The thought of bed bugs is often enough to send anyone into panic mode. While bed bugs don’t spread diseases like ticks and mosquitoes, their presence can create uncomfortable conditions. With some diligence and consistency, you can eradicate an infestation. You can use a DIY bed bug treatment to ensure it fits your schedule and budget.
DIY bed bug treatment can be complicated and take several weeks, depending on the extent of the infestation. Many factors influence the success of your treatment, including the number of critters present and the available hiding spaces. Everyone in your home must participate and do their part to successfully treat your bed bug problem.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Tiny and flat with oval-shaped bodies, bed bugs are wingless insects. Adults have a wing-like structure called wing pads, but they never turn into full-fledged wings.
An adult bed bug has a brownish color but may appear red and swollen after feeding. Some people believe they are too small to see with the naked eye, but adults measure approximately 4-5 mm, making them detectable.
How to Complete an EPA-Approved DIY Bed Bug Treatment
The best way to eliminate a bed bug infestation is to hire a professional focusing on pest removal. Unfortunately, this might not be in the budget for every family, and a DIY solution may be your only option.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this is the best way to complete a DIY bed bug treatment. You may need to repeat these steps to ensure every bug and egg is killed.
1. Confirm You Have Bed Bugs
The first step to adequately treating any infestation is identifying it. Using the wrong treatment could worsen the problem instead of eliminating it. Collect a bug and have a professional help you identify it. If you live in a rental, notify your landlord once the infestation is confirmed. A landlord is responsible for participating in any treatment.
2. Establish a Plan
Before beginning any project, you must come up with a plan. Bed bug removal is no different. Don’t immediately reach for the chemicals. Consider alternative treatment options, like using a heating system.
Create a schedule for completing each step regardless of your chosen treatment method. Remember any personal or work engagements, like business trips or vacations.
Keep detailed records as you complete the treatment. Record the date and location where you found bed bugs. This will help you track your progress and prevent you from repeating treatment in any area.
3. Stop the Infestation From Multiplying
The problem with a bed bug infestation is that it can spread quickly. They can cling to bags, clothes, and sheets, making them transferable to other areas of your home. You can prevent this from happening by doing the following:
- Use silicone caulk to seal cracks and crevices
- Place infested items in a sealed plastic bag or storage container for up to a year
- Invest in protective covers that seal mattresses and box springs
- Have your trash collector pick up infested items as quickly as possible
If you cannot safely treat your furniture, it may be necessary to throw it away. Break it down and destroy it to prevent someone else from wanting to take it home.
4. Prepare for Treatment
Preparing your home for treatment makes it easier to monitor for bed bugs continually. Make sure to prepare whether you are doing a DIY bed bug treatment or working with a professional.
Start by reducing clutter to eliminate multiple hiding spaces for bed bugs. Put infested items directly into a trash bag and immediately put it outdoors once it is full. Bugs can hide in cardboard, so toss those and replace them with plastic bins. Get rid of items you no longer use, like clothing, magazines, and newspapers.
Remove all bugs, larvae, and eggs from the mattress, frame, and headboard. Move your bed a minimum of six inches from the wall and place bed-bug-proof covers on the mattress and box spring. Remove anything from under the bed and discard as appropriate. Place interceptors under the legs of the bed to trap any insects that try to climb them.
Clean everything that was in the bed bug-infested area. Physically inspect everything, from the baseboards to the light switch covers. You can use heat to treat bedding, clothing, and other items by putting them in the dryer for at least 30 minutes.
Use sealed plastic bags to move items from one area to another. Run a vacuum, seal the vacuum bag inside a plastic bag, and discard it in the trash.
5. Kill the Bugs
Save yourself time and avoid treatments that are unsafe or do not work. Such treatments include:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Sticky traps
Ensure your chosen methods are effective, safe, and legal within your area.
Consider using non-chemical methods. Heat treatments include using your dryer on high heat and storing items in black plastic bags in the sun. The latter, of course, depends on your climate.
Cold treatments require your freezer to be set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit to be effective. Steam cleaners are useful for getting into cracks and fabrics, like carpets and furniture.
6. Continually Monitor
Monitoring your living area for bed bugs at least every seven days is essential. You may have missed some eggs, and continually inspecting your home will help you identify larvae early. Frequently vacuuming will help remove any lingering bugs or eggs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Even with the most effective DIY bed bug treatment options, these pests can be challenging to locate and eliminate. The fastest and most practical way to ensure you get rid of them is to hire a professional. They will evaluate your problem and make a plan to remove every last critter, restoring your peace of mind.
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.