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Bed bugs are pests that can make your sleeping life impossible. Although they are a nuisance and can cause painful bites, they are not known to carry diseases. However, you still want to take care of any bed bug problems you may have before they overrun not only your bed but the rest of your home as well. Sometimes you will need to buy a new mattress. First, try these methods to help control a bed bug infestation,
Bed bug infestations are hard to control. The first step in trying to deal with the problem is to know how to identify them. Some pests, such as carpet beetles, look enough like bed bugs to cause them to be misidentified. Bed bugs will go through five life stages before maturing into adults. The first stage is an egg, which looks like a grain of white rice. From there the bug will grow, shedding its skin as it passes from stage to stage. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an excellent guide to identifying the different life stages of bed bugs.
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Bed bugs like to hide near mattress seams, piping, and tags, on your box spring, and on your bed frame and headboard as well. Other hiding places include chair and sofa cushions, curtains, and even electrical outlets. Signs that you have a bed bug problem include rusty or dark spots on the mattress, sheets or other fabrics, eggs or eggshells, or finding the adult bugs themselves.
Once you know you have a bed bug problem, the next step is to prepare to eradicate them. Most cases of bed bug infestations require professional treatment with pesticides. There are several different pesticides that can be used on bed bugs, so you want to choose a pest control professional with expertise in handling bed bug infestations to see which option is best for you.
If your bed bug problem is small, there are steps you can take to keep it from getting out of hand. Sheets and other bedding should be placed in a plastic bag and taken to the laundry. These items should be washed in hot water and dried on high heat for 30 minutes. The high temperatures will kill the bed bugs. Vacuum the bed and box spring to remove any visible bugs and eggs. Smaller fabric items can be placed in plastic bags and left in the freezer for four days. The cold will kill the bugs. The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) provides more information on different methods of getting rid of bed bugs.
Once you’ve cleaned the mattress, encase it and the box spring in a high-quality cover that any remaining bed bugs can’t bite through, or in covers that are pre-treated with a pesticide. Because these covers are light-colored, they can make it easier to spot bed bugs if they reappear. These covers are also a great way of protecting new mattresses and box springs from getting infested with bed bugs.
Taking these steps doesn’t guarantee you will be able to eliminate the bugs completely. Getting rid of bed bugs can take time, so be patient. In the end, you’ll sleep better knowing your home is bug-free.