Unless you are in a position to move to a different home and replace most of your belongings, you cannot run from bed bugs – you have to meet them head on. The best strategy for evicting these problematic parasites is to hire a professional exterminator, but it is possible to take care of the problem on your own.
However, the process is not easy, and many amateurs make costly mistakes. Avoid the following five mistakes to help rid your home and bed of these disgusting little insects.
Shifting Your Sleeping Location
While your desire to sleep in a bug-free location it is completely understandable, this will likely exacerbate your problem. If, for example, you start sleeping on your couch or in a spare bedroom, the bugs will likely follow. Instead, concentrate your efforts on eradicating the bugs from your bed and bedroom.
Discarding Linens and Mattresses Unnecessarily
It is rarely necessary to throw out your bed mattress or linens. Instead, wash your sheets, blankets and pillows in hot water to kill any bugs present. Vacuum your bed to remove as many insects as possible, then treat the mattress with a pesticide specifically designed for such use.
Using Insecticides Improperly
Several pest control sprays and powders are effective for killing bed bugs and safe to use around your family. However, many people opt for short cuts, such as using sprays designed for roaches, hornets or ants, to treat their bed bug infestation. Not only is this type of “off label” use unlikely to be effective, it may endanger your loved ones. Further, it is actually a federal crime to use pesticides or insecticides in a manner inconsistent with their labeling.
Treating the Room, But Not the Rest of the Home
Most bed bugs in your house do live in or near your bed – the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension explains that 70 percent of the bed bugs in any infestation live on the mattress, frame or box spring. However, those bed bugs lurking near floorboards or nestled into your curtains will survive your efforts, unless you target them specifically. Even if you wipe out all of the bugs on your bed, those living in other parts of the room will quickly move in and replace them.
Trying to Treat Bed Bugs in an Apartment
Because of the connected nature of apartment homes, professional exterminating services are the only way to eradicate the insects entirely. You may be able to kill all of the insects in your unit, but the bugs have probably already colonized the adjacent units, which will allow them to re-infest your home once the pesticides have dissipated. Click here to learn more about bed bug removal.