Do you have a bed bug infestation? You most likely do, considering that you are here at the moment, looking for how to kill bed bugs completely. If you are in the midst of a bed bug infestation, we definitely sympathize – bed bug infestations are nasty and truly difficult to deal with. So much so that they can really ruin a good few months of your year. If you’re here, then you might have already tried to eliminate these nasty pests at least once or twice before. But the sad truth is that bed bugs are truly resilient little creatures that like to hide in the tiniest cracks and crevices. And so, if you are trying to kill them in conventional ways, you might be having a hard time.
Usually, bug infestations are fought with bait traps and bug spray – perhaps even chalk. This method works well if you’re fighting let’s say, ants or cockroaches. But if you’re going head to head with a ton of bed bugs, it’s going to take a lot more hard work and a lot more time and effort. We hate to break it to you, but when we talk about how to kill bed bugs completely, it really involves a lot of time, effort, and in a way, even money. Why time and money, you say? Well, read on and you will find out exactly why.
With all of that said, let’s get to it immediately – we’re sure you can’t wait to get rid of these bugs completely!
All About Bed Bugs
Before we get right to talking about how to kill bed bugs completely, we think that it is important that you understand bed bugs. It’s vital for you to know how they are, what they do, how they live, and how they breed. Knowing all of this information will truly allow you to understand all of the things we will tell you about getting rid of them. Knowing is half the battle, and this is especially true with bed bugs since they are a stubborn pest. Because of this, they’re truly especially hard to get rid of.
What Are the Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation on My Body?
Bed bug infestations are quite hard to spot sometimes. As a matter of fact, many people don’t even realize that they have a bed bug invasion in their home until it’s too late and the population of the bugs has already grown significantly. Bed bugs are nefarious little creatures – and they are sneaky too. You most likely won’t see them at all because they are nocturnal. Due to this, they only come out late at night, when you are already sleeping. They will then feed on you, because bed bugs survive on blood.
When bed bugs bite you to start feeding on your blood, they will at first leave a welt. This welt may look like any bug bite, which is why it gets so frequently mistaken as a mosquito bite sometimes. This itch will then begin to itch later on, but it is still truly so unsuspecting. So much so that you wouldn’t put it together that it came from a bed bug.
Eventually, these little bites begin to multiply. It begins as one small bite, and then another, and then another, until your entire body is covered in little bites. Bed bugs will bite at any exposed skin they can find. Sometimes, you will find groups of bites on one particular area if it is the area that is easiest for them to reach. So if you are starting to get a lot of little itchy spots that are begging to look like rashes, bed bugs might just be the reason why.
What Are The Signs of Bed Bugs in My House?
Rashes on your body are not the only way to tell if you have a bed bug infestation going on. Now, this section is important for the lesson on how to kill bed bugs completely later on, so do please read carefully.
Bed bugs love to feed on humans, this much is known and obvious. It’s most noteworthy, however, that they will feed from anything that has blood. So your pets are also vulnerable to these pests. Fortunately, bed bugs do not carry diseases. But we digress.
Because bed bugs love feeding on humans, they usually make a home in – you guessed it – your bed. Eventually they will begin to spread out throughout your home. However, because your bed is the initial point of interaction with these bugs, it’s most likely that you will spot signs of them there.
Signs on Your Bed
When bed bugs make a home in your bed, signs begin to become obvious when the infestation grows large enough. So if you notice: blood spots on your pillow cases, bed sheets, and other bed coverings, you should immediately begin to suspect a bed bug infestation. You may also notice other brown spots that are very likely the droppings of these critters.
Furthermore, if you notice that there are things that look like shed skin from bed bugs, it’s truly time to call your exterminator. Sometimes, if you start going at your mattress’ seams with a hard brush, you may even get some of the bugs to come out. If your infestation is bad enough, this just might send your skin crawling!
How Do You Get Bed Bugs?
But wait – how do you get bed bugs to begin with? There are a few different ways for you to get bed bugs, but the most common is that you have taken them home with you. Getting a bed bug infestation in your home is as simple as you unknowingly going to a place with an infestation, and one or two bed bugs hitching a ride on your clothes or your stuff. It’s truly that simple – and it’s frustrating how easy it is to pick these bugs up sometimes.
You might also get an infestation from people who are visiting your home. They could come inside with your pet, hidden in its fur especially after a walk, or a visit somewhere infested. And sadly, these bed bugs can also spread on their own – particularly if you live in an apartment building where someone has a really bad infestation.
Sadly, there’s not much you can do to really prevent an infestation, because if these bugs manage to hitch a ride, you honestly wouldn’t know it even happened until too late. So it’s always good to be vigilant about these bugs. When you start noticing the above symptoms, start checking for bed bugs so that you can nip the infestation in the bud before it gets truly out of hand.
Where Can Bed Bugs Hide?
