To think that you may have a pest problem is Never Funny, but most owners fear a particular infestation: bed bugs. Understandably why: bed bugs can be difficult, not to mention expensive"To get rid of him."
The reason why bed bugs can remain so long, often going unnoticed until they have become a major problem, is that they have evolved to become the "perfect parasite," says Timothy Gibb, PhD, clinical professor of entomology at Purdue University that studied bed bug infestations.
"They have had millions of years of evolution to adjust their feeding system and not wake the host," says Edwin Rajotte, PhD, professor of entomology at Penn State University. That means that you will often not realize that you might have a problem until the bed bug population has become widespread or until you begin to wake up with the bites you received last night.
What are bed bugs anyway?
A bed bug is what is called an ectoparasite that feeds on blood, which means that its only food source is our blood, says Kenneth Haynes, PhD, professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky who specializes in biology of Bedbugs. That need of our blood is the reason why bed bugs are often found exactly where its name indicates: our beds. "They like to live near the host, that is, in our rooms, near our beds, as close as possible to where we sleep," says Haynes.
But another difficult part of realizing that you have a bed bug infestation is that bed bugs will remain hidden until night, using a chemical signal to add in cracks, cracks or other dark spaces, says Haynes. Then, during the middle of the night, usually between 2 a.m. and at 4 a.m., our body odor, body heat and the carbon dioxide we emit stimulate insects to approach us to feed us. "Once they find us, they take their part of the mouth shaped like soda straw and paste it directly into a blood capillary and take advantage of their food," says Haynes.
How to get rid of bed bugs the right way
It's particularly difficult to get rid of bed bugs because they are resistant to many insecticides, including many of those you'll find in bed bug treatments at the hardware store, says Gibb. Also, to really get rid of bed bugs, you must banish everyone from them. "Because all you need is a pregnant woman, and you get a completely new population by going there pretty quickly," says Rajotte.
That means that the best way to get rid of bed bugs is to avoid taking them home first. But if you encounter a bed bug situation, follow these steps to remove them from your home forever.
1. Avoid taking them home.
The key to avoiding an unpleasant bed bug situation is to identify them before You bring them to your house. But where do bed bugs come from? They are often taken home after the trip, where bed bugs could have gotten into their suitcase or backpack in a hotel, says Rajotte.
And don't think just because you stayed at a five star resort, that means you're free of bed bugs. "The insidious thing is that anyone can get them," says Rajotte. "It has nothing to do with how good you are as a housekeeper or your socioeconomic situation."
So, every time you enter a hotel or vacation rental, regardless of price or quality, expect bedbugs to be there, says Rajotte. "A good practice is to place the suitcase in the center of the bathtub until you have had the opportunity to inspect the room," he says.
Where do bed bugs hide?
Since they are more likely to be on the mattress, start by looking there first. Remove the sheets and check the corners of the mattress with a special focus on the cord that surrounds the mattress, a favorite place for bed bugs, according to Rajotte, and around the end of the mattress, as most people sleep.
You should also look behind the headboard, behind the images on the wall and in any outlet, which are places where bedbugs like to camp. "If there is a decent infestation, you should be able to find it," says Rajotte.
If you don't detect bed bugs, it is probably safe to take your suitcase out of the bathtub and take care of your business. But if you do detect bed bugs and suspect they might have gotten into your bag, take out all the clothes in your suitcase and put it in a plastic bag, sticking the end of the bag with tape, says Rajotte. "The only saving feature of bed bugs is that heat kills them," he says. "Then, if they are exposed to temperatures over 122 to 123 degrees Fahrenheit, they will die."
That said, once you have the clothes stuck in a plastic bag, run it through the dryer over high heat for 30 minutes. "That is their main defense against bringing them home," says Rajotte.
2. Identify the problem.
Adult bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed, very flat (almost as thin as a piece of paper) and brown in color.
Let's say you went on a trip, you came home and, shortly after, you start waking up with bites. "If you have strange bites at night, or you wake up and there is a row of three or four bites on the top of your arm or something, and you have screens on the windows, so you don't get many mosquitoes" there, I would suspect of bedbugs, "says Rajotte.
