Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
Thousands of people write me that they cannot afford bed bug treatments. Or, they can afford one treatment, but don't have the money for the follow up treatments suggested by most pest control companies.
This article is going to describe what is required to perform a successful bed bug service yourself. The only thing you will need is willingness to study and the ability to follow directions. So, let's get started.
At the very top of the list is learning about bed bugs. This is the point where all pest control professionals start and it's usually the same spot non-professionals try to avoid. The non-professional wants to get right down to the business of applying pesticides, but the pro knows that every pest has its own set of characteristics. You must learn where bed bugs like to hide. What types of surfaces do bed bugs prefer? Rough? Smooth? Wood? Metal? You have to know where to look.
How long does it take for bed bugs to multiply? How often do they lay their eggs? Where do they lay their eggs? How many eggs do they produce? You have to know how much time you have before you are fighting thousands of bed bugs. You also need to know how many eggs you need to find to break the egg laying cycle.
You need to know that bed bugs prefer to be in cracks or the folds of upholstery, so you're going to need a good flashlight and an extension mirror like those used by car mechanics. The mirror will help you search behind areas where you can't squeeze your head. Overlooking a single bed bug will result in treatment failure. That, by the way, is why pest control companies schedule multiple visits. The follow up visits are meant to discover and eliminate newly hatching bed bugs. Follow up treatments should be scheduled from seven to ten days apart. Put it on your calendar if you hope to do this treatment the right way. There can be no putting off a follow up treatment.
Learn to identify all stages of bed bugs. Remember, you are not just looking for the adult stage. You need to be able to identify eggs and all five instar stages. Instars are the growing stages that bed bugs go through to become full grown adults. You also need to know what each stage looks like before and after they have had a blood meal. Pictures of all the various stages are available on the web.
During your learning stage you will find out that clutter is your enemy and a bed bug's friend. Clothing laying about, books, newspapers, boxes and anything that provides shelter from the light is a potential bed bug home. Trying to use a pesticide when your home is cluttered is impossible. Get organized! It's a major requirement for bed bug control regardless of the treatment method you use be it pesticides, heat, cold or steam. Nothing will work if the environment is cluttered.
Prepare for the treatment. Wash linens. Put any clothing that may be harboring bed bugs into a hot drying for twenty minutes. You don't have to wash the clothing. In fact, woolens will shrink if they are wet and put into a dryer, but you can easily treat woolens if they are dry when they go into the dryer. Only load the dryer one-third full to allow hot air to freely circulate in and over the tumbling clothing. Bag the clothing once it comes out of the dryer.
Infested furniture does not have to be thrown out, but it does require thorough treatments. Box springs should be covered with a bed bug mattress cover. Couches are more difficult. Be sure to remove the black dust cover from the bottom of upholstered furniture in order to inspect and treat hiding bed bugs. It's going to be your most difficult task.
Now it's time to choose your pesticides for treatment. There are many from which to choose, but note that all of them will say œKills on contact. That means you need to see the bug and spray the bug. If you don't hit it directly it will not die. That's why understanding where bed bugs hide is so important. For surfaces where humans may have contact, such as mattresses and couches, you may only use a non-residual pesticide such as Steri-Fab. For baseboard treatments, treating the bed frame, the underside and cracks and crevices of furniture I like a product such as Onslaught or Suspendq SC.
When you buy your pesticide product you must read the entire label. The label will tell you all the precautions you must take to make a safe application. It has a list of the insects it controls, where the product may be applied and directions on how to mix the product. These are professional-level pesticides. They are concentrates that must be diluted in water. They cost more expensive than buying a pre-mixed product off a grocery shelf, but they will make up gallons of usable spray compared to a few ounces of pre-mixed product. This is way more cost effective. You just have to follow the label. If the label calls for one ounce per gallon, fight the urge to use two ounces. It will not make the product any more powerful and it wastes your money. Follow up each treatment with another treatment every seven days to get total control.
So, instead of spending $400 or $500 for a complete bed bug treatment, you can do the whole thing for an investment of less that $60 or so, depending upon your pesticide selection. If you cannot follow the steps I have laid out and you don't have the time or inclination, don't try to do it yourself. If you do take the time there is no reason why you cannot successfully control your own bed bug infestation.