Sad to say, the reason why bed bugs find it so easy to come into your home undetected is the fact that they are so small and so flat that they will basically fit anywhere and everywhere. These bed bugs will literally hide in any crack or crevice that they are thin enough to fit in. These bugs are roughly the size of an apple seed when full grown. Their flat bodies are about as thick as a credit card, so they will fit in any space like that.
Therefore, bed bugs can hide in seams of clothing or in things such as cuffs. They can hide in hoods, in folded pant cuffs, in shoes, and more. These resilient insects are sneaky and great at hide and seek, which makes it so easy for them to make it into your home totally undetected.
When in your home, these bugs will make a home in between your mattress and your box spring, in the seams of your mattress, in any clutter around your bed, in stuffed animals, in clothing, in shoes, and just about anywhere they can find that they are small enough to fit in.
You see, this is exactly the reason why bed bugs are so hard to get rid of. And, this is precisely the reason why we said you need to understand the nature of bed bugs before we even get to talking about how to kill bed bugs completely. With a better understanding of how these bed bugs like to live, you are more equipped to deal with them.
How Do Bed Bugs Breed?
We won’t go into the dirty details of how these bugs do the deed, but what’s important is you know how they reproduce. As in, how quickly they reproduce, and what the bed bug’s life cycle is like.
Basically, once the male fertilizes the female, the female will contain eggs in her body for about five to seven weeks. After the female feeds for about three days, she begins to then lay the eggs. She will lay eggs, then feed, then repeat. Because of this, a female can produce on average about three to eight eggs in one week. These eggs hatch in 6-17 days, and then the nymphs (baby bed bugs) will immediately begin to feed too.
The bed bug females, however, are capable of laying more eggs – up to 12 even, DAILY. Once they are fertilized and have had an actual blood meal, that is. These females will lay the eggs in cracks and crevices – anywhere they can find. So that means carpet linings, baseboards, bed frames, mattress seams, and more. When the female lays the eggs, they put an adhesive layer on top so that they can be sure the eggs will stay in place.
Bed bugs can survive a really long time – trust us on this – without feeding. In fact, bed bugs can live up to one year and a half without a blood meal. At the rate that the bed bugs reproduce, it’s not unlikely to see three, or even more, generations of these bugs per year.
How to Kill Bed Bugs Completely
Now that you understand bed bugs better, it’s time for us to discuss how to kill them completely so you can totally get rid of these nasty little creatures. Of course, it’s easy to just call the exterminators and have them do a treatment on your home to ensure that these little creatures die. However, for you to be completely sure they never come back, there are many different things that you can do. After all, there are some cases where bed bugs come back after treatment. If you don’t want that to happen to you, you will want to follow everything below to a T.
1. Call The Exterminator
To be honest with you, bed bug infestations are so hard to deal with that you very likely will want back up in the form of the exterminator. We don’t recommend that you go at it only completely alone. So, the first step of how to kill bed bugs completely is to simply call the exterminators so that they can deal with the biggest part of the infestation. Doing this is vital to making sure your home is treated properly and all the small cracks and crevices get treated too, completely killing as much of the bugs as humanly possible.
2. Vacuum Your Bed and Your Surroundings
After the exterminators have done a thorough treatment all through your home, the next thing that you will want to do is to vacuum. This way, you can get rid of all the dead bed bugs, their eggs, and their shed skin. However, don’t just use any vacuum. Find a vacuum with a bag that is replaceable or disposable, because you want to be sure you can immediately throw out the bag once you are done vacuuming.
You should take care to vacuum every crack and crevice so you can ensure that you get the eggs and the nymphs as well. Now, it’s also a good idea to get a stiff bristled brush so that you can brush all of the crevices, mattress seams, and such. This will dislodge any eggs and bed bugs left behind, allowing you to vacuum everything up. Once you have done finished vacuuming – and you will have to do a lot of it including the entirety of your home and the carpet – you should take the vacuum bag and the brush. Put both of them in a plastic bag, seal it completely, then throw it in the garbage outside.
You will want to vacuum regularly for the first few weeks or even months, just to ensure that there are no bed bugs left behind. Be prepared to go through a few brushes and vacuum bags!
3. Seal mattress away OR replace it completely
The next thing that you will want to do is to find a tightly woven bag that zippers shut. You’ll want to have this bag be big enough for your mattress. Now, this might be a bit hard to find – unless you managed to keep the old plastic zippered bag that your mattress came in. Online retailers may also sell bags like these.
The reason you want this zippered bag is that you will have to seal your mattress away completely, as much as possible. We’ve mentioned that bed bugs can survive up to one year and a half without feeding, and this is quite true. Therefore, you want to keep this bag sealing your mattress away for at least one year or even one year and a half if you want to be completely safe. I know, it doesn’t really sound comfortable to think about, trying to sleep on a mattress with something like a plastic bag sealing it away. Imagine tossing and turning on a crinkly bed. That’s why we suggest using something tightly woven instead of plastic instead.
