Bed bugs have been painted as an implacable pest for which the usual chemical remedies, such as Raid, don't work. Bed bugs are crawling into even the cleanest houses, apartment buildings, and hotels across the country and the world. Fear of getting them may leave you grasping for the deadliest pesticides known to the Internet. Unfortunately, it's very very tough to manage a bed bug problem on your own, but there are guides for best practices. |
First of all, although dealing with bed bugs can be anxiety-provoking and expensive, they don't carry disease -- that's an important point to make. Mosquitoes are a more important public health threat than bed bugs, but they haven't caused this kind of hysteria according to Tom Green, An expert in integrated pest management (or IPM), which seeks to reduce unneeded pesticide use, Green says the best solution is to keep calm and carry on. There are safe options to keep the bed bugs from biting.because we're familiar with how to treat them. We all know what mosquitoes look like and how to deal with them, and we just need to get to that point with bed bugs. In agriculture new pests are introduced on an unfortunately regular basis, so this is certainly something that entomologists are used to dealing with.
Some of the chemical measures that used to work for bed bugs don't work as well anymore because the bugs have built up a resistance. But there are still a lot of effective pest control options.
If you do have a problem, how do you get rid of them?
Because they hide in crevices and other hard-to-reach places, it's best to hire a certified IPM professional, who will use a number of techniques to remove the immediate problem and reduce the likelihood of infestation. Heat treatment, for example, can be very effective, followed up by sealing points of entry from adjacent apartments.
You can start, however, by vacuuming up those bed bugs revealed by your inspection -- seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and dispose when done. Check the vacuum hose to make sure it's clear and that there are no bed bugs trapped on clumps of dust that they may crawl away from when the vacuum is turned off.
Once you've vacuumed the mattress, wrapping it in a bug-proof mattress encasement is really a great idea: They have minimal seams, so they prevent bed bugs from gathering, and have tight-sealing zippers, which bed bugs can't get in and out of. As result, your bed can't be re-infested and any remaining eggs inside won't pose a threat since the bed bugs will be trapped and die after hatching. So there's no need to spray the mattress if you're going to use the encasement.
As soft-bodied insects, bed bugs aren't that hard to kill. If you disturb the wax on their bodies, they dry out pretty quickly and die. A number of effective pesticides use this approach. For example, some plant oil-based products dissolve the waxy cuticle. They act quickly but you have to get it on the bed bug while it's wet. There are other chemical products, like the pyrethroids, that will work when they're dry.
Diatomaceous earth is the active ingredient in several pesticides often available at hardware stores that abrades the waxy cuticle on bed bugs and cause them to die. It's not quick-acting and may take up to ten days, but it can be placed in wall voids -- away from people and animals -- where it will work for a long time against bed bugs.
Vacuuming is a really good strategy to reduce their numbers by removing the insects and eggs from these places where they congregate. You really have to do a very good job of inspecting the room. You might have a congregation of bed bugs in the smoke detector, in electrical outlets, behind a picture on the wall, or in the gaps where the headboard rails meet the frame.
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