It wasn’t too long ago that there was a bed bug outbreak. It was all over the television and it was written about in newspapers. However, bed bugs are nothing new. In fact, they’ve been roaming the earth for about as long as we have. A bed bug is a small insect that feeds on human blood. They tend to be active at night while you sleep. Additionally, they like to hide (think cracks, furniture, and under a mattress pad), which is why they can sometimes be difficult to find.
That being said, bed bugs are not particularly dangerous. They’re annoying, but they aren’t known disease carriers. A bite may lead to an allergic reaction such as a rash or swelling, but this can usually be treated by your doctor. Nonetheless, there is a way to stop these unwelcome intruders from taking over your home.
First, if you suspect you may have a bed bug infestation, check potential hiding spots. Using a flashlight to lure them out, check the most likely places these critters could be hiding. Behind your headboard, along your mattress seam, along baseboards and inside cracks, and even window casings may be home to bed bugs. You’ll also want to check any clutter, such as clothing on your floor, for signs of these critters.
Second, clean and wash the areas where the bed bugs are most likely to hide. This is essentially committing to an entire detox of your home. You’ll want to wash towels, rugs, carpets, clothing, and even your curtains. Hot water should be used in addition to the highest dryer setting available for machine washable items. Meanwhile, use a steamer to clean your flooring and mattress (or replace these items altogether once your home has been purged). You’ll also want to scrub your mattress with a thick brush so as to dislodge any eggs that have been laid by bed bugs. If your box spring is infected, it is best to throw it away and begin again.
Dispose of all infested items as you clean. Don’t leave any bags of dirty clothes or brushes or anything else lying around the house while you attempt to complete the job. Throw as you go instead! Make sure to use a well-sealed plastic bag when you dispose of things.
Once everything has either been cleaned or disposed of, it’s time to go about repairing and replacing. Fill in empty cracks in plaster. Take down any loose wallpaper that you come across. Purchase new items to replace the ones you lost when you cleaned out your home.
To prevent bed bugs, follow these easy steps:
- Always inspect your belongings (including your suitcase) following a trip.
- Inspect any furniture entering your home.
- Never bring discarded furniture home. This includes “free” items you may find on the curb.
Also, remember to never give any items that have been infested with bed bugs to donation centers. This will help stop the spread of bed bugs into someone else’s home.