However, the better thing to do is probably to simply throw your mattress away and replace it with a new one. This is especially true if it is already several years old. Many people do say that they happily got rid of their old mattresses because they didn’t want the discomfort of knowing there were once tons of bed bugs in it. Only do this if you can afford it however, otherwise the other option is better.
4. Reduce Clutter
The next important thing for you to do is to reduce clutter, especially around your bed. Now, as we have mentioned, bed bugs tend to enjoy hiding in any tiny spaces as thin as a credit card. Therefore, if you have tons of clutter around your bed, and even around your room, chances are bed bugs will find lots of fancy new places to make their temporary homes. Avoid books, boxes, paper clutter and the like around your bed. Put your shoes away properly, and make sure that your clothes are also properly put away.
Don’t take your time doing your laundry and folding it away, because in doing so you might find yourself giving bed bugs a new home. You may also want to take this time to start getting rid of some of the stuff that you’ve had for a long, long time. It’s an easy opportunity for spring cleaning, I guess you could say.
We even suggest that you can look into some organization techniques that will allow you to properly organize your home from this moment forward.
This is one positive thing that some people get from bed bug infestations – they do manage to somehow organize their homes afterwards. That could be something positive that you could take away from this entire experience.
5. Wash Everything
The next step in keeping your home bed bug free is to wash everything. Even if you’ve followed all the other steps for how to kill bed bugs completely, you still don’t want to skip this one. This is just in case there are any other bed bugs that are left behind. You will want to completely eliminate everything, especially if there were any eggs that were deposited on some of your things that went unnoticed.
You’ll want to wash all of your clothes – all of them. Even the ones that you haven’t been using for a long time. Even the ones that are in storage (with the exception of those that are in tightly sealed zipped up bags that bed bugs can’t get into – and even then, you might want to wash the bags they are in!). Make sure that you run all the laundry on high temperature, then also dry on high. We understand that some of your items of clothing might be too delicate for this process, but if this is the case then you probably want to get professional help.
Wash Other Things Too
After you’ve finished washing all the clothes, you then need to wash all of the linens and bed clothing. All your curtains, bed sheets, pillows, quilts and comforters, duvets – these will need a hot wash in the laundry. If you have stuffed animals in the house, wash those too. Don’t neglect your shoes either, you will want to throw those in the dryer for at least a half hour on high if you can’t send them through the washer. Note that if there are things that cannot be washed, ideally you still want to put them in the dryer on high so that any remaining bed bugs and eggs are eliminated.
6. Get Your Carpets Treated
After you’ve finished taking care of everything in your home, the next step is to get your carpets treated. If your carpets are lifting on the edges even just a little, chances are some bed bugs may have made their way in to hide around the seams. The best way to deal with this is to call a service that can shampoo and vacuum your carpet for you, and then afterwards you will want to make sure that there are no other issues.
Once your carpets are treated, you can then breathe a sigh of relief as the worst of it is over, and you can finally relax just a bit. At this point, after the exterminator treatment, the washing, the vacuuming, and the carpet treatment, all of the bed bugs in your home will have most likely been eradicated. But, to be safe, we do have two more suggestions for you below.
7. Bonus 1: Home Maintenance
Another bonus thing you can do if you really want to make sure you’ve done everything for how to kill bed bugs completely is to perform home maintenance. This is especially important if you haven’t done it in a while. As an added bonus, your home will be in a better state than it was before. Additionally, you will also be lessening the chances that bed bugs would come back after everything that you’ve already done. After all, with all of your hard work, time, money, and effort, why would you risk the chance of these pests coming back a second time around?
For home maintenance, there isn’t really much that you need to do. You can do things like filling any cracks or any crevices in the plaster. You can also glue down wallpaper that might already be peeling up. You could also take a look at all of your furniture and basically get rid of anything that is already too old or too broken. It’s always a good idea to get rid of items that can host bed bugs, so if you have cracked chairs, tables, or ratty couches, it’s time to bid them adieu.
8. Bonus 2: Steam Cleaning
One last thing that we would suggest when it comes to completely eradicating all of the bed bugs in your home is to steam clean everything. This one is less of a method to kill them (although it definitely will, should any remain through all the 7 steps above), and more of something that you can do for your peace of mind.
A good full steam cleaning service will leave your home absolutely clean and free of bed bugs. Additionally, you will know at this point that your house is clean enough so that you don’t feel like your skin is crawling from the memory of the bed bugs being there. Plus, if there are any allergens lurking around your home triggering any attacks, you can rest assured that they will be gone.
There are many different things that you can do in terms of how to kill bed bugs completely. But the fact of the matter remains that there are some times when you can still get bed bugs coming back. So if you truly don’t want these pests to come and infest your home a second time around, then it’s a good idea to simply follow all of the steps we’ve listed above to help you shake them completely.
Finally, we hope that this completely informative article will help you in your quest to get rid of the bed bugs completely. Remember to be vigilant so that you don’t find yourself having to deal with them again in the future!