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With the most recent uptick in bed bug infestations, people are again on high alert about how to prevent having to deal with these shudder-inducing pests. Theyre remarkably hardy creatures, which makes them all the more terrifying to think about having in your home. Because they can be super hard to get rid of once they take hold in a space, knowing how to keep from bringing them into your home is the first line of defense.
A few years ago, I talked with an exterminator at a friends house and we got on the subject of bed bugs. He told me something Id never heard before: He said he hardly ever goes to movies because one of the most common places to pick up bedbugs is movie theaters! He told me that when he or any of his family members go to movie theaters, they strip down to their underwear before even going into the house and toss their clothes straight into the dryer.
Throwing bedding or clothing in the washing machine will drown any active bed bugs. But to ensure that you arent bringing the critters into your home (even if you dont see any signs of bed bugs) youll need the high heat of a dryer. Toss any possibly affected clothing into the dryer, set it on the highest setting, and let it run for at least 15 minutes. It cant hurt and it might save you from a much bigger headache later!
If you do see a few bed bugs in your home, its important to act quickly to prevent a larger-scale infestation. Mattress encasements can keep bed bugs from infesting your mattress and boxsprings, alcohol sprays and diatomaceous earth can kill them, essential oils and insect repellants can repel them, and furniture traps can help catch them before they take up residence in your furniture.
Additional measures you can take at home to prevent bed bugs include clearing clutter, vacuuming regularly (including your mattress), and checking luggage and secondhand furniture before bringing it into the house.
I dont want to live in fear, and I certainly dont want to let bedbugs keep me from enjoying a rare-for-me night out at the movies. However, if bed bugs are spreading, its more likely than ever that infestations could start not just from hotel stays, where we may be used to checking for signs of bed bugs, but also in places we might not think of, like movie theaters.
Im grateful to add one exterminators take on the matter, and this is an easy step I can take if I want to be extra careful not to bring bed bugs home.
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Bedbugs measure just 5 millimeters across, which is smaller than a pencil eraser. These bugs are smart and tough, and they reproduce quickly. Bedbugs know where to hide to avoid detection and can live for months between meals. A female can lay 500 eggs in her lifetime.
Its no surprise that these tiny bloodsuckers can cause a lot of trouble in your home. If they get into bed with you, they can leave red, itchy welts all over your body.
You can get rid of bedbugs. Try to be patient, as removing bedbugs often takes some time and effort. You may have to try a few different chemical and nonchemical approaches, especially if you have a large infestation.
Certain factors can make bedbugs harder to remove. You may have a tougher time ridding your home of them if you have a lot of clutter or you travel often and bring new bedbugs home in your luggage.
If you cannot get rid of them on your own, you may have to call in a professional exterminator. Read on for a step-by-step guide on getting rid of bedbugs.
If youve got bedbugs, you want to find them early before they start to reproduce. Its much easier and cheaper to treat a small infestation than a big one. But smaller infestations can be harder to detect.
Search for bedbugs yourself or hire a professional to do an inspection. Some inspectors use specially trained dogs to hunt down bedbugs by scent.
Bedbugs small and narrow bodies enable them to squeeze into tiny spots, like the seams of a mattress or couch and the folds of curtains.
Also, look for them:
Use a flashlight and magnifying glass to go over all of these areas.
You can spot signs of bedbugs by the following:
Once you find a bedbug, put it in a sealed jar along with 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Other types of bugs can look a lot like bedbugs. If youre not sure what type of bug youve found, bring it to an exterminator or entomologist to identify.
Once you know you have bedbugs, you need to keep them contained so you can get rid of them. A quick and easy way to trap bedbugs is with your vacuum. Run the vacuum over any possible hiding places.
This includes your:
Seal up the vacuumed contents into a plastic bag and throw it away. Then thoroughly clean out the vacuum.
Seal up all your linens and affected clothes in plastic bags until you can wash them. Then put them on the highest possible temperature setting in a washer and dryer. If an item cannot be washed, put it in the dryer for 30 minutes at the highest heat setting.
Anything that cannot be treated in the washer and dryer should be placed in a plastic bag. Leave it there for a few months, if possible, to make sure all the bugs die.
If you cannot clean furniture, throw it away. Tear it up first and spray paint the word bedbugs on it so no one else tries to take it home.
Before you start treating your home, do a little prep work to maximize your odds of success. Make sure all your linens, carpets, drapes, clothing, and other hiding places have been cleaned or thrown out (see step 2).
Next, get rid of bedbug hiding places:
Seal up any open areas:
Finally, move your bed at least 6 inches away from the wall so bedbugs cannot climb on.
You can first try to remove bedbugs without chemicals. These bugs are pretty easy to kill with high heat at 115F (46.11C) or intense cold at 32F (0C).
Here are a few ways to treat bedbugs using these methods:
Once youve cleaned all visible bedbugs, make the area inhospitable for the rest of them. Place bedbug-proof covers over your mattress and box spring. Zip these covers up all the way. Bugs that are trapped inside will die, and new bugs will not be able to get in.
If these methods do not wipe out all the bugs, you may need to try an insecticide.
