Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. While infestations have been extremely rare in the past they have increased exponentially in Canada over the past decade.
The presence of this type of pest is dreaded by homeowners, landlords, tenants, and hotel owners as they can hide in the smallest of crevices, they can spread easily, and it can cost significant amounts of time, money, and resources to be rid of them.
To avoid being the victim of a bed bug infestation, there are certain pest control methods you can take. And no, cleanliness is not one of them. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs can present themselves anywhere, not just in the unsanitary areas.
1. Service your mattress
As their name explicitly implies, bed bugs enjoy beds so paying close attention to your mattress is common sense and crucial in any fight against an infestation. Because bed bugs enjoy hiding in the smallest of cracks and crevasses, periodically inspect all of the creases in your mattress, in the box spring and any spaces in your headboard.
Covering your mattress and box spring with protective plastic coverings will eliminate hiding spaces for bed bugs as they will not be able to get beneath the covering and infiltrate your bed. Bed bugs are extremely sensitive to heat and this is one of the most successful ways to kill them. As a result, using a steam cleaner on your mattress and box spring will allow you to avoid an infestation if any bed bugs are present.
2. Clear clutter
The clutter that you have in your home gives bed bugs items to nest and hide in. In the event that you do get infested, it will be harder to get rid of the pests when you have so much stuff. Do not leave leftover food or any garbage lying around for extended periods and every few months, get rid of belongings that you are not using especially those made of fabric. This will remove potential hiding spots for bed bugs
and make your living space a lot easier to clean.
If you have carpet in your home, vacuum a few times per week to get rid of any bugs, eggs, or feces present. As stated earlier, extreme cleanliness will not stop a bed bug infestation and it is not required. However, maintaining a little bit of order and tidiness will reduce your chances of an infestation dramatically.
3. Apply heat
The application of heat is extremely effective in killing bed bugs as they cannot withstand temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. If you suspect the presence of bed bugs in your home, raising your thermostat or using heaters will not be sufficient as the heat used needs to be extreme and direct. Steam cleaning your mattresses will expose them to heat and kill them.
Washing all clothes, linens, pillows, and bags in hot water and then running them through a dryer provides a two-stage method that will eradicate any bed bugs present. Not only will heat kill the bed bugs, it kills any eggs laid that will eventually hatch if not addressed as quickly as possible.
4. Post-travel actions
Bed bugs have been known to be present in hotels, bed and breakfasts, and whole apartment buildings. If you have just returned home from traveling, there is a small chance you have been exposed to them. To reduce any chances of causing the pests to spread to your home, unpack your suitcase outside of the house and put all clothes in plastic bags.
Leave your suitcase outside and vacuum it thoroughly. Wash your clothes in extremely hot water separate from all other laundry to avoid bed bugs from latching onto other pieces of clothing. Run your clothes through the dryer, again keeping it separate from everything else. Taking these steps upon returning from travelling will ensure that you do not bring any bed bugs home with you.