keep your home, bed bugs are a risk we all have to face. They can quickly find their way into your home and onto your mattress.
For example, a secondhand piece of furniture or clothing can carry bed bugs. If you sleep on an infested surface during a vacation, they can come back on your clothing and infest your home. Even if your neighbor has bed bugs, they can find their way to your apartment through tiny cracks in shared walls.
If you discover bed bugs, you can take some practical steps to start removing them immediately.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny parasitic insects that bite humans to feed on our blood. While their bites are not known to spread diseases, they can be extremely uncomfortable.
Bed bugs tend to hide in small crevices or cracks. You’ll often find them on your mattress since they come out at night to feed while humans sleep. Other common places to find bed bugs include on your bed frame, your couch, around skirting boards or even your radiator.
Since they like to remain as close to humans as possible and transmit easily on furniture or clothing, people who live in dense cities are more likely to discover a bed bug infestation.
What do bed bugs look like in a mattress?
Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, but some other signs to watch out for indicating you have bed bugs in your mattress.
How to identify bed bugs on your mattress
Bed bugs are small, light brown or reddish-brown insects. Their flat oval-shaped bodies can be difficult to spot, especially since they are only five millimeters long and two or three millimeters wide.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed bugs feed multiple times a night, so it’s common to discover several bites in a line or grouped along your skin. Their bites are red, often swell and are usually quite itchy and uncomfortable. However, some people may not react to bed bug bites at all.
Other signs of bed bugs
- Bed bug excrement (usually dark or rusty spots)
- Bed bug eggshells
- Bed bug skins
- Musty smell
Why you need to remove bed bugs quickly
Bed bugs reproduce very quickly and can go without feeding for nearly a year. Their eggs are tough to spot, even if you manage to remove the hatched and grown bugs. This makes it extremely difficult to get rid of them.
Many times, people think they got rid of the bed bugs only to find a new infestation weeks or months later. The sooner you deal with a bed bug infestation, the better. That way, you lessen the chances of a more extensive infestation.
How to remove bed bugs
Finding bed bugs
The first step is to identify all the areas of your home where the bed bugs may be hiding. This includes all bedding, furniture, skirting board and cracks.
Pay particular attention to your bed and mattress. Remove all sheets and other bedding and check them for signs of bed bugs. Look around the bottom of your box springs and be sure to inspect any small cracks or seams in a wooden frame.
If you have bookshelves in your bedroom, check all the nooks and crannies for bugs. And if you keep books by your bedside, check the seams of the book and deep within the pages as bed bugs sometimes hide there.
If you have found bed bugs and can replace your mattress completely, this may be the best option. However, if you’re unable to invest in a new mattress, there are other things you can do.
Take your vacuum and go over the mattress and bed frame thoroughly. Remove any attachments from the vacuum and use the hose to get as deep as you can into the creases. Pay careful attention to the mattress seams so you catch any eggs that may be there too.
When you’re done, be sure to empty your vacuum outside and thoroughly wash the vacuum bag.
There are several bed bug spray treatments available on the market. This might not be necessary but can give you a lot more peace of mind knowing that you’ve treated your home. Be sure to read instructions very carefully before use, as insecticides are usually toxic to humans and pets.
A bed bug mattress protector seals in any bugs that you may have missed. You must leave this on for at least a year to ensure any remaining bed bugs are dead.
Best bed bug sprays for mattress
Best bed bug mattress spray for stubborn bed bugs
HARRIS Bed Bug and Egg Killer: available at Amazon
Some bed bugs can become resistant to traditional pesticides. However, this spray tackles even the most challenging bed bug infestations.
Best spray for preventing bed bug infestation
MDX Concepts Bed Bug Killer Repellent Spray: available at Amazon
If you're looking for a non-toxic spray for milder bed bug cases, this peppermint oil effectively kills bed bugs as well as deters them from staying in your home.
Best fast-acting bed bug mattress spray
Ortho Home Defense Max: available at Amazon
You can apply this formula to problem areas of your home. It's designed to kill bed bugs instantly and continues to kill them for weeks afterward.
Lauren Farrell is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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