Insecticides can help rid your home of bedbugs. Look for products that are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are specifically marked for use on bedbugs.
Here are a few types of insecticides you can try:
Bedbugs can take some time to wipe out. Before you can ensure that your treatment has worked, you need proof that the bugs have moved on. Check the infested areas about once every 7 days for signs of activity.
To make surviving bedbugs easier to spot, place bedbug interceptors under each leg of the bed. These devices will trap bedbugs before they can climb up into your bed. You may need to keep checking the interceptors for a full year.
Bedbugs are hardy creatures. Just when you think youve wiped them out, you might spot them again. You may have to try a few different treatment methods to control the infestation. And if they still do not go away, youll want to call in a professional exterminator.
If you cannot wipe out bedbugs on your own, its time to get the pros involved.
Pest control companies have the advantage of using chemicals and other treatments that are not available to you. They have insecticides that both kill bugs on contact and that stay inside furniture and cracks to kill bedbugs in the long term.
Pest control companies can also use whole room heat treatments. They bring in special equipment that heats up the room to a temperature between 135 and 145F (57.22 and 62.78C) high enough to kill bedbugs.
Before the pest control company arrives, they should give you instructions for prepping your home. Follow their directions carefully and youll have the best chance of wiping out the bugs.
Professional treatments take two to three visits to start working. After each treatment, you may have to stay out of the treated rooms for a few hours until the insecticides have dried.
Keep reading: Whats the difference between flea bites and bedbug bites?
Once the bedbugs are gone, youll want to make sure they stay gone for good:
See more here:
How to Get Rid of Bedbugs: A Step-by-Step Guide - Healthline
If youve noticed signs of bed bugs in your home, its time to consider contacting a bed bug exterminator. Prices may vary from business to business, though. While do-it-yourself methods may seem to be cheaper, they may not always work and may end up costing more in the long run. That said, its important to recognize the benefits of professional pest management. When vetting exterminators, consider their treatment options and make sure they're flexible enough to align with your needs. Here are some elements that can determine how much a bed bug treatment may cost. Cost of a Bed Bug Exterminator
So, how much is bed bug extermination? Costs vary depending on treatment and environments. Some homes need more extensive, hands-on operations, while others only need a one-time treatment. Additionally, a preference for non-toxic solutions may also impact your cost. Not sure if professional treatment is for you? Wondering what a bed bug inspection costs? Terminix technicians can conduct a FREE bed bug inspection. From there, you can decide whether to proceed with the recommended treatment. Likewise, Terminix offers FREE follow-up treatments. If bed bugs return, a technician will return to your home free of charge during the warranty period.
Non-toxic methods can include the RapidFreeze solution. This method makes use of carbon dioxide, which is then converted to dry ice. Upon contact, this compound can freeze insects, including both eggs and their nymphs. This method can still be fast and effective but keeps customer preference in mind. In addition to the RapidFreeze solution, Terminix also offers other effective treatments to meet the needs of each home. These can include steaming, heat, vacuuming and trapping monitors. Youll want to make sure that your exterminator is using the best method for your home. Experience can also be a good sign that your exterminator knows what theyre doing. For example, Terminix has been helping homeowners tackle termites and pests for over 90 years. Our customers can vouch for our knowledge and success in treating infestations.
With so many DIY treatments, many people overlook the benefits of professional extermination. According to the National Pest Management Association, 84% of professional exterminator requests for bed bugs were actually a different pest. In fact, 71% of cases were fleas and 28% were cockroaches. Terminix technicians are trained to recognize differences in pests, know the common hiding spots and identify signs of infestation. Additionally, exterminators have access to effective treatment options that arent sold commercially. As so, they have the skills needed to successfully and safely apply these solutions in your home for an effective treatment.
Many people stray from the professional route when they are researching bed bug exterminator costs. Average homeowners may choose to attempt extermination on their own instead. If methods are unsuccessful, infestations may worsen. As so, its important to let the professionals step in right away. By scheduling an appointment with Terminix, a trained technician can help you achieve more success. With robust knowledge and unparalleled experience, they can help keep your home free of bed bugs.
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How Much Does a Bed Bug Exterminator Cost? | Terminix
One area bed bugs love to hide in is your closet. As Bed Bugs Insider points out, one of the main ways bed bugs infest your house is by latching onto your clothing during travel, where they will then nest in your closet when you get home. They also like the darkness associated with most closets, so if they don't originate in your closet, odds are they'll find their way there eventually especially if you remove them from your mattress.
If you're a frequent traveler, keep your luggage away from the walls and off your bed, ideally keeping it on a metal luggage rack that the bugs can't access, per Orkin Canada. You can also wrap your clothing in plastic bags to try and keep the bugs out. Despite your best efforts, it's still possible they'll find a home in your closet.
To check your closet for bed bugs, start by removing everything you have stored in there and placing the items in tightly sealed plastic bags. Avoid wearing or using anything until you can guarantee it's bed bug free. Search for living and dead bugs, checking every corner and crease. If you spot even one, odds are there are plenty more hidden somewhere, in which case you should immediately contact an exterminator.