How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

a bed bug

How to remove bed bugs; the preference of using a professional pest control service over DIY due to the difficulties of knowing the full extent of infestation.

Stopping hundreds of unwanted miniature visitors sharing your bed

The old saying when wishing someone goodnight “and don’t let the bed bugs bite” is highly apt these days as bed bugs are proliferating having been virtually wiped out back in the 1950s. Warmer homes and more international travel – bed bugs are expert stowaways – are two reasons for their increased numbers.

While they don’t carry diseases, they’re still an unwelcome and unpleasant nocturnal presence so you’ll want to be rid of them.

Knowing you have an infestation

Realising you’ve got bed bugs could be a challenge in itself as they’re very small (less than 5mm) and they only come out at night when you’re sleeping as they’re attracted to body warmth and the carbon dioxide we exhale.

By day they mostly hide in crevices and tiny gaps in the mattress and headboard.

The clues to look for:

  • Colour and appearance – they’re oval in shape and coloured red, brown or a dark yellow
  • Blood spots – tiny specks of blood on bed clothing from where they’ve been squashed having just fed (on you!)
  • Eggs – you may spot their small (barely 1mm) eggs in the crevices of the mattress
  • Small black spots – if you find these on your bed clothing this could be their dried excrement
  • Spots and marks on your skin – if you or others in your household notice tiny red marks this is a clue bed bugs have been at work – they feed on your blood at night

Be aware that, despite being called ‘bed bugs,’ these pests can hide and live in other furniture or furnishings.

Removing the bed bugs

It’s likely you’ll really require the services of a pest control professional offering bed bug removal services to ensure their complete eradication. The problem with a DIY approach is knowing whether you’ve treated all areas where they could be lurking – as said above it may not just be confined to your bed.

As mentioned earlier bed bugs are expert stowaways so could be in the spare bedroom if you’ve played host to someone visiting from abroad, or even if they’ve previously stayed in a hotel closer to home where there was an infestation. Your guest’s luggage could have acted as a perfect vehicle for bed bugs from another location to hitch a ride and set up residence in your home.

That said, a few things can be tried and would act as useful preparation if you do decide it’s best to call professionals in:

Strip the bed – remove all bed clothing and put it straight in a high temperature wash – at least 50℃ preferably 60℃. While you’re at it wash any soft toys and night clothes in a similar fashion.

Another option is to bag up the bed clothes and associated laundry and put them into the freezer for three days to kill the bed bugs off.

Vacuum the mattress and related areas – use the hose to give the mattress and other nearby areas a thorough vacuuming and then dispose of the contents of the bag immediately in an outside bin.

Inspect the bedroom and other areas – as said before, bed bugs aren’t confined to the bed so check carpeting and other furnishings for their presence. Use a powerful torch; you’re also looking for the tiny eggs along with the bugs themselves.

Bed bug insecticides – you can try treating infested areas with specialist bed bug insecticides, and steam cleaning will kill them off.

Dispose of mattress – a heavy infestation will probably mean it’s time for a new mattress.

Call the experts

While the DIY option above may help control an infestation, it’s not guaranteed to totally rid you of bed bugs. A professional treatment will include a full survey to establish the extent of the infestation followed by a thorough removal process.