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Bed bugs present one of the most challenging obstacles in all types of pest infestations. These parasitic, elusive insects depend entirely on the blood of human beings, which means we have been dealing with these pests since the dawn of humankind.
Since the mid-twentieth century, when pest control began to revolutionize its approach, this single pest has presented challenges to sufferers who decide to address the problem without a pest control professional. This is due in part to the hiding behaviors of the tiny bugs, as well as increased, rapid resistance to commonly-abused insecticides.
Can I eliminate bed bugs on my own?
Bed bugs can be eliminated without the services of a pest control professional. The process is labor-intensive and requires an arsenal of powerful products, as well as a firm commitment to withstand the prolonged wait.
How Do You Kill Bed Bugs Yourself?
The first matter that should be realized if you ever find yourself in this nightmare of a situation is to realize that the infestation has no bearing on you as an individual, your way of life, or your character. Deficiencies in cleanliness, organization, or economic status have absolutely nothing to do with attracting bed bugs.
These bugs achieve their goals by hitchhiking and finding their way in, upon which the bugs begin to spread at a rapid and alarming rate. They do not gravitate towards filth or certain types of dwellings.
The bugs only want human blood and a safe way to access it and reproduce. Human blood is required for the insect’s survival as well as the fertilization process.
Bed bugs do not care where they are, as long as it is safe and provides easy access to a human host with plenty of hiding spaces. Although pest control services are highly recommended (and sometimes the only recourse available), there are a few standout products and protocols you can follow to eliminate a moderate infestation on your own.
With this in mind, it must be understood that attempting DIY for a bed bug infestation is incredibly difficult and will become a second full-time job on top of your standard job. It will be a rough few weeks but elimination is achievable.
Before you attempt to purchase the essential products needed, there are several tasks you must complete first. The prep work is non-negotiable and must be followed impeccably.
1. Wash and launder all fabrics
Begin by addressing all of the fabric material in your home. Wash and dry all fabric (clothing, drapes, linens, towels, etc.) on the highest heat setting.
2. Store laundry in sealable containers
Once laundered, seal all of the fabric in either sealable containers or heavy-duty contractor bags. This is to keep the bugs out of the fabric and once you change clothing each day, be sure to seal dirty clothing in a contractor bag until you can launder the items.
3. Treat mattress and box springs with steam
Next, it is important to address the infestation in the bed. If you have not done anything to cause the bugs to scatter, it is entirely possible that the entire infestation is very well contained exclusively to your bed.
The mattress and box spring are almost always the preferred hiding places for bed bugs. The problem with a bedbug-infested mattress is that there are only a small number of ways to try and salvage a mattress once an infestation has overtaken it.
The process may involve treating the baseboards of the room containing the mattress first to ensure that any bugs that fall off the mattress during treatment will run into residual poison once they seek shelter under the gap where the walls meet the floor. Then, utilizing either steam or bed bug insecticides, you can apply the steam or poison to every crack, crevice, and fold of the mattress to kill any active bugs out in the open.
4. Use a bed bug mattress encasement
Particular attention must be given to the seams, corners, and edges of the mattress where bed bugs group and lay eggs, as well as to any rips and tears leading into the interior of the mattress. Once a mattress has been treated, bed bug mattress encasements are then applied to the mattress to enclose it inside of a bed bug proof cover that will trap any lingering bugs inside of the mattress with no way to escape.
This process is known as desiccation, which means that the bugs trapped inside of the mattress will starve to death over time since they cannot reach a host to feed. Since bed bugs have been known to live 12-16 months without food in laboratory settings, the encasements will need to stay on the mattress and box spring for at least 16 months to ensure death.
5. Treat headboard with insecticide
Once this is finished, you will need to address the headboard, frame, as well as the bed legs. If your headboard or frame is made of wood, this could very well be a problem since bed bugs love to hide and make nests inside of wood.
Consider replacing these wood structures, or saturate the structures in a powerful bed bug killer with a residual such as Temprid FX. If wood is not an issue, you will still need to apply a residual insecticide to the structures in order to kill any bugs hiding within.
6. Place bed legs inside interceptors
Bed legs should be placed inside of an interceptor to prevent the bugs from crawling up the legs from other parts of the room and to ensure that bugs seeking to escape the bed will have no choice but to crawl into a poison placed inside of the container.
7. Move bed away from the wall
Finally, move the bed at least three feet from the wall to prevent bugs from climbing into the bed from the wall. Also, be sure to keep all linen on the bed at all times to prevent creating a bridge for the bugs to climb onto the bed.
How Can I Be Sure There Are No Bed Bugs in Other Parts of My Bedroom?
There are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to bed bugs. You will always have to assume that the bugs are everywhere throughout your home since the bugs hide so well.
Once you have treated and protected your bed, do the same to other pieces of furniture. Also, you will have to treat the walls and baseboards, virtually anywhere that has cracks or crevices.
Additionally, you will need to treat all miscellaneous items as well since the bugs can crawl into virtually anything and create a hiding area. All of this is only as good as a powerful arsenal of bed bug insecticides and proven elimination tools.
What Are the Best DIY Bed Bug Products?
You will need to avoid any insecticides that contain pyrethroids. Bed bugs have developed a rapid-resistance to these commonly used chemicals.
Perhaps the strongest bed bug killer is a product that seems to consistently kill and repel the bugs without any resistance reported. There are a few products that consistently stand out.
Crossfire by MGK is the single best bed bug killer available for purchase. Crossfire pesticide combines a powerful contact kill with a residual that keeps killing the bugs and their eggs through all of their life stages, so a degree of caution and education about the insecticide is crucial when handling this revolutionary product.
Additionally, Cimexa Dust by Rockwell Labs is non-toxic and can be completely safe if administered correctly. Unlike other desiccant powders that can irritate the lungs, CimeXa dust is non-crystalline and is formulated from a unique mixture of silica dust which absorbs all of the moisture in insects. Due to this unique mechanism, insects cannot develop a resistance to the product.
What is the First Sign of Bed Bugs?
You can go quite a long period of time without ever having the slightest idea that your bed and home is infested with bed bugs. This is because the insects are only interested in feeding on humans when the body is completely still (sleep) and the rest of the time the bugs are completely hiding.
Most people will usually discover the bugs by noticing dark spots on their linen, which is bed bug waste (blood). Other times, you will likely discover the bugs when you launder your linen or lift up your mattress at some point.
Worst of all, you may wake up in the middle of the night and find the bugs drawing blood from our body or crawling on the bed. The good news is that once you have discovered the bugs, the process can then begin to fully eradicate the insects from your home.
Will Bed Bugs Come Out if I Sleep with the Lights On?
While it is true that bed bugs are nocturnal and tend to hide during the day, it is a myth that sleeping with the lights on will keep the bugs from coming out. This is simply because there is nothing that will stop the bugs from feeding when they are hungry.
Carbon dioxide emissions and body warmth are what attract bed bugs and this is also what can alert the bugs if you are in fact sleeping. It is the sleeping patterns of the host that matters most to the bugs, not the brightness of lights.
Destroying bed bugs can be achieved without the usage of pest control service, however, the process is very difficult and time-consuming. You will need an arsenal of powerful treatment products as well as patience and mental focus to get through the eradication process.