One of the questions many people ask is whether they can treat and eliminate bed bugs on their own. Since the pests hide so well, reproduce quickly, and their egg stage is resistance to certain forms of treatment, bed bug removal can be challenging. This is why getting rid of bed bugs may require several attempts.
When it comes to treating bed bugs, some of the factors that will influence your chances of succeeding include:
• The person tasked with inspecting the home and furniture for infestation
• The extent of the infestation
• Specific challenges associated with the site
• Availability or lack of clutter
• Neighbors with infestation
• Whether other residents can participate in the exercise
Depending on these factors, it can take weeks or months before you can completely control these pests.
Proper planning will go a long way in helping you control bed bugs.
As you begin, these steps will help to guide you:
• Identify the problem
• Come up with an effective strategy
• Prevent the expansion of the infestation
• Get ready for treatment
• Eliminate the bed bugs
• Evaluate and prevent
Identify the problem
To correctly identify the problem, you should start by determining the extent of infestation by inspecting affected and the surrounding areas. This will allow you to identify the pests correctly. You may also want to collect a sample so you can show it to an expert in the field. These experts are not only trained in pest control but also know your local area.
In case you live in an apartment, you should notify your landlord of the infestation so that the adjacent units can be inspected as well. It would be important to look at the housing codes and laws in your areas to determine whether landlords are required to take part in treatment.
Develop a strategy
If your efforts are to bear results, you should use a calendar to develop a strategy. In addition to mapping out every stage, you should also keep records throughout the process. Keeping track of dates and the locations where pests are found will help in long-term monitoring to ensure all the bed bugs have been eliminated.
Keep the infestation from spreading
All the items you remove from the infested room should be placed in a plastic bag. This bag should then be sealed and treated. If some of the items cannot be treated, they should be left in a sealed plastic bag for a period to ensure that the pests die. According to research, this period varies in length but could be as long as one year.
Some of the other steps you can take to prevent the infestation from spreading are:
• Emptying the vacuum after every use
• Making sure all bags are tightly sealed before being put in an outdoor trash container
• Do not discard furniture if you can still get rid of the bugs in it
In case furniture cannot be recovered, it should be disposed of responsibly. To prevent anyone from bringing it into their home and using it, you should consider destroying the furniture. You can do this by tearing the covers and getting rid of stuffing, using spray paint to put a “Bed Bugs” mark on the furniture or having a trash collection agency pick up the infested stuff.
Prepare for treatment
When it comes to bed bug removal, you may be tempted to go straight to controlling the pests. However, this will not work without proper preparation. Proper preparation will also make monitoring easier, helping to eliminate any remaining bed bugs. This is why it should be done regardless of whether you plan to hire a professional or do the treatment yourself.
Kill the bed bugs
Make sure that the methods you use to eliminate the pests are effective, safe and legal. Although it is better to consider non-chemical methods, you should understand that some will be more effective than others.
For heat treatment, you can use a hot, closed car, black plastic bags in the sun or clothes dryer on high heat. However, experts in pest management may use methods that should not be used by untrained people.
Cold treatment, on the other hand, can work when you set your home freezer at zero degrees. This will require that you leave the affected items in the freezer for about four days while using a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
While these and other non-chemical methods can help to reduce bed bugs, they are not ideal for complete bed bug removal and eliminating the infestation. If you find it necessary, you can use pesticides in line with label directions or hire pest management experts.
• Look for and use EPA-registered pesticides
• Ensure bed bugs are included on the label
• To protect your health, use foggers with extreme care
The broadcast spraying action that foggers work with means that they are not ideal for use as the only method for bed bug removal and control. This is because the spray will not be effective in cracks and crevices, some of the hiding places for the pests.
Should I use a fogger?
Once you complete the first step in cleaning up and controlling the pests, you should check whether there are any remaining bed bugs. If you find bed bugs during the regular exercise, you may have missed some pests during your clean-up, or some of the eggs left behind have hatched. This means that you should find the eggs and ensure retreatment to remove or kill them.
In case you have to retreat repeatedly, you may want to use pesticides with other modes of action. For instance, drying agents which work by drying out the pests will be effective since bugs cannot develop resistance to them. However, when using the desiccants, you should choose those registered as pesticides as opposed to pool or food-grade diatomaceous earth. This type can harm your health if you breathe it in. It is also important to understand that while desiccants are effective, they can take many months to produce results.
This article was written with support from our friends at:
Canada Bed Bug
1281 W Georgia St #610B, Vancouver, BC V6E 3J7