Heavily populated cities all across America are currently fighting a big problem – Bed Bugs! Just like humans, bed bugs enjoy being wrapped up warm and are at their most content when they are cozy and close to a food source. Happy to move from host to host via bedding, furniture and even luggage; these little mites pack a blood sucking bite.
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Easy ways to banish bed bugs
Notoriously difficult to eradicate, many people turn to pricey pest control companies for fast and effective solutions. However, if you are prepared to put in plenty of hard work then you may be able to rid your home of bed bugs yourself. If you rent your accommodation and you find that pests have come as part of the package, then you need to speak to your landlord immediately.
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Banishing bed bugs for good, takes more than a deep clean and from experience I can tell you that there is no simple solution for ridding your home of these persistent pests. Vacuum cleaners can be useful in reducing the number of bed bugs, but it is not a 100% effective method for eradicating them. If you are lucky enough to vacuum before the bed bugs are disturbed then you will be able to collect large clusters of adults and nymphs, but it is unlikely that you will suck up many of the eggs. Below I will explain my tried and tested “do-it-yourself” methods for getting rid of bed bugs successfully.
How to vacuum bed bugs effectively
If you thought that a quick run of the bed bug vacuum cleaner over your floors and mattresses was a sure-fire way of sucking up bugs, then think again. Unfortunately, bed bugs are difficult to find and dislodge as they can cling tightly to rough and uneven surfaces. Eggs even more so, as they are coated with a transparent glue-like consistency that enables them to stick to almost anything.
A thorough investigation or a game of hide and seek around your home should provide you with a conclusive insight into where the bed bugs are lurking. Once located, you can get to work with the vacuum cleaner, but please note, that the stronger the suction the greater the success you will have in removing bed bugs from cracks, crevasses, rips and tears.
It is also important that you are thorough and methodical and resist the temptation to vacuum vigorously, as the last thing you want is to throw the bed bugs around the room. Firm but controlled vacuuming will enable you to scoop them up off the surface, ensuring that there is no escape.
It is really important that you handle the vacuum with care. I would suggest using a vacuum cleaner with a bag so that you can seal it and double bag it for added peace of mind. Do this out of the home to stop any escapees from crawling back in and place the bag straight in the trash can.
I would recommend rechecking each area and repeating the process a number of times, whilst deep cleaning all of your bedding and soft furnishings.
Can bed bugs survive inside a vacuum?
Bed bugs are resilient and a little trip down a cleaning chute is not enough to kill them. This means that once you suck them up, there is always the chance they could crawl back out through the nozzle. By capturing them in a bag and emptying it immediately will seal their fate, but you must make sure that you clean the vacuum cleaner meticulously in hot, soapy water.
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Can steam cleaners kill bed bugs?
As vacuuming alone does not guarantee that you solve the problem, I would strongly suggest investing in a steam cleaner. The difference between steaming and simply vacuuming is that bed bugs, in all stages of their development including eggs, cannot survive such extreme heat. When using a steam cleaner, it releases heat of around 160-180 degrees C (200-230 degrees F) and can penetrate even the hardest to reach areas. But be careful not to over steam as you do not want your bedding bathed in moisture.
Everyday steamers that you use on your clothes and linen will not be effective and you need to ensure that you always vacuum prior to steaming.
7 effective methods for getting rid of bed bugs:
As I mentioned above, there is no quick and easy solution for getting rid of bed bugs but by following my easy to do processes, as listed below, you can treat the infestation effectively.
1. Know which rooms are affected
Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, so you should be able to spot these mini vampires. Eggs, however, are harder to see, but are generally located close to the bugs themselves. Pay special attention to rooms such as bedrooms, living rooms and laundry areas as these are most commonly infected.
2. Isolate your furniture
Upon sighting bed bugs, many people decide to throw all their furniture and bedding away. This is not only an expensive solution but is unlikely to solve an infestation, as bed bugs are constantly moving around. Instead I recommend that you isolate your furniture, making sure that it is well away from walls and other furnishings, and make sure there are no overhanging sheets which could make it easy for a bed bug to climb.
3. Remain in one place
Once you locate where the bed bugs are residing, there is the temptation to move into another uninfected room. Beware, however, that the bed bugs will hunt you down. Therefore, try and remain in the same place if at all possible in order to prevent multiple locations from becoming infested.
4. Deep clean
Make sure you strip your bed of all linen, washing with detergent on a high hot wash. You should vacuum all areas and dispose of the contents as detailed above. If you have a steam cleaner, this will be particularly effective for erradicating eggs.
5. Bed bug proof your home
If you suspect you have bed bugs but are struggling to find them, you could try placing interceptors on the legs of your bed. These are special cups that encourage bed bugs to venture in, but their shiny surfaces make it difficult to climb out. For this reason, I also place sticky tape in strategic places around the home. Another item to purchase would be a mattress bed-bug-proof encasement. These work by sealing off the mattress preventing any wrinkles or potential hiding places from occurring. Once the bed bug enters the encasement it has no way of escaping and ultimately dies from starvation.
6. Use insecticide sprays
If you have tried all the above methods, yet the bed bugs still continue to keep you awake at night, then you may want to consider using an insecticide. These usually come in the form of sprays or powders.
A bed bug spray often only works when placed in direct contact with bed bugs. It is important to note that in recent years there have been reports of bed bugs becoming resistant to the ingredients which formulate these sprays. I, personally, still find them effective, but would suggest trying a powder version if you are not getting the results you had hoped for.
The powder versions have a residual effect and can still kill a bed bug that comes into contact with it weeks after application. Although a word of warning, if you have pets or children at home then I would not advise using the spray version due to accidental poisoning, but instead look to use a powder that is safe to be used around kids and pets.
7. Don’t assume
It is important to treat your entire home for bed bugs, regardless of whether they have been sighted or not. As hitch hikers, they tend to work their way around the house.
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Getting rid of bed bugs is no mean feat and for those who prefer to ‘do-it-yourself’ it is important to understand that this can take up a considerably amount of time and effort. Vacuuming should be regarded as a maintenance solution only, used as part of an overall bed bug eradication process alongside other, more effective, methods.