The Ultimate Guide on How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can live in our clothes, bite us in our sleep, and live in the cracks in our walls and doors. Needless to say, bed bugs are more than just a common household pest – they can cause many of us considerable distress, particularly if we fall victim to their bites.

It can be all too easy for bed bugs to enter our homes, yet it’s tricky to know how to remove them once they do. However, there are eight key ways to get rid of bed bugs in your home. And by the end of this article, you’ll know them all. But first, let’s get to know these horrible critters a little better.

What Are Bed Bugs?  

We have considered bed bugs – known scientifically as Cimex lectularius – as pests for many decades. Bed bugs have entered our homes and bitten us and our pets since the 1940s. Unfortunately, in recent years, bed bugs have become all the more common. Why, you may be wondering?

Well, in the UK particularly, bed bugs have become highly resistant to pesticides, which means we have fewer strategies to eradicate them than we once did. Nevertheless, there are ways to rid our homes of bed bugs, and we’ll explore these later in the article.

Albeit small, bed bugs are visible. They look very similar to an apple seed as they sport a similar size and colour, and the eggs are comparable to a speck of dust.

However, the sight of bed bugs isn’t usually what gives them away. Bed bugs are more active at night, so they’re rarely out and about in the day. Instead, we tend to suspect a bed bug infestation from the red, itchy bites that show up on our skin. They typically bite us several times within the same area, giving us a splattering of small red marks on our skin.

If you’ve been subject to bed bug bites or suspect your home of becoming infested, it’s important to know what to do about it. Not only will this save you from bites, but the stress associated with not knowing. Without further ado, let’s explore how to get rid of bed bugs fast.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast

If you’re wondering how to get rid of bed bugs fast, these are the strategies for you. This section will cover:

  • How to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress
  • How to get rid of bed bugs on beds (such as in your bed frame)
  • How to get rid of bed bugs in clothes
  • How to get rid of bed bugs in cracks in walls and doors

1.     Call In the Experts

While it is possible to get rid of bed bugs in your home, the most effective way is usually to call in the experts. So, if you’re hell-bent on finding out how to get rid of bed bugs overnight, this is your solution.

Hiring pest control to deal with a bed bug infestation not only saves you time and energy in trying to manage the problem yourself, but they also have the correct tools and equipment to ensure the attempts are successful. Hiring experts means you can rest easy knowing your home is free of bed bugs.

2.     Kill Them with Heat

Although bed bugs do like warm, cosy homes, they can’t survive high temperatures. If you expose bed bugs to temperatures of 48°C (118°F) or higher for at least 90 minutes, this should be effective at getting rid of them.

While this may be a plausible method of treatment for clothing, it doesn’t help you get rid of bed bugs on your mattress or bed frame.

However, if you follow the first strategy and call in the experts, they often have equipment that can heat up whole rooms to this temperature, effectively killing off all bed bugs within hours.

3.     Set a Cleaning Schedule

Regular cleaning is one of the best ways to get rid of bed bugs, as it can disturb them from their hiding spots. Hoovering is particularly effective, as you can vacuum your mattress and any nooks and crannies in your bed frame, walls and doors.

If you’ve chosen vacuuming as the way to go, here’s one piece of advice: always throw out the vacuum bag afterwards, and not in your household bin but somewhere outside, as it’s possible for these little critters to climb out of your hoover bags and back into your home!

4.     Use Pesticides

While bed bugs have become resistant to many pesticides, some still work to eliminate these annoying critters. Some of the best pesticides for bed bugs are pyrethroid-based pesticides, neonicotinoids, and insect growth regulators. Diatomaceous Earth works well, too (but we’ll talk about this more next!).

Here’s a word of warning when buying pesticides: ensure that they specifically treat bed bugs, as these are designed not to harm you or your pets. If in doubt, read the manufacturer’s label and instructions.

5.     Try Diatomaceous Earth

If you’ve been asking how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress or on a bed frame, here’s your solution: Diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural substance that comes in powder form. You can sprinkle it in the spots where you think bed bugs are residing, such as on your mattress and bed frame. Diatomaceous Earth is non-toxic, so it won’t harm you or your pets.

This substance kills bed bugs by dehydrating and physically damaging them over time. The process can be as long as a few days but often only takes several hours.

6.     Encase Them

If you’re still wondering how to get rid of bed bugs on beds and you’re not too keen on Diatomaceous Earth, try encasing them. You can buy bug-proof encasements which completely cover a mattress, helping you to control an infestation before it gets out of hand and spreads to other areas of your home.

7.     Steer Clear of Second-Hand Goods

Second-hand goods like furniture and clothing can be a particular hazard when it comes to bed bugs, as you have no way of knowing whether their previous homes had bed bug infestations. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking extra caution with second-hand items, avoiding buying them if possible or inspecting and treating them if necessary.

8.     Give Steam Cleaning a Go

Recent research suggests that commercial steamers are extremely effective at killing bed bugs if used correctly. However, how well a steamer eradicates an infestation depends on the quality of the steamer. For example, if you buy a budget steamer, it likely won’t do the trick. As a rule, only use a commercial steamer with at least a 4-litre capacity and with steam volume control, as this will ensure it is powerful enough to kill bed bugs.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Permanently

Getting rid of bed bugs permanently isn’t easy. It isn’t a case of treating a bed bug infestation once and your home being free of them forever. While getting an expert in and heat treating your home are two of the best methods for treating bed bug infestations, they don’t prevent the critters from entering your home in the future.

The only way to ensure your home remains bed bug-free is to inspect all items coming into your home, treating items potentially containing bed bugs, and treating your home after guests stay.

Final Verdict on How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on our blood and that of our pets. While they can cause us a lot of distress if they get into our homes, there is no need to fret. We can get rid of bed bugs quickly and efficiently by calling in the experts, treating our homes with pesticides like Diatomaceous Earth, or using heat treatments and steam to kill the critters.

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