This is what will begin with what experts call their "monitoring" process in which you will need to identify: 1) if you have bed bugs and 2) how large the bed bug population is.
How are bed bugs?
To identify bed bugs, perform a search in your own home in the same way you would in a hotel room. Look for an insect that is about the size of an apple seed, that is very flat from top to bottom, almost as thin as a piece of paper, and that has a brown color, says Rajotte. These would be adult bed bugs. However, you should also be aware of pin-sized bed bugs that are brown, as they could be bed bugs and look for black spots on the sheets, mattress and mattress cover, which could be bed bug feces .
If you see bed bugs, the next thing you want to do is determine how large your population is. If it is smaller and newly established, think 10 to 15 bed bugs, you may be able to control the situation on your own, says Gibb. However, if it is a larger population, your best option will be to call a pest control team to get rid of the problem. "If it's really ingrained and there are thousands, I just don't see that a person can control it by itself," says Gibb.
3. Control the bed bug population and prepare for treatment.
Zippered mattress closure
Once you know you have a bed bug infestation, you will want to take steps to control the population and prepare your room for treatment.
Similar to what you would do in a hotel, start by placing your sheets, bedding, mattresses and any other fabric that may have been exposed to bed bugs, such as stuffed animals or clothes, in the washer and dryer at high temperatures, Rajotte says "Then, don't reintroduce them until the bed bugs have disappeared," he adds.
From there, you can use other tactics such as vacuuming around areas where bedbugs might be, think around the mattress and cracks and crevices, or smoke those same areas, says Gibb. You can also get a zippered mattress closure to prevent bed bugs from spreading further.
4. Kill the bedbugs.
Now that you have prepared your room for the treatment of bed bugs and know the population with which you are dealing, it is time to prepare to kill them. To control the bed bug situation, you'll want to use what experts call integrated pest management (MIP), which essentially means using more than one tactic to get rid of parasites, says Rajotte. "Our recommendation is never to use just one approach, because the chances of success there are quite slim," adds Gibb.
Once you have taken the above steps, then you will want to start other methods, including heat and pesticide treatment.
When it comes to heat treatments, this is something that you are especially You will want to do it for professionals. This is because, to kill bed bugs through this method, you must raise the room to at least 119 degrees, says Gibb, even in every crack and crevice where bed bugs can be. Although this can be difficult on its own, pest controllers have the right equipment and training to fully heat the room and kill the population.
Do bed bug sprays work?
Bed Bug Killer by EcoRaider
If you take the route of pesticides, you can choose to hire a professional who can use restricted pesticides that are not available for consumer use, which is what experts recommend, or you can try to address the treatment yourself.
If you do decide to try pesticide treatment yourself, recognize that bed bugs are resistant to many different chemicals, including pyrethroids, which are often found in stores and promote fake bed bug control labels. Instead, use diatomaceous earth, which is a white powder that will apply directly wherever the bed bugs are found and can be found online, or a bio-oil spray designed specifically to kill bed bugs, such as Eco-Raider, says Gibb, who will apply the same way. Both are durable and do not decompose over time like other pesticides, which means you should only apply them once.
5. Check the treatment to make sure the bed bugs have disappeared.
After each treatment you do, you will want to monitor your attempts until all bed bugs have been eliminated, says Rajotte. If you hired a pest control company, expect them to register two weeks after each treatment, he says, and if you did the treatment yourself, perform a similar check at your home.
One thing should What is expected is that it could take a couple of rounds of treatment to be considered completely free of bed bugs. "I think we have spoiled our society in terms of," I have a pest problem, I come and spray it, and I hope it disappears as soon as you leave, "says Gibb." Unfortunately, that is not the case with bed bugs. " .
But the good news is that, as long as you follow these measures and continue performing tactics such as washing and drying materials that might have been affected by bed bugs until the parasites have disappeared, bed bugs will not stay forever. "Anyone can have bed bugs," says Gibb. "But it takes a concentrated effort to get rid of them."
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Brielle Gregory Brielle Gregory previously worked at Men’s Health magazine, where she reported, edited and verified all aspects related to health, nutrition and weight loss; He currently spends his time researching similar topics as a freelance writer